Monday, September 10, 2012

If there was a Napping Contest, I'd win.

I tend to overshare.  It's just a fact of life that my family has learned to live with.  I try not to overshare all the time, but eventually it all comes here's your warning:

This post will have a little bit of the TMI factor,  and if you are squeamish, there may be moments that you will want to look away (or skim read really fast past the gross stuff).  This is an oversharing post, and also a bit of an explanation for my recent absence from the blog world.

Two weeks ago, I had a hysterectomy.  The news that I was going to have an operation came as a bit of a shock to me...I mean, I knew that some things were a bit "off" in my system, but I did not expect to lose my uterus this year.  Backing up the train a bit, back in March, I found out that I had fibroids...four of them.  The family doc said my uterus was "slightly enlarged" but nothing to really worry about.  

I did some research online, and found out that fibroids could be the cause of my recent...ahem...female troubles surrounding my cycles.  Troubles like having to carry an extra set of clothes with me one week out of every five, and actually having to use them (or go home to change) quite a few times over the past few months.  Troubles like severe cramping, the kind that made me curl up in a ball, rocking and quietly weeping, until it was time to change my clothes.  Troubles that eventually had me seek out a specialist, to just ask, "How much longer until I eventually get through this menopause thing?"  If I just knew how much longer, maybe it would be easier to endure. 

Ready to find out how long this might last, I sat in the Gyn's office, and waited to ask her what tools were available (that I hadn't already employed) to make the best of it.  I was surprised when she did a quick exam, and then scheduled me for surgery in a month, because my uterus was (in her professional, medical opinion) "HUGE."  She said that it should be the size of a lemon, and mine was the size of a cantaloupe!  "Huge" must be the technical term for a cantaloupe-sized uterus, because she used it over and over.  It would be an abdominal surgery, because my uterus was too "huge" to take out vaginally.  Yes, that was my uterus that I felt from the outside of my lower abdomen, because it was "huge."

I won't tell you that I didn't worry in the weeks leading up to the operation.  It was major abdominal surgery, and I have had more than my share of breakdowns between then and now...there was worry and crying right up until I went under the knife.  I stopped crying and worrying when they started the anesthetic on Monday morning (I hear that's pretty normal),...
...and I started again once I was off the Demerol drip on Tuesday.  (I worry. It's what I do...especially when dealing with major unknowns.)  I was in the hospital two nights, home that Wednesday, and I've been told to expect a six-week recovery.  So far, it's been two weeks, and I am feeling pretty pain is almost gone, but I'm still napping once or twice a day.  It's hard to believe how tired I am!

So far, here's what I've learned from my first major surgery:
Your hair falls out more than usual after surgery.  I think this is a stress reaction, but I really was not ready for it.  
Staples in your stomach (I had 12) are really uncomfortable.  This should be expected, as your tummy is now pierced with OFFICE SUPPLIES!  C-sections were not part of my birth experiences, this was new to me.
Having the staples removed from your tummy is a bit uncomfortable.  Again, think office supplies, staple remover.  However, it's totally worth it to have those things out!
Stomach muscles are used for absolutely EVERYTHING!  Not just sitting up (ouch!), but also rolling over in bed (ouch!), breathing (ouch!), standing or sitting in the same position too long (ouch!).  Besides the new knowledge, I also lived in fear of sneezing or laughing or burping for over 10 days.  By the way, ouch!
Crying is just what I do when I am overtired, especially if I am too uncomfortable to nap.  Luckily, with the staples out, being too uncomfortable to nap is now the exception, rather than the rule.

One more thing I learned through this experience is that hysterectomy is a fairly common procedure in my least among the women...  With all that girls talk openly about in this day and age, I guess I'm surprised that I didn't know/realize/remember until now how many women in my family are mom, her mom, Sweetie's mom and sister, my sister and a cousin have all had hysterectomies for one reason or another.  As far as I know, I am the only fibroid case.  And not just family, many of my friends are walking around sans uterus as well.  I guess it's just not small talk that comes up.

Anyway, there you have it.  I hope to go back to work gradually, maybe a couple of half-days over the course of the next couple weeks, so I can still take the naps.  I have to say, with all of the unpleasantness of surgery and recovery, I do rather like the naps.  :)  As a matter of fact, I don't know what I would do without the naps!  There has been knitting...down time is so good for knitting, but mostly there has been napping and napping.

Thank you to my family for taking such good care of me.  Thank you to those who sent cards, called, and brought food and smiles during my immediate recovery.  And, if you've made it to the end of this post, thank YOU for reading!  All is well in Pretty-ville, and we should be back to our regularly scheduled blog posts toot-sweet!  (Just another nap or two, ok?)

What's your favorite place to take a nap?