Thursday, October 27, 2011
I've been going back and forth quite a bit about how much detail I should reveal about my upcoming surgery. I think deciding how much personal info to post on the web in itself is quite tricky ... Some people hold nothing back while others are guarded. I know that as a reader of several blogs, I always appreciate the honesty and raw emotions that are sometimes revealed in blog posts ... I also know that as I've been searching for info about my upcoming surgery on the web, the personal experiences of those who have gone through the same/similar thing have helped immensely. With that in mind, as well as the fact that this blog is about my overall health - and the surgery will definitely have an impact on it - I've decided to share. I won't go into too much detail, but just the basics so you have an idea of what I'm going through.
By the way, this may be too much info for some ... so if details about health/surgery are not your thing ... I don't recommend the rest of this post ...
In December 2008, I had a myomectomy. The pain and discomfort from the fibroids in my uterus had gotten to a point where I could hardly sit. The surgery took 2 hours longer than they had expected because they found so many fibroids inside me, and they were large. The recovery from the surgery was painful and totally demoralizing. I could hardly move without assistance. Sitting was painful, coughing felt like I was being stabbed several times, no position was comfortable - I was just in pain.
However, after three difficult weeks things started to get back to normal. I still had to avoid strenuous exercise for an additional four weeks, but in general I was doing ok. Unfortunately the lack of movement (and the added pounds that I had put on over Thanksgiving and Christmas just prior to the surgery) saw a 12 kg (25 pound) gain in weight ... taking me to the heaviest I had ever been. It was terrible. I felt horrible.
However, I no longer had any of the physical pain, and I felt that the surgery was a big success. What a relief. The doctors said that the fibroids would start regrowing (as there is no cure except for a hysterectomy) but that I would probably be ok for another 8 years.
By June 2009 I had had enough with the way I looked and I decided to focus as much energy as possible on working out and losing weight. Within a year (well, 14 months/Aug 2010 to be exact) I had lost 22 kg (45 pounds) and I felt really good. I had done it through A LOT of exercise and watching the portions of what I was eating (though still not always eating the healthiest of foods).
Then it started becoming more and more difficult to lose weight. In fact, I started gaining weight. I was still exercising regularly (though I had cut down to a 'normal' amount, 1-2 hours 5 times a week vs. 3-6 hours the previous year) and eating well, but I was stuck at a plateau. As I did more weights and upped the intensity of my workouts (I just did not have time to do 3-6 hr workouts anymore so I had to be more efficient) I noticed changes in my body - my legs and arms were definitely becoming more toned and thinner -- but what about my abdominal region? Who the hell cares if my fingers have become thinner?! It was very frustrating ...
My hospital visits in London this past summer let me know why. As I had mentioned, my fitness health was excellent, but upon examining me physically, when the doctor got to my abdominal region, his exact reaction was "Oh my goodness. Are you sure you're not pregnant? Your uterus is enormous!" Ya, not something you want to hear when you're NOT pregnant. I went to a specialist who confirmed I needed surgery. She also said that because of the fibroids, my uterus was the size of a 5-6 month pregnant woman ... and no matter how much I exercised, that swelling wouldn't go down because it was directly related to the fibroids.
Frustrating to say the least. Sure I could (should?) have felt relieved that becoming thinner wasn't because I wasn't putting in the effort, but anyone who is trying to lose weight will know that it's still frustrating to hear. Anyway.
I was upset because they had told me that I probably wouldn't need surgery for another 8 years, yet here I am, less than three years later and I need surgery. It's not even that they've started growing (I knew that a year ago, but they were still small). It's the fact that they've been growing so quickly and so big.
I'm at a 3 in terms of pain at any given moment in time, and at a 7-8 in terms of pain at least 2-3 times a day. During my monthly cycle I'm at about a 15-20 - no exaggeration. That's no way to live.
Sunday's doctor's appointment confirmed that surgery was indeed needed and sooner rather than later ... no surprise. The big question: Another myomectomy or a hysterectomy?
Doctors still think I'm young (35) for a hysterectomy. However, a hysterectomy is the only cure. If I undergo a myomectomy, I'll need the surgery again - who knows how quickly the fibroids will regrow, but they will regrow for sure.
So go through major surgery and have the pain, discomfort, and swelling come back again only to do the surgery again? Or have a final major surgery and just deal with the recovery and move on.
Surgery is scary in any case ... but I think having a hysterectomy takes things to another level. You can't go back after you've done this. I do not have kids, and am fine with not having any children. Adoption is always a possibility in the future if that's where the road goes ... but for now, it's stressful because it IS a big deal ...
I have decided to have a hysterectomy.
I know that there are some people who will think this is a very drastic step. However, they do not know the pain that I am in on a daily basis; they can't imagine what I go through. This is my decision, and I know it's a big one. I may have just started blogging about it recently but it's something that has been on my mind since the last surgery when it was given as an option, and it has become more of a realistic solution over the past six months. I don't need anybody to ask me if I'm sure.
I AM absolutely sure in my decision, but that doesn't mean I'm not scared.