I haven’t written in quite a while and a big part of that is because I have been feeling like absolute shit. I’ve been kind of embarrassed to talk about it publicly. But I have realized that is stupid. So, here goes.
For years now, I have been having extremely heavy periods. Heavy to the point where I really cannot leave my house for up to 3 days per month. Even an hour would be too long. It can be difficult to explain why you can’t make it to an event or an appointment. Luckily (sorta), I am not working because I have no idea how that would even happen. Everything has to be planned just right and even that doesn’t really work when my cycle starts to have a mind of its own.
I was diagnosed with a uterine fibroid that continues to grow. I also have ovarian cysts that can sometimes cause pain. Because of the placement and size of the fibroid, it pushes on my bladder making me feel like I have to pee like all of the time.
It has recently been discovered that this bleeding is making me anemic. I didn’t realize it but I have been having symptoms of anemia for quite a long time. I have felt like shit for so long and have never been able to figure out why. My numbers aren’t super low, but apparently my body is extremely sensitive and reacts to the low iron more than I guess it would for others.
I have been exhausted for years. And I have been searching and searching for a reason – but according to docs, all tests are fairly normal. The fatigue has been increasing and as of this past week, I can barely get out of bed. I have also been having horrible headaches for years. I did find out I also have TMJ so that could be the reason, but who knows. In the past year or two I have lost almost all tolerance for alcohol. I get dizzy and nauseated for no apparent reason. And have had heart arrhythmias for years which could also be cause (or exasperated) by anemia. In the past month, a few new symptoms have popped up – itchy skin, freezing cold yet sweaty palms and feet and I have been eating crushed ice by the cupfuls. It’s been very scary and because of that my anxiety has gone through the roof.
It was suggested a couple years ago by my Gyno that I have a hysterectomy. If you know me at all, you know how afraid I am of any medical procedures – let alone a major surgery. I just decided to live with it until I had no choice. Well, I think my body is finally telling me that I no longer have a choice – at least not a good one.
I got a second opinion from a doctor who works at a facility where I would want to have my surgery. He said hysterectomy or just keep an eye on it with ultrasounds every 6 months. I am not a candidate for alternative treatments. I mean, I could try some – but they likely wouldn’t work and could make things worse. He left it up to me. After this past horrid week, I made an appointment to discuss surgery options and dates.
There are many different types of hysterectomies and I have no idea what he will suggest for me. I DO plan on keeping my ovaries. And I hope to high heaven that I will be able to do so because the thought of taking hormones scares the crap out of me. But I do not know if I will have to be cut open abominably or be able to have it laproscopically or robotically.
For some people, recovery takes a couple weeks. For others it can be a couple months. For some people, pain is minimal and for others, excruciating. Some people have a hospital stay, others go home. And many times, the surgery plan will change dramatically once you are already asleep.
The fear and anxiety I am going through is awful. I am absolutely petrified. My friend, Glenda, told me to write a list of all of my fears so that we can get questions answered and find ways to cross these fears off the list and go into this without so much trepidation. This is my list so far:
- Dying during surgery – not waking up: General anesthetic is one of the scariest things in the world, closest thing to being dead
- Dying from complications after surgery: Biggest fear here is blood clots (pulmonary embolism/DVT) or internal bleeding
- Scary complications during or after surgery: Same as above even if I do not die from them
- Pain I cannot handle: I have read that some people wake up bawling from so much pain
- Losing too much blood: This happened when I gave birth and it was a horrible feeling and very scary
- Having to take hormones: Increased risk of strokes, blood clots, heart attacks – no thanks!!
- Anxiety about possible bad things happening after surgery (like waiting for a ball to drop): Not being able to handle the anxiety, ugh
- Not having the help I need after surgery: My mom still works full time and lives an hour away. And I hate asking for help.
- Bladder/Bowel prolapse: Very possible and does happen…gross
- Cancer found during surgery: Again, very possible. What if THIS is the reason I have been feeling so awful for so long. Grandmother died from ovarian/uterine cancer in her late 50s.
- Gain weight: Have heard this is common.
- Loss of sex drive: I mean, come on. That would suck.
- Not feeling any better after recovery: The thought that I could go through all of this just to continue to feel poorly…fuck.
Not all of the stories I hear are awful. I do have friends who have gone through this with minimal hardships. Everyone whom I have spoken with is encouraging me to do this. Even my mother (who had her kidney destroyed during her hysterectomy) is begging me to do it.
I have to learn how to manage these fears and just get this done. I cannot go on this way anymore. I just can’t.