Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Surgery

Ah, the surgery. Ok, first a rant, then an explanation of what it is. Because this is probably my biggest current frustration. But there are some maybe good reasons behind this. See, I have been meant to have surgery for two months. Every day I had to stay in bed from the pain, I would think about how surgery could turn that around. When I got to go out around town, I would think how surgery would make that normal rather than I treat. So why haven't I had it?

I have been technically scheduled three times, officially scheduled twice. Every appointment I had, about 1-5 per week, would surround healing me up and prepping me for surgery. It is the only option left for relieving me of the crippling pains I've been having from endometriosis. But I couldn't just simply have it. Ulcerative colitis had done a number on my intestines--it caused a lot of swelling and perforations in my colon and rectum. The medications I was on for the flare up also affected blood clotting and immune response. Surgery is already very taxing on your intestines and immune system. To cut me up during a bad flare up of the colitis risked dangerous likelihoods of infection, complications, or death. So even though I've needed this surgery for around 15 weeks, I had to keep waiting.

Last Tuesday was pretty rough, because when I went in for the pre-op appointment for the operation Wednesday, my doctor told me he didn't feel comfortable doing the surgery. It was one of those moments when your hearing and sight go fuzzy, when you tune out everything and go into your own head and have a moment. My Mum was at the appointment too and kept listening, but I sort of had a mini-meltdown in my head. I had pushed so hard to have that surgery last Wednesday, for both pain relief and so I could have enough time to heal to return to school. Summer Term starts June 20th, and I am going to be there. This cancelation threatened that and put me back in bed for pain. I took a moment, had a melt down, and then returned to my appointment. No crying, no temper tantrum, just snapped back and said okay. I wasn't going to change my doctor's mind and I needed him to try and get me in the next week.

Well, surgery didn't happen this week, but it is scheduled for next week. June 8th. I had my pre-op appointment today, all lights are go (meaning both my doctors ok'd the surgery), and Dr. Bair, my Mum, and I discussed the details today. Signed the papers, talked possibilities.

What does the surgery entail? Well, this surgery is a laparoscopy aimed at removing rogue endometrial tissue and scar tissue from various locations in my abdominal cavity. Dr. Bair is pretty much certain that there are multiple adhesions sticking some various reproductive organs to my intestines. I have four different severe pain centers, and it's possible that these represent areas that are being tugged on. What we're really hoping for is that these are simple adhesions--meaning an organ is stuck to another by only a single band of scar tissue. However, if there is a complex adhesion on my right ovary, which is a possibility, it'll have to go. Recurring problems would be much more likely in such a scenario, and as this is already my second surgery for endometriosis, we don't want to go down that road. I've already given the doctor permission to remove it if necessary, but we're praying that that's not going to happen.

There are some other processes involved in this surgery. We've discussed a laser ablation of some of my nerves to reduce pain, but I'm a little hesitant to destroy neural sensors. Maybe it's my major, but the idea of destroying nerves just makes me nervous. But I'm not saying yes or no until I do more research. Dr. Bair will also implant a hormonal device, check for endometrial polyps, and do some work both in and out of the uterus.

It'll be a long surgery but my doctor is fairly confident that because it is in the morning, I will be home that night. Risks of complications and infections are low. Visitors will likely be welcome :). It's at St. Vincents in Portland, on June 8th. Of course visitors at home will be welcome and enjoyed as well.

EDIT: Recently added, I've decided to let my doctor also perform a bilateral uterosacral nerve ablation. This is a procedure that involves destroying a part of the uterosacral ligament that is thought to be part of the nerve tract. By interrupting that nerve pathway, it is hypothesized that severe pelvic pain can be reduced. Results are mixed, with some women showing no improvement and some showing great improvement. But there are pretty much no risks, it will not affect any reproductive abilities or nerve processes, and it might really help my pain. I didn't want to agree to it until I had conducted some research and read some studies. But I now agree with my doctor and we are tac-ing this onto our to-do list for today.


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About The BedRiddenHead

I want to be happy. And this site is about that chance. How to strive to thrive in the body I've got and maybe turn my experiences into something worthwhile.

This site aims to help educate and reach out to people all over that struggle with pain or illness. To try and make something helpful. I work as a medical research writer, my background is in neuropsychology and biology, and I want to share what I learn in a way that is easy to understand. I am not a doctor. I'm definitely not your doctor. I am just some lady who wants to make someone's (anyone's) life a little bit better. Whether you have endometriosis, a chronic injury, a struggling friend, or just want to learn something new, I hope to make a place that has what you are looking for.

Thank you for stopping by, I wish you strength in your health, struggles, and happiness.