Exactly 1 year ago, at this very moment (4:45am) I was checking into the Hospital to have a Hysterectomy.
At New Years 2011 I made the resolution to make it a year to remember. I thought that meant having a baby, but that isn’t how things worked out. You can read the first adventure in a post I made a few days ago, The Sound of Life.
Here is the rest of the story…And I apologize in advance if it gets lengthy and windy. With my physical body going to hell in a hand basket, thanks to the wonderful medicine that was suppose to help me, my personal life wasn’t much better. The job I loved was quickly turning into a nightmare.
Two weeks before I landed in the hospital for the first time, the private social services company I worked for did a round of lay offs. 3 of the 18 workers were in my division: the file clerk & secretary for the medicaid waiver program I helped do the State oversight for, and the insurance/medicaid specialist who did ALL of the data entry into the State database for that same program.
I quickly discovery my boss had run with the idea that I was the wunderkind of the office. I made everything else look so easy, I could take on 80% of the job duties of the laid off employees, she KNEW I would be able to handle it. When I was hospitalized for my Pulmonary Embolism she visited me every evening and kept me up to date on what was happening at the office. When I was released from the Hospital I was back at work the next day. Yes, the next day.
Thanks to the blood thinners I had to be on, my horrible, and unpredictable, periods went from bad to worse. Instead of 2 or 3 days of HEAVY bleeding and then being done, I had 10 days of HEAVY bleeding. Called my GYN and he had me take some Progesterone to help get it stopped. After about 2 weeks the bleeding started again and it didn’t stop.
During all of the physical crap, work and life are taking a toll too. 3 weeks after I got out of the hospital my best mate Abbie, an 8 lbs mini Doxie, got very sick and I had to have her put to sleep.
Two weeks after that the only case management worker left on the agency side of the program I was now doing duel duty for, QUIT. I was informed that starting in June I would be taking over a portion of her caseload. I’m now doing the workload of 4 people, I’m working 50 hour weeks, going to 2-3 doctor/lab appointments a week.
I’m still bleeding, and every day I have a little less energy. In June I feel bad enough that I convince my GP(who isn’t anymore!) that my hemoglobin had to be low just due to blood loss. Sure enough, It is at 7.5, normal is 11.5-13. On June 8th I got 2 units of blood, at the hematology clinic. Got another 2 units on July 1st. Bleeding just wouldn’t let up. After almost passing out, I agree to let my sister K take me to the ER on Sunday the 3rd. My hemoglobin is down to 5.2, I’m admitted and get 6 more units of blood.
Dr. D, my GYN, is great, but there isn’t much he can do. The damage the birth control pills caused isn’t going to be reversed. I have two options. Option #1 I can have an Ablation, which means they will burn the inside of my uterus so that scar tissue is formed which stops the blood lining from developing. It also stops implantation from happening, so no baby. Option #2 a “full” hysterectomy; I discover that this really just means the uterus, tubes and cervix.
Dr. D suggests the Hysterectomy, that way there isn’t a cancer risk down the road. For a lot of women in my situation the Ablation only works for a short time and the bleeding can resume in a few months or a year and we are back where we started.
I agree and we schedule my surgery for August 30th, the first opening available. We also agree that the staying on a moderate dose of Progesterone to stop the bleeding is worth the minor risk of another blood clot, my blood thinners can always be adjusted if needed.
I tried to convince my family that they could come to the hospital after the fact, but they got rather indigent that I would have “major” surgery by myself. I couldn’t tell them it wasn’t that I didn’t want them there, but that I couldn’t deal with the sympathy and forced cheerfulness. I needed to be sad, and I couldn’t be if they were there.
The surgery went well, even though I’m fat I was able to have the “Robot Assisted Laparoscopic Hysterectomy” which meant a shorter recovery time. Even a year down the road it is hard to explain how I felt that morning. There was anger, sadness, frustration & relief.
I was going to try and get pregnant in August, not have a hysterectomy! In my head I went from “fat woman, slightly damaged” to “fat person, broken, and a failure at everything, including being a woman”.
There was a two-fold relief, on one hand I actually felt GOOD after surgery. I woke up with less pain than when I was rolled in. On the other hand there was a relief to the spiritual/emotional pain I had been in over my decisions about starting a family. Perhaps this was God’s way of telling me that biological children weren’t part of my life at this time.
So here I sit, a year later. Physically things are better! In April I was able to wean myself off of all of my medications and in July I was able to donate blood for the first time in more than 3 years 🙂
Ironically, I was fired from my job at the end of February for ‘failure to perform job duties as required’, even though I had repeatedly told my supervisor that I couldn’t keep up with the workload and had been told “just do what you can”. At the time I was fired I was still doing the work load of 4 employees and in addition I had been assigned a caseload of 25 clients with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (formerly known as Mental Retardation).
I know it is probably un-christian of me, but I felt rather vindicated last week to learn that they have been until to find a suitable replacement in the last 6 months and have finally hired THREE people to fill my position.
Today I’m going to try and reflect on where my life has been, and where I hope to see it go in the coming year. And mostly just thanking God that I made it through 2011 and I have a future to look towards 🙂