A Vestigial Organ Bites the Dust

Thank you for all the good wishes for surgery yesterday.  It went well and quickly.  I had been dreading the 2-hour wait between check-in and surgery because I am not very patient, but it went by very quickly, especially since the nurse and docs were coming in to prep, talk, have me sign stuff, start IVs etc. Next thing we knew, it was time for me head back to the OR.

I woke up in recovery fairly easily and despite being very groggy, I was able to have some ginger ale and carry on a conversation.  I didn’t even hurt as much although the morphine they gave me certainly had something to do with that!

The doctor found and removed only one cyst: apparently the one on my right ovary was dragging down a bunch of stuff and made it look like there was a cyst on the left one too. Not being overly familiar with anatomy, I’m not sure how that works unless the cyst was about the size of a bowling ball but the bottom line was that there wasn’t a cyst on the left ovary.

The big news is that they also removed my appendix. That was a surprise.  My doctor is a man of few words, so I’m sure I’ll get more information at my follow-up in 2 weeks, but from what I understand, the endometrioma had adhered to the appendix. I don’t know if the appendix was irritated or swollen, but they decided it needed to be removed first. The doctor did state matter-of-factly that I would need to stay on BCPs.

Of all the scenarios Jimmy and I went over, removing the appendix had never occurred to me!

We were home by 3:30 and after talking to Daniel, I went to sleep. I’ve been sleeping off an on since 4 PM yesterday. Overall, I feel decent. I’m still bloated and the CO2 is slowly working its way out, but I’m less sleepy.  Today my abdomen is sore like I’ve done 1000 sit-ups, but I’m taking it very, very easy. Lots of ginger ale, broth, crackers and light TV.  And a pain pill when I need it.

Jimmy is taking great care of me – yesterday was his birthday! Nothing like spending your birthday with your wife having surgery! Better than being at work, n’est-ce pas?  Daniel is having a great time with MIL, and I was so relieved we had a good morning and school drop-off with him yesterday.  The cats are irate at not being able to be in the bedroom, but they’ll get over it.

So far, so good. I might even crack a book today (Mina, I decided against GoT based on your comment. I could do without blood and gore right now!).

Adieu, appendix.  I apologize for you being brought into the endo mess and removed, but I guess that’s the life of a vestigial organ.

So I’m Having Surgery Tomorrow, No Big Deal

I’m having a laparoscopy for endo tomorrow. It’s my second one. The first one was 6.5 years ago in January 2007. It’s time. I have been having increased pain for about a year now, the kind the lasts for weeks and requires lots of Ibuprofen just to take the edge off.  I finally went to the doctor and as I suspected, I have a cyst on my right ovary. My right side is the troublesome side. What I didn’t expect is that I have an even larger cyst on my left ovary.  Unlike the right side, the left side is very quiet. That’s the freaky thing about endo: you cannot ascertain severity based on pain level.  Of course, the cysts could be the tip of the endo iceberg, so the doctor decided another lap was warranted and then we can manage the endo through hormones until menopause.  It’s my own fault. I had enjoyed not being on any hormones after IVF for our surrogacy cycle 5 years ago this month (!). The downside was that no medication meant that I essentially gave endo a permission slip to cause trouble.

I had been fairly nonchalant about my upcoming surgery. I’d had a prior lap, so the procedure wasn’t a mystery. My first lap had been for diagnostic purposes, so in addition to the physical recovery, I had the emotional fall-out of coming to terms with the grab-bag of problems that had been discovered.  This time is different. It is for pain management for me and quality of life instead of preparing for more fertility treatment. Plus, we have Daniel now. In 2007, we received real answers on what was going on with me as well as acknowledging that our journey was going to be even harder than we ever anticipated. This time, I’m approaching my lap knowing that my treatment days are over. We have 5 frozen embryos and no plans for further treatment.  I shrugged and told everyone it was no big deal. I’ll get up on Wednesday, have the lap, come home and sleep the rest of the week.

And then the anxiety started to set in. A lot of it has revolved around Daniel. He will be spending the rest of the week w/ MIL, who will take him to and from school and try to preserve his routine. I have uniforms to pack, regular clothes to pack, books, toys and a billion starfish to pack, and instructions to write about schedules and lunches. He also had a teacher workday on Monday, so the routine was already disrupted for the week. We’ve been talking to him about the lap and what’s going to happen this week, and he has been asking questions about it, and I’m worried about being away from him and him being away from us.  It doesn’t help that the routine upsets and what I think is his worry have led to a very rough Monday evening and Tuesday morning with him. I feel horrible and guilty that we aren’t able to assuage what I think is his fear as well as the fact that he’s being unreasonable and well, FOUR, which is driving us up the wall, which then makes me feel even worse because I don’t want our short time together this week to be full of tears, yelling and grumpiness.

And then I worry about the lap itself. What will they find? Am I in worse shape than any of us thought? Jimmy and I’ve had the pleasant “If, then” conversation about a few different scenarios so he can make an informed decision. I can’t have anything to drink or eat after midnight tonight, and I’m already feeling thirsty in anticipation of not being able to have any water. My brain has dusted off the memories from my first lap, and I remember the shoulder pain from the CO2, the pain I felt after I woke up, the scratchiness from the tube down my throat, the worst pain that always seemed to hit in the middle of the night and left me writhing in agony because I couldn’t get the dosage on the pain meds correct.

Inhale. Exhale. Chances are that everything will go as expected. Daniel will have a great time w/ MIL and come home full of piss, vinegar and sass. My job is to rest, take it easy and maybe, just maybe, begin reading Game of Thrones.

We check in at 9:30 tomorrow, if you could spare a thought around 11:30, I’d be very grateful.


Building the ALI (Adoption/Loss/Infertility) Community

Yes, I’m a member of the ALI (adoption/loss/infertility community).  I wouldn’t say I’m exactly thrilled to be a member, but I’m proud of the women I know through this community and how hard they fight and advocate for what comes so easily for others.

JJiraffe is one of those awesome, brave, amazing women. She has started a series of posts focusing on the real faces of the ALI community, hoping to provide a counterpoint to the sensational coverage in most mainstream newspapers (looking at you, NY Times).  Her goal is to get 1000 views on her current post featuring Sarah’s endometriosis and adoption story because she believes (and I agree) that the more we are able to get the true stories of ALI out there, the greater the understanding and empathy will be.  I empathize very much with Sarah’s story because severe endometriosis is one of my issues and while I haven’t lost an ovary, I have lost a tube to it.

So if anyone other than my cats (I have very advanced felines) reads this blog, please click over to JJiraffe’s post on Sarah and help her reach her goal of 1000 views.