Thursday, March 19, 2015

Four Years post Hysterectomy

Warning: There may be a bit of TMI in this post.

But, I've been telling strangers about it because it just has me completely struck in irritation... and apparently I need to talk about it. So, let's revive the ol' blog and see if I can't get this down and out there and out of my head for a bit.

June 2011 I had a partial hysterectomy. At the time, they were considering taking the ovaries as well... but since they thought it was adenomyosis, the plan going in was to take the ovaries if they found any sign of endometriosis (which I have had in the past and is notorious for coming back) and if they didn't - then they could leave the ovaries. They always planned on leaving the cervix so that I would have less downtime as the result of the surgery.

Sure enough, no sign of endometriosis - so I kept my ovaries. Since I wasn't looking forward to surgical induced menopause, I was kind of relieved. I did know that if there was any chance there was endometriosis hiding in there, that I could start spotting. And in fact, some women do spot for a year or so post surgery if they keep their ovaries. But I was fine.  When I started spotting a year ago, I thought... hmmm... wonder if they had missed some endometriosis. Since I had been warned spotting was a possibility, it didn't shake me up too much.

But then about two months ago - I started passing large amounts of clear mucous. I wasn't too concerned about it. I'd passed some in the past and knew that it was related to cervical issues possibly in the past - assumed this was the same and just kept an eye on it. If it was going to get cloudy, or darkly colored, or bloody - I was going to go in to get checked. It didn't and about a week later it stopped. (I did toss out the specific container of lubricant that had been used a couple of days before it had started... I just thought that maybe it had introduced some bacteria or something into my system).

Well, funny enough... about a month later. My period started. Yep. Post-hysterectomy 'miracle' period. I went to the doctor this time. To be completely honest, I was still thinking something cervical as far as an infection or something. Nope. A true menstral period, not spotting, but a true flow... albeit, a light flow.

This time I went in. I got checked out. Sure enough... it's a period.

Verdict? My crazy cervix is actually smaller than normal as apparently it was 'boggy' (what the heck does that mean anyway on a surgical report when talking about body parts???) ... in the surgery they removed the 'boggy' uterus and removed as much of the 'boggy' cervix as they could without causing more recovery time for me - leaving just a smidgen of it.

And... that itty bitty bit of a cervix has decided to grow an endometrial lining. Not endometriosis since that has to occur outside of the uterus and cervix area to be called endometriosis... basically my cervix has decided to turn into a miniature uterus.

So, my next question was.... hmmmm... so there's actually an endometrial lining? Does that mean that there could be 'implantation'... Immediate answer was, "Of course, you can't get pregnant - without a womb you'd never be able to carry it to term." ... technically that doesn't answer my question. I didn't ask if I could have a baby as I'm pretty aware that a cervix isn't sufficiently large enough to support a placenta. But I had asked if there could be implantation - like a tubal pregnancy or something like that where the egg implants outside the uterus. Technically, yes. Hopefully if it did happen it wouldn't be quite so dangerous as a tubal pregnancy but there's nothing to prevent it from happening. Ideally, the cervix that was left after surgery would have had a small amount of tissue attached over the other end of it to prevent eggs from traveling there - but there wasn't enough healthy uterine tissue to use to do that.

Then he proceeded to try to tease me/laugh at me for even asking the question because it was so far fetched that anyone would worry about getting pregnant post-hysterectomy.

Only... he's not the doctor who would know that I had gotten pregnant while using condoms, gotten pregnant while using birth control pills, gotten pregnant while using condoms and birth control pills, and gotten pregnant after a tubal ligation.

I did my best to resist the urge to kick him in his teeth. Suffice it to say, I won't go back to him again. I basically just said that I wanted to know if it was possible, not probable and that if I felt the need to use birth control it was my own decision - not his. Not that I think I need to invest in serious control (not like I'm having sex that often as it is)... but a condom isn't going to be the end of the world and if it helps avoid a potential health complication from a tubal pregnancy, then I don't see the reason I wouldn't consider it.

In the meantime... I've had to borrow quarters twice because I have no 'products' in the office. I've bought enough for at home, but never thought about keeping them in the office again. Silly, I know. But I'm completely out of practice dealing with this.

Again... more TMI.  I think it's solved a piece of the mystery with some of my gut health issues. I've eliminated every single food trigger that I know of for my diarrhea.  But I was still having issues... occasionally it's after I eat food that might have been cross-contaminated. But there were times where I'd go for days on end with it and know that everything I had cooked during that time should have been safe for me to eat. While I still think some of the food I buy at restaurants are triggering the issues (not that I eat out that often - but it seems like it's within 20 minutes of eating their food that I see the symptom)... there's another trigger I hadn't connected.

My period. I knew I was still 'cycling' through hormones as with my ovaries, I would still have pms and acne break outs... but at least the cramping was better (sigh, that's back again as well, albeit quite mild).  But I hadn't timed the 'cycle' with my diarrhea that was suspect for why I was having it. It's spot on - starting a day or two before my period and running for five to seven days. For two periods now, it's been spot on that I only have it after eating someone else's food or during the five to seven days around my period. It wasn't until I was have a true period that I had connected the dots and remembered how bad the diarrhea had been during my period.  And sure enough, when the period stops, so does the diarrhea.

SIGH...

Right now the plan is to try to live with the period. While it's definitely an inconvenience and one that I'm no longer used to... the pain is definitely mild. The inconvenience is mild. I'm not loosing buckets and while the cramps suck big time - at least they are still mild - like take two ibuprofen, mild. Unlike before when I was taking ibuprofen and tylenol (opposite each other) every two hours (so I stayed within recommended dosages) AND strapping on heating pads to my back and stomache AND spending days on end in bed coping with the misery.

The uterus went because I had adenomyosis. And technically, I have to be cured of that with it's removal as it's the build up of endometrial tissue within the muscle walls of the uterus. No uterus, no muscle walls, no adenomyosis.  So, hopefully that means that even if it's another 10 years to natural menopause (it ought not be that long)... it won't ever get that painful again. But if it does get painful, then I go back in. Wonder what they call it? Not sure the insurance company would approve a second hysterectomy. In fact, I'd think they'd call foul on that attempt. Surely there's a name for it. Wonder how many of those procedures they do on a regular basis?

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