The Surgery

OCTOBER 2015

Dr. B did agree to do my surgery after all.

In fact he was shocked that I asked for it.

“Of course I’ll do it,” he said, “But most people don’t want to go through something so invasive…even WHEN I recommend it.”

I shook my head. “Nope. I want surgery please. I am so sick Dr. B. I need symptom relief!”

He agreed and my “Ovarian Drilling Procedure, Tube Flushing and Investigative Laparoscopy” was scheduled for a few weeks later.

 

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I am acquainted with this environment. I know the lingo, the drugs and the equipment……and yet, I still felt a level of anxiety as I waited for my surgery.  I can only imagine how frightening it must be to wait for the unknown in such an intimidating environment like an operating/theatre room.

The lights are bright.

The room is cold.

The metallic equipment glares at you as you lay on a thin, hard table with armrests that extend out like a cross.

The doctor puts an IV in my arm and starts administering the sedation. The nurse’s warm smile lands on me as she leans over with the oxygen mask and gently says “Just take some deep breaths for me now.” She seals the mask on my face and I think to myself “Wow, so this what it feels like to have an oxygen mask on your face….I feel like I am suffocating…..no wonder nobody likes it.”

And then…deep calm blackness.

My main pre-op anxieties revolved around the fact that I had never been under general anaesthesia before. I was aware of the potential complications and also had some concerns about post-op nausea and vomiting. These were to be the least of my worries.

That beautiful, blurry, sleep-full state persisted in the Recovery room. As they wheeled me out of recovery I briefly remember asking the nurse “Did I tell you that I was dreaming about the amazing food in Italy? Or did I imagine that?”

She laughed. “No, you’ve mentioned the food in Italy like four times! Have you ever been to Italy?”

I shook my head no.

The nurse laughed again “I think you REALLY need to go to Italy. It’s all you’ve talked about.”

I later mentioned this to my husband. “Apparently, you need to take me to Italy.”

He looked confused.

“My uninhibited state revealed the deepest desires of my subconscious,” I continued “and apparently I want to go eat food in Italy.”

At that point though, my most pressing concern wasn’t eating, but dealing with the ‘referred’ shoulder tip pain. When you have an abdominal laparoscopic procedure they blow up your belly with air so that they can better visualise your abdominal organs. Sitting up causes the air to rise, which severely irritates the diaphragm…. causing even more intense pain that shoots across to the shoulders.

“It can last up to 48 hours,” the nurse informed me, “and unfortunately there is not much you can do for it.”

It was excruciating.

I would have been completely inconsolable had one of my friends not warned me about this beforehand. She told me it was the worst part of the surgery. I believed her now. I could hardly take a breath in.

This stabbing, throbbing, excruciating pain shot through my ribs and both my shoulders and clavicles making me gasp as I inhaled TINY increments of air.  Sitting up made it worse.

My throat burned from the intubation, making breathing only more difficult. The nurse asked me if I wanted codeine. I declined. I had only taken codeine once, but it gave me an eery headache, projectile vomiting and knife-like stabbing pains in my gut….that was the last thing I needed right now.

She asked me my pain level.

“9 out of 10” I gasped.

“Are you sure you don’t want codeine?” She pushed.

I shook my head again and slowed my breath down, implementing every ounce of yoga-ness I could muster…..

“This too shall pass….” I repeated silently in my head. “This too shall pass….”

The nurse shrugged her shoulders, obviously not believing my pain level, and just walked away.

A few hours later I finally mustered the strength to sit up, to eat and drink and take tylenol and ibuprofen. I knew I wasn’t going home until I met that criteria. Oh, and I had to pee of course.

I remember the doctor telling me that he was going to flush dye through my fallopian tubes to check their patency, but in my dazed state I was shocked by the fluorescent blue blood that was draining out of me when I went to the bathroom.

“I’m an Alien.” I said to myself, matter-of-factly.

The drugs were obviously still on board.

After lying in the short term post-op stay unit all day I was finally discharged home.

I ambled slowly out to the car and grimaced in pain as I sat down and buckled myself into the seat.

My husband had been crying.

“I’m so sorry….” He wept.

I looked up in astonishment. “What are you talking about?” I asked.

He went pale.

“Nobody told you?” he whispered.

“Told me what?” I demanded.

“You have severe endometriosis. They couldn’t even do the surgery.”

My heart stopped beating.

Another piece of my soul shattered.

My mind faltered between RELIEF (from finally having answers) and complete DESPAIR from yet ANOTHER diagnosis.

I thought a double whammy was bad.

  1. Polycystic Ovaries
  2. Uterine Anomaly

But a TRIPLE WHAMMY was my unfortunate fate.

3. SEVERE Endometriosis

I sat in stunned silence the whole way home.

My husband cried, but I was too numb.

This was going to take a while to sink in.

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