Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Post-Op Review

I'm home.  The rides down and back were long.  Pre-op was a big ol' kerfuffle.  Surgery itself went well.  Recovery has been a bitch.  And now I'm home.  Resting.  And doing laundry.

It started with the hotel calling while we were driving down there to inform us that they didn't have a room for us.  Are you kidding me?  We chose that hotel because it was less than two miles from the doctor's office and the hospital.  We ended up with a free night but at a hotel about eight miles away.  Now eight miles doesn't sound far, but in Atlanta traffic on 285 it meant driving at least half an hour to get anywhere... what should have only taken us five to ten minutes at our first choice.

The day before surgery we decided to go the hospital for their pre-op requirements in the morning since the appointment with the surgeon wasn't until the afternoon.  Northside is a bigger hospital than I've ever encountered and was interesting to navigate.  When we finally arrived at where we needed to be, they informed us we were supposed to see them after the pre-op appointment at Dr. Sinervo's office, which no one had told us.  Apparently no one informed us of some other things either.  I got all flustered, but everything worked out in the end, and luckily we didn't have to go back later.

When his appointment rolled around, I met everyone in the office I had been talking to and emailing with for the past few months.  Dr. Sinervo really is as amazing as everyone says he is.  He's warm and friendly and gives really strong hugs.  So does Dee Dee. We spoke with Dr. Sinervo, then he got the privilege of being the first male doctor to ever go "down there".   He did a pelvic exam and a vaginal ultrasound and told me I had pelvic floor dysfunction and a retroverted uterus, which I didn't know.  Dee Dee held my hand and wiped my tears during the painful exam.  Based on everything, he decided to do a few more things while he'd be in there the next day.  In addition to excision, partial vaginectomy, and possible bowel resection, he wanted to do a cystoscopy to look in the bladder, a hysteroscopy to look in the uterus, and to flush my tubes (can't remember the official term) to make sure they were ok.  I left his office that day knowing I had chosen the right doctor.

That entire day I had been on a clear liquid diet, and that afternoon I started the dreaded bowel prep.  Actually, neither was as bad as I had been anticipating.  I wasn't quite as hungry as I had been expecting, and the bowel prep was a ton of liquid that really filled me up.  I had eaten light the couple of days before that also, so that evening wasn't as gruesome as I'd been picturing.

The next day we arrived at the hospital a little before 5:30am.  Admissions was quick and I was soon back in the pre-op area.  After I was all dressed down and hooked up, they let my mother come back to pass the time with me.  We met the anesthesiologist, who was amazing, and many others on my team for that day.  After they wheeled me into the operating room, Dr. Sinervo held my hand and comforted me as I drifted off to sleep.  What an incredible man.

Surgery lasted about two hours, and I was in recovery for about three.  I had kind of a rough time in there and was relieved when I was finally allowed to go into my private room.  My mom came in a little later, and I immediately asked her what the doctor said he found.  Here's the rundown:

- My uterus was retroverted because it was attached to my bowel... ouch!  He unattached it, put it back in its proper place and excised the endo on them both.
- The endo on the bowel and rectum was superficial, so he didn't have to go into the muscle layer or do a resection.
- My ovaries were also scarred down in that area, and he was able to free them up.
- There was a nodule of endo going through the vaginal wall, so he had to cut out part of the vagina and stitch it up.
- Endo was excised on the uterosacral ligaments and part of the abdominal wall.
- Removed the appendix because it was stiff with possible endo.
- Inside of uterus and bladder looked fine.  Tubes looked fine.

Dr. Sinervo came to visit the next day and went over all of the above.  He also said the endo was Stage IV due to "complete obliteration of the cul-de-sac," but from a fertility standpoint it was more like a Stage II.  He added that after this surgery, my chances for natural conception went up from 60% to about 80-85%!!  That's so exciting!  He also said that the endo shouldn't come back.  The fact that I should be able to live my life from now on without that pain brings an amazing feeling.

But the next three periods should be bad, they said, and it figures that I started two days after surgery!  It's been rough.  The pain meds they sent me home with were too strong for me, and I've felt like absolute crap.  And I can't stop freakin crying!  I've heard that's normal after this kind of surgery, but come on.

I had a post-op appointment at Dr. Sinervo's office yesterday morning, but it was with a doctor I was unfamiliar with.  He introduced himself and said he worked with Dr. Sinervo, then went over the pictures from surgery and some follow up care instructions.  The fact that it wasn't Dr. Sinervo upset me, and I was really out of it from the pain meds, so of course I started tearing up.  Geez.  Dee Dee held my hand again and was so comforting.  I had some questions but could barely get the words out right, but luckily my wonderful mother helped me there.  This doctor did the best he could and tried to be comforting.  I did end up seeing Dr. Sinervo before I left, and he gave me another wonderful hug.

After the appointment, we headed back to the hotel and decided to get on the road.  We were going to drive about halfway and stop for the night, but we ended up trucking it all the way home.  For some reason I felt like I wasn't ready to be home yet though.  Emotionally I really wanted to stay at a hotel one more night.  I didn't feel ready to face the real world just yet.  But I could tell that my mom was anxious to get home, so I didn't say anything.  She's been absolutely incredible through all of this.  So supportive and there for whatever I needed.

So now I'm home.  It feels kinda weird, and I don't know why.  The overcast sky outside matches my mood.  I should be happy... I just had the surgery that I've been wanting to have for years and got really good news about my fertility.  My insides are going to be as normal as possible, and I'm going to feel better.  So why am I so freakin sad??  Even though I know it's normal to feel like this right now, it's really bothering me.  They say after a little time I'll feel like normal again, so that's what I'll plan for.

But to end this on a good note, I feel so very thankful.  For finding an amazing doctor and sticking to my guns about seeing him.  For finally being able to go through with this surgery.  For all of the support I've received from family and friends all of these years.  I am truly lucky.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

One Week

This time next week I will be in Atlanta about to meet the amazing Dr. Sinervo for the first time for my pre-op appointment.  I'm so nervous and excited.  I've got my list of questions for him prepared and am eager to hear what he'll have to say.  I keep hearing he's a very kind individual, and I'm thankful that I'm able to see him.  And be operated on by him because he's one of the best.

I got a call from the hospital in Atlanta yesterday for a pre-surgical assessment which took about 20 minutes.  The nurse I talked to was super nice and took my history and told me where to go and when.  Turns out I have to go into the hospital after meeting with Dr. Sinervo at his office for blood work and such.  I had that a week before my last surgery and I don't know why I didn't even think about it for this one.

I've gotten almost all the necessary supplies for the procedures before and after surgery, and pretty much just need to stock up on food to take.  It'll be interesting staying in a hotel with a mini-kitchen for a week.  Gotta do laundry and pack this weekend, since I'm working Monday.  I think I'm prepared.  I hope so at least.