I can’t think of any other good title for this post. I’m kind of surprised I’m writing it at all. Honestly, I’ve never really been a private person, so I figure if I have to get my uterus yanked before I’m even 40, I should at least use the experience as writing inspiration. So why am I getting a partial hysterectomy so young? Well, long story short, I’ve been having horrible pain for two years now and it turns out there’s a giant fibroid hanging out on my uterus. That’s the short story. Here’s the longer version.
Mystery Pain and Missed Periods, Oh My!
It all started in February of 2012. I ended up in the ER with horrible pain in my lower left side. My period was late for the first time since 2004 but all the tests said I wasn’t pregnant. I started to worry that maybe it was an ectopic pregnancy. After several not-so-fun tests, the doctor told me that it was a cyst on my ovary. Over the next couple of months, those painful cysts came and went. I had a laparoscopy and they found small fibroids on my uterus. The doctor also said my uterus was “enlarged,” and mentioned ademyosis. Later, she said that wasn’t a big deal.
Months later, I was back in the ER for pain, then back in the OR for another lap with a different ob/gyn. This one was right before Hurricane Sandy. I was recovering during those 8 days without power, which could account for part of the reason I went a little ’round the bend, so to speak. During that trip into my abdomen, my doctor found some cysts but said she couldn’t find anything that could be causing this much pain. Meanwhile, my cycles were a mess, one doctor told me I was in early menopause, the other said it was all normal and I was just miserable. At the same time, I was thinking that maybe I was totally insane or something. Could it have been in my head? Was I becoming a hypochondriac?
It is NOT in my head!
Last week, on February 21st, I was back in the ER again because I felt like someone was trying to rip my uterus out. After several tests, the ER doc said he couldn’t “visualize” my left ovary. He was concerned about a twisted ovary. He passed me off to the on-call GYN, who offered me two choices: she could do surgery to see if anything was wrong and fix it or she could admit me to wait and see. I asked for the surgery. I wanted the pain to end. She over-ruled my “choice” and admitted me instead. For the next 12 hours, nurses gave me some pain meds and loaded my full of antibiotics that I didn’t need. No doctors came to see me. I begged to see one and finally I got another on-call doctor. She told me there was nothing wrong with me, that I should keep track of my pain for a month and write it down. Then I should see someone.
I cried hysterically. I was still in the same amount of pain and she was telling me to go home, take a Tylenol and log my pain. I ended up calling a “Condition H,” something that Pocono Medical Center has when a patient feels they are not being treated well. In the end, I was told I could spend the night and go home in the morning or go home then. Nothing else would be done for me. No additional tests were done to see if my ovary was okay. If it was a twisted ovary, it would have been dead by that time and I would have been on my way to sepsis. Thankfully, it wasn’t.
After going home and taking the T3s the doctor finally gave me, I waited until Monday morning and called the OB/GYN office again. I got an appointment with a different doctor. One who I had heard does wonders with pain. He got me in this past Friday. I walked in and he looked at me, asked if I wanted more kids. I said no. He said “you want a hysterectomy?” I asked if I needed one and he said yes.
Finally, an answer!
All this time, the pain that I thought was coming from ovarian cysts was actually coming from the ginormous fibroid on my uterus. It’s about the size of a tall doctor’s fist (he said it was “this” big while holding up his fist). He told me I could torture myself for the next 12 years or just lose the uterus. I can keep my ovaries. The doctor said this fibroid could have been growing for years. What I want to know is, if it’s been there all this time, how did NO ONE see it? Two trips into my abdomen, at least half a dozen ultrasounds and three CT scans. No one saw it. No one but a man who looked at my latest tests once. Thank goodness for him. I came home and looked up the symptoms of fibroids. I have all except constipation.
So my surgery is scheduled for the first week of May. It takes a while to get my insurance to approve it since I’m still considered young. I have two months to prepare to say goodbye to my uterus. It’s funny, I wasn’t planning on having more kids, but knowing that you absolutely can’t makes it harder somehow.
What would you do if you were me? Am I doing the right thing by getting rid of my uterus? I honestly want to hear your opinion, I’m so conflicted about the whole thing.