Friday, August 12, 2005

Did I mention appendectomy?

David and I arrived at the hospital at 6am on Tuesday morning. We checked in, signed the remaining waivers and financial payment documents. They recorded my insurance information, checked my id and gave me two hospital bracelets (one for each arm). I joked with David that perhaps they suspected that my arms might be separated and therefore, I required two bracelets. We were then sent up to the In and Out Surgery Ward.

From the Ward's nurses station, I was sent into what appeared to be a regular hospital room with four beds. Since the room was empty and I had my choice of beds, David suggested that we select the bed closest to the window. On my bed sat a plastic bag with a stylish hospital gown, hospital robe and socks. David suggested getting undressed and prepared for surgery. I declined to get undressed immediately in a vain attempt to delay the inevitable. But as it approached 7am, I knew that the room's other occupants would be arriving soon (along with my doctors) and I should just get undressed and prepared for my 7:30am procedure.

Shortly thereafter, a nurse arrived and asked me to verify the procedure I was having, took my temperature and blood pressure. She asked about allergies and questioned me about what drugs I had taken recently. She reviewed the recommendations for an outpatient procedure including the drugs to take, prohibitions on drinking and activities to avoid. Then the anesthesiologist showed up. She also asked what procedure I was having, asked more questions about allergies and made additional post surgerical recommendations. She then went through her role in the surgerical process. She checked my heartbeat and thyroid and told me that I had a heart murmur and that my thyroid seemed slightly enlarged. She then started an IV, which she advised me would sting a little and burn a little (right on both counts).

Then Dr. NHB entered the room. He also asked me what procedure I was having (which, after three inquiries, seemed a bit bizarre to me) but as the anesthesiologist explained to us, they are concerned that patients are agreeing to procedures that they don't completely understand. The anesthesiologist informed Dr. NHB that I had a slightly enlarged thyroid and asked about my hormone levels. I guess they don't typically work together (or maybe don't get along?) b/c he seemed to sort of brush off her concerns, telling her that the information should be in my files. She retorted that gynos normally keep these kinds of records and Dr. NHB responded that the information should be in the files.

Finally, another nurse showed up to wheel me into the OR. David grabbed my bag with my clothing, cd player, wallet, cell phone etc. and asked whether he could walk with me to the OR. The nurse advised him that he wouldn't be able to walk with us for very long but he was welcome to join us. After what seemed like only a few steps out of the room and down the hallway, David was told he could not accompany us any farther.

My throat caught and my eyes began to fill with tears. I felt alone and I finally started to panic.

The nurse advised me that I would be given a sedative to settle me down. She then began making small talk about my career. This distraction was helpful and by the time we arrived at the OR, I had begun settling in. The room seemed so large and bright and filled with metal objects and machines. The nurse introduced me to a couple of women (doctors, nurses?), who would be assisting in the procedure. I was told to untie my gown and slide onto the operating table. Then the anesthesiologist appeared out of nowhere said something about the meds and I was off to slomberville. I can't remember counting or anything.

When I awoke Dr. NHB was standing over me, saying something about my appendix, but I thought I was delirious. Later, I awoke in recovery and Dr. NHB and David were talking to me. Dr. NHB told me that I had had stage 4 endo, and that my tubes, ovaries etc. had been "cemented" together with scar tissue. One of my fallopian tubes had been removed due to a hydrosalphix and the other tube appeared blocked (but had been left in my body) and yes, my appendix had been enlarged and had therefore been removed. The inside of my cervix had also been narrowed by scar tissue. He had also removed one of my fibroids, which was near my cervix. He said that given the endo, tubal issue, scar tissue, fibroids, etc., there was no way that we would have gotten pregnant on our own. Then Dr. NHB told us what we'd feared hearing -- Mr. "Anti-Voodoo" recommended that we go back to Ginormous Fertility Center and pursue IVF. He told us that was the extent of our options.

Later, David told me the story from his perspective -- how nervous he'd become when the surgery was taking much longer than we'd been advised. How Dr. NHB hurriedly showed him the pictures of my insides and told him that "his wife's pelvis was in pretty bad shape." And then how Dr. NHB rushed off to his next procedure, which had been scheduled for 10:30 am. He told me that he'd talked to his mom about his fears and concerns, while waiting for me to return. It seemed pretty awful from both sides.

So here we are -- dealing with our new reality. I am glad that there wasn't anything more serious wrong with me. I had started to worry that the unexplained pain in my side would be diagnosed as ovarian cancer and that I would need an emergency hysterectomy. Neither was the case. This isn't so bad. Also, I am recovering pretty well. I am walking around the house on my own and could conceivably return to work by Monday or Tuesday.

On the other hand, after we meet with Dr. NHB for our post op visit in two weeks to have our final questions answered, we are down to our final option for having our own child.

IVF is it.

I am so intimated by IVF. Can we handle it? What if it doesn't work? Is it too much for us to take on? Are we "not meant to" have children of our own? What about adoption? How did we get here?

Oh God, how did we get here?


At 6:38 PM, Blogger K said...

How overwhelming for you. Surgery is bad enough, much less paired with the narrowing of options. I hope their work can alleviate some of the pain, and that there was nothing too formidable or suspicious. I'm sorry you have to move to IVF - I can imagine that transition isn't easy.

At 8:09 PM, Blogger Spanglish said...

I'm so sorry that the surgery turned into such an epic procedure. Moving on to IVF is a new chapter. You're a strong woman. The adjustment will come.

At 8:18 PM, Blogger K|nneret said...

OMG, Cheech. I am so sorry to hear of your stage 4 diagnosis. How are you doing with that? You are taking a great perspective by focusing on the positives, ie - not cancer and your relief at having a diagnosis.

What (if anything)makes you think you can't handle IVF? Yes, it's a tortuous and terrible road at times but you are strong and capable. Are you going to see Dr L at the Grove and get his opinion on these new findings?

Call me? I've misplaced your number (I think I've misplaced my brain these days too). If you need a shoulder, I'm here. *tight hugs*

At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Susan / holdingpattern said...

Wow. This must have been harrowing. I am sorry you had so much wrong, but glad that you have answers now and won't waste anymore time with Clomid. The physical demands IVF will seem like a piece of cake compared to the surgery you just had, although it is mentally nerve-wracking because so much is at stake.

Anyway, welcome to the tubeless club (I know you still have one, but if it is blocked then it might as well be gone). Believe it or not, there are some benefits:
1) You get to join our sorority Tau Phi Beta, tube free babes.
2) You will never have to chart, use OPKs, or engage in not-in-the-mood-procreative-only sex again.
3) At the end of a non-IVF month, you won't be wondering "maybe I'm pregnant," waste money on a pregnancy test and suffer the disappointment.

Hang in there. I hope your recovery goes well.

At 10:24 PM, Blogger Donna said...

I am so sorry. The only good thing is you didn't waste more time trying treatments that just were not going to work. I can only imagine how overwhelmed you must be right now. Of course you are feeling like you can't handle anything else, but you don't need to do anything right now except take care of yourself.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger Suz said...

The others are is bad enough not to mention when its combined with the news about IVF. You can, however, handle this. It always seems more frightening before you actually begin and get immersed in the cycle. Once you get started and have to take it one step at a time, it gets easier.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Em said...

That is some hardcore news. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I'm so crap with saying the right thing at these times. The other bloogers are right - you are an incredible and strong woman.

At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Jen said...

I'm so sorry that your surgery ws such an ordeal. On the one hand, I'm sure it's good to know that it wasn't all in your head--that there is a physical reason for it all--but on the other hand, it has to be really frightening to adjust to this new reality.

Please let me know if you have any questions about IVF--I will say that although it's a lot to go through, it is bearable.

At 11:01 PM, Blogger Dramalish said...

You are able to do this.
You can handle it.
As for *are we not meant to have children*:
I would ask you to consider some people who do have children and treat them disgustingly... are they MEANT to have children? The drug-user, the pedophile, the sadist... many of these people HAVE children, but whether they are meant to has nothing to do with their physical ability.
Your destiny as parents has nothing to do with your physical ability either.
Good luck with your choices. There is still much to hope for.

At 8:36 AM, Blogger Ova Girl said...

I agree, it's completely sucky but as they say Knowledge is Power. At least you now know your options and where you stand. I'm sorry it wasn't better news. Best wishes.

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Jill said...

Wow, Chee Chee, you have really been through the wringer. What a lot to have to physically heal from (no wonder you had a pain in your side!)and to emotionally cope with. I'm so sorry and wish that things could have been easier for you.

I hope that it's some consolation that you have an explanation for your troubles now, even though it wasn't what you were hoping to hear. IVF is a big deal, but we will be here to support you if you choose to go down that path.

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Jamila said...

oh wow. That's some intense news. But now you have answers and a game plan that at least has a chance of working instead of wasting your time and hope on other paths.

IVF has worked for so many women that I know. I have faith that it will work for you!!

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Mellie said...

Oh Chee, I'm so sorry your insides got put through the ringer. I hope you're feeling much better physically now; and I hope you're taking comfort in knowing that doing the surgery was the right thing.

As for IVF, you and your husband will get through that too if you decide to go for it. And we'll all be here to help. Big hugs to you.

At 6:02 PM, Blogger k #2 said...

Oh chee...all I can say is OUCH! What an ordeal that turned out to be. I am so proud of you for focusing on the positive -- no cancer. Yes, I think you can handle IVF and it sure looks like there will be a lot of us bloggers standing by your side cheering you on!

As a footnote, what a trooper your DH is! That must have been hard for him to sit through that and not be with you.

Speedy recovery so your next step in this journey can begin!

At 7:17 PM, Blogger Mony said...

Oh Baby!
It is overwhelming.
Every part of it.
IVF is hideously intimidating. For me too. Exciting & terrifying. It's a push/pull. Hope yet defeat. You realise that your options just got fewer and that's scary. Very Scary. Yet,now you know what path you need to take. The direction is there & no more guess work. For me that was a comfort. Take care of yourself, let it all sink in & please accept my "Get Well Soon" Wishes. Good riddance to all those nasty fiberoids etc. They were standing between you & your baby. Big ole HUG too.

At 6:09 PM, Anonymous thalia said...

I'm sorry I missed being around while you went through this. What a relief to have it done, and what a shock to hear the level of the disease.

I know how you feel re IVF. I'm pondering that myself. No answers yet, just a knowledge that it is worth it if we have a baby at the end of it.


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