Surgical Misadventures

da Vinci Robotic Surgery

The da Vinci surgical robot helps doctors perform complex, minimally invasive surgeries like hysterectomies and prostate operations. But some patients suffer serious complications that require additional procedures, some of which can be fatal.

Developed and marketed by Intuitive Surgical, the da Vinci Surgical System gained approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. California-based manufacturer Intuitive created the multi-armed robot to assist surgeons with more precise, minimally invasive surgery through small incisions that don’t require doctors to open the abdomen.


One of my readers commented asking if I’d ever heard about “Unplug the Robot”?  I replied I hadn’t.  She wrote about how the da Vinci robot she had for her hysterectomy ruined her life and other women’s lives as well.

Some of these stories are terribly tragic.

Flowers dark sky

The consequence is that little is known of the real disadvantages of the equipment [the da Vinci robot], and the injuries and deaths it may cause, even as robotic surgery is widely marketed to consumers.  ~ Dr. Diana Zuckerman.

from New Concerns on Robotic Surgeries (2013)

Personally, I haven’t heard a single terrible story of any patient I have known or treated regarding the da Vinci method which is not to say there aren’t tragedies happening left and right of which I’m not aware of.  The da Vinci robot can be used for many other surgeries and not simply hysterectomy.  While I don’t work directly with da Vinci or its company Intuitive Surgical, my blog is not about promoting the use of da Vinci itself, but rather to chronicle my experience with hysterectomy … I would have created this blog regardless of the method (and outcome) I had.

In the beginning, I was planning on having my hysterectomy the laparoscopically assisted vaginal method (no robot involved) believing there was less scarring and was easier for the surgeon.  My case was actually booked that way for a few days until I had an in-depth discussion with my GYN surgeon while also reading quite a bit about the da Vinci method.

The da Vinci is not, strictly speaking, a robot. It is a surgical tool and interface for that tool. Robots perform a pre-programmed sequence of steps that may or may not be conditional on input (think the IRobot vacuum). The surgery performed with it is only as good as the surgeon. A poor surgeon or poorly trained surgeon will not use it optimally. ~ random commenter

More here: Mishaps & deaths Caused by sSurgical Robots Going Underreported to FDA (2013)

I had a lot of trust in my surgeon … and still do.  He’s been a physician for a very long time … in fact, he graduated high school the year I was born!  He has received many accolades on his performance and patient satisfaction throughout his years of practice.  I can tell by many things about his personality that his “job” of being an Ob/Gyn was a career and calling.  Luckily, my hysterectomy performed with the da Vinci robot laparoscopically assisted went off without a hitch.

FEAR Eleanor Roosevelt quote

Sometimes when surgeries don’t go as expected there are numerous reasons for these problems like:

  • The baseline of the patient’s basic health.  If you start out with a patient who has lung or heart problems there are simply greater risks involved in healing and effects of anesthesia and recovery from surgery.
  • Age can also play a role in a patient’s recovery — in general, the young and the elderly are at higher risks because the young have smaller bodies (typically) and aren’t fully developed like an adult, and the elderly can often have less lung reserve capacity, decreased ability to heal as quickly, less physical mobility and flexibility to name just a few challenges with this group.
  • The patient’s psychological baseline and readiness for surgery is a huge component in successful recovery.  Sometimes surgeries are emergencies and the patient cannot take the time to adequately prepare emotionally for surgery.  Some people struggle with anxiety and depression among other mental health and chemical imbalance disorders that can sometimes place them at a disadvantage with healthy coping mechanisms in terms of recovery.
  • The experience of the surgeon really is one of the key components to successful surgeries, but not all patients are the exact same in anatomy and health status, so that the surgeon has to draw on experience making the best decision at the time when a surgery goes awry.  There is a lot to be said for training and the number of that type of surgery he/she has performed.
  • Patients bodies are many times similar in general, but can often be unique.  If a patient is a person of size (POS), there are going to be much greater challenges to performing many surgeries and the anesthesia risk increases as well (think short neck and/or sleep apnea).  When a POS has extra body tissue it is not often muscle, but rather fat and adipose tissue simply doesn’t heal as well as non-fatty tissue because it lacks the vasculature to deliver nutrients via the blood to assist in the healing process.  Special surgical (and scanning) tables are often required for patients weighing over 350 lbs. (~ 160 kG).  It is more difficult to physically reach into a patient that has a greater visceral depth while specialized equipment is needed to keep the area open for the surgeon to have an adequate working field.
  • Another factor in having a successful outcome for a surgery is the team in the operating room, the recovery room and even the area where the patient will recuperate — AKA the nursing floor.  The more experienced the team, the more outcomes they have seen and worked with.  A newer nurse may know something is amiss after surgery, but an experienced nurse may know what that problem is more quickly related to having more time-in-grade experience.  Whether the nurse is newly graduated or has dozens of years of experience is immaterial if he/she lacks care.  Care and attention should be the primary components of caring for all patients.
  • Malfunctioning or lack of the proper surgical equipment can lead to disastrous results.  However, in my experience, hospitals in the U.S. go through rigorous preparations to ensure their operating rooms are up-to-date with proper equipment working and available prior to the surgery.  There are many regulatory agencies that mandate this such as OSHA and JCAHO.  Surgeons will leave hospitals and work elsewhere if the equipment they want and need is either not available or not functioning to their standards.

I cannot speak to the individual cases of da Vinci Hysterectomies gone awry because there can be several and differing reasons why these operations ended up as either surgical misadventures and/or maladies for the female patients involved.  One has to be careful when making assumptions that a particular surgery is “all good” or “all bad”.  The cliched saying is that medicine is both an art and a science.


I recommend anyone contemplating a non-emergent surgery to get a second (or third) opinion and do as much possible research on the surgeon including his/her experience with any robotic equipment, the hospital where the surgery will be performed along with the technique of surgery recommended — and this advice is not merely for the laparoscopically assisted da Vinci hysterectomy, but ALL other major surgeries as well!  Another recommendation I’d like to make is to explore ALL other options — especially non-surgical weighing the pros and cons, risks and advantages of each.  Surgery doesn’t always have to be the answer.

There are horror stories about robotic surgeries gone awry found in the pages of thousands of lawsuits. But experts interviewed by Healthline lay the blame for these negative outcomes at the surgeons’ feet, not at the robot’s. Whenever a new technique enters the operating room, some doctors make mistakes with it. They are, after all, only human.

‘When [laparoscopic surgery] was introduced, there was a spike in patient complications. That was because, in general, the surgical field was getting trained; there were errors, there were mistakes. Now fast-forward, this is just kind of par for course when it comes to introducing a disruptor. You’re going to run into these issues,’ said the ECRI Institute’s Schabowsky.

The key is for patients to minimize their chances of being one of the mistakes by ensuring their surgeons have ample experience with any device they plan to use in the OR. That information can be hard to get, the experts agreed — only cardiac surgeons currently make such records available to the public.

But consumers aren’t doing their part, either. ~ Cameron Scott 

from HealthLine (Feb 2015)

There are women out there who have researched their surgery, were in good health, trusted their surgeon and still had complications from their hysterectomy … my heart goes out to all of these women!  It’s possible I could have been one of them and this blog would be written with a completely different perspective.  Fortunately most elective surgeries do turn out well with most people being greatly satisfied they chose to have the surgery to include the robotic method.  It’s an extremely unfortunate circumstance of life all surgeries cannot go 100% well without any problems … living life and having surgeries involve risk.  Merely being alive is risky … but it beats the alternative.

Nothing is perfect etc

P.S.  You can read more about da Vinci surgery on my previous post:


10 Pounds Off!

Wow!  You’re back again … no wait, I’m back again with an update on the weight loss post-hysterectomy.  I promised myself I would write my next post when ten pounds were shed.

Here goes!

May 1st marks my journey into eating healthy  — NOT going on a diet — and getting more physically fit in attempting to lose weight and get more physically fit.  I don’t believe in diets because they make no sense.  I’m never been on a diet in my life.  I’m not bragging, simply stating facts.  I’ve always wondered why people go on diets.  Does this mean they will do the diet for however long, lose the weight they want and then return to old eating habits?  This doesn’t make any sense.

I am back to eating healthy (healthily?) which has been easy as pie (nice cliche analogy, no?) … AS LONG AS I AVOID ALCOHOL!  Avoiding alcohol has been easy too.  I made a plan with my change to eating healthier I would cut out alcohol (it’s mostly wine when I’m talking about alcohol) except for one day a month where I will have one to two drinks on that designated day.

Flowers Anniversary 8


My actual anniversary was the 24th and I broke down drinking one glass of white wine … it was already opened for a shrimp dish I made so of course, someone has to drink the opened wine! My husband and I had one glass each on our actual anniversary day.  We have dinner reservations at one of my favorite restaurants where I plan to have a glass of red wine.  I didn’t consider the dinner I made at home as celebrating our anniversary — I only count eating out.

So, not too bad, huh?  Two glasses of wine this month.  I’m thinking I can skip June and call it even … there are no special days in June for me.


Three of my girlfriends I’m going to hang out with soon don’t drink for the following reasons:

  • Andi doesn’t drink because she doesn’t like the taste and gets inebriated even after a mere 1/4 glass of wine!  Can you imagine?!
  • Maleah doesn’t drink as of late because she’s doing the Primal/Paleo diet, has digestive and skin issues while also trying to manage her weight.
  • Tunie doesn’t drink because she’s Asian whose genetics often don’t allow alcohol metabolization without ill effects as in her case turning bright red, experiencing nausea, getting severely congested and feeling like she has the flu — perhaps the wine flu to be exact!

I feel pretty lucky I won’t be tempted by these teetotalers.  There won’t be any drink-pushing on either end.  Also, I would never push a person to drink who doesn’t … not my style.  I bring up my friends who don’t drink because I think it’s important not to put yourself in tempting situations when you’re trying to make a lifestyle change, and my friends being who they are make it naturally easy to avoid alcohol!  Cheers to them!  (Oh, is that the right thing to say?)

Teetotaler cat says …

cat teetotaler

I have now developed a bit of fear with the upcoming dining-out anniversary with wine consumption.  I’ve lost ten pounds and while super satisfied about this accomplishment, feel trepidation about drinking!  I’m worried if I have a glass of wine all kinds of cravings will hit the next day and the weight will be right back on.

Teeny tiny wine

For my anniversary dinner out I’m playing with a few scenarios:

  • NO wine or alcohol at all waiting until next month, or the month after. (Ha ha ha! That one’s funny.)
  • Have 1/2 a glass of wine giving the other half to my husband … of course, me the larger half … who says they have to be equal halves?
  • Stick to one solid glass of quality wine.
  • F-ck it … go all out and have 2 glasses!  Although according to Madeline Puckette of Wine Folly women should have no more than 5 oz. (~150 mL) of wine per day and (men no more than 10 oz. or ~300 mL).  I know some of you like GHBM are laughing at the thought of only 1-2 glasses of wine per day!

Madeline Puckette  says:

If you’re trying to stay slim be sure to monitor your serving size. A proper pour of wine is just 5 oz. (not the entire 20 oz. glass!)

The following 7 tips may help you enjoy a healthy diet that includes wine:

* Know wine’s calories
* Earn your glass
* Don’t drink before you eat
* Do drink dry red wine
* Don’t drink too late
* Do spend more on wine
* Drink wine away from home

from WINE FOLLY: Drink Wine & Stay Thin

How much wine should I drink?

The good news is you can drink wine every day just not quite as much as you might be accustomed. Also, it doesn’t seem to matter too much if you prefer red, white or rosé.

Moderate Drinking

Women: 1 glass a day
Men: 2 glasses a day
* A glass of wine is 5 oz. (~150 ml)

If you find that you drink more than this in a single day, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism advises that women should have no more than 3 drinks in a single day (a 24 hour period) and men should have no more than 4 drinks per day. They also suggest that consumption all week should be no more than 7 drinks per week for women and no more than 14 for men.

from WINE FOLLY: The Surprising Benefits of Wine All Require Self-Control

cat red wine

This cat, like most cats obviously has NO self-control!   Just look at his irresponsible drinking … he’s going to spill that precious wine!

Robert Atkins (nutritionist) — ya know, the Atkins Diet guy says:

Here’s the problem with all alcoholic beverages, and the reason I recommend refraining from alcohol consumption on the diet — alcohol, whenever taken in, is the first fuel to burn. While that’s going on, your body will not burn fat. This does not stop the weight loss, it simply postpones it, since the alcohol does not store as glycogen (starch), you immediately go back into ketosis after the alcohol is used up.

While I’ve started to eat healthy I am also slowly incorporating physical exercise into my life.  I’m embarrassed I’m not very physically fit or don’t exercise on any regular basis.  While my friend Maleah and I discuss many nutrition topics and are often on the same page, we have never discussed physical fitness until just recently.

80% of your body composition will be determined by your diet. [my emphasis] Exercise is also important to health and to speed up fat-burning and muscle-building, but most of your results will come from how you eat. ~ Mark Sisson

Maleah introduced me to Mark’s Daily Apple where Mark Sisson not only discusses nutrition, but also writes about ways to incorporate physical fitness into every day life without running!  I knew I could possibly take on Mark’s advice on fitness because he said running  (daily, distance or marathon type) wasn’t necessary, there’s no need to join a gym and you use your own body!  These are things I can do.

Humans did not evolve to be long distance runners. Our bodies didn’t evolve to run marathons. Instead we evolved to walk long distances, lift heavy things and sprint once in a while. ~ Mark Sisson

Mark Sisson's mission motto

While the eating healthy part has been simple for the most part except for the one day I dug into a bag of melted chocolate truffles and ended up with a stomach ache later that night … the physical part has been more difficult because when I start things I tend to overdo them.

One day I spent 30 minutes going up and down uneven stone steps at a local natural reserve, walked on a trail for 30 minutes, had an intensive one-on-one hour and fifteen minute session with a yoga instructor, and then swam for 30 minutes that evening.


While I felt good the entire time doing all of these things, I was hit with complete fatigue and screaming upper abdominal pain from the yoga core exercises the next day!  All this over doing it has put me out of doing anything physical for three days as I recover.  I’m telling you I’m really out of shape and it happened after my hysterectomy where I just let myself go.

I don’t think my plight of physical deconditioning is necessarily due to having had a hysterectomy because I believe it could be any surgery … mine so happened to be a hysterectomy.  Getting into shape isn’t easy — at least not for me.

This is the FIRST time in my life where I’ve incorporated both eating healthy along with physical fitness.

Health mismanaged genes Mark Sisson

My future goals include:

  • Flat stomach — not necessarily a “six-pack” but at least getting rid of the abdominal roll.
  • Be able to walk up 4 flights of stairs without feeling an ache in my thighs.  As it is now, I’m able to walk up the stairs without huffing and puffing but my legs feel like lead … and then hypochondriasis kicks in as I begin to think I have peripheral artery disease (PAD).  I don’t even have risk factors for PAD!
  • Lose 18 more pounds with a goal date of late November — 6 months from now.  This works out to losing 3 pounds per month which I think is quite doable.  Although, I’m concerned if I gain muscle weight I may actually not lose weight and will have to rely on how my body looks and feels instead.

Rather than strive to lose weight, most people would be better off striving to lose only fat and to build or maintain muscle. ~ Mark Sisson

  • Not have my thighs touch.  No, no, no I’m not trying to have that “thigh gap” — I simply don’t like the feeling of my thighs touching.  I often put baby powder on my inner thighs to create less friction.  I used to have this gap (I have the a body type for this gappiness — click on hyperlink above for a great read on “thigh gap”), but as I got into my 40s and stopped being as physical my thighs started to droop (think muscle atrophy) and touch each other. AND no, no, no I don’t think the thigh gap is particularly sexy on women … I simply feel creeped out when mine touch — it’s as though a stranger’s hands are upon me. IF my thighs touched and it was due to muscular mass I would probably be OK with that … but no my thighs are currently droopy, saggy and baggy. That’s it on the soap box for the gap!
  • Get back into Ashtanga yoga. I have begun one-on-one sessions with a yoga trainer and to my surprise she’s been a lifelong athlete! Cat yoga yoga my way She’s adept at running and other forms of physical fitness, not only yoga. When most people hear yoga they probably think the Hatha type yoga.

Ashtanga is a challenging lineage of Hatha Yoga focused on building strength and endurance that naturally leads to a relaxed mental state. This dynamic sequence of postures, known as the Primary Series, combines focus with continuous movement. Ashtanga is practiced in a warm room (78-84 degrees).

Ashtanga, which means ‘eight limbs’ in Sanskrit, is a fast-paced, intense style of yoga. A set series of poses is performed, always in the same order. This practice is very physically demanding because of the constant movement from one pose to the next and the emphasis on daily practice.

Types of Yoga

Currently the exercise I’m doing is:

  • Swimming!  I joined a gym for the pool and lucky me I got a discount through my work!  I’ve used it twice.  So happy.
  • Signed up for one-on-one yoga instruction.  Only had one session so far and she kicked my @ss … I mean my abs!  I feel like I’ve had a hysterectomy again with the abdominal pain I’m experiencing.  My husband, so cliche that he is says, “No pain, no gain.”  I cry B.S. on that … sometimes pain is just pain!  Frickin’ masochistic husband!  Last time he went to yoga with me he was sore for days!
  • Using the bike trainer.  When my husband told me about a bike trainer I thought it was a person who helped you train on your bike.  Wrong!  (see photo below)

    Bike trainer ME

    ME on the bike trainer!

  • Hula hooping!  I dusted off the hula hoop and have used it a couple times so far.
  • WALKING! I have started walking 30 minutes for my lunch break away from my desk-death job and also around some local trails on my off days.

The reasons I started to make lifestyle changes:

  1. I weighed the most I have ever weighed in my life April 2016 and saw it only going up from there if I didn’t do something differently soon.  The weight steadily came on after my hysterectomy (June 2014) and I’ll be damned if I blame that surgery for my weight gain rather than taking personal responsibility for my own health (or lack thereof)!
  2. I looked like a meatball in my photos from my vacation to Turks & Caicos.  I like to eat meatballs but I don’t want to be one.  I’m not trying to be vain because this change is more about health than looks. This added unnecessary weight is not from muscle nor is it good for my health longterm.

Turks & Caicos beach May 2016

This is the beach at Turks & Caicos.  Notice my meatball self is NOT in the photo — I didn’t want to mess up the beautiful beach picture.  The trip was INCREDIFABAMAZIAWESOME!  If you ever get the chance to go to Turks & Caicos go … go without hesitation … go, go, go, go.  In fact go now!  Book your hotel and plane fare this minute.  Definitely bring sunscreen though! Of all the places I’ve traveled in the world the people of Turks & Caicos were the friendliest by far … they also have the best frozen pina coladas I’ve ever had too which I responded with the worst brain freezes of my life.  I rode a REAL bike for the first time in 35 years (THIRTY-FIVE YEARS!) — Did you read that?!  It has been 35 years since I rode a REAL BONA FIDE bike!!!!  (A stationary bike at a gym does not count.)   I snorkeled for the first time ever.  We ate conch ceviche after the boat divers retrieved live conch from the ocean.  I would definitely return without a second thought. AND as far as the Zika virus is concerned, there isn’t much to be worried about … my husband and I got only one bite each and aren’t even sure they were from mosquitos.

I’m on my journey to get heathy … please cheer me on!  I need it because sometimes eating Cheetos and sitting on the couch still seem like the norm!

cat using a hula hoop

This is a cat doing the hula hoop!  See how effortlessly the cat does this?

Whining about no Wine!

I’ve chosen to do it to myself — no more wine!  Wine and any other alcoholic beverage seems to pack on the pounds making me eat like a chow hound!  I have found that alcohol has empty calories (duh, WHO did not know this?!?), makes your blood sugar suddenly spike then your body has to pump out more insulin overcompensating for this high with the residual insulin hanging around causing you to be hungry, then affecting the hypothalamus screwing up a bunch of hormones like cortisol, causing even more weight gain. It’s a vicious cycle!

cat drunk wine

The interaction between alcohol and the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal) axis may be bidirectional— that is, not only does alcohol consumption stimulate cortisol secretion, but elevated cortisol levels may increase drinking by magnifying its rewarding effects.

The Role of the HPA Axis:

Activation of the HPA axis induces glucocorticoid secretion, which in turn affects a wide range of physiological responses, such as changes in blood sugar levels, blood pressure, fat redistribution, muscle breakdown and immune system modulation (Sapolsky 1993). Although these hormonal effects develop much more slowly (i.e., within hours) than those of the sympathetic nervous system, they may persist for several days …

Super good and sciencey source

cat what has been seen cannot be unseen

This ALSO applies to what has been read.  I cannot “unread” this information now (that hyperlinked article above) … I don’t want extra cortisol in my body.  Why didn’t I already know about the effects of alcohol like this as a nurse?

With this information it’s easier for me to think about alcohol negatively.  I never learned about the connection of alcohol and weight gain until just recently.  I thought weight gain with alcohol only occurred with excessive alcohol intake.  My alcohol was in moderation only … but apparently the amount doesn’t matter — it’s merely the consumption of it period.  Alcohol very powerfully stimulates a whole set of hormones triggering what are mostly negative effects under non-stressful circumstances.

I’ve had my hysterectomy and swore I would not be one of those women who gained weight afterwards.

I continue to believe my GYN when he said hysterectomies do not cause women to gain weight.  After my surgery, I changed how I ate and my level of physical activity (think couch potato eating potato chips) after my hysterectomy … maybe I ate and drank to fill the empty void where the vacant baby house once dwelled within me.  Oh bullish*t … that’s just some romantic excuse to consume whatever I wanted!

On the weight gain / loss forefront … I have currently lost 7 lbs. since May 1st (7 lbs. lost  in 9 days).  I have truly not done anything spectacular to accomplish this.

I cut out the following:

  • Alcohol (wine, beer & mixed drinks)
  • Simple sugars and any added sugar
  • Grains or anything that contains grains like rice, bread, tortillas, corn, chips
  • Junk snacks like Cheetos, potato chips, candy bars
  • Desserts like ice cream, cake, pie, jello

Currently I’m label conscious about the amount of sugar in anything I buy like coconut water, veggie juice … really anything with a label.  I’m not consuming many things that have a label.  I am NOT counting calories and through this process have learned that it’s ill-advised to go below 1200 kCal per day being that it’s difficult to get enough nutrition with such a low calorie intake.  To burn one pound of fat 3,500 less calories have to be taken in or one has to exercise enough to burn that amount of calories.

Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So, in general, if you cut 500 calories from your typical diet each day you’d lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories).

That’s what the Mayo Clinic says.

But …

‘There’s tremendous variability in how a 3,500 caloric deficit affects different people,’ [my emphasis] says Pamela Peeke, M.D., M.P.H., senior science adviser at Elements Behavioral Health and author of The Hunger Fix.

Why’s that?

Well, one huge factor determining the results of our dieters is body composition. ‘The more fat a person has to give, the quicker he will lose weight and weight from fat,’ Peeke explains.

Meanwhile, when you get closer to your body weight, your body holds on to fat stores for dear life and sacrifices muscle over fat, she says. The body is perpetually afraid that it will starve; it’s perhaps biology’s least-sexy-ever survival mechanism.

Do You Really Lose a Pound of Fat for Every 3,500 Calories You Burn?

I also realized that diet alone will not be enough to burn off the weight I want — it will also take the dreaded exercise!  I have started to walk much more and take the stairs whenever possible.  While I’m not up to going on walks daily, I have started to bring some exercise into my life besides bringing the fork (or chopsticks because I’m multitalented) up to my mouth.

cat eating Ramen

Mmmm!  Ramen noodles!  Nothing like puffy eyes the next day and a 3 lb. weight gain for a 75¢ meal!

I’ve also started drinking coconut water for the potassium.  There is no way I can humanly stuff myself with that many bananas to get the amount of potassium I need.  I started to get leg cramps when I started eating healthier.  Weird.  I also now take a magnesium supplement at night, a multi-B vitamin about every other day and a vitamin C.  In general, I believe most vitamins are wasted through urination, but because of my lowered calorie intake I’m trying to get the vitamin supplementation in I’m simply not getting through food.

I’ve also begun to add a probiotic daily into my diet.  The probiotics I’m eating are kimchi, kombucha tea (I don’t like this much because it tastes like carbonated vinegar), and yogurt.  I also occasionally take a high quality probiotic capsule or two about every other day.  Probiotic capsules are expensive!  Cha ching!

This is my journey so far regarding weight loss after hysterectomy … wish me well.



My Proactive Thought for Today!

Since my last post MY PARANOID THOUGHT I have been thinking about ovarian cancer and my ever-increasing girth — the weight gain just in my mid-section.  My legs and arms are still thin — a body shape I like to call the “beetle body” — something I swear I’d never have (or want) … NOT to be confused with the 1988 movie Beetlejuice! 


Beetle body — skinny legs and plump “torso”.

My earrings and socks still fit without problems! Yay me — no obese earlobes!  While I spent a lot of time today thinking about “how fat I am” — a thought I never used to have. I also thought about this whole get-healthier-weight-loss process as a journey.  It took me a while to pack on this weight and now it’s going to take some time to take it off … too bad I can’t just drink it off!

My proactive thought is patience.

Yep, patience with myself and constant reminders of how I got here and how to get off the BMFT — Belly McFat Train!  Today I had a salad and it actually filled me up without the gluttony guilt.  I was “good” for at least one day.  Tomorrow is around the corner though …

How did I get into the stupor of eating and drinking whatever?

HOW did I get here?!  Because this is not me.  I haven’t lived in this place … this state of mind or stomach.  I have been eating and drinking to assuage stress, tension, tune out and eat everything I’ve never tried before.  It’s like an alien took over my body or I woke up one day experimenting on myself by seeing what the experience of gluttony was.  I can see why people like gluttony though!  Just look at Louis C.K.! (YouTube: Louis CK on “getting fat”).

chicken cartoon gluttony

More fun at Savage Chickens!

Yesterday I thought about wine and how somehow I’ve become Bacchus in female form. Where did I get to the point I thought numbing myself out with food and drink was OK? Is this a mid-life crisis? I don’t feel super depressed or worthless or anything … I don’t feel exactly inspired nor energetic either.  I used to go to yoga and do things … and then Netflix took over my brain.  I’m tired of movies now … seriously.  I cancelled my mail subscription, but the hubby still has streaming online because I’m not quite ready to break off completely yet!  (nor is he)


Cat Netflix movies?  Too good to be true?

cat-violent-thrillers Fake Netflix

Wait, wait, wait … if these cat flicks are real then I’ve definitely cancelled my subscription prematurely!  Oh folks … these are only faux feline films!  As the good searchologist I am (not to be confused with Scientologist which I am definitely NOT) these are not legit movies … yet.


God of the grape harvest, Bacchus is the liberator, whose wine, music and ecstatic dance frees his followers from self-conscious fear and care. He is the patron deity of agriculture and the theatre.

Bacchus Cat

Bacchus as a cat … a big one.  And yikes, what is that little boy to the right doing?  Peeing?  This is truly odd art even before the cat was added!

This truly explains a lot … I have become possessed by Bacchus!  Too bad I’m not Catholic or I could have an exorcism.  Oh well … I’ll have to figure things out as usual.  One of the reasons AKA blame-excuses I use with my enchantment of wine is due to the awesome blog Wine Folly!  I MUST tell you not to click on that hyperlink because if you have any liking or interest in wine you won’t make it back to read this post … you’ll be sucked into the awesome vortex of how wine is explained in understandable terms, then you will want some wine, then you will drink some wine and some more … then the double vision will start and alas I will have lost you.  So whatever you do DO NOT CHECK OUT WINE FOLLY!  Please don’t for the love of my blog!  Oh f-cm it … I can’t control what you do online!

I have LOTS of excuses why I don’t & won’t get healthy:

  • My right great toenail is split vertically so I have to wait for that to mend.  (There is a story behind this and I’m not going there … don’t worry, nothing kinky or weird.)
  • I’m still healing emotionally from the “friend” who stood me up for yoga — twice!
  • Yoga reminds me of being “rejected”.
  • I simply need to accept my peri-menopausal, post-hysterectomy body as is.
  • I’ve eaten healthy for so long in the past that I need to try the “other side”.
  • I’ll start working out and getting fit when the majority of people around me do.
  • I’ll get physically fit when I’m truly appreciated by people — ha ha ha ha — that’s the funniest one of all!   (and the MOST delusional)
unicorn delusional humor

Not an actual recent photo of me or my cat.  The unicorn, however, is real.

I’m OK without wine with dinner tonight.  No big deal. Somehow I think I’m European or something … but without all the walking and fresh organic eating … merely the French, Italian & Spanish wine drinking — enough to make someone European, isn’t it?

And now I have decided to give up coffee — not that I drink a lot by any means, but I notice the few times I have coffee I get screaming hunger pains several hours later.  Coffee abstinence will be easy and help me move in the right direction of decreasing my cravings of needing wanting to eat almost continuously! I can finally remove the food bag from around my neck!

horse feed bag morral

A horse’s feed bag — called a morral.  Your new vocabulary word!  Use it 5 times today in a sentence. Or better yet strap one on and eat away!

I dream of what I will eat as I drive home thinking if I should stop by this fancy grocery store or the other one or maybe get take-out … again.  My brain has somehow been highjacked by food obsession.  I SWEAR I have been overtaken by the Goddess equivalent of Bacchus.  I’m not implying I’m a Goddess but I’m not implying I’m not … yet!  There is always hope!

It has been however many days since I wrote my last post and I’ve LOST 6 lbs. (2.7 kG for the Euros out there, and 0.42 stones for all the Druids) due to eating healthy, taking the stairs whenever possible, not drinking any alcohol, eating much more fiber, avoiding added sugar and swigging loads of water.  I’ve always heard in the beginning of weight loss it’s usually mostly water weight that’s lost BUT if I’ve been consuming gobs of water, how could this loss only be water weight?

I got on the scale this morning, and woo hoo, the weight-loss train is coming to my house and picking me up!  Choo choo! Train eat humor

I high-fived the hubby and put on some pants where the buttons weren’t about to bust off. (click on the Louis CK YouTube link for more details on ill-fitting pants)

It’s a journey and I’m taking it!

All aboard!

PS: Just how does this post relate to hysterectomy?  Were any of you severely disappointed realizing this post wasn’t a bonafide hysterectomy post?  If so, please complain in the comments section.  Also, any and all cat comments will be appreciated.






My paranoid thought for today …

Do not let THIS be your paranoid thought because it doesn’t feel very comforting.  I’ve been thinking about my expanding middle as of late.  Definitely not pregnant … if you’ve been paying attention at all this is a blog about cats my hysterectomy.  Obviously with no baby house I CANNOT be pregnant.  Very thankful about that actually. I decided to keep my tubes and ovaries because I didn’t want to go into dramatic and sudden menopause … and did discuss this issue with my GYN who agreed keeping my ovaries was definitely reasonable based on my health history and age.

Ovarian CA Facts

But I’m thinking that horrible thought about ovarian cancer!  I do have both my ovaries and well, one sign is swelling of the abdominal area.  However, I’m trying to rely on that saying, “When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses and not zebras.”

Horses not Zebras

I remember the first time I heard this saying.  I was working in an inner city ER as a nurse and having a conversation with one of the best ER physicians I have ever known, Dr. Byon Vaughn (RIP).  I was asking him how in the world could he make such accurate and discerning diagnoses and be sure it wasn’t a scarier, rarer diagnosis.  How did he know?  And that’s when he quoted that quote up there.  Me not being as bright as he, had to ask for clarification of this aphorism and it’s meaning has stuck with me to this day.

So, I’ve told myself that I don’t have a family history of ovarian (or any other kind of cancer) and that I’m not having any other signs of ovarian cancer … although ovarian cancer is quite evil and sneaky being often diagnosed late.  I’ve decided that the truth is that I’m eating too many sweets, enjoying wine and other alcoholic beverages and not exercising … so, this is the recipe for weight gain.

Ovarian cancer symptoms — 

The signs of ovarian cancer may be different for each woman and any one of these symptoms may be caused by noncancerous conditions. Because the ovaries are located near the bladder and the intestines, gastrointestinal symptoms often occur.

When present, common symptoms of ovarian cancer may include:

  • Persistent abdominal bloating, indigestion or nausea
  • Changes in appetite, often a loss of appetite or feeling full sooner
  • Feelings of pressure in the pelvis or lower back
  • Needing to urinate more frequently
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Increased abdominal girth
  •  Feeling tired or low energy

Cancer Center Treatment Centers of America

Looking at the above list, I wouldn’t say I have bloating or indigestion or even nausea.  I would say I have a loss of a waistline with pudgy McPudge Pudge setting in.  My appetite seems to be just fine … perhaps too fine at times!  Candy bar(s) anyone?!  Cheetos now, later or both?  No, pelvic pressure but yep some low back pain, but for Pete’s sake I have a desk job!  I sit on my bony @ss ALL day!  DESK JOBS ARE BAD FOR YOU! Nope no change in the amount I pee — still the same as before the hysterectomy … just can’t pee as fast.  No change in bowel movements EXCEPT that since my hysterectomy I am not constipated all the time.  My BMs are more normal — aren’t you glad you know that about me?  Yes, I do feel tired lately … I think it’s because I’m simply out of shape preferring to exercise my mouth and chomping away instead of using my whole body by exercising.  I also have become a stress-eater.  I used to lose my appetite under stress and now all I want is to make poor food choices!  And sex is NOT painful — not one bit.

So, I’m either in the early stages of ovarian cancer or simply getting an apple figure.  Bleh.   I don’t want to be an apple!  And I certainly do not want ovarian cancer!  I had a beautiful Canadian friend die of ovarian cancer … she had pretty much all the listed symptoms. You can read about my lovely friend Andrea HERE.  It won’t take you long really … just go visit my dedication page.  You’ll be back in a jiffy to read more of my jabberwocky.

I’m going to try something new for a change.  I’m really, really, really going to try to eat better or at least avoid the “bad things” and I thought about doing this really crazy thing … like only drinking 1-2 drinks once a month on whatever special occasion happens (think anniversary, 4th of July, Labor Day, Birthday, etc.).  This is so hard because I like wine with my dinner many nights and I’m a sucker for beautiful concocted cocktails.  

The other problem I see coming down the pike is when there are two or more “special occasions” in a month!  Holy Moly, I guess I’ll just have to prioritize.  I don’t know if I can succeed at this or for how long.  Being that today is the 1st of May I thought I’d give it a go … always nice and orderly to start something on the first of something I think.  My BIG “have a drink day” this month will be my wedding anniversary!

Anniversary someecards

It’s going to be big anniversary number EIGHT!  Does that mean I can have eight drinks?  Just kidding.

I also thought less wine with dinner will be cheaper on the budget too.  Somehow drinking, and I don’t mean to excess by any means, simply one or two glasses every few nights really increases my appetite the next day.

Did you know?

Alcohol also acts as a potent appetizer. Ever heard of an aperitif? It’s an alcoholic drink taken before a meal to increase the appetite, and many restaurants realize this is a great way to get you to order more food! Several studies exist that show a sharp increase in caloric intake when an alcoholic drink is consumed before a meal (compared to a glass of water, or even a soda!).


Moreover, research shows that as few as two standard alcoholic drinks can slow down your body’s fat-burning process by a whopping 73%. (And that goes for any high-fat foods you eat while drinking and any fat you’ve been trying to get rid of before you took your first sip—even if you’ve eaten one of these fat-burning foods.)


I feel like the non-alcoholic alcoholic.  I don’t really need to drink … I simply like it.  I need to lose weight.  I look like a pudge in all my photos and some pants are starting not to fit.  I FEEL better when I weigh less.  I figure cutting back on alcohol is one great way to save on calories.

cat fat cat fat

If I were I cat I’d look something like this.

Please wish me luck in this endeavor.  Perhaps if I were French and walked everywhere I could drink more wine, but alas I’m an American who drives EVERYWHERE and usually don’t take the stairs up (only down).

Ciao for now! ❤

It really is amazing how hysterectomies are done!

I’m not sure why I’ve just now had this thought, but it’s truly incredible that my GYN surgeon removed my uterus through my vagina, made four small incisions in my abominopelvic region, severed tendons & ligaments & spaghetti noodles, making a vaginal cuff while not perforating my bowel or bladder and leaving my tubes and ovaries in!

This is frickin’ amazing!

amazed cat

DIY cat says hysterectomy surgery cannot be done at home by yourself!

This is quite a skill to learn — the da Vinci Laparoscopic Total Hysterectomy (or really any other type of hysterectomy) AND performing it properly while improving a woman’s quality of life!  I think the da Vinci Laparoscopic method is much more impressive than the open hysterectomy. The da Vinci method has only four tiny incisions while comparitively with the open method everything can be seen and dealt with directly through one LARGE incision!


My surgeon rocks!  Thank you!!!!

But some how, some way, my doctor removed the uterus and repaired the cutting of all the parts he had to while he was in there while sitting at a robotic machine.  It’s really odd that two years out I thought about this surgery in this way just as late as today.  I can only assume before I was watching my body, tending to my healing time and now I’ve finally had some time to reflect on this amazing surgeon’s skills!  All good surgeons are incredibly skilled … not simply Ob/Gyns … but I didn’t have other surgeries so my amazement and appreciation lie with my successful da Vinci Lap Hyst!

cat surgeon at computer

Dr. Cat says, “This is not what a uterus is supposed to look like!”

Zika & Fertility

Today I am glad ecstatic I don’t have a uterus to contend with.

I will soon be traveling somewhere where there will be LOTS of mosquitos.  Lots.  I will not have to worry about a genetically chromosomally-challenged fetus (related to my age) in combination with the Zika virus combined with my “old” husband’s sperm increasing the chances for autism.

I would never be at peace to bring a child into this world with chromosomal problems, combined with Zika-induced microcephaly and autism — these are a myriad of conditions to contend with and not fair to subject a little person to a life such as this — if one can actually call it a life.  I’m really serious about this.  A simple beating heart without a truly functioning brain and no real living life function does not a full life make.  I would be a cruel individual to knowingly subject a little one to a life (what life?!) such as this.


Especially a mosquito known to be Aedes aegypti!

So, today as “they” — the ubiquitous “they” discover more detrimental effects of the Zika virus I have no fears in getting pregnant.  My baby house is long gone.

The mosquito-borne Zika virus is the cause of microcephaly, a rare, devastating birth defect in newborns where babies are born with extremely small heads. Health officials also confirmed prenatal Zika infection causes other severe fetal abnormalities.

‘Never before in history has there been a situation where a bite from a mosquito can result in a devastating malformation,’ CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said.


Thank all you gynecologists who perform hysterectomies.

thank you cat

Even the the cat thanks you!

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you!  I will enjoy my vacation knowing I am not sentencing a life of complete daily care and incapacity to someone who had no choice in the matter.  I wouldn’t want to succumb to such a life myself and all my close friends and family would also not desire this type of life as well — we’ve already discussed it at length.

Ways to minimize your exposure to the Zika virus. (click on that sentence)

Wouldn’t that be horrible to go to your destination wedding,  your honeymoon or anniversary trip while still being fertile to be bitten by a Zika mosquito?  Yikes. Horror of horrors … and simply something you would have to accept about your afflicted baby, get the best treatment possible and move on.   You’d have to accept that your child, your beloved baby would NEVER have a life that you dreamed for them and you would be their caretaker for their entire life, even through your own aging health.  It would be a new role, perhaps one you’d gladly accept (perhaps not), but still, in all honesty, not the best you would want for your child (or family).


Time now to think about that Canadian vacation!

In NO WAY am I implying that any woman should get a hysterectomy simply to prevent the Zika virus from happening to her fetus, her baby … I’m simply raising awareness that precautions should be taken while one should not knowingly put themselves at risk for being in an environment prevalent to the Zika virus — that’s all I’m saying.  Men can transmit the Zika virus too!  Double yikes!

cat beach litter box

No matter how much fun Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean or the Bahamas, and other places are, it’s not fair to put a developing life in such cerebral turmoil and imprisonment.

 Areas known to be prevalent with the Zika mosquito


Study this map very carefully … there is a quiz later.


Search terms just for YOU!

Other fellow bloggers know what I’m talking about … ever look at that SEARCH TERMS section on your stats?  Yeah, I get some interesting, obvious, bizarre and bat-sh*t-crazy search terms listed.  Let me take a little time to answer some of these specifically … or lead the curious to answers!

QUESTION:  After hysterectomy blues because it’s still sore …

By “it” I’m assuming you mean your vaginal area?  Perhaps, more accurately your abdominal area … well, yes, yes, you’ll still be sore!  You just had a MAJOR surgery.  Did your surgeon not explain this to you?  A hysterectomy is not like a manicure … and if you hurt from your manicure something definitely went wrong there.  Cheer up.  Wait the 6-12 weeks your doctor recommends before you resume aggressive cuddling, assault with a a friendly weapon, bam-bam in the ham, completing the jigsaw puzzle, batter-dippping the corn dog (or the horn dog) or bisecting the triangle (AKA sexual intercourse).  Your blues will dissipate eventually … either that, or you may need hormone replacement!  Be patient with yourself and your body.  (Easier said than done!)

pumpkin empty therapy

QUESTION: Hysterectomy before and after pictures?

Check this out: YOU ARE SO LUCKY I TOOK PICS! 

Simplified man Point Top

Check the above photos out!

QUESTION: What is a vaginal cuff?

VAGINAL CUFF MADNESS  — It’s more than a sock!

cat what is that

QUESTION: How many post-op appointments after an abdominal hysterectomy?

One thousand.  Yep, you’ll have to go see your doctor at least 1000 times.  It might seem like a lot but YOU are worth it!  This will be your new hobby.  No, really, I don’t know.  I had my hysterectomy performed (not to brag) the da Vinci Laparoscopic Hysterectomy method.  I had one follow-up appointment 6 weeks later, and then a few months later to deal with that nasty vaginal cuff granuloma.  Maybe you’ll need more post-op appointments depending on your general health, how your abdominal incision is healing, how much pain you have and whatever your surgeon recommends.

doctors office advice

QUESTION: Why does it take longer to recover from a hysterectomy than a c-section?

Short answer: You DON’T have a baby to distract you.

Long answer: Hysterectomy vs. C-section

c-section matroshka

QUESTION: What is used to create a cuff after a hysterectomy?

Two things: licorice (black, of course) and cat fur.  Just kidding.   It’s really bitcoins … bitcoins hold that cuff together!  KIDDING!  The vaginal cuff is not really created with anything more than your own tissue.  The vaginal cuff is actually a removal of the cervix with surrounding attachments sutured closed.  See What is a vaginal cuff” above.

Licorice cats candy

QUESTION: Full hysterectomy but still pregnant?

What?!  No, seriously what?  You might need a hysterectomy after your pregnancy — usually only for emergent cases of injury or rupture.  I’m not really sure what you’re asking.  I hoped my answer helped more than it hurt … because your question hurt my brain.

confused black lady

QUESTION: Is it normal to poop from your vagina after a hysterectomy?

While some may consider this a special skill, no, no and more no this is not normal and you should not sign up for the circus as a freak entertainer no matter how much they offer to pay you!  THIS IS NOT NORMAL.  It’s also not normal to poop from your nose, mouth, belly button or third eye.  Please see your doctor like yesterday if you have feces coming from your vagina even if you have never had a hysterectomy.

If you are building a log cabin from your vagina you are most likely experiencing a rectovaginal fistula.  You will need to see a colorectal surgeon to fix the wall between your rectal area and vagina.  Don’t worry, the surgery will not take as long as building a border wall between Mexico and the U.S. — nor will it cost as much!

pooping pool someecards

Whew!  I’ve had it up to the cuff with these questions and am really pooped out now!

cat exhausted

A Tough Decision & the Answer.

cat questioned

Oh, that tough question … 

Recently I was in a group discussion and was asked, “What has happened in the last couple years or recently that was a tough decision and how did you handle it?”

The only things that came to mind were: 1) getting my “new” used car while parting with my savings money, and 2) my hysterectomy.  Getting the “new” used car didn’t seem challenging enough or frankly even interesting.  I went there — to the removal of the baby house.  Now I have strangers, seemingly nice and smart strangers, knowing that I don’t have a uterus anymore.  Is this OK?  

I apologized to the two guys in the room for this “woman talk” … they were manly men and what man sits around chatting about hysterectomy?  None that I know of, and I’m not talking about Ob/Gyns who might have lovely hysterectomy discussions … maybe even hysterical ones!  But the usual man, is he going to talk about these things?  It’s hard enough for a man to say the word vasectomy alone!  Thank goodness my discussion wasn’t about a mastectomy … but if it was, perhaps I would have gone there too.  Oy vey!

I told them this was a decision I didn’t make over night, that I included my husband (a man), and how surgery includes a “loss”



and that usually all loss decisions are difficult even when necessary.  I didn’t say the scary word dysmenorrhea because I didn’t think my actual diagnosis was pertinent to the answer.  Plus I didn’t want to give a vocabulary lesson either!  And what if I’d been misinterpreted and they thought I had a hysterectomy for diarrhea instead?!

There’s something relieving about taking about “a forbidden or taboo subject” and hoping not to be judged while feeling as though you’ve opened up in a personal way.  Luckily, the people with whom I was with, all had medical backgrounds; I have to imagine medical topics are more easily approached and discussed for such professionals.

The other tidbit these individuals got to discover about me is that I don’t and won’t have any children.  Is this OK?  This is my reality and I’m completely accepting of this.  One of the things that I will miss about not having a child (or children) is that I will never get the opportunity to help shape my child’s future and teach them everything I possibly can.  The closest I get to this is that I tutor my neighbor’s daughter.  She’s a teenager who’s incredibly both bright and intelligent, but is in a rebellious stage with doing (or not doing) her homework.  Every time I tutor her, I empathize with many parents of teens and their emotional struggles they have raising this particular age group.

The saddest part about this meeting is that I didn’t get to tell them that while I don’t have children I do have cats.

cat grey