Ellie vs. Total Laproscopic Hysterectomy

Hello darlings,

I haven’t written in two months, so decrees the little counter on my last post. I’m sorry I have been absent, but I had an organ removed. Thankfully, it was voluntary, not because of a Repo-Man (someone will get that…I think. I hope. Maybe).

I could write about the millions of things that I have been dealing with, because I shit you not, there are a million. However, the biggest one is my surgery. I’ve talked about the preparation for surgery several times before; fighting doctors, being rejected, hiding it from my family, planning things out…it was by far one of the hardest hurdles of my life. But sure enough, on June 17th at 11:50 A.M at Stanford Hospital, my uterus, cervix and I went our separate ways. Here’s how that went.

I woke up at fuck o’clock because I had to drive in traffic to my friend Cassy’s house, where I had planned to stay for a week after my surgery. I was actually not nervous at all. Just the week before I had my period, and once again was being tortured by my own body. My back, my legs, my abdomen all made me want to scream. And a few times, I did. I was nothing short of ecstatic that it would be the last period I would experience. I met up with Cassy, as well as my childhood friend Stan and his girlfriend Jacquelynn. They drove three hours to be with me during my surgery, which I was thankful for.

We drove to Stanford, checked in, and I sat in the waiting room, holding my best friend’s hand. Okay, now I was getting a little nervous. My family though I was house sitting, I had quit my job, and was about to have major surgery that could either change my life, or be a huge waste of time, effort, pain and money. No big deal, right? I was called into the pre-op room, hooked up to I.V’s, dressed is a stylish hospital gown, and waited. And waited. And WAITED. Finally, the surgeon and anesthesiologist came to my room, and the preparation had begun. The surgeon told me that the operation would take about five hours, and she was not exactly sure what she would find. Then the anesthesiologist (who was incredibly handsome, may I add), began to pump me full of drugs…and I felt it right away. I don’t actually remember the last 20 minutes before falling asleep. My best friend told me that I was a bit out of my mind, and that I told him, “If you really love me, you will go get me a box of See’s Candies,” as well as, “make sure my hair looks okay because Chris and Brian are coming later and they’re hot.”

I woke up in a hospital room, and I remember panicking. I didn’t understand why I was in the hospital, or where I was to be exact, and I remember being convinced that I would be left alone there without any of my friends to come visit me. I remember crying and feeling intense fear. What I don’t remember, but learned later on, was that I was actually saying out loud, “please don’t leave me alone here,” and that my nurse, a lovely woman who ended up being my best friend in the hospital, and I were sitting on my bed together and both of us were crying. Stan told me when he and Jacquelynn walked into the room they saw us holding hands, sitting on the bed, crying together. I MADE A NURSE CRY, YOU GUYS. I honestly feel terrible about that, especially because she was so amazingly sweet and kind to me, but in my defense, I had absolutely no control of my brain. On the bright side, Stan did in fact bring me a box of chocolate. Bless my best friend.

I fell asleep for a while longer and woke up to my other friends, Brian, Jared, and Maya in my room. This time I was much less foggy, but still not at all myself. The pain slowly started to creep into my body as I tried to speak to my friends, and before I could fully understand what was happening to my body, I began to have contractions. That’s right. I did the exact opposite of having a baby, and yet I still got contractions. What twisted shit is that?! For those of you who are familiar with doctors, they always ask what your pain level is, one being a small headache and ten giving birth. I swear, these contractions were truly a 10 out of 10. They came in waves, and I screamed and twisted in my bed while my friends watched. One of them, Brian, sat by my bed and held my hand as I squeezed the life out of it. I was truly terrified. If my friends hadn’t been there, it would have been a nightmare, but their company saved me. The nurses kept running in, pumping my I.V with different painkillers, and nothing worked, and I kept screaming. This lasted six hours until finally they gave me a drug called Dillaudid, which is stronger than Vicodin, and the last thing the doctor could try before making the decision to start me on Morphine. Thankfully, the Dillaudid worked, and I finally had relief. My incredible nurse was supposed to kick my friends out at 8 p.m, but she let them stay with me all night. You never understand how important it is to have friends in a terrifying situation until you’re in one.

I was told to expect to be hospitalized for one night. I’m pretty sure that was a joke. The first two days in the hospital I couldn’t sleep, and I got so exhausted that I ended up needing some oxygen because even breathing got to be too much work for my beat little body. After nearly 36 hours of being awake, I was able to have a somewhat normal sleep cycle, interrupted every 4 hours by nurses making me take my drugs in the middle of the night so that I wouldn’t wake up in excruciating pain. The rest of my stay, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I was constantly on drugs, and was still in pain. I also had a catheter because I couldn’t urinate on my own, let alone even sit up without blacking out. With the help of many friends coming to visit me, calls from my older sister, and an amazing group of nurses, I recovered in the hospital for six days. I still couldn’t eat upon my departure, but I could drink water and walk to the bathroom which meant my catheter could be removed (and thank goodness for that, because having a tube in my vagina is definitely something I don’t want to experience for longer than a week).

My stay at the hospital is remembered in pieces, I’m assuming mostly due to the ridiculous amounts of drugs I had. However, at one point the surgeon did come to visit me. She told me that I had Endometriosis behind my uterus, sitting right on a nerve cluster in my lower back, which was definitely the cause of my nerve pain in my spine. Mayo Clinic explains endometriosis as:

“an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus (endometrial implant). Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, bowel or the tissue lining your pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond your pelvic region.”  

As for my uterus, it was swollen, engorged, and inflamed, or as her assistant said, “very, very angry.” later on, the biopsy found that I not only had endometriosis, but also had Adenomyosis, which, as Mayo Clinic also states:

“occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, exists within and grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. The displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — thickening, breaking down and bleeding — during each menstrual cycle. An enlarged uterus and painful, heavy periods can result.”

So, in short, there was a lot of crazy shit going on in my body. No wonder it was so miserable! She said that the normal treatment for these problems are, you guessed it, a hysterectomy. She also said the surgery only took two hours instead of the estimated five hours, and that it went easier than planned. Turns out, I chose the right path. Take that, shitty doctors that rejected me! And suck it, mom!

I am still recovering now, and it’s far from easy. I spent one week at Cassy’s, one week at my friend Andrey’s, and then returned home to act like I definitely did not just have surgery. It’s hard faking like I am alright, because the pain is still moderate at best, and I am still very weak and struggling to do day to day activities that I normally have no problem doing. Despite all that, I am so happy that I had the surgery. My back is already hurting less, and once all the surgery pain subsides in a few months, I’ll really be able to notice the difference. I haven’t been resting nearly as much as I should, mainly because I am moving in three weeks, which is another blog for another time. However, I am doing the best I can. Soon I will have a CT-Scan to check all the inside stitches, and the radiation will probably turn me into a Ninja Turtle, but I’m okay with that.

Broken hearts, broken homes, and broken bones,
Secret love let me go,
You know I gotta find my own way,
Through mistakes that I can’t change.
Because there’s beauty in every sin,
Every single black eye,
Has some blue like the moon just before the sun shines.
No, I don’t believe in all the things that they preach.

~Nate Ruess – Great Big Storm

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