*TMI WARNING - this post will contain personal details that you may not want to know*
Today marks the third anniversary of my admission to Christus Schumpert Cancer Treatment Center to have a giant mass, along with my uterus and cervix, removed. At this point, we didn't know if the mass was benign or malignant. It occurred to me that you 3 people who are following this story have no idea whether I lived or died. I suppose today is an appropriate day to tell you what happened. They took me to a surgery holding area and gave me some sort of sedative (as I remember it). After I was unconscious they did the surgery prep. How cool is that right? I was blissfully unaware that people were shaving my nether-regions, installing a catheter into my bladder, rubbing me with cold brown anti-septic, etc. etc.
The next thing I remember, I was in a room in a lot of pain and rapidly pushing a button with my thumb. Someone was speaking to me, and I think she was saying, "It won't work now - you've had all you can have for the hour..." I was in the recovery room, waking up from anaesthesia. Trying to get pain relief. Because apparently when you have your abdomen cut open from your belly button to your C-Section scar, it is rather painful. At some point, I guess they decided I was lucid enough to be taken to my room which I would be staying in for the next 5 days. My husband and Cousin Amber were there waiting for me. I tend to think of this as the room of doom. Somewhere in the walls of my room, there was an entire construction crew; hammering, sawing, drilling and stomping. I kid you not, the noise was so loud that we couldn't even carry on a conversation. As a team we talked to several nurses and officials of the hospital in order to get me moved. I mean, honestly - WHO in their right minds puts a person recovering from major surgery into a room where they can't possibly rest?? Some hours later they moved me to a much quieter area of the hospital. The next morning when my doctor came in to check on me, he entered the room yelling, "Damn lady! I have been looking all over for you!" I said, "Did you just CURSE?" He went on to explain to me that yes he did curse, he went to my room to find me and I wasn't there. Apparently he had an adventure finding me as well. So anyway, I finally got the chance to ask him about my tumor. "Did you get pictures of it??" He said, "No, the camera in the surgery suite wasn't working." Can you hear my audible sigh of disappointment? Doesn't EVERYONE want to see their tumor?? I asked him to tell me about it then and he likened it to a small watermelon. I said, "No WONDER I was having trouble peeing! That thing was smashing everything!" He also told me that it would be sent off for biopsy, but he was certain that it was benign. If you can call smashing my bladder flat 'benign'. He said he would be back to check on me later.
I was really having issues with my catheter. It hurt all.the.time. They made a couple of different attempts to adjust it to no avail, so I finally just begged them to take it out and let me work out getting to the bathroom(although it was early for this step yet). And what I mean by me working out getting to the bathroom, I really mean my husband helping me in every step - because he is that kind of guy. I want to tell you all the funny and gross and embarrassing things that happened in those days that I spent in the hospital - but I have completely lost interest in telling this story. And I think I know why....
Flash forward to my current girl problems. We have been unable to determine why I am having pain at the tip of my urethra. I think, that possibly - when they installed the catheter, they may have injured my urethra. There would have been no way for me to tell them that they were hurting me because I was unaware at the time, and I spent the next months on pretty intense pain medication. Then my husband left for a year tour in Korea.
So much time had passed, I completely forgot about the whole thing. Until, that is, I started recounting the story of my Total Abdominal Hysterectomy.(which by the way ~ does not include the ovaries. Why they call it 'total' I have no idea. The little trouble-makers are still there maintaining hormonal chaos in my system)
From the time that my husband returned from Korea to the time that he deployed to Iraq (1 year) I went to doctor after doctor and test after test trying to determine what was going on and how to fix it. I am now pretty convinced that my urethra was injured by that catheter ~ and had I not been recounting the hysterectomy story - I don't know if I ever would have made the connection. We had been at a stand-still until now, my doctor and I having agreed that we would wait and see if the condition would heal on its own while my husband was gone. It has not. I go see my doctor in July and I get to tell her what I have remembered. I also get to have a well-woman exam. I may have said this before, but I will say it again, "That is just wrong! I have no uterus and no cervix. Leave me alone for pete's sake!" Apparently no womb is not a get-out-of-pap-free card. Wrong. Just wrong.
*The tumor was benign*