Hello my friends!
Gosh, it feels so good to be back in blogland! Now if I could just be in the land of the fully mobile and conscious, that would be grand. I am not complaining, however. I feel better with each passing day, requiring smaller doses of narcotics to keep the pain down, while gaining more strength and mobility. When I first got home, I was popping pills like crazy and had to use my walker (remember that?) every time I wanted to go anywhere, though my trips were mostly limited between our bed and the bathroom. Going all the way to the kitchen was considered a big feat!
Now, I only need the walker about half of the time, moving quite freely on the first floor of the house. I don’t know when I will muster up the strength to go upstairs, but, thanks to my superstar hubster and guest blogger, I have practically everything I need in our bedroom: a borrowed air conditioner for this hellish weather (107 today, ugh), a boom box, television, lap top, watercolors, books, and snacks! It’s pretty darn cool, pun intended.
Since a lot of people have asked questions about the endometriosis that led me to my surgery and this cozy bedroom lair, I thought I’d give a little information about it, and why it was causing so much trouble for me. In a nutshell, endometriosis is when tissue from inside the uterus migrates elsewhere in the pelvic cavity (no one knows why, when, or how). It is problematic because it has hormones and a monthly period just like the uterus, only it can’t exit the body like a normal period does, so it stays inside a woman’s abdomen, where it creates adhesions, like scar tissue. Think about it like this – you spill something on the counter without cleaning it up right away. When you return in a few hours, you touch the spot and your hand sticks to it, and sometimes even creates a kind of gooey, taffy-like bond. Only with endometriosis, you can’t wash it off. The taffy just spreads, connecting tissue and organs that have no business being such close neighbors, and, at least in my case, causing some pretty intense pain.
This is why my surgery could not be completed laparoscopically, and I had to be opened up. My insides were so thoroughly bound and twisted with taffy-like adhesions that my doctor needed to get inside and carefully cut everything apart. Thankfully, she was able to do so. In the process, she removed my uterus (complete with a large adenomyoma), my fist-sized right ovary, both fallopian tubes, as many adhesions as she could, and then zapped the remaining visible endometriosis with a really good laser. It’s no wonder it took over six hours!
Being in the hospital was a very emotional experience for me, like I was out at sea and riding a series of waves to shore, to home, and with each wave came a different emotion: gratitude, release, sadness, disbelief, joy, and wonder. Gratitude – I survived my surgery. I was alive, and the healing process was underway. Release – I am a pretty independent person, but in this situation, I had to, quite literally, hand my body over to strangers. They fed me, clothed me, bathed me, all with great kindness, compassion, and respect. Sadness – Even though I had never wanted children, I felt sad that this definitively left that choice out of my hands, though I guess it never really was. I am not driving this bus! Disbelief – For my recovery, I was placed in the Family Birthing Center, as the staff there would best know how to treat someone in my condition. Perhaps this seems a logical choice for someone who has already had children, but for me, it seemed a bit, well, odd. The lady who can never have children, infertile Myrtle, chockablock with mothers and babies? This same feeling of disbelief, however, was replaced by Joy – To be in the most precious place in a hospital, to witness those first days of life, the first tiny cries, each beautiful babe swaddled, hatted, and loved by all. Finally Wonder – There is so much kindness in the world, so many talented people doing their best work, so much love, and I am a living, breathing part of it all.
Now it is time for some shout-outs. First and foremost, to my amazing husband. Through our eighteen years of my increasing pain and suffering, he has always been a source of great love and support. I could not imagine a better partner or friend, no siree Bob. During my hospital stay, it was the hours he was there that I felt most safe. Listening to him type away on his laptop or hearing his whispers in the dark, it was almost as if I were home and not hooked to a catheter, pulse oximeter, and an IV. I was free.
My fantastic doctors. First, to Petra Caruso, Naturopathic MD. One of the most kind and compassionate health care professionals I have ever had the privilege to meet, she has been on this journey with me for nearly two years, constantly striving to find new, healthy solutions to make my life more comfortable. When she realized our options had been exhausted, she recommended my awesome specialist, Dr. Liz Newhall. Oh goodness, I am ever so pleased to have found her way while on my own. She is an amazingly talented woman, highly educated in her craft of women’s health, with a heart and humor to match. After my surgery, when I asked her how bad it was, and she told me that it was one of the worst cases she’d seen in her thirty years of practice, she said, “You would have won a blue ribbon at the fair, no doubt about it.”
YOU, the people of cyberspace, across the street, across town, across the world. Thank you so much for your prayers, kind thoughts, cards, meals, visits, everything. I felt and continue to feel so bouyed by all the love being sent my way, so incredibly grateful to be alive!