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!).

SOURCE

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.)

SOURCE

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!

YAY!DOCTORS!

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!”

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

Another patient’s perspective on hysterectomy.

before hysterectomy

Not all hysterectomies go smoothly or easily.  Generally speaking when done for non-cancerous and non-emergent reasons with an experienced surgeon, hysterectomy is quite successful with relatively minor to no complications.

The following is an excerpt of one patient who happens to be a nurse who shares her experience of vaginal cuff dehiscence and her complicated hysterectomy.

My ❤ goes out to her and hope she is healed today.

I can’t really say “enjoy” the following, but do know that all surgeries have a risk to benefit ratio.  I also don’t share this woman’s personal story to scare anyone who is about to undergo a hysterectomy or who has recently had this surgery — it’s merely a reminder not to enter a hysterectomy blithely without being as armed with as much information as possible while remembering to listen to the cues your body gives you, seeking medical care as soon as possible when something “just doesn’t seem right” while persistently pursuing treatment if you continue to feel unwell or your health worsens.

MY HYSTERECTOMY COMPLICATIONS
10/23/2015 by Heather F.

People make hysterectomies seem so “normal” and nothing that should be so hard. But let me tell you, that is so not true. I have not had a good experience at all. My hysterectomy complications have really thrown a wrench into my life. I’m sharing so you don’t take the idea of surgery lightly when it’s offered to you.

I had a laparoscopic vaginal assisted total hysterectomy with right salpingo-oophorectomy (tube and ovary out). I also had a cyst drained on the left ovary. According to my pathology report, my abdomen was thick full of adhesions (fibrous scar tissue) which adhered my uterus and bladder together and to my abdominal wall. The same was for my right ovary. Except my right ovary was loaded with cysts (to numerous to count) that did not appear on ultra sound. The mass that was reported on ultra sound was scar tissue. cat hysterectomy spayed

About a week after my surgery I began feeling better. But by my 2 week post op appointment I knew something wasn’t right. I was getting nauseas and had this general feeling of craziness. I can’t describe it any other way. My doctor attributed my sick feelings to me over doing it. She collected a wet mount of the internal vaginal incision and sent me home with orders to rest more…like a I wasn’t resting already. I contacted the office twice inquiring on my results as I was feeling much worse. My concerns were dismissed again and I was told I needed to rest. It had been miscommunicated that I did not have an infection. It took my doctor’s office 6 days to figure out that I actually did have a post op infection.

On October 10th (almost 6 weeks after my surgery) I was sitting on the couch enjoying a lazy Saturday morning when I had to clear my throat. I coughed which caused some mild cramping. I didn’t think anything of it as I had already had twinges of pain here and there. Moments later I got up to use the bathroom. It was there that I discovered I was bleeding profusely. …While internal panic filled me, I maintained composure as I told my 12-year-old we were leaving to the ER and we’d be back in a few hours.

I was taken to the OR where they would repair my random total vaginal cuff dehiscence – meaning the entire incision from my first surgery opened up. Not only that, but I had an exposed artery which was the main cause for such chaos.

You can read her complete story HERE.  

bad things good people

For you … after your hysterectomy.

Did you get flowers after your hysterectomy?

Honestly, I don’t remember receiving flowers after my hysterectomy … so, I did some checking with my husband and he did get me flowers!  He said I really liked them.  I think I was in my own post-operative, pain-killer world and that’s why I’m sure I don’t remember getting any.

So, whether or not YOU got flowers (or can’t remember like me) after your hysterectomy, these are for YOU! ❤

IMG_20160206_134848

Anemone: a plant of the buttercup family, typically bearing brightly colored flowers. Anemones are widely distributed in the wild, and several kinds are popular garden plants.

Just so you know, these are my Valentine’s Day flowers.  The way it works in our house is that I pick out my own flowers well before or after Valentine’s Day.  Perhaps this is not romantic for you, but I get to pick exactly what I like while paying less than the outrageous Valentine’s Day prices … hubby does pick up the tab on the flowers though!  He likes it, I like it … it’s a win-win!

And now I’m sharing my flowers with you dear reader.  Oh, and if you’re here for any cat stuff you can share these with your cat(s) — they love flowers (usually the real, in-your-face kind though)!  

Cats always think flowers are for them — at least mine do! 

cat flowers for me

P.S. Want more flowers?

SEE MY PINTEREST FLOWERS! (click HERE)

Everyone struggles

The physical side of recovery can be rough and it can be even more difficult when others in your life aren’t supportive or are simply downright nasty while lacking empathy.

While I was able to return to my job after a four-week recovery without ridicule, others may have a different experience. After a surgery, not limited to hysterectomy alone, there truly is only one time to heal properly. After surgery and in the recovery period at home, it is ESSENTIAL to surround yourself with others who are supportive and if at all possible, put those unsupportive people in your past.

Here is one woman’s account of personal struggle as she attempts to return to her life after hysterectomy.

a

rise of the phoenix

Having an abdominal hysterectomy at 33 was bad. Hell, it was terrible and the hardest thing I’ve faced. Which, considering what I’ve faced in my life, seems extreme. And it was. The surgery was extreme, the recovery has been extreme. Dealing with that without any other issues would be extreme. Dealing with a hysterectomy with depression and anxiety is impossible. I feel like that alone is too much.

Last week I started back at work. I’m using up the rest of my vacation days to work half days for two weeks because I can’t physically handle more than 4 hours at a desk. The pain and exhaustion is too much past that.

What’s worse is the attitudes of my coworkers. I understand being resentful because you just did all of my work for 13 weeks, and now I’m only working half days for 2 more. But believe me, if I could…

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Rest in peace Huey, Dewey and Louie. Good riddance!

While UTERINE FIBROIDS were not my personal reason for a hysterectomy, this woman’s description of why she had a hysterectomy is worth reading. Fibroids (and menorrhagia — heavy vaginal bleeding) are the most common reason why women seek hysterectomy … and I don’t blame them!

fibroids

Eclectic Popcorn


Today I celebrate being fibroid-free for ten years. It seems like just yesterday that I had a limited life due to the horrible, daily pain.

The uterinefelt-uterus fibroids were discovered when I had a stomach pain so bad I ended up in the emergency department on New Years Eve. When the doctor ruled out an upset stomach from indulging in too much holiday fare, he thought that perhaps it was gallstones so arrangements were made for an ultrasound. I returned to the hospital the next day, New Year’s Day 2005, and during the ultrasound of my gall bladder there were no signs of anything that could be causing me discomfort. The ultrasound technician paused, held the wand up and asked, “Do you mind if I check lower just to cover our bases?”. I indicated that he was welcome to proceed. I unzipped my jeans and pulled the denim out of his…

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Goodbye old friend

so-long-uterus-1024x576One woman shares her thoughts about the loss of her uterus.

rise of the phoenix

Since my hysterectomy last month I’ve been having strange thoughts. I never wanted kids before, I think mostly because I was terrified I’d end up treating them like my mother treated me. Since then I’ve been thinking a lot about kids and feeling sad that I can never have any. I wouldn’t necessarily say I want kids, I’m just sad that is no longer on the table. Sure I have my ovaries and could get a surrogate, but
it’s not the same. I know I’m nearing the age anyway where kids are out of the question at 34, but I guess I just always had that option. To make matters worse I turned 34 eleven days after my hysterectomy. Happy birthday to me. Another thought I’ve been having is that I’ll never have a period again. I know what everyone is thinking, that I’m insane and I should be happy…

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That vaginal cuff thing …

Just in case you missed this one … it’s the most widely read post here! 🙂

Most popular stamp

The MOST TRENDING POST on da Vinci Total Hysterectomy

da Vinci Total Hysterectomy

OK, if you’ve been following me on this surgery journey blog then obviously you know I’ve already had a hysterectomy … just to refresh … I had a total hysterectomy — meaning the entire uterus (this includes the cervix) was removed (total does not mean ovaries or fallopian tubes). It was performed via the really cool method of da Vinci (robot) assisted laparoscopy.  And so you also know the uterus avec* cervix (sounds like a tasty French dish, no?) came out through my vagina.

*  The word ‘avec’ is a preposition. Its meaning is with.

I may have never birthed a baby but I can now say I’ve birthed a uterus. I kept my ovaries and fallopian tubes — no family history of cancer and I still wanted the hormone function of my ever-so aging, decrepit ovaries. I have a question* pending about keeping my fallopian tubes though … Should I…

View original post 1,510 more words

6 MONTHS post-op? Already?!

Six months post-op hysterectomy … this blog is slowly winding down. happy hysterectomy

In summary, I had the da Vinci (robotic) laparoscopic total hysterectomy, having my cervix removed while keeping my tubes and ovaries for the diagnosis of dysmenorrhea / chronic pelvic pain.  My surgery was elective … not to be confused with emergent or cosmetic.  A cosmetic hysterectomy!  Hah!

Here’s a summary of how I’m doing since June 27th 2014:

  • All pre-op and post-op pain is gone 100% — no more dysmenorrhea!
  • My incisions all well-healed with a purple-pinkish color to the four abdominal incision sites scars I have.  With time I expect these scars to eventually turn white.
  • No more vaginal discharge. The yellow discharge completely resolved after I had the vaginal cuff granulomas excised — truly my only complication, both common and minor.
  • I urinate slower than when I had my uterus.  I’ve gotten used to this somewhat but did prefer peeing faster.  Oh well, c’est la pee!
  • Hot flashes and perimenopausal symptoms are completely resolved due to daily Lo-lo Estrin.

This is as exciting as this post gets.  Seriously.

I was going to post a photo of my post-op abdomen but decided the post-holiday belly is not worth viewing — for anyone!  What has really mattered the most is how I feel physically on the inside.  I feel great and really wish I would have had the courage to have had my total hysterectomy much sooner … but like these clichés you don’t know what you don’t know and better the devil you know than the devil you don’t!  They always say to avoid clichés like the plague but I can never resist!

I’ve decided that a photo of THIS cat is much, much, much more pleasing than any picture of my abdomen! ❤

Hi!  I'm Teddy and I'm much cuter than your belly!

Hi! I’m s silky black cat and I’m much cuter than your belly!

Guys, this blog site is coming to an end very, very, very soon!  I’ll be sure to post something at least on my one year anniversary — or hysterversary June 27th 2015!  And, of course I may post in the coming months if there is something else I can think of to say.

I’m dreaming up my new blog site that has nothing to do with hysterectomy (or dysmenorrhea) … please wish me well.  I’ll provide a link to my new blog when it’s created in case anyone would like to follow me on a new journey about different things.  I can guarantee that cats will be included! ❤  

cat draw me like one of your ladies

Some thoughts on hysterectomy … 

  • Reasons for having a hysterectomy are different ranging from menorrhagia (heavy bleeding), actual cancer, cancer prophylaxis, uterine fibroids, endometriosis and dysmenorrhea to name several.
  • Types of hysterectomy are also varied and appropriate for the diagnosis, health status of the woman, urgency level to have surgery and desire to keep ovaries or not.
  • Acceptance of surgery depends on multiple factors such as urgency of need for surgery, general health status, financial concerns, childbearing concerns / fertility and emotional readiness.

As you see, the decision to have a hysterectomy is not a one-size fits all surgery for any woman! a good recovery

There can be complications after the surgery during recovery that are unique and sometimes uncommon.  It’s not a surgery to be taken lightly although it can often change someone’s life dramatically for the better!  Like mine.

If you’d like to read my journey from the beginning start here: My hysterectomy!

I hope this blog has helped, encouraged, entertained and / or educated anyone reading!  Have a GREAT 2015! 🙂

Hugs, Elizabetcetera

*DISCLAIMER

kisses xoxo