The Fertility Demarcation Line

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In only a few short weeks I’ll be turning 35. In defiance of this age that’s so crucial to the fertility-challenged, I’d started drafting a post all about how 35 could bring its bad self on, how some obscure number wouldn’t suddenly make my eggs all like, “Oh snap, we’re expiring soon!”, etc.  I was all set to publish my post too.

But then, a trigger.

While sitting in church on Sunday morning our pastor invited a couple to come up front with their baby for the baby’s dedication. *Insert gigantic GULP here.* I was caught totally off guard that there’d be a baby dedication that day. If I’d known, I probably would have come in late.

I felt a swarm of conflicting emotions. On one hand, I was happy for this couple. But I was also envious of them. I felt sad for myself… then guilty for entertaining a pity party, especially in church of all places! Several people at my church know that I suffer from infertility. If I left the service while the baby was being dedicated, surely people could guess why. But if I remained in my pew then there’d be the inevitable glances at Marixsa:  you know—the “barren one”—to see how I was “holding up.” Or at least that’s what my pride told me.

Somehow I managed to stay put through the ooohs and the awwws and the laughter that ensued when baby protested to our pastor carrying her around. My heart felt like it was being squeezed. I kept my gaze straight ahead and unsuccessfully fought back tears. In vain, I wrestled against the pangs of grief that my own babies never lived long enough to be dedicated, or even that anyone besides Jake and I know their names. Then I felt rotten for being so selfish during a special moment in the lives of my fellow parishioners.

And so it goes. Infertility’s reminders come during the places and times when we least expect it.

All day afterward something continued to gnaw at me, long after the baby dedication had ended. I finally figured out what it was: 35 looming large on the horizon. That—despite putting my best foot forward, remaining optimistic, and trusting that God will give us the desires of our heart—I’m struggling with this arbitrary line in the sand of my fertility.

By Sunday night I was full fledged upset about turning 35. Once that birthday happens, all the protocols change: my clinic would automatically transfer two embryos instead of one (though I don’t have any embryos anyway). I’d be an elderly primigravida in my doc’s notes and not just your run-of-the-mill primigravida. Any pregnancy I may achieve will be considered a geriatric pregnancy. Geriatric? Me? No way.

I plan to keep pressing on for now. But at the same time, I’m starting to slowly investigate the possibility of one day facing life as permanently childless/child-free/whathaveyou, which is something I’ve never been brave enough to face before. Which then begs the question: When do you stop trying?

It’ll be six years of TTC this June. It gets tiring. At what point does the anxiety of TTC and the putting things on hold “just in case I’m pregnant” get vanquished for good? When do I begin to plan for a future that will just be Jake and I? When do I accept what plans may be for my life?

On the other end, where does my faith come in to play? Faith: the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Isn’t that precisely what this situation calls for? Believing in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? I’m either all in or not in at all. I want to be all in, in faith.

If that means continuing to make baby faith purchases along the way, then I’ll open my wallet. If that means swallowing the hurt at baby dedications then I can do it, by focusing on the fact that it’s just not my turn…yet… but someday it will be. If that means continuing trying to conceive despite the odds, then hello temping and ovulation tests.

Not that it’s not still difficult in the meantime. Because it sure is!  But nothing’s worth it if it’s easy… The hardest fought battles bring the sweetest victory… And so on.

What a number a number can do to us.

 

 

 

Endometriosis Awareness Month

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How has half of March slipped past without my even mentioning that it’s Endometriosis Awareness Month?! I know, I know: Endometriosis Awareness Week has long since passed us by with no mention by yours truly… what can I say? I’m kind of a slacker. But surely I won’t let a whole month go by without mentioning it!

Since there’s still a decent amount of March left, check out endometriosis.org’s list of worldwide endo events taking place this month by clicking here. Those of you in other countries can click to find an upcoming event near you (or hopefully near you!). I have no affiliation with endometriosis.org; it’s just a website that I think is very informative about endometriosis.

You won’t find any lists of endo facts or stats on my blog: I leave that task to more qualified sources, like the site I just mentioned. In fact, I don’t really talk much about endo on The Endo Zone… shame on me! This blog is more about how endometriosis has affected my fertility and follows my quest to not allow this disease to rob me of having children. I’m not an endo proponent or advocate by any means. Instead, what you will find here is one woman’s account of living with endometriosis and, in many ways, living around endometriosis.

But since it is Endometriosis Awareness Month and since this blog is called The Endo Zone, I thought I’d take a minute to tell my readers how endometriosis has affected my life. So here we go!

Topping the list would be my endo surgeries, but they only happen every few years; that still leaves my day-to-day life with endometriosis. In that sense, I’m one of the fortunate ones. It’s so true that one’s stage of endometriosis doesn’t correlate to her pain level: for instance, I have severe stage 4 endo. Yet I don’t suffer from the daily debilitating pain that another endo sister with stage 1 or 2 might live with. Instead, endo affects my daily life in the form of heavy menstrual cramps, mega big period clots, and daily ovarian pain. Oh, and 60 months’ worth of infertility… lest I forget. Blocked fallopian tubes, adhesions, and adenmyosis are all parts of my endo experience, but I can’t actually feel those things. So while they might affect my life, if it weren’t for surgeries then I’d probably never even know these things existed in my body.

And that’s what endo is: an invisible illness. A real predator, but an unseen one. It lurks and steals, and is—incredulously enough—often misdiagnosed.

While endo awareness and research are definitely important, I don’t define myself by having endometriosis. That’s part of the reason I’ve never before posted about Endo Awareness Month. True, I suffer from endometriosis. But it’s such a small part of who I am.  I believe that God is a Big God. So I try not to get caught up in the diagnosis and, instead, I like to focus on His promises of restoration and healing. Now I don’t discredit all the hard work and effort that others have made in getting this disease onto people’s radar… And I hope that I don’t come across as unrelatable… It’s just that I believe this diagnosis is something which, in the long run, will not conquer me.

Or any of us.


Finally, I can’t finish this post without mentioning my BFF of the blogging world and fellow endo warrior, the fabulous Lisa of Bloomin’ Uterus. If you have even a speck of endometriosis in your body and aren’t already following Lisa’s site, run—don’t walk—on over there by clicking here.

In keeping to my promise to Lisa, here I am wearing my Bloomin’ Uterus t-shirt in honor of Endometriosis Awareness Month.

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The pic
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the words

Since I didn’t have anyone to take my pic, I had to use the bathroom mirror and the writing is backward! It says, “Endometriosis Awareness and Support,” followed by the site name. Good shirt for a good cause!

Happy Endometriosis Awareness Month to you all!

 

Back at Square One

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I ended up in the emergency room this weekend for, well, a bit of an embarrassing reason. So glad for an anonymous blog right about now! Without spelling it all out, I thought I had a cut inside of my vag—yep, inside—and was worried about infection or needing stitches or something horrifying like that.

It all started four days ago during some rough foreplay and the fact that Jake isn’t the best at keeping his fingernails trimmed….you get the idea. Anyway, after this foreplay, Jake and I were working on some baby making when we realized that I was bleeding, significantly. I’ve never had such scary bleeding mid-cycle before, even during the worst of my intermenstrual bleeds of the last six months. It was literally gushing out of me for hours. Utterly freaked out, we stoppped. This was cycle day 17 for me, which is a common day for me to have IM bleeding, so the bleeding was either caused by Jake, or it was regular IM bleeding (is that an oxymoron or what?) that had been exacerbated by our, errrrm, bedroom activities.

But the bleeding continued for four more days, unrelenting. Finally we made the call and I went to the ER. I’m generally the type of person who only will go to the ER for, say, a severed limb, so I was clearly feeling terrified that I had some monster vag cut going on. I was also ever-so-slightly embarrassed to explain why I was there. But, seriously, so many countless medical people have seen my undercarriage at this point in my life that I also mostly didn’t care. I can discuss cervixes and vaginas and sex with just about anyone, anywhere and it totally doesn’t phase me, so I wasn’t as embarrassed as some people might have been.

Fortunately, the hospital staff was very discreet and cool and didn’t make me feel weird in the least. When the doc came in and started talking about vaginal stitches I kind of mentally checked out. A super pleasant and comfortable speculum exam—because they always are super pleasant and comfy—only showed lots of blood in the canal and some “raw” areas in my vag, but no abrasions or cuts, thank the Lord. The doctor diagnosed it as dysfunctional uterine bleeding (story of my life anymore *sigh*) and told me to refrain from sex for a few more days and instructed me to follow up with Dr. Din since I’m only a month post-op.

Here I am then, back at square one with more unexplained intermenstrual bleeding. I’d been so positive that the surgery would’ve stopped it from returning, or at least provided some type of answer for it. Not so.

I’m pretty bent with Dr. Din right now, because we’re no closer to knowing why I’m bleeding than we’d been in the last six months that I’ve had it. Part of the investigation into my IM bleeding was supposed to have been a biopsy of my uterus. On either two or three occasions, Dr. Din assured me he’d biopsy me during surgery to rule out any unseen lurking medical predators. I found out the other week though that he strait up did NOT do a biopsy, like we had previously agreed to! His reason? He “doesn’t like to biopsy premenopausal women.” Huh?! So now we still have no answer for the IM bleeding, even after all those surgical procedures. To say that I’m PO’ed about this is to state it kindly.

I’m not even hopeful that this is some kind of crazy implantation spotting gone awry. I know what my body is like when it’s pregnant, and this sure ain’t it. I’ve already called in a towel throw for this cycle. Silly me to have imagined a right-away pregnancy.

Next month if the bleeding returns yet again, I will email Dr. C and ask for [another] hysteroscopy  and for the biopsy he was originally going to perform months ago. It’ll cost me a hefty copay, which I’m definitely not keen about, but I trust Dr. C far more than I trust Dr. Din, and I feel he’s better qualified. If Dr. C can’t/won’t see me for this, I will ask for a referral to another specialist, maybe a RO.

I’m so beyond over doctors who don’t take my concerns seriously. I know that something is still wrong here, and I won’t rest until I’ve exhausted every avenue of diagnosis to find out what’s it is.

Forgive the rant-y tone of this post. The battle is wearying, but I’m not going down without a fight.

 

 

 

One Lovely Blog Award

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I’ve been nominated by my new friend, Delayed But Not Denied, for the One Lovely Blog Award! Please take a moment to check out her site, she is a relatively new blogger here and is such an encouragement to me, as well as being a fellow sister in Christ. Thank you, Delayed But Not Denied, for the nomination. I look forward to following you on your sojourn and celebrating our miracle babies someday soon!

Here are the Rules:

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  1. Thank the person that nominated you and leave a link to their blog
  2. Post about the award
  3. Share seven facts about yourself
  4. Nominate other people (15 at most)
  5. Tell your nominees the good news!

Okay, 7 things about me… hmm. Let’s see:

  1. I like to pretend that I can play the piano. We have one at home and I can [sort of] remember from my childhood lessons how to read music. I can even remember a decent amount of tunes I once knew! The fact is, I’m probably definitely much rustier at playing that I like to imagine… maybe adult lessons are in order.
  2. I also like to think that I can carry a tune. Jake enjoys informing me that I, in fact, cannot carry a tune in a bucket. But I still sing anyway… especially at church… loudly. Which he just loves.
  3. My ultimate dream is to one day own and operate an animal rescue. All critters welcome! In the meantime, I’m completely okay with rescuing as many critters as I can fit in my home without becoming, well, that weird animal-hoarding lady.
  4. I’m a paralegal and I LOVE my field of work! I have my bachelor’s degree in legal studies and am currently studying for a voluntary national certification test, which I am taking next week (eek!). Nervous!
  5. Next year I’ll have known my husband for exactly half of my life. We met when I was I was 18 and he was 24. Man, okay now I feel old….
  6. I’ve become a total e-book snob. I love to read so much, but don’t have tons of room to store books. Hence, my e-reader gets lots of action.
  7. I’m also a coffee aficionado. I loooooove coffee, perhaps a bit too much. TTC = limited caffeine intake, so I’m often at odds with myself and my love of the  coffea arabica bean.

 

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Now, for the nominations! I nominate:

  1. Angela at Surviving Infertility
  2. Lisa at Bloomin Uterus
  3. AKL at Baby Wanted! An IVF Journey
  4. 30yr Old Nothing at Tales of a 30 Year Old Nothing
  5. Single Gene Me at Single Gene Me
  6. Meghan at Whistle While You Wait

 

 

Conceiving to Conceive

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It’s so strange to be having a normal cycle: I almost don’t know what to do with myself. What is this for-real cycle that I seem to be in? The real test will be when (well, if) I ovulate this cycle—which is scheduled to happen this weekend—because ovulation has been so hit or miss for me this past year. What else is a girl to do, except to order another 50-pack of cheap Wondfo OPKs and continue temping for a temperature spike? The concept of no intermenstrual bleeding, on-time ovulation (without weird luteal phase lengths), and the same 20% chance of pregnancy as the Fertiles have is kind of mind-blowing. And exciting!

My first period post-op arrived right on time, and I ended my surgery cycle on a much-needed positive note of a normal 27-day cycle. My period itself was not so normal, as it came in fits and starts and lasted less than three days. I experienced far less cramping than usual (hooray!); in its place though I had scary insane uterine pains. It was as if someone were mercilessly jabbing at my uterus with an ice-pick and it lasted all day long for several days. The ice-pick stabs began to retreat on cycle day 3 and I haven’t had to take any narcotic pain meds since then.

As for recovery, all continues to be well (stabbing uterine pains aside). I ended up being allergic to the surgical glue which was used to close my incisions.  I’m basically allergic to nothing, so I was totally not expecting this. The allergic reaction is ongoing and unrelenting: think raised, angry red bumps, swollen skin, and ceaseless itching. Hydrocortisone cream has been my newest BFF; we go everywhere together these days. Although I’ve removed all of the surgical glue, only the passage of time will clear up the allergic reaction… which cannot happen fast enough.

So yes, it’s an unfamiliar feeling—in a good way!—to be entering into a cycle right now knowing that I could conceive this month as a fact. Not as a slim chance or as a shot in a dark: an actual, bona fide chance! No more ambiguity, no more wondering. No more trying to ignore the deep down sinking feeling that something, somewhere is physically very wrong and my efforts are probably for naught. I’m still adjusting to the idea that my pregnancy chances are now normal… It’s been a long time coming.

Normal chances or not, a pregnancy now would be still a miracle of sorts in my book, since there remains the matter of my somewhat inhospitable uterus for an embryo to contend with: (1) I have a moderately arcuate uterus, which increases the risk of a second trimester miscarriage; and (2) Dr. Din is pretty positive that I have adenmyosis going on in my uterus, in addition to the endometriosis outside of my uterus (I’m not sure what this means for me going forward?). Oh yeah: and the risk for ectopic pregnancy is much higher following procedures that unblock the fallopian tubes, so I’m not yet out of the woods. I don’t mean this to sound pessimistic. These are just real hurdles I may encounter, and I have to be aware of them, both feet in.

In the meantime, I’m back on the bandwagon full steam ahead:

  • Stocked up on Brazil nuts… a whole 2 pounds of them
  • Daily red raspberry leaf tea (during follicular phase only)
  • Basal body temping
  • Timed intercourse
  • Ovulation prediction strips
  • Pre-Seed lubricant
  • And so on and so forth

I’ve also added these guys to my already extensive supplement list (prenatal vitamins, Vitamin D, Vitamin C/Ester C, CoQ10, DHEA, L-Arginine, and baby aspirin), which is probably a post for another day:

  • Serrapeptase
  • Mineral supplement
  • Migravent (unrelated to fertility; this is a mineral supplement that’s supposed to help reduce the frequency of migraines. I average 1 migraine every 2 weeks, which usually puts me out of commission for an average of three days. We’ll see how this does…)

 

It feels good to feel normal. I’ll take it for as long as it lasts.

Peace.

Surgery Recap: Part 2 of 2

The other day I posted here about my experience with my most recent surgery for endometriosis. Here’s the second half of how things went:

For background, I was diagnosed with severe stage four endometriosis during my two surgeries that preceded this month’s surgery (these were surgeries # 3 and 4). In both of those prior surgeries, the operating doctors each separately told me that I had the worse case of endo they’d ever seen. That’s not exactly bragging rights… who wants to hear that they have the worst case of [fill-in-the-blank medical thing]? During surgery #3 my severe endo, along with several chocolate cysts, were all removed. Thirteen months later, during surgery #4, all the endo had returned, and then some. Organs that weren’t even adjacent to one another were adhered together. Bad stuff.

Surgery #4 took place five years ago, which is the longest I’ve gone between surgeries. Since then, I have been TTC and have experienced near-constant ovary pain. Jake and I have not achieved any [natural] pregnancies in the five and a half years that we’ve been trying for a baby, nor has my ovarian pain ceased in that time. Then, for several months in 2016, I was having unexplained intermenstrual bleeding. Sex has also been quite painful for me these last few months, mainly around my cervix.


This time around, during surgery #5, Dr. Din and I were prepared to find lots of endometrial implants (i.e. endometriosis), some burst cysts, multiple adhesions, and maybe even some uterine polyps or fibroids thrown in for good measure that might explain my mystery bleeding. But not so!

Here’s what Dr. Din did NOT find:

  • No burst (or whole) cysts
  • No fibroids
  • No polyps
  • No endometrial implants

Take a look at that last one again: no endometrial implants. That means I had NO ENDOMETRIOSIS!!!!!!!!!!!!! None. Dr. Din said that possibly there’s some microscopic endometriosis going on, but nothing severe enough that it’s visible.

How does one go from severe stage four, rapidly recurring endometriosis to no endometriosis? There’s just not an explanation. The endo should’ve returned with a vengeance in these five years, just like it returned with a vengeance in the thirteen months between surgeries #3 and #4. My only explanation is prayer. I cannot be convinced otherwise. I believe that God has kept my endometriosis from returning, and I am so very thankful.

Here’s what Dr. Din did find:

  • Pelvic Adhesive Disease: Adhesions had stuck my colon to my uterus. The colo-rectal surgeon who was en suite during my procedure removed these adhesions. Dr  Din explained that my pain during sex was as follows: Penetration was hitting my cervix, which was then pushing on the adhesions, which were then pushing against my uterus and colon, causing a big messy ball of pain. Yikes! This also explains why I’ve had painful bowel movements for, like, a year.
  • Ovarian Adhesions:  My ovary was encased on all sides by adhesions. Dr. Din described it as being wrapped in layers of Saran wrap. These were all removed.
  • Fallopian Tube Blockage: Here’s the biggie: My fallopian tube (I only have one tube and one ovary) was completely blocked by adhesions where the tube meets my ovary (distal); it was not blocked where the tube meets my uterus (proximal). This explains why I haven’t gotten pregnant: my body was literally unable to become pregnant. Although I’ve been somewhat regularly ovulating, the egg couldn’t penetrate through the dense adhesions. Meaning the egg couldn’t even get into my fallopian tube for a chance at fertilization. This was a total surprise, and there’s no telling how long it’s been blocked. Dr. Din used a procedure called chromotubation during my surgery—which is like an HSG, only better—to verify that I have no further blockages. My 2015 HSG showed that my tube was clear, but Dr. Din chalked that up to a false positive. I’m not so sure about that, and plan to investigate it further.

At least as of this moment, I am fully fertile! That is what I choose to focus on. There is absolutely no reason why I cannot get pregnant on my own for the time being. Yes, there is a very distinct medical possibility that the adhesions/blockages will return in time. Will it be a few months? or a year? No telling. Removal of distal fallopian tube blockage unfortunately has a pretty poor success rate when it comes to keeping the tube open in the long run. But I’m believing for the best; God is on my side! And in the meantime, I’m studying up on different methods and success rates of FT blockage removal.

Besides, it’s not like I can’t have another surgery in the future. In all seriousness. Part of me has already begun prepping for that possibility. I will do whatever it takes to keep my remaining reproductive organs inside my body where they belong.


As far as recovery goes, I have no complaints. I had surgery on a Wednesday and went back to work on Monday. The five days in between I took it very easy.

Pain has been minimal. Sometimes I feel a deep, organ-y pain in my uterus and tube that no medication can touch. And my ovary still hurts exactly like it did before; I’m hoping that will go away once I’ve healed more.

I ended up with four incisions instead of the three that Dr. Din promised; three of these incisions were made over my existing scars, and the fourth is new. The new incision is above where my belly button used to be. Dr. Din took a peek under the hood at my umbilical area and reported back to me that the umbilical mesh which I had installed during my 2008 surgery (surgery #2) is holding up well. I’ve been having umbilical pain the past few days—probably from that area being messed with—but it’s quieting down now. One of my incisions is a bit weepy and sometimes bleeds, so I’ve been keeping it covered lately. Otherwise, all’s been well.

Here’s some pics of the progress I’ve made, from days 1 – 6:

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Oh, and I finally pooped today! That only took a week. Ugh. Surgery really backs up the pipes. It still hurts some to go, but that’s because human colons don’t much enjoy being handled and prodded. My pooping pain shouldn’t last long. Aren’t you so pleased that you read down this far?! If WordPress had emojis, I’d absolutely insert a poop emoji right about now.

On surgery day I forgot to remind Dr. Din to remove the epidermal inclusion cysts on one of my scars. Grrrr… That might be something a dermatologist can take care of for me in the future, so no real worries.


My post-op appointment isn’t for another six days. Hopefully I’ll take home some gory surgical pics from the appointment to share with you all.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

Surgery Recap: Part 1 of 2

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It’s been five days since my latest surgery and I’m feeling excellent! By far this has been the easiest surgical recovery I’ve ever had. I’m so immensely grateful to God for a less painful, less complicated, less messy recovery and to the stellar medical team that assisted.

This was my first “true” laparoscopy: my first laparoscopy (surgery #1) turned into a laparotomy. My second laparoscopy (surgery #4) was both a laparoscopy and a surprise episiotomy. Now that I’ve had a “true” lap, I find that recovery is not nearly as intense as being cut open. Such a relief!

Since I’ve been doing so many bullet-style posts lately, I thought I’d keep up tradition today. It’s kind of a long read, so I broke it up into two posts. This first part is about my surgery experience. The second part will be about my surgical treatment and diagnoses.

Here’s the recap of part 1:

Hospital: 

I had to be at the hospital at 6:00 a.m. on surgery day. The hospital is an hour drive from my house. I also had to shower with special antimicrobial soap both the night before surgery and the morning of surgery, so I was up at 3:30 a.m. to begin the festivities. Plus I wanted to do one last sweep of my house to make sure it was tidy and that all necessities were in reach of my bed, where I planned to convalesce for the next several days.

Jake had nursing clinicals the day of my surgery and wasn’t able to stay with me for the long haul. Fortunately, his clinical site was in the same town as the hospital, so he drove me to the hospital. He stayed stayed for an hour before having to leave for clinicals. Jake was dressed in his nursing scrubs, so I was accompanied to the hospital by a tall, good looking male almost-nurse! There was some initial confusion about that, because the hospital staff thought that Jake was an employee! Once that misunderstanding was straightened out, all the nurses went completely gaga over Jake. They kept fussing about him being a male almost-nurse and giving him nursing tips and advice. It made his day.

Pre-Surgery: 

Dr. Din’s surgical orders were written as though I’d be spending the night in the hospital. My previous two surgeries (surgeries # 3 and # 4) I spent between 2 to 3 nights in the hospital, so I had packed an overnight bag this time just in case. Dr. Din was simply being overly cautious, and all the nurses were surprised to see that I had overnight orders for a same-day surgery.

And I had such great nurses! They were simply wonderful and professional! If you read my previous post, I talked about how getting stuck with the hand IV needle is one of the worst things about surgery to me. When I asked my nurse, Dawn, for an arm IV, she agreed… until she realized that I was having robotic surgery. Apparently patients can only have a hand IV when the doctor is operating with “the robot” (that’s what all the nurses called it: either “the robot” or “robo-lap”). Dawn was very understanding about my concerns of hand pain. She investigated my veins and told me that I have “teeny tiny veins, no hand fat, and thick vein walls” which meant that I was a “tough stick.” These are all her words. Dawn warmed my hand in a heated blanket for 15 minutes before getting my IV ready, which made a huge difference in helping to plump up my vein! The IV needle hurt, of course, but it was the best hand stick I’ve ever had.  I was very pleased. Unlike the terrible blood draw from last week (which looked like this a full week later)…:

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…my hand IV had minimal bruising. Here’s what it looked like mere hours after surgery:

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The anesthesiologist also let me pop a Maxalt pre-surgery (migraine medication). I’d had a migraine for three days pre-op, and the medical teams was concerned that anesthesia would make my migraine worse. I was more than delighted to be able to finally have some relief.

All the usual suspects stopped in my room pre-surgery to ask me routine questions and do their respective prep work: anesthesiologist, nurse assistants, OR nurse, and Dr. Din himself. Twenty minutes before my scheduled surgery time, Nurse Dawn slipped a healthy dose of Versed (a sedation medication that is similar to Xanax, but on mega steroids) into my IV. The Versed combined with my Maxalt had me sooooo chill: I would’ve agreed to any procedures at that point! I suppose that’s why they had me sign all my consents before giving me any meds.

The Operating Room: 

The OR room was the standard spaceship-like, high-tech operating room. Instead of the cold, hard, metal table that I was anticipating, the nurses had me scoot onto a surgical table that was covered in eggshell foam. In my medicated state, it looked like the exact same kind of eggshell foam that you’d keep on your mattress at home for extra padding. It was so cozy and soft, and I totally didn’t mind.

The last thing I remember was Dr. Din standing bedside patting me on the shoulder. My lack of sleep—combined with the Versed and Maxalt—knocked me out cold before they even administered the anesthesia. I sure made the anesthesiologist’s job easy! From there, it was go time.

Post-Surgery: 

My post-surgery wake up was typical: as in, I didn’t want to get up. Come to think of it, I’m actually like this pretty much every morning in real life too… I kept falling back asleep each time the nurses shook me. To my great annoyance, the nurses continued to shake me and tell me to wake up until I finally, reluctantly listened.

Upon waking up I was in a decent amount of pain, but not nearly as much pain as I’m used to experiencing post-anesthesia. I felt a strong, deeply painful urge to pee and rather weepily asked for a bedpan. Of course I couldn’t actually go pee once they brought the bedpan. The bladder is the one organ that takes the longest to “wake up” after surgery, so it was a figment of my imagination that I needed to pee at all.

I stayed in the recovery room for three hours. A new nurse periodically checked my stats. I begged her for ice chips. She brought me a delicious cup of ice chips, but, maddeningly, would only give me one chip at at time! Then she’d set the cup down—just out of my reach—and disappear for fifteen minutes. Those long minutes she was gone I would give that cup the stare down and will it closer to me with the power of my (still-medicated) mind. In my post-anesthesia fog, I concocted asinine methods of how I could somehow move the ice chip cup toward me… except I was just too groggy to actually try them. Every fifteen minutes the nurse reappeared to give me one single ice chip (so agonizing—I wanted the whole cup) before she left again. I remember feeling so very sad about my ice chips. She was not my favorite nurse.

After recovery, I was transferred back to a room. “Room” is a loose term: I think it was actually the pre-surg area all over again, and each ‘room’ was only separated with curtains. Jake was able to come see me here. My recovery nurse, Gerri, also fell in love with Jake in his scrubs! They talked shop over my head most of the time.

Gerri was kinder than my previous nurse: not only did she let me have A WHOLE ENTIRE CUP of ice chips, she also gave me two cranberry juices and packets of crackers. I liked Gerri very much. She more than made up for the Ice Chip Nazi.

Medications: 

My post-op meds consisted of Toradol for pain (which is a joke of a narcotic painkiller IMO), Zofran for nausea, and Dilaudid for pain, and some other medication that I can’t recall.

I specifically requested Dilaudid instead of Morphine. Morphine doesn’t really touch my pain, and it gives me incredible nausea. I’ve learned that the hard way. Dilaudid, even though it’s five times stronger than Morphine, manages my pain well and doesn’t make me nauseous. To my relief, the docs were very accommodating of my request for Dilaudid.

I was sent home with a bottle of Percocet, in the lowest dosage available, which I initially thought was very uncool of Dr. Din.  I’ve ended up not needing as many of them as I usually do during a recovery, so it all worked out in the end.

Next Up: 

Next up in Part 2 is what was found and diagnosed in surgery, plus my recovery.

I said all that to say this: I’m not completely sure why I typed this first part of the surgery out. It was a very standard and unexciting surgery. *But* if this info might one day help someone else who is about to have her first laparoscopy and give her an idea of what to expect, then it’s worth these 1,525 words after all.

Stay tuned!