Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What's bigger than a softball?

So I want to post about healthy things. I want to post about how running yesterday morning felt easy.  And I want to post about how I bought a bunch of fresh groceries on Sunday that I'm planning on working into recipes this week.

But I'm not going to.

Instead, I'm going to tell you a gross story about my lady bits.  Guys?  It's totally okay to bail out here.  I'll see you tomorrow. :)

So I've been bleeding for weeks.  Last Tuesday I got concerned and called my OBGYN's office only to find out that it was my Nurse Practitioner (the lady I've been seeing for 7 years)'s day off.  It was her nurse's day off too.  So I left a message on the main nurse hotline and got a call back.

The instructions given to me that day were shady at best.  Basically, it was like "Um...yeah - just continue with what you have been doing."  When I asked how long I should bleed before calling back, she suggested another 9 days.

Three days later (last Friday) I decided that I couldn't handle it any more.  So I called in, spoke to my Jeannie and she told me to come in right away.  They were going to do a blood test on Friday to see if I was pregnant (or maybe having a miscarriage) and then do a hysto-something or other Monday morning to see if I was had uterine polyps.

Friday, they took my blood and then began the weekend waiting game. 

Typically, I focus my worry on things that are the next step.  I see marriage as the next step in my life plan.  I want to wait until I'm married to have kids; to even start to try to have kids.  While I know it is a possibility that I might not ever have kids, I'm more concerned with my next step of never getting married.

But this past weekend everything got jumbled up and mixed up in my brain.  All of the sudden I'm asking myself questions that I really hadn't started asking myself yet.  Do I want kids right now?  I know that it wasn't probable that I was pregnant (at least not after weeks of bleeding) but there was still this hope inside, you know?  I got a warm feeling inside - and knew that I do want to have Joe's kids.  Suddenly, I started looking at couples with babies in the restaurants differently.  THAT could be me in less than a year.

So when I went in yesterday morning for the hysto-blahbedy-blah, they took my blood (to check my cholesterol, etc.) and then put me in the ultrasound room to wait for a few minutes.  There were pictures of babies EVERYWHERE - and honestly, it made me feel a bit uncomfortable.  Here I am not sure what the heck is happening, not aware of what could happen and I'm surrounded by pictures of things that I know that I want more than just about anything else.

The ultrasound tech came in and gave me a vaginal ultrasound - which is bizarre and then took a crapload of pictures, printed them out, and said in a calm voice that she would be back.

Great.  Something was definitely wrong.

Jeannie (the Nurse Practitioner) came in the room and said, "Well, Anne...you really like to overachieve, don't you?"

And my breath caught in my throat.  Was I pregnant with twins?

No.  Apparently, I have a huge uterine fibroid

Remember those "yo' mamma'" jokes from the 80s?

My fibroid is so big, it's been pushing on my bladder.

My fibroid is so big that it's pushing my cervix out of alignment (so the speculum wouldn't even go in properly when it came time to do the hysto-blahbedy-blah).

My fibroid is so big, it takes up the entire left side of my uterus.

My fibroid is so big, it's bigger than a softball.

My fibroid is so big, it doesn't fit on an ultrasound film.

My fibroid is so big, they're not entirely sure how they're going to remove it.

And yes, now my fertility is completely at stake.

So great.  Here I am, sitting in a chair with a paper gown over me, and a hundred little baby eyeballs staring at me learning that I have a huge mass inside me.

The surgeon called me last night - he said that I could go ahead and keep training for my 10K.  He said that they were going to call in a consultant from a company called "Conception" here in Denver to make sure that when they remove the fibroid, they'll try to stay away from my fallopian tubes and hopefully not impact my fertility (which right now, is non-existent - no room for a baby in my uterus).  They're doing this because apparently it's rare for someone my age to have a fibroid this big - which means that they don't have a lot of experience removing these from someone who still wants to have kids.

He plans on doing it laparoscopically (where they cut near my navel and do it all video-camera style) but if I start bleeding too much or if it is bigger than what they thought, they'll have to cut through my tummy and get it.  He needs to meet with the ultrasound tech to get some more information about where she felt it was growing from.  There can be many different fibroids and sometimes how they remove it is contingent on where it's growing from.  Since mine is so big, they can't really tell where it's origin is.  So I may have to have an MRI to find out where it is and what they're in for.

The plan is to remove all of it - so it's less likely to come back.  That may mean cutting out more of the muscle in my uterus, making it weaker and thus taking a vaginal birth (if I ever do get pregnant) off the table.  The surgery will probably be a few weeks from now.

Honestly, I'm scared. I'm freaked out that I won't be able to have kids later.  I'm freaked out that something that big has been growing inside me and I didn't know it.  I'm thankful that it's not cancer.  I'm thankful that I have someone that can take care of me after the surgery.  I'm thankful that I don't live in a place where I have to shovel snow or do hard chores to earn a living.  I'm thankful that I have health insurance.

But mostly it's sort of surreal because it's calling into question my health, my future, my future birthing plans (if there were ever going to be one) and just how committed Joe and I are.

It's a lot to take in right now.

So last night, I cried a lot.  I thought of a zillion "what if" questions.  I worried.  I got scared.  Joe and I ended up going out to one of my favorite restaurants.  I had two glasses of wine and half my entree (duck, coconut rice, pears, and swiss chard - delish!).

On the way home, we stopped at our local frozen yogurt store where I had the "mini" size.

I didn't over eat.  I didn't stuff my feelings.

But I still feel like crap.

And THAT is what is going on in my life right now.

24 Comments:

Lanie Painie said...

Whoa.

How is Joe handling the whole fertility news? Maybe this is the universe's way of kicking him in the funpants and urging him set some long-term priorities.

I had a vaginal ultrasound a few months ago and they found some small fibroids. The ultrasound was more traumatic than the news. No way am I having that done again unless I'm having some big symptoms. Not a fan. Anyhow, I'm not doing anything about mine at this point but I am old and already have my kid. I had a C-Section btw, and it really wasn't bad!

I wish I had some words of comfort for you. I'd give you a hug despite my "no touch" rule, but my arms don't reach from Ohio to Colorado. So please, find a fat middle aged woman to give you a hug and pretend it's me.

Hang in there sistah!

PS - I think it's pretty cruel to have photos of babies all over that room unless they are purple-faced mid scream in the middle of the night babies instead of those fake happy babies that don't really exist.

Lesia said...

So sorry to hear your struggle right now that you are faced with. Makes me think I should count my blessings that I am only dealing with MS and a bad foot. Please know you are in my prayers. I hope you and Joe grow stronger through this trial and that all works out for the 2 of you. ((hugs))

LauraLynne said...

*virtual hug*

I hope they have more answers - and some reassuring news for you soon! I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

Oh my! That IS a lot to handle...and all packaged together, too.

As you said, thank God you have health insurance! Maybe the test they wanted to do was a hysterosalpingogram (a dye test to look at the layout of your uterus)? I've had that done, as well laparoscopic surgeries to my lady bits...I had fertility struggles and went through many procedures. It certainly wasn't the direction I'd envisioned my life taking...yet it eventually all worked its way out (I am an adoptive mom as well as a biological mom.)

I can't imagine how you must feel about all this, however, I would say this; your health is number one. If you don't have your health, you ain't got nothin'.

Big ((hugs))
Debbie

Jams said...

Aww... ((((you)))) I'm sorry you had to deal with that. I applaud you for not feeding your feelings though. That's a bright light in the dark clouds, right?

Try not to stress out about it. Let the doctors do what they do and deal with the what ifs later. No use in worrying about something you have no control over now.

Maggie said...

Anne,
Reassurance from the field: I had a grapefruit sized fibroid 13 years ago. Had it surgically removed by a fertility specialist (Kevin Bachus in Fort Collins), and the only complication (if you can call it that) that resulted from it was that I absolutely had to have my children via c-section (because my uterus had to be cut in 2 places to remove the big ol' fibroid, doc said it wasn't worth risking the stress of labor contractions, which may cause a rupture...so: scheduled c-sections for both of my lovely babies).

One piece of advice: take Joe to your doc appointments now. Or a girlfriend. Don't go alone. Not because it's horrible, not because you can't handle it. Because it helps to have company through life. You'd do it for him, right? Ask him to do it for you. It matters. Really.

Warmly,
Maggie

Thrice Blessed said...

Oh, I know there isn't much anyone can say to ease the anxiety that you are going through, but I wanted to let you know I'm thinking about you and praying for you. Hang in there.

Katy said...

It's very strange to have your fertility suddenly in question. I've been there too, though not in this exact circumstance. I feel for you. Just try and stay focused on what's going on now and not project too far ahead. I know, easy to say.

Sam said...

So when I graduated from 7th grade, I hadn't started my period yet. We were at my friends house having a party - seriously end of year party - and I was sitting by myself looking through my year book. I don't know why, but I started thinking about children and having kids. And about the fact that I was 14 and hadn't started (didn't end up starting until I was 18). And before I know it, right in the middle of that party, I start BAWLING! It was pretty humorous. And then, to top it off, when all my friends gathered around me to ask what was wrong, what do I say? "I'm never going to be able to have kids"! They all just died. And it was pretty funny. But now... 15 years later, after trying for kids for 4 years, I have just a little more perspective on those feelings. My heart is hurting for you but is also hopeful!! I will keep you in my prayers and also your doctors! Stay strong and do the things you know will bring you true peace during this experience. You will come out of this a stronger woman who knows that she can handle tough things and survive. Hugs friend!

Lyn said...

I am so sorry you are going through this! Life is so unfair. You have every right to cry and feel what you feel. Sending healing vibes and hoping that everything works out the best for you! Hugs.

TinaM said...

:(
I'm so sorry, and freaking out a little is totally understandable!

The good thing is you didn't turn to food, that's awesome. Also, being able to see the good and things you are thankful for really helps!
Maggie's comment hopefully makes you feel better, and know that it will all be ok...

You are in my thoughts and prayers!!!

turleybenson said...

Holy. Effing. Crap.

I'm so sorry, Anne! That's crazy.

OK, I don't want to try to one up or anything but I had 2 very large ovarian cysts removed several years ago. They were large enough to require abdominal surgery, too (but they were dermoid, ie a bit less serious than fibroid).

The recovery sucked, but thank GOODNESS you have someone to help you through it; that is huge. It was one of the biggest (and best) growing experiences of our marriage.

It sounds like they have the best people on it, and are doing all they can to protect your lady/baby parts. It's gonna be jus fine. Way to follow your instincts, and way to not stuff your face. :)

Kendra said...

Pretty heavy stuff!
It sounds like you are getting awesome care and they are taking every precaution to do things right. All you can do after that is have faith.
I'll be praying that every thing turns out well for you!

Karen said...

I am so sorry:( I hope things go smoothly. I have had one for over a decade. Mine is a lemon and fills my entire uterus. I am very familiar with those lovely vaginal ultrasounds. And the whole "pressing on the bladder" thing. But I have managed to otherwise avoid symptoms and surgery even though my doc wanted to do a hysterectomy!

Polar's Mom said...

Wow, I'm crossing my fingers for you. Don't get down, modern medicine will come through I just know it. The silver lining...hmmm...well if you can't vaginally deliver then you coochie won't get all stretched out and you can get a tummy tuck at the same time as a c-section. Keep your head up-we are all pulling for you!

Polar's Mom
www.polarspage.blogspot.com

Dillypoo said...

You'll feel a whole lot better after your surgery, so keep a positive spirit and let your friends and loved ones lend a hand when and if you need it.

Results Not Typical Girl said...

I had a big tumor (pronounced with thick Arnold Schwzngr accent "tumah") and they gutted me like a fish to get it out. Now I get charley horses when I bend over. Science is a fucked up beast. AND you get to place softball too? Take it one day at a time, bless and release the rest. ((hugs))

The Babe said...

Well, hell. That just sucks.

In the meantime, know that you have lots of people in your life who adore you and who would like the chance to help you if you need it. Chatting on the phone, going to a movie that makes you cry, being silly, cooking you healthy food, whatever works for you. I'm up for it, my dear.

Please e-mail or call me if you're up to it...

Charlotte said...

Ugh. I know the giant suck of gynecological/fertility issues all too well. And it does suck. But you will likely feel better after surgery. If you want kids, you will have kids one way or another. Sometimes when things like this arise, something positive does come from it. You're being very introspective and thinking about life's big issues and your relationships and things you want. And those are good things to become aware of. It's hard to pursue your desires when you don't know what they are. I wish you well!

Mrs. Happy Pants said...

Ahhhh. The vaginal ultrasound. Makes you feel like a human joystick (are you even old enough to remember Atari?), without the joy.
I'll be praying for you. I've been thinking about you since I read this yesterday. Sad pants.
Feel free to cry or scream, or run. Let Joe pamper you. Take care of you.
<3
The Other Pants

Lala said...

I am just so sorry. I have to agree with Polar's mom that amazing things can be done these days, so please try not let fear take over. I wish I could give you a huge hug right now. As someone who is almost 40, I have all kinds of fears around fertility as well, so I really feel for you. But, take it one step at a time, and take the best care of yourself that you can. I am so happy that you are taking care of yourself around food, and I encourage you to comfort yourself in all the ways that will help.

Fat Girl vs. World said...

OMG... i just like want to wrap you up in a blanket and hold you for a really long time.

That's effing scary.

I'll be thinking happy thoughts for you. And just think -- fibroid removal = quick weight loss?

Brigitte said...

I am so sorry to hear about your pending surgery. Hang in there and know the doctors will do their very best. We may need to find you some new fun pants for after surgery! You gonna need them.

Meghan said...

Hi!

Just found your post while googling for pictures of fibroids. Your softball picture came up and I saw it was a blog. I just had a fibroid detected that is 8cm. I'm 25. What have you found out since your initial information? I would be interested to hear. How old are you? You said you were young...I feel like I'm in your boat...I have three others too. Do you have to have them removed? I wasn't seen by a doctor today...I was seen by the sonogram tech...