Tuesday, July 29, 2008

With a Cherry on Top

Mel's post about the Ice Cream Parlour last week got me thinking.

My anxiety is getting off the hook. I wake up in the morning with my jaw tense and aching from clenching all night long - even in my sleep; if I am lucky enough for exhaustion to override tension and fall asleep. I need to dump, I need to let it go. I am hoping if I verbalize it all I can release it somehow.

My upcoming surgery is weighing heavy on my mind. Those closest to me think I should be partying, eager, happy - though, to their credit, it is because they know how miserable physically this has been for me. So, I understand that. I need my emotions acknowledged though and you don't exactly go advertising for sympathy for your hysterectomy on Craig's List . .

So, here you go - and I offer up my comments section too, come on in, dump your emotional baggage. I won't offer any advice, just a sympathetic ear, an ample shoulder to cry on and a "we'll get through this". Maybe we can all leave feeling a little lighter - even if only for a brief respite.

I'm scared. Absolutely scared. There are so many things that worry me about this. Will I feel like me afterward? Holy cow - I'm getting neutered! Neutered! Will my husband still feel about me the same way? If our reproductive organs are there for the propagation of the species and we are biologically driven to seek out and are attracted to those who are seemingly most fertile (though - we were both a bit deficient in that area) how attractive does that make me when it is completely out of the question?

Will **it** feel the same afterward? Will he notice a difference? Will I? Will I be forever devoid of any desire or will I continue to "want it"? (Lack of antecedents out of deference to keyword searches) Will he find me less somehow. Will I?

My bladder - oh my gosh my bladder. Will it survive this? More children were out of the question because we - me, my doctor - didn't think my bladder could ever withstand another surgery. How is it suppose to survive this?? I've done the catheter thing before. I could easily live another 40 years, I really would like to be able to pee like a normal person for the duration. I would trade incontinence for not having to wear a bag and permenant cath - just please, let me be able to pee when it is all said and done. I know what it felt like to not be able to pee afterward - so far, those were only temporary situations. Permanent - I can't, I don't want to go there. My uterus is huge, my bladder completely fused to it - because of that I have to have the surgery abdominally. I will be cut open, just like I did when I had my csections. My uterus is large enough that I look like I did when I was 5 months pg. Which means people are constantly asking about "the baby" and assuming I am pg. I know I look like it - but I am not. This is such a loaded question - I hated it when I was ttc, I hated it when I was miscarrying. While I am neither ttc nor miscarrying, it still hurts. Kneejerk reaction perhaps - hurt is a hard habit to break sometimes. A reminder of what isn't and what is going to happen. So much of my energy and focus was centered on this organ for so many years - this was my career! My career for over a dozen years - getting, staying, being pg. I pummeled my parts with drugs; subjected them to procedures - treated them abysmally, maligned them, hated them, needed them, begged them to work - bargained, pleaded, cried, threatened. Blessed them when they worked - when they produced my beautiful babies, all of them.

Will I cry? Will I be able to stop crying? Will I dry up - a hot flashy, bitter, cranky old woman?

And then there is my Aunt Julie (scroll down after link). My beautiful, amazing and vibrant Aunt Julie. I was 18 - old enough to be acutely aware of her loss and feel its impact. This is my first and lasting experience with hysterectomy. This scares me spitless. She never saw any of her grandchildren - I want to see my kids grow up. Her surgery was flawless - textbook. Recovery killed her - a mistake, just one little mistake with devastating consequences. The nurse in recovery set up her PCA pump wrong or it malfunctioned and she was overdosed on Demoral. My uncle, her dh, saw her right after, she was fine, happy, talking, alive - left to get some of her things while they settled her into a room, came back and she was gone. My dad, her baby brother, insists on being here while I have my surgery - requested Family Leave from work. He is scared too. He doesn't come out and say it - but I know, I feel it - I know it is on his mind; I hear it unspoken in our conversations about "September". He lost both of his sisters - one by her choice, one by accident. His brother, his parents - gone now too. The last of his family, the survivor. We all know loss - we all fear it, we know those we love can be gone in an instant.

I trust my doctor. She has been through much with me - the ttc, the miscarriages, the procedures, the deliveries - the good, the bad, the unequivocal. I wouldn't trust anyone else to do this. Do I trust me?

I'm not even 40 yet. I'm not old. Why do I feel so darned old?


MrsSpock said...

I understand the fear of surgery. After seeing that 1% where things can go wrong as I worked in the ICU for years, I had a hard time controlling my panic. I have a wonky bladder, and nearly flipped out on the table when I could feel pain mid-surgery when they pulled the bladder away from my uterus. I don't know if this helps, but 99% of the time it's quite routine.

As far as PCAs are concerned, we are required now to have 2 nurses check the dosage settings, because of medical errors like the one that took your aunt's life.

loribeth said...

(((hugs))) Surgery, period, is scary. And after what happened to your aunt, I can't blame you at all for being frightened. Have you told your dr about this?

I hope venting your fears helped some... and I wish I could send you a banana split!! (Calorieless, of course...!) ; )

Mrs. Spit said...

Aww Julia:

I wish I could say something that would make this better. Say, do, fix, hug, something.

So, I will tell you that you send me the time, and I will pray through the entire surgery. . .

Pamela Jeanne said...

Everything you describe would be going through my mind if I were in your shoes. That's why I here to offer support. Let me (us) know what if anything we can do to make you feel less anxious.

Martha said...

The most important reproductive organ is the one between our ears, please don't forget that you are a vibrant and beautiful woman, not your "plumbing". I am wishing you the best during your surgery and my prayers for a quick and complete recovery. Here for you from Lost and Found.

Mandy said...

I understand what you're feeling. ((hug))Sending you HUGE hugs. I didn't have the worries beforehand about feeling like less of a woman, though there were definitely some bittersweet tones to being done with childbearing or even the chance of it even though we planned to be done.

I don't feel like less of a woman, and my husband can't wait until our restrictions are lifted. honestly, as I'm starting to feel better, my drive is returning.

I've had bladder issues since my first pregnancy, issues that got worse with my son's pregnancy. He tore through my urethra so I've had issue with things like peeing when I cough, laugh, strain, lift, whatever. And, because of the damage at his birth I didn't have the sensation that I needed to urinate until I was actually doing so. I had to watch the clock to knwo when to pee, or my only indication would be pain in my back when I got too full. In the weeks before my surgery I ended up with a raging UTI that I couldn't feel the symptoms of (no urges to go) until it was in my kidneys.

I don't know if I had a catheter during my surgery, but didn't have one after, and walked to the bathroom a few hours after surgery. Since then I've realized I actually have the sensation to go, and I'm not peeing when I sneeze. I haven't had my postop yet to ask if they did anything to tack my bladder into place, but so far, it's better than it was before! I'll bet you could ask your surgeon about doing any repair necessary while in there.

I did freak out about this surgery, on a completely different level than I did before my D & C. I wrote letters to my family, asked friends to make sure my husband wouldn't remarry some beeyotch who wouldn't appreciate him, etc. I really freaked. It couldn't have gone more smoothly. I understand things can still happen, and that's why I think it's a good idea to do what you can to ease your mind. Have some fun in the days before your surgery...and when they are doing the preop stuff the day of your surgery TELL them what happened to your aunt, that it's a real fear for you. They'll do everything they can to avoid such mistakes and they might even be able to tell you what sytems they have in place to prevent such a problem with you.

Praying for you and sending you lots of love and positive thoughts.

My best advice to you - line up lots and lots of help for the time after your surgery. People to bring dinner, to play with the kids, to clean, etc. You can't have too much of it.

I still have my ovaries and have had some hot flashes (probably the stress of healing) but they haven't been too frequent and am told they're part of healing.

CappyPrincess said...

Hugs for you.

I wish I was close enough to offer you more.

CLC said...

I think I would feel all the same anxious questions that you posed. How could anyone not be anxious about that surgery? I will pray for you though, and send as many positive vibes your way that I can. And I will be here to listen to vent about the recovery and anything else you want.