The surgery is now officially over!!! I am so glad that to be done with it and to leave behind all the anticipation and anxiety! It took me a while to write these posts, first because the pain medication had me very high and I was unable to easily compose paragraphs that were coherent. Then I was glad to have the experience behind me and didn’t feel like revisiting it – not that it was really that bad at all. I had just spent so much time thinking about it prior that I was glad to have some carefree space back in my mind again! I want to capture my experience though for other woman who are preparing for a laproscopic surgery for endometriosis. I hope reading my experience can ease their minds by helping them know what to expect. The unknown is always so much more scary than it has to be.
After work last Tuesday, I came home and began to get ready for the big day. Unfortunately, I had a throbbing headache behind my right eye from stress, eating small meals all day (in fear of the enema), and not being able to take any pain killers. I think there was one type of pain killer I could take pre-surgery, but I couldn’t remember and didn’t want to risk taking anything that would thin my blood. Because of the headache, I was very crabby towards my husband, but he was very sweet at dealing with my very grouchy self. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head, but we had to go through the pre-surgery checklist. Wash the sheets, wash the towels, clean the bathroom, wash the clothes I’d be wearing pre and post surgery, wash myself – everything had to be very very clean to minimize infection risks. I really wish that the nurse had warned me that the special soap they sent home with me to wash pre-surgery was bright red before I poured it on my new white washcloths, but in the end the pink color washed out. I was convinced it was ruined, which only enhanced my already pissy mood.
That evening, a pregnant friend stopped by to drop off a pan of lasagna for us to eat while I was recovering. It was incredibly sweet of her, but all I could do was stare with envy at her tiny baby bump and think about how my head felt like it was splitting in half. After she left, there was no escaping the enema! I definitely built it up in my head to be a much bigger deal than it was in reality. I can almost see how people do them just to find relief from constipation – ALMOST see! Eventually all the tasks on the list were done, I curled up in bed and amazingly fell right asleep. I slept the entire night without waking up once. I was so grateful to not have to deal with anxious tossing and turning.
We had a very relaxed morning, picking up the house and packing my bag, as we had until 10am to arrive at the hospital for the noon surgery. I showered again with the red hospital soap that morning. My mom arrived at our house exactly on time and with plenty of time to spare we all arrived at the hospital early – let me assure you, that neither my mom nor I EVER get anywhere early! After checking-in, we took a seat in the waiting area. By this point, I hadn’t eaten since 8pm the night before and was starving! All I could do was talk about how I would kill for a pizza!
After waiting about 15 minutes, a nurse came to lead us back to a patient room in the outpatient surgery wing, meanwhile I was still obsessing over pizza. Once back in the patient room, I went over my basic info with the nurse, I peed in a cup for a pregnancy test (BFN – not exactly a shocker) and was handed my surgical “outfit.” There were the ever so sexy, thigh high, white compression stockings, extra large surgical gown (but with good coverage when tied), and purple slippers. My husband teased that he wanted a photo to remember how hot I looked. After getting dressed, the main nurse came back with nurse number two. She again asked me the basics – I was asked four times my name , my birthday and what procedure I would be having done. They really do not want to do the wrong operation on the wrong person!
Nurse number two had me lay in the bed and put on these leg warmer, floaty looking things which connect to a machine that compresses and decompresses them to help reduce the risk of blood clots. Then she hooked my hospital gown up to a vacuum looking tube that pumped in air controlled by a personal thermostat remote. This was probably the best part of the whole experience!
I’m not sure why but I was expecting the IV to be inserted in the crux of my elbow where they draw blood, so I was a little taken a back when the IV nurse (nurse #3) started preparing my hand. While she was inserting the IV, nurse #1 was asking me some more questions, including if I had any open wounds. I responded that I had a paper cut from the other day still flapping about. Immediately I realized the ridiculousness of my response and started laughing at the exact moment she inserting the IV. Knowing that I should not be laughing, caused me to laugh even more – vibrating my entire body. The nurse was the IV pro though, so it hardly hurt.
During all this prep, my husband was asking questions about why and how things work. He is very analytical and likes to understand things like me. The IV nurse asked him if he was an engineer, which I found humorous as I work with engineers all the time and he is sooooo not the engineering personality.
Next up to visit was the anesthesiologist, who thank goodness was not the man I had met with during my pre-op appointment. He was very handsome and a little dismissive during our conversation. So first off, I was afraid I would declare him to be handsome once under the drugs, making a fool of myself. Second, his bed side manner did not conjure up great feelings of trust regarding my life. I felt a wave of relief wash over me as his partner, a woman doctor walked in who had a very pleasant way of speaking. It is irrational, but I just instinctively trusted her to do a good job.
Then my OBGYN came in the room. I wanted to clarify before surgery what he would do if he got in there and saw that ovaries and tubes were damaged by endometriosis. My biggest fear was to wake up and be told that both ovaries or tubes had been removed. He assured me that he would not be taking anything out unless it was something extreme like cancer (which was so highly unlikely). If by chance my appendix looked bad (I have a family history of bursting appendixes), he would call in a general surgeon to remove it. After our chat, I felt confident that I knew the limits to the surgery scope. I could see the crowd of people congregating outside the door at this point and knew it was about time.
After a quick prayer, the crowd of people swooped into the little room. It felt like I was completely surrounded on all sides of the bed by people. It was a little overwhelming. The new OR nurses quickly introduced themselves, and all I could respond was, “so many people.” This was the only time where I started to tear up, because it was surreal to be the center of all this medical attention. My husband gave me a quick kiss and I said bye to him and my mom. Later, My husband told me it was really hard for him, because I looked so scared and he could only sit there and watch me roll away.
It was literally only within a minute of their descent upon my room, I was being pushed down the hall. Leading up to surgery, I thought the journey from the room to the operating room might be the hardest part emotionally. I was thankfully wrong, because before leaving the room, the anesthesiologist gave me a shot of ‘happy meds’ in my IV to relax me and begin the sedation process. By the end of the first short corridor, I felt completly drunk! When we got to the operating room, I remember moving myself from the bed to the table. It was a very small table and the nurses asked me to make sure I was centered. That was the last thing I remember…
I woke up in a large room where there were patients recovering in beds all around the perimeter. I was only half awake but asked for nausea medication the first time the nurse (yet another new person) asked me how I felt. Nurse #1 had given me a pep talk before surgery to not be shy about saying I was nauseous or in pain. I was a squeaky wheel and was given the big gun anti-nausea medicine. I told the nurse that the pain was a 5 after surgery and after some meds it was down to a 3. I was very groggy in the room and I could hear them discussing my blood pressure. I normally have very low blood pressure – sometimes as low as 90/60. It dipped even lower than that after surgery, so I spent some extra time in recovery until it raised to a pressure they liked.
Around 3:30, I was rolled back into the patient room. I was so happy to see my husband and my mom! Nurse #1 brought me a tray with a jello and a sprite. I inhaled both, so she brought me more which also quickly disappeared. She then said I could try some solid food and brought me a bag of pretzels, which never tasted so good. The last step before getting released was that I had to pee. I was very relieved when it worked (2 bags of IV fluids and 2 sprites and I didn’t feel the urge at all!). Walking back to the bed, I was hit with a rush of nausea from moving around. The nurse called my OB and got me a nausea pill prescription. She kept saying that the pills would make me very drowsy. I did not understand why she kept saying it like that was a bad thing. Sleeping and waking up when I felt better, sounded fantastic! Before surgery the nurse had stressed that most patients get sick from the anesthesia and having their insides manipulated. I am so grateful that the meds were able to protect me from that added bonus!
While I was stuffing my face, my husband and mom told me what the doctor found. He removed endometriosis from my right ovary and cervix. The unexpected finding was a golfball sized cyst on my left Fallopian tube that was drained. The fluid drained was clear and not infected, which was good. The dye test run on my tubes flowed well on both sides and everything else looked good. The overall message from the doctor was that nothing he did would be a magic bullet fix, but everything that was done would help our chances of getting pregnant. My husband seemed to think the doctor was saying that the tubular cyst would not have been effecting my fertility, but I really can’t believe that when I see the pictures! He felt the cyst was probably causing most of my pain. He feels that the MTHFR blood clotting disorder might be playing a larger role and that we’d discuss that more at my post-op appointment. Overall it felt like mildly good news. He gave us the go ahead to try this month and mentioned trying Clomid again next month. So we’ll just have to wait and see if the proof is in the pudding as they say!