Archive for the ‘My uterus’ Category

Uterus IV – “Chucky”

February 16, 2009
This blog entry (one hopes!) marks the conclusion of  what I’ve come to know as, ‘my uterine distraction,’ in an otherwise orderly and decent life.  My son, who got me started blogging, has encouraged me to include links and other media in my blog. He called me over the weekend and allowed that he had glanced at my blog, but he just didn’t feel comfortable reading about his mother’s uterus – his “location of origin”.  However, he did send me a visual, a piece of art, something cogent to my current theme, to enhance my blog.

As with all works of art, this one is up for interpretation. I did have to solicit my husband’s computer expertise to get the visual up on my blog.   He was hesitant: “You aren’t really going to use this, are you?”  Why, of course I am!

So, my interpretation, you ask?  To me … receiving this visual (below) was an act of  Divine Providence.  An epiphany, a vision, if you will, of complete clarity concerning my follow-up appointment with Dr. Gross, scheduled for tomorrow, during which time he will examine  my uterus to check and see how it is doing a week after the D&C.  And what will Dr. Gross be greeted with during that examination?  The face of Chucky!

I say this because, first of all, I’m pretty sure my uterus is not happy about being scoped and scraped by Dr. Gross.  It’s been cramping and spotting all week in unmuted protest.  Second of all, my romantic life has not been happy either, since I was sent home from the procedure a week ago wearing a virtual chastity belt to be worn at all times until I have the okay (at tomorrow’s appointment, I hope) from Dr. Gross to take it off (take it all off!).

Meanwhile, here comes Valentine’s Day. Or shall I say, our 28th Valentine Anniversary Valentine’s Day, this past Saturday,  surrounded by eight full days of forced celibacy.  There have been worse Valentine Anniversaries for sure, but off-hand, I can’t remember any.  I did don a v-neck red sweater, subtle, not too suggestive, and gave my husband a Valentine sound card that growls like a baby tiger when you open it. He gave me cards too, and made breakfast.  We had friends over for dinner.  And otherwise, we sat in separate recliners all day. And when we crawled into bed that night we fell into a familiar cuddle, spooned, and then I … rubbed my nostrils into the sheets to inhale their freshly laundered ‘mountain breeze’ scent, before drifting off to sleep.

Anyway, well, after 28 years of marriage we still aren’t hurling things (insults, threats, obscenities, plates, etc…) at each other, so that’s pretty good. And right now I’m having fun with “Chucky” since he serendipitously (not sure that’s a word) arrived to grace my blog; he just seems perfect at this juncture.

Mostly though, I am in the mood for laughter, since, by Divine Providence, the tissue biopsy from the uterine procedure came back with everything fine.  Hooray!

Except I do think my uterus might still be angry.  Maybe I’d better warn the doctor before the examination tomorrow…

face

My “Special Day” (Uterus, Part III)

February 11, 2009

Well, I’m baaack!  It’s Tuesday evening.  I had the uterine procedure thing done yesterday, which I’m calling my “special day,” as I pretty much spent the whole afternoon and evening sleeping and resting.  Of course,  I spent most of today catching up, albeit with no lifting, or exercise. After all, I am recovering, you know.

The nurse called me at the end of today to see how I was doing.  I allowed that I was cramping a little but otherwise “okay.” She said, “Just remember, no vacuuming or dishes for six weeks!”  Man, it’s worth a try.  I really haven’t talked to my husband about it – he’s been too busy on the home front (yesterday) and making up missed hours at work (today).  Now he is asleep in his recliner, although I need to wake him to remind him to do the dinner dishes.

Yesterday, about noon, the milk was delivered. I almost had to give my husband  written instructions as to how to get it from the front stoop into the fridge. Not really, but I was expecting a frozen bottled milk explosion by 10 PM when he finally remembered to bring it in:   Four half gallons, or twice the weight I was allowed to lift.

So all in all, the day surgery experience yesterday was, well, better than I expected.  First of all, I had crammed hours of reading into my bag, prepared for a long wait.  I was told to check in at 9:30 AM for the surgery, which was scheduled for 11:30 –  if Dr. Gross (my pet name for him.  He’s nice enough, and I could change it, but what the heck) was not delayed. I was told that the procedure (D&C and hysteroscopy) should take about half an hour,  and allowing for flexibility along with recovery time, I should be ready to go home by 2:30-3:00 PM.  That’s what I told my husband when we parted at the nurses’ station in day surgery just before 9:30 AM.

The next thing, I was sitting at the admittance desk, facing the clerk, calling out “yes … yes … yes,” as she read off my personal information from the  computer screen , the whole thing ringing in the air like some off-beat demented rap song.

Within 10 minutes I was sent down the hall clutching my paperwork and plastic ID wrist band.  A nurse stopped me. “Are you Josephine?” she asked, and as I nodded she hustled  me onto to a seat and slapped a blood pressure sleeve over my arm.  My blood pressure measured thirty points higher than it ever had in my life.  But she was wearing one of those lab coats, and registered it as “normal.”  I was up again and urged onto a free-standing scale. “The doctor is ready for you, NOW!”  She exclaimed.  “So we have to go as fast as we can.”  She weighed and measured me fully dressed, glanced at my shoes and declared, “5’4″ height.” (I’ve apparently grown a full inch.)

I was then escorted down the hall into a curtain-lined cubicle to suit up in my backless “prada” gown (that’s what the nurse called it, they were all quite fun).  And the big thing was to get the blood drawn ASAP,  and over to the lab to be tested and ‘okay-ed’ for the surgery.  But first! … to the bathroom for the urine sample, which, at this point, in my backless gown, stripped of everything except my socks, (including my glasses and all jewelry, which, I wasn’t sure where I had shoved my wedding rings) … pee-ing became difficult. I had saved my pee, had been holding my pee, but darn it, I just couldn’t pee. If only I could … relax … Ahhh … imagine a bubbling river streaming  through the bathroom faucet; it’s gushing over the sides of the  sink now,  splashing violently, flooding the bathroom floor … Ahhhh … there we  go!  Tinkle, tinkle … Okay, just a wee bit …

Then, “Quick!” exclaimed the nurse with the needle as I emerged from the bathroom.  She nudged me toward the bed: “Get settled now so we can draw blood and hook you up to the IV!.”  Then she nailed a vein beautifully on the top of my hand, but it just wouldn’t release blood into her vial. “Ohhhhh, come on!” she coaxed my vein.  “Hold still, Josephine!” she urged me.  I told her I went by “Jody.”

All the nurses were in a huge rush to get me prepped and on down the line, declaring,  “The doctor is ready NOW!”  Asking at each turn, “Are you Josephine?”  Confirming my birth date.

Well, I have to say, I met at least 5 nurses and two anesthesiologists before the surgery, but I never saw Dr. Gross, not before, during, or after the surgery.  I was suited up, IV dripping away into my arm, waiting in my  pre-surgery holding cubicle when my lab report arrived.  I believe this to be about 10:30 AM. The very next moment the anesthesiologist is there with his needle, explaining, “I am putting something in your IV to relax you while we wheel you to surgery.”  Sounded good to me!  So he did. We started out, he and the nurse wheeled me down the hall through some doors, turned right, then left, surgery area ahead, and I said cheerfully, “Sure looks busy!” as I spotted a swarm of blurry moving figures in blue lab coats …

That was it.  I was now awake talking with the post-op nurse, it was a little after noon, maybe.  I was wheeled to another area to prepare to go home.  Which, I was told, I was free to do after I pee-ed.  Great.   Well, I was a tad more relaxed this time.  No problem.  My stuff had followed me to my recovery room and I dressed and called my husband.  He met me at the front of the hospital at 1PM.

Oh, and I took a whole Percocet tablet before I left the hospital.  The nurse had offered something for pain and I said, “Yes.”  Which explains why I was pretty much worthless the rest of the day, which really made it special.

…Uterus, Part II

February 6, 2009

To continue the saga of my uterus…um…let’s see, I left off where I had stormed out of the doctor’s office pissed off at my wait (that wouldn’t be “weight” because they never got around to it) and pissed off at my uterus for getting me there in the first place. However, I quickly recovered from my angst toward my uterus.  Because I remembered: Your uterus is something you don’t want to piss off;  it could turn on you.  I remembered that from when I gave birth to our third child. I said horrible things to my uterus (when my husband wasn’t there). The pain was so bad I thought I would die.  But then, maybe that wasn’t my uterus’s fault.

Then again, I can’t be too unsure about that.

So, I saw the ob gyn today. We (that would be me, the receptionist, the 3 other patients who were waiting, the nurse, and the doctor) were all on our best behavior, the perfect picture of punctuality and manners.  Sure enough, the doctor confirmed that “something is up there” in my uterus, a polyp or something, and he has to go and investigate it with his scope. Afterall, the biopsy which came back a week ago indicating ‘normal cells,’ was only a two per cent sampling of the lining of my uterus. So I am scheduled for a D&C this Monday, four days from now.

The doctor asked me if I had questions. I checked my notes.  He had answered them all.  I was mum.  He said I could call the office if I thought of questions later.  I did think of questions for the doctor:  If you remove a polyp could you put it in a pan so I can see it before you send it off to pathology?  Can my husband be there during the procedure to take pictures?

Okay, so I realize this is not funny because of the big looming question in everyone’s minds:  What if the pathology report comes back positive for cancer?  Of course I had asked this question.

“Then you will need a hysterectomy.” the doctor replied.

“What if it comes back precancerous?” I asked.

“Then you will need a hysterectomy.”  He replied.

“Even with precancerous cells?”    I inquired again.

“Yes, because the cancer will come back.”

Gees.  Okay!   The doctor also said that the chances of a polyp being cancerous are about 10 per cent.

I’m showing up Monday for the D&C:  A ‘hysteroscopy,’ is what the nurse called it.  For now, better than a hysterectomy.  And what better time than now to think kindly and lovingly of my uterus?

Just in case…

My Post-Menopausal Uterus

January 31, 2009

I am mad at my uterus.  I know this is probably not a preferable way to be, especially for a 55-yr-old who has been post menopausal for two years, during which time, I must say, my uterus has been quiet, and compliant.  But then about two weeks ago I … um … started my period?  I started bleeding and bled steadily, “moderately” for five days, then it petered out to spotting.   By the seventh day I was at the ob-gyn’s office visiting my female nurse practitioner, for whom I was overdue for a visit.  I like her and am comfortable being myself with her.  “Okay!” I began, jokingly.  “I’ve been doing  ‘The Secret’ thing and imagining myself young and vibrant and it must be working ’cause I got my period!  It ended yesterday. I guess my body decided to ovulate!  Can I get pregnant?”

Something like that.  Well, her faced soured.  All smiles were now banished from the room.  “This is abnormal.”  She scowled. ” It would have been abnormal if this had happened a year ago.”

The next thing, I am lying on the table, my feet in the stirrups.  She leans her head around my bent upraised leg and warns,  “You will be mad at me,” as she proceeds with the required  uterine biopsy.  I fixed  my eyes on the  floral design in the border paper along the ceiling and for one moment during the procedure I wondered, how many other women have focused on this same spot in this same position with some similar thing going on? The paper wasn’t a bad choice. Flowers.  A little busy, though.  Perhaps they had thought about it when putting this room together; give the women something pleasant and busy to stare at while their legs are spread and the required procedures are performed.

The results of the biopsy were back a week later.  The nurse practitioner called me with the news, “The cells came back ‘normal’.’  However, you still need to schedule a D&C.”

“Well,” I replied, “What about hormone therapy?”  I had done my homework.  Besides, I did not like the thought of having that surgical procedure, surely I could persuade her to let me out of it.

“No, you were negative for hyperplasia, as well.  So you don’t need hormone therapy.”  There was no chatting with her.  “Schedule an appointment with Dr. Gross.”  (Not his real name.)

So I did.  I got an appointment for 10:20 AM two days later (which was this morning).  I arrived at the doctor’s office in a rush, without my book, about five minutes early.  My records were current, afterall.  There was another patient, Rita,  a few years older than me, confident, well-dressed,  checking in when I arrived.  I announced my arrival and stated I was there to see Dr. Gross.  Rita announced she was seeing Dr. Gross as well.  We exchanged glances and both took our seats in the waiting room.  It was full.  I looked around the room  at the generally expressionless  female faces and plucked four magazines from the rack.  Did Dr. Gross have a partner?  No? It was just him and my nurse practitioner seeing all these patients?  I immediately regretted that I hadn’t brought my book.

I was a pretty patient sport at first, realizing this was part of the female condition.  All of us here because of our vaginas and uteruses (uteri?), our reproductive systems.   I wondered about  Rita, 60 at least,  had she been bleeding?  Was it more serious at her age than mine?  There was only one (young!) girl who was visibly pregnant. A young burly man was by her side.  She sat and gazed at the air in front of her, while he was seemingly absorbed in a Reader’s Digest. There were at least five other women waiting ahead of Rita and me.

I waited.  Another girl arrived and asked the receptionist about her blood work.  They chatted and she left. Thank goodness!  I flipped through four Home decorating magazines – I thought I might get some ideas for how to deal with our den windows, bare since we bought our house eight years ago.

The pregnant girl was called back.  Her husband stayed, although he had picked a new mag by now.  Another young girl arrived and sat next to me, picking up the magazines I had discarded. I was okay, relaxed, going with this woman thing, remembering how I sat in these waiting rooms during my younger decades, as an expectant mother, healthy young mother visits.  I could not remember the last time I had visited a male gynecologist.  At least 12 years ago?  I had a healthy reproductive history.  I had never met Dr. Gross in the years I had been coming here for my healthy checkups with my nurse practitioner.

Finally, well, I got up. I walked  to the receptionist desk and politely asked, “Excuse me, but how much longer do you think it will be?”  It was 11:10, I had been waiting 55 minutes.

“Oh, I think you are next!”  She replied.  “It shouldn’t be long.”  I sat back down and imagined if this room were full of men.  There was no way they could get away with this kind of wait with a waiting room full of men!  Surely men would not all sit this long in compliant silence as we women were doing!  What if there were male doctors waiting here?  My husband, the engineer!  He would have been long gone by now. “See ya, assholes!”  Well, he would do it with self control.  He would inquire, state his limits…surely leave!  What do 55-yr-old female doctors who are bleeding do?  They have their doctor ob-gun … er … gyn personal friends, don’t they?  They are connected and awarded home visits or appointments after hours.  Well, other doctors and influential people aren’t sitting in these waiting rooms like this, for sure!

These thoughts were resonating and expounding in my head when the nurse leaned  into the waiting room and called … “Rita!”

Okay, so Rita had beat me into the office by maybe a minute.  Had we been scheduled for the same time? As Rita headed back, I locked eyes with the receptionist, who quietly uttered, “Oops!”

This is where I…did that angry-woman-uterus-hormone thing.  I know it is not my uterus’s fault.  My uterus is just being my uterus.  Besides, it stopped bleeding over eight days ago.  It’s doing its part to act healthy now.  It’s not the receptionist’s fault, and it’s not Rita’s fault.  But  I jumped up out of my chair, grabbed my long wool coat, jerked it around to put it on, and  strode to the receptionist’s desk.    “I’m leaving!” I hissed at her.

She inquired rather politely,  “Do you want to reschedule?’

“No!” I barked at her as I stormed out.

Okay, in retrospect, maybe Dr. Gross had delivered triplets this morning at the hospital, or done some other complicated thing involving another woman’s uterus and that’s why we had such a long wait.  He was involved with  lots of women’s reproductive systems this morning…young women with uteruses way more active and alive  than mine.  But mine has served me and the universe well over the years, having provided a  safe and perfect womb for three healthy fetuses to grow to full term and then exerted its timing and muscle to press them out into the world.  And  it expelled and aborted one fetus it knew wasn’t healthy.   My uterus has lived a clean, honest, hardworking life.  I need to honor, respect, care for, and thank my uterus.

This afternoon I called the doctor back and scheduled another appointment.   The receptionist recognized me of course.  I told her I didn’t want to wait an hour or more.  She explained that sometimes the doctor arrives late from his rounds at the hospital and probably the safest bet is 11:30 AM.  I am scheduled for 11:30 AM, next Thursday.  I’ll bring a book and in my restless moments of waiting I will pause to think of all the things in my life I am grateful for and to feel deeply the  appreciation I have for the long life and faithfulness of my uterus, my friend, my womb.