Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bye Bye Barbie

Oh what an adventure I've had this week!  As a handful of you know I was scheduled for my second, and God willing, FINAL breast reconstruction surgery on Monday.  At the same time I opted to undergo a complete hysterectomy, removing my ovaries, tubes and uterus. 

Basically, in less than 6 months, everything that makes me a woman has been removed.  It's a very strange thought.  Having my girl parts removed means I go straight into the lightning round of menopause and I have already informed Mark that soon we might be shaving together in the morning.

Today is Thursday (I think, damn percocet) and I have a pretty good story to tell you about Monday. As with any surgery, no food or drink after a certain time of day, which for me this time was midnight. 

My procedures were scheduled to begin at 7:30am so my report time was 5:30am.  Not eating or drinking after midnight was going to be a snap, as there is nothing I want to do less than shove food in my face (unless absolutely necessary) at 5am.

We arrived at the hospital in time and got all checked in.  As some of you might remember, I have a bit of a nervous, ahem, pooper.  Before any race I tend to empty that baby out, in three trips or less to the nearest porta-shitter.

Monday, thankfully, there was a nice, clean, restroom within close proximity to the waiting room. By the time we got checked in and in the waiting room it was 6 am and time was wasting. I was a little worried about leaving in case the nurse came to get me while I was out.  In any case, I still defiled it three times before 6:30am.

I work fast.  I can be in and out of the restroom, hands washed and pants in place in under two minutes.  It's not like I take a newspaper in there with me and dilly dally.  I don't have that kind of time, nor did I on Monday.

Unfortunately, two of the three times I went to the bathroom, Murphy's Law (or whatever Law applies) meant that the nurse came looking for me, I wasn't there so they left and didn't return for another 5-10 minutes. 

It went a little bit like this:
ME:  "Mark! Oh my GOSH.  I think I have to poop.  Like right now!"
MARK:  "Then go." (oh it's just so simple isn't it?!)
ME:  "What if they come looking for me?"
MARK:  "I will tell them where you are." (makes perfect sense)
ME: "OK."

Three minutes later, I return, Mark says "They came while you were in the restroom, she said she would be right back."

I watched the clock.  LIKE A HAWK. Five minutes went by and I could feel another one crowning and didn't want to leave AGAIN and have the nurse show up AGAIN and leave AGAIN.  But I started to sweat, I thought it might just shoot out on its own, so repeat the conversation above, and again, she came looking for me and left again while I was, er, making my deposit.

Third time's the charm, as I wandered back they came & got me, mind you over 20 minutes had been ticked off the clock at this point, which meant that all the other pre-op stuff would be rushed.

As we get back to the area where you strip down to your birthday suit and they get you all geared up with an IV port the nurse walks me to the bathroom and says "I need you to empty your bladder."  Clearly no one had told her I'd been in there THREE TIMES ALREADY.  I just laughed at her and said there wasn't probably a drop left in there after the morning I had just had.

I was very conflicted all morning long, I was excited to get the hard plastic barbie tissue expanders out, but not at all excited about the hysterectomy, add to that a sprinkle of menopausal symptoms from the Tamoxifen and you get a really fun patient.  I went from cracking jokes to tears faster than Lindsey Lohan checks in and out of rehab.

It didn't help that it took the nurse and anesthesiologist three tries to get my IV in.  THREE TRIES.  I asked, after the second time they missed, if I could get that valium before the third try, but that isn't "hospital policy".  Plus, I needed to be coherent and standing for when my plastic surgeon arrived to draw all over my boobs.  I am glad that I wasn't swaying as he drew a line right down the middle of my chest with a purple felt tip marker.

The conversation with my plastic surgeon was the bright spot in my morning, discussing the shape and sizing of the implants he ordered and getting my thoughts on which I prefer.  Basically in a matter of months I went from Skipper to Barbie, and to be honest, I was not really comfortable with my big huge plastic boobs.  They just aren't me. 

Much to Mark's dismay, I chose the more natural looking version and I am really happy.  Skipper to Barbie to something in between.  I am FOREVER grateful to have pretty, symmetrical non-drooping boobs at the tender age of 40. 

And, as promised, every vote counted in the "What should I name my new boobs" poll and I'm pleased to announce the names of the twins: Bonnie & Clyde.  As my aunt says, "they'll always be on the run with me."

Next up in my pre-op timeline, the anesthesiologist lead came in to introduce himself and I swear to you he has the whitest freaking teeth I've ever seen.  Blue eyes, fit, (nice ass, I could see it even though he had on scrubs) totally adorable. 

After he left Mark said "What do you think of Dr. McDreamy?" and I totally busted up because that's what I was thinking.  I'm sure he is a real panty-dropper under normal circumstances, but I wasn't really in a place where I could even think about it much. 

I mean, I THOUGHT about it, a little bit.  Just a lil' bit.  But when you're getting ready to have your uterus removed it's hard to think of much else than that.

I quickly noted the whiteness of his teeth to Mark out of fear that I might make mention of it in a highly inappropriate way as they wheeled me into the surgical room, then giggled hysterically as I heard the nurse call him by name: Dr. McBride  McBride/McDreamy it was all too much!

I woke up in the recovery room, as expected, and was there for about an hour while they tried to make sure I was breathing well and not in much pain.   Up until Monday I was questioning my decision to do both procedures at the same time, and whether I needed to do the hysterectomy at all. 

The best news came to me while in recovery: my endometriosis surrounded my uterus and had it in a very weird place.  This explains a lot.  Which I won't go into....  No more Tamoxifen either, since those useless ovaries were yanked out too.  I've eliminated my risk of uterine and ovarian cancer and cleaned up the endometriosis that has given me trouble for well over 20 years.   

And while I am a bit sad about taking out those reproductive parts (even though I had no plans to use them further) I am glad that I made the right decision.  However, life is nothing else if not full of irony.  I'll give you two guesses where my hospital room was, and the first one doesn't count.

MATERNITY.  Yes, the maternity ward.  They put a 40 year old woman whose entire reproductive system had been removed on the maternity ward.  My dear, sweet, boob loving husband tried to request they move me before I got up there, but alas, his efforts were futile.

They put me in a section far away from any babies or mommas, and in a giant room that is larger than our bonus room here at home.  I kid you not.  It was bigger than most hotel rooms.  It LOOKED like a hotel, in fact that's what I said in my morphine haze as they wheeled me in.  Imagine, me saying every thought that comes into my brain.

I am eternally grateful to Legacy Good Samaritan for putting me in room 581, as I was surrounded by the best nursing staff on the planet.  No lies, kids.  They were simply amazing.  All of them had a sense of humor (highly important as I made all kinds of inappropriate jokes about everything and they laughed with me) and gave me the best care imaginable.  I almost didn't want to leave.  Almost.

I'm home now, recovering, trying really hard to curb that OCD human lurking inside me that wants to straighten out every room in the house.  I'm bored, I don't like TV, I fall asleep when I read and I struggle to find things to keep myself entertained. This is the hardest part for me: being down for the count.  If only I had Dr. McDreamy here to keep me company.....

I'm a survivor.  I survived childbirth, junior high, breast cancer and I'll survive this too.

1 comment:

JennieBradstreet said...

Hey you might want to check out the Hystersister site, it was a huge help to me when I had my hysterectomy. They sent me little timely emails that told me what was normal during the recovery process. It was actually really nice to know that when I began mourning my uterus- that most women did it too right about the same time. and that I wasnt super crazy nuts- feel better soon, take it super super easy- the last thing you want is to get any scar tissue- and you need to take advantage of the the rest time!!