Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Good grief, Charlie Brown where has the time gone?! 

Ok so back on with the excitamentability of my woes. (It's a word, look it up) 
So the lovely teeny tiny Chinese doctor hands me over to the also teeny tiny Chinese male doctor. Ok I lie, he was not teeny. He asks me a million questions, I answer him. I often feel like handing over a manila folder with my life story and sit there with a cup of tea for an hour or so just to avoid having to go over it all again verbally. He says, when I get to the part about bleeding from my bot-bot regularly, 
" What?!How often, when, how much, how long?" Whoa! Slow down, buddy! One question at a time!  I tell him, often, like almost every month. Bright red, and fair bit of it and often the day before my period. I  explain I know my period is coming the next day by the fact I bleed there about 12 hours before hand. 

 He is not impressed. He requests me to go to a specialist who deals with bowel endometriosis.  Until I get that looked at he will not deal with the uterine issues. He does however allow me to stay on the Microgynon 30 till then. Referral in hand and a grimace on my face when he tells me I will need a bowel cleanse for the ultrasound. Great. Fun. Not. I HATE bowel cleanses with a vengence!

 Night before the ultrasound with the lady I have to eat basic food and then do a 14 drops of Ducolax and a Fleet enema in the morning. My dear friend David organised a lovely B & B stay nearer the ultrasound place, as we live too far away to do the enema and stay intact then do the drive. We live more than an hour away. I was rockin' on the dunny by morning! I tend to just let loose and not stop! Pain was intense each bowel emptying and by the time I got to the ultrasound place I was terrified of soiling myself and constantly kept running to the loo. 
 Sophie the doctor asked me questions and was concerned that I probably do have bowel endometriosis. She is one of the few who does this type of ultrasound vaginally as most radiologists place the transducer on the cervical area to look whereas she places it behind the cervix and moves it around the bowel area. A little uncomfortable but not painful. 

 Here is a video on youtube of what is involved with the ultrasound. The lady talking was my doctor that day. 

She spent alot of time with me but I had no evidence of bowel endometriosis. She was very puzzled. "A medical mystery, " as she put it. I said, "Well, I AM a medical oddity!"
 It hurt like heck when she got around the right ovary area even from that position! It was unbelievably painful. I have this problem every time I have an ultrasound when they push on the right lower groin area. I shoot off the table!  She told me she had no idea why I would bleed regularly rectally as it sounded on paper like bowel endometriosis. 

 After going back to the gynie and him saying, "Now we know it isn't bowel endometriosis, I want you to go to my colleague next week." Wow! Rush job! I went to the colleague who insisted I had a high hemorrhoid and all would be good and he asked why were we rushing this if it was something so simple? He'd do it next month. I told him I was going to have a hysterectomy on January 17th and that we needed to rule out the botty bleeding first in case something was sinister. He snorted. " I doubt it!" I didn't like his attitude. He told me it would be very very painful if he had to loop an elastic band around this imaginary high hemorrhoid and I would have to put up with that and the hysterectomy pain. 
 As fate would have it, the day before I had to start the bowel cleanse I get a call saying he had a major car accident and smashed his foot and did I want to rebook the colonoscopy he was going to do to find my high hemorrhoid? I gritted my teeth. It was to have a looksee not deal with a hemorrhoid for crying out loud! Man!!!! 

 Gynie was beside himself. Oh, boy! Rush job again. He was talking cancer. CANCER? When did this word come up? Oh surrrrrre, it was in the back of my mind but really??? Ok ok I DID have a massive bleed back in September and it DID cross my mind one time it could be, but surely the period time bleeding was bowel endometriosis, hey? No. Oh, ok......
  So yet again, rush job appointment. This time with a really nice cancer doctor. He was lovely. Sadly, he told me,  his wife was having chemo. He always took the 3rd Thursday off to be with her for her chemo round. What a sweetie! Thursdays were when he did colonoscopies. Luckily for me I could get to have him see me in two days! TWO DAYS! GAH! Luckily for me the receptionist had forewarned me and I had started the pre-cleanse diet of bland boring food. Cottage cheese and rice crackers and apple juice. Yum yummy. Not. 

 Ok, I am trying to make this short and sweet but so much happened in those few weeks here that I am trying to condense it down. I really ought to have blogged more often but oh well.... 
 So bowel cleanse number two in 3 weeks. Lordy that stuff seriously is horrible. Makes me wanna puke. Lemon flavoured is just a lure to make you think it is healthy. Try Dish washing flavour more like! Gross! I reckon if I farted I could make bubbles. 

The date I wrote on the top left is incorrect. I WAS due the first colonoscopy on my darling son's 23rd birthday on 3rd January, but it was canceled so I just used that pack instead of getting a new one for the colonoscopy on 10 January. 

 Looking back, I could probably have got away with only 2 packs. That stuff works too well on me!

I have a lot of issues health wise so was advised to go to a major hospital to have myself monitored in case anything went wrong. Under anaesthetic I tend to have my heart play bongo beat. It stopped twice in one surgery. I shall tell you all about it another time! The Epworth Richmond in Melbourne is an acute hospital, so I knew I would be in safe hands.  Luckily for me it is almost right next door, and is the one used, by the cancer doctor!
 I met the lovely anaethetist who was fascinated with my knowledge and also of my many conditions. He told me he would take great care in making sure I was ok. I had to break away at one point whilst he was talking to me to run off to the loo! He remarked how my bowel seemed too stimulated for the clean out. 
 As he gave me the 'juice' he wanted me to let him now how I felt. 
"Mmmm that's nice......" 
"Bit more now..."he watched me as I watched him push the syringe a bit more. 
"Ah, Milk of Amnesia." I stated. He laughed
"Yes, it is! How you feeling now?"
"Oh, that is verrrrrry pleasant." He laughed at me as I started to let my eyes close. 
"Ok, here we go. Night night, Sweet Princess."

 As I came to, I was dreaming of a large serpent inside of me, and this was in fact a reality! My insides shook as I was coming to and felt the long camera coming out of me. What a weird feeling!
 I was the only patient left for the day in recovery. I am a hopeless recovererer! My blood pressure drops, I take forever to come to, and this time was no exception. The drug used is Propofol and has been known to be a truth serum. I believe it! I couldn't shut up! Anyone asking me anything personal would have known all about it. Once I got started talking about something, it all just kept coming out! Poor nurse when she asked how many kids I have got the full story on how and why and where my marriage ended as well as the basic info of ages and sex of the children. I kept giggling to myself at how crazily I was rambling. Not a drunken slurry kind of rambling, more of a 'gotta tell all this before I go have to go catch that bus" kind of way. I stayed in recovery for nearly 3 hours then out in the holding area for about an hour and half. Blood pressure was only 80/90. Wasn't allowed home till I could prove I was ok. My male friend annoyed me deliberately and 112/90 was deemed 'outta here' A wheel chair ride to the car was rather nice to help my giddiness. All the other people who had been lined up for their colonoscopies had long gone and were probably hoeing into a big t-bone steak or something and having a nap by now!
  Lovely doctor came along as I was dozing and called my name. I hate when they do that. You don't even know your name, then it hits you, 'Hey! That's me!' and you wake with a start. Not a nice feeling. Anyway, this time, I didn't do that, but lazily opened my eyes and said, "Oh , I was dreaming about you!" He looked stunned! I then told him of what I was dreaming about and he looked shocked. Seems that I was having some kind of psychic type of dream and he was totally taken aback at how correct I was. ( I won't say here what the dream was as it was personal to the doctor and I have to respect his privacy, I will say, it was about his wife, whom I have never met.) Once he got himself together he told me,
"No cancer"
"Phew!" says me. I notice he looks a bit worried so I assume it's bad news....but wait! Cancer is bad right? I don't have cancer. Hey????
"You have 4 small AVMs in your left side colon." Say what? AVMs? Since when did I get them? (AVM is Arterio-Venous Malformation where the arteries and veins instead of being separate are one big tangalation. You are born with them. They can bleed for no reason. If they burst you can bleed to death. Joy. Not.) I make a joke and he says that he will find out what the gynie wants to do about them. Cauterise or take out a bit of bowel. Like do I get a choice? Hmmmm
  Gynie books him to be there at the hysterectomy. Oh Lordy! I have a hysterectomy in one weeks time. I have to have another bowel cleanse just in case they decide to cauterise or do that bowel chopping and dicing thing. AGAIN? Oh come ON! 3 bowel cleanses in 3 weeks? I haven't even had a proper meal since a month ago! Waaaaaah.

So a whole week has to go by before that double whammy surgery. 
It was a long week. 

More next time!
Stay tuned!



Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Great Big No No.

So time has moved on and I must get a paddy whack on the botty for slacking off. Actually I didn't slack off, I was ill. Again.

Ok so I WAS going to do this whole blog thing in order or in some kind of semblance of flowing narrative, but I think I am going to just go to the latest issue in my life and just get it all out there. I need to vent! Bear with me as I jump all over the place in time and occurences, but you will figure it out as you go along with me.

I was due to have a colonoscopy today, Thursday Jan 3 2013. Seems the lovely colorectal surgeon who was to perform his art has smashed his foot and had surgery himself, yesterday. Hmmmm, well lots of people would say, 'Yay! No hose up the butt today!' Well, yeah, that and the Draino cleanout! Yik!
 I needed that colonoscopy done now not next week, not next month: NOW!

I had a Mirena IUD inserted in May 2012. Lovely little thing with its progestin releasing coating and long black 'string'. String, my butt! That thing is like teflon! I never did get to have sex with it but I sure as heck wouldn't want to be the poor unsuspecting bloke who got that in his doody!
I got it inserted due to bleeding which had at the age of 47 since age 12 been regular now started being longer in between each period and somewhat weirder. I would have episodes of small bleeds in between periods and sometimes a couple of days of it. I wasn't overly worried. I mean for crying out loud I was 47! Perimenopause and all that! But I just knew something wasn't quite right.
 (As an aside; Here in Australia it is routinely inserted under a light general anesthetic. How the heck you Americans have it put in at the doctor's office beats me! Our doctors at least have some empathy!)

The lovely lady doctor (who shall remain nameless as will all my doctor's unless I have their permission to publish.) raved about the wonders of the IUD being 'brilliant' for either stopping or reducing flow. I was not overly convinced. I have in the past reacted badly to any hormone treatment. Yet again another oddity of mine. Put me on progesterone pill immediately after the births of my children, I bled like a stuck pig and I mean bled. For days. Months. Long months.
I figured well, what the heck, might as well give it a go, not wanting a hysterectomy and anyways, they aren't too bad the periods at this time, just damn annoying not to know when they are coming.
 Of course, she did a hysteroscope. This is where they have a look around with a camera, No silly, not a whopping Lumix, or Canon, but a thin itty bitty one on a flexible stick thingy. Dilate and Curette (commonly known as a D & C, NOT DNC as I keep reading on other blogs! Lazy language skills!) was done for fear of Endometrial Hyperplasia. ( The lining of the uterus can over grow and cause cancer in time) My lining was getting to 10cms and at different times of the cycle this is not a problem, it goes up and down with the menstrual lining thickening then shedding. However mine was 10cms immediately AFTER a period!

 No endometrial cancer was found, so off I go la de dah, to have what should be a wonderful life. First 3 months, I bled almost every day. Lightly but there. Still got periods which were wonderfully light but not stopped. Weird. Give it time, I was told, this happens alot to many women. 12 months later it was still every damn day! I was now worse than I was before! Pantiliners every single day! What drove me mad was that it was always too damn light for a regular pad and too damn heavy for a pantiliner. Also I noticed the smell straight away. It was pungent. I am medically inclined and I DO know it was the progestin on the Mirena giving off that smell.
By now it was November 2012 and my bleeding had not stopped. Perhaps I was one of those stupid percentages who have continual bleeding. Then I remembered I used to bleed constantly with the tablet so what difference was it being directly on my lining instead of orally through the blood stream. Big fat nothing is what!

I know this is long and it gets longer but please keep going!

I had had continual pain in my Right Lower Quadrant (RLQ) just near the ovary area for many years. At least 2 at that time. I had seen a gastroenterologist in middle of 2010 after having a 'negative' colonoscopy for any bowel involvement or celiac disease.  He gave me Movicol and Agiofibe and explained my serious constipation as a child was to blame, that the bowel gets 'lazy' and stretches and just has no idea when to poop. Ok, sure I get that, but 12 months on and STILL having wonderful stabbing pains in the RLQ? I kept having great bowel movements but oh boy the pain!
 Lady gynie decided to do an ultrasound and saw an ovarian cyst. No biggie, had them before. The pain was incredible though when the radiologist pushed on that area. To say I was like Sylvester the cat in the cartoons up on the ceiling would be no exaggeration. So into surgery I go.
 November 28 2011. Now I have always had trouble with anesthetics and drugs and the fact I have had reaction to Iodine was making things tricky. The lovely aneathetist did wonders for me, no vomiting at all! Woohoo! But we did an experiment which failed. I seem to be allergic to iodine topical (Betadine) they use to clean you before making incisions. Not fun I can tell you to feel 'figure eights crawling all over my tummy...and why are my lips so fat?' Drugged up makes you say silly things!

 The gynie was shocked later she told me when she saw a large ovarian cyst on the right. A corpus luteum cyst, which is really nothing, they just won't burst of their own accord sometimes. They are puss kind of breaking down cysts after the egg has released. So that went. Then there was the fimbrial cyst on the left. The fimbria is the dingle dangle part of the fallopian tube where the egg is picked up. Doctors know that the fimbrial ones are where the ovarian cancer cells seem to 'drop on by' to the ovary. Good thing THAT went bye bye! I had had one largish cyst there a year prior with septation and slight vascularity, meaning it could turn cancerous but it resolved (reduced and went away) all by itself.
 The biggest shock for every one, but not me though, coz I am a smarty pants, was the massive omemtum adhesion wrapped around the lower bowel loop. Yeeeeeehaaaaaa! I KNEW I wasn't imaging it! I was so happy you could have punched me and I would have said, "Go on! Do it again!"
 The omemtum is the fatty apron which holds your guts from spilling all over your pelvic floor. Who wants spilled guts!

 You bored yet? Go get another cuppa or a glass of wine and keep me company while I write.

Ok, so once I shut the heck up from babbling; "Told ya so!" I was informed all should be wonderful again and here is the new Yaz birth control pill to stop further bleeding. Oh yeah? I lifted my eyebrow. Ok, let's go!
3 months of periods being regular was great! 4 days of lactose pills to make you have a period instead of the traditional 7 days ( Lots of women were getting pregnant in that 7 day window)It helps with PMDD, (it's PMS but with more letters and more aggro. I get it, you don't want to come near me when I am in my PMS/PMDD mode.  A diuretic to help stop the old belly bloat and cankles. Worked like a charm. No PMS/PMDD! Then it all seemed to go weird again. Bleeding would start on the 3rd or 4th day back on the pill after the 4 days off. Then it would go for over a week and didn't seem right. It was regular in some ways that I knew it would come say the following Thursday after the stopping on the pill on the Friday before, but it really just felt wrong. Then over a few months, same old pattern, bleeding in between. 

In June/July 2012 I wake up one morning to the most violent pain in the uterine area. Felt like something had 'dropped' and laying on my right side was incredibly painful. Local GP did an ultrasound, "All good," he said. I wanted to see the picture as he often let me in the past for the cysts. "Nope, IUD still in place, " and quickly turned it off and shoved it back in the corner. Hmmm me thinks, you Sir, are hiding something! He gave me antibiotics for the flu I was having and off I headed to the luxury of my bed, to die.....sleep, whatever.....

 So in August 2012 after having had the worst flu in many years. (Guess which dummy forgot to get the vaccination that year? D'oh!) I noticed foul stenchy discharge. Peeeeeuuuuwwwwww! Even in the supermarket I noticed people surreptiously holding their noses and taking a few steps away.  I had had continual RLQ a month after the surgery in November 2011. Perchance something had gone wrong, and infected? Lady gynie sees me, does a swab, and a Pap smear, and decided after seeing the that day's transvaginal excruitating painful ultrasound, there and then to 'see if we can shove the IUD back. It's 1/4 way out." EFFING Heck! Thanks for the warning love! Man, scale of pain level....about a 4 hundred and 57. Ok, I lie. It was a 10 for that moment. Days later she sends me the swab results and a prescription for antibiotics. Bacterial Vaginosis. WTF???? I wasn't even getting the hoochie coochie on! Where'd that come from? Seems, I got it and it is common with the IUD of any type. Oh, another thing they forget to tell you when you go to get the IUD! Sheeesh!

Ok, now I need a wine!
Ok where were we? Oh yeah.

Move on to Me in the garden, can't bend over without pain in the uterine area. One sunny late October day I felt my uterus scream out as if in labour and my whole body was wracked in that pain where you have to stand very still and breathe. Crampy, tightening, hot, horrible. My neighbour coming home from work looked at me oddly and I waved and pretended to be panting from exertion from digging. Man, it hurt!
 That was it for me, I had had enough! Back to Lady gynie and within minutes she had whipped that little bugger out before I could say, "Hey! Where's the drugs!" Oh my effing gawdfather! I could have slapped her. What was wrong with this woman? She got PMS or what?  Then says, 'Ok, let's change the pill to something that works better. Oh and you can not possibly be bleeding on day 3 or 4 after going back on the pill after the 4 days of lactose pills' I'm like, Hey lady! Whose body is this???? I tell her I have had Microgynon 30 in the past and I bleed like stuck pig and it never works for me, that I gain tons of weight due to increased appetite. Hard enough being a hypothyroid patient without that as well! Give it go she says, for 3 months, she says. Ok, I leave dejected and in agony.

So meanwhile, back at the ranch ,known as the Shoestring. (I have another blog called Renovating on a Shoestring, but am slack on that one, too!)Bleeding like a regular period for a few days, ok no biggie. Then WHAM!!! Pain out of nowhere! Pain hot hot burning intense labour ohmyeffinglawdygawd kind of pain. Then bleeding. Holy cow! Never knew I could bleed so much in one moment! Goopy clots and oh..........Call her up. Oh take the Traneximic Acid to stop bleeding, she says. It DON'T work, I say. Oh ok, let's put you on the pill. I AM on the pill, I say through gritted teeth. I hang up and think; Time for a new gynie.
More pain, more bleeding, more weight gain, more crankiness, at least the migraines I used to get are gone. But HEY!!! I'm in pain here! Freakingly bad and why the heck am I STILL bleeding 2 weeks on? My dear male friend who loves me to death and back was about to get his wish; me dead, if the bleeding didn't stop! He rang around to find any gyneacologists who had a brain and could see me urgently. One lovely Chinese lady doctor tut tutted over me.  Shook her head. "No no! BIG NO NO!", she exhalted. She stated that whilst yes, it is good to have IUD to help stop bleeding, after a year it was obvious it ain't gonna work. Why throw a mix of hormones in there which only skewed things even more? I could have kissed her.
 She listened, she read, she looked. She stated bluntly (god bless her!) "Ok, you wanna go on like this or you wanna get rid of that?" pointing to my belly. "You've tried everything, now time to think about hysterectomy." I gulped. There. The H word was out. One I really didn't want to have done, but alas! my uterus had other plans for me. I stated, "Yes, I think the time has come." So next thing we know, my friend, myself and the teeny lady doctor are off running outside to her neighbours house (it was all like a normal street but doctor's along in the houses converted into doctor's offices.) With heart tripping over myself, I watched as she organised and appointment with this other bloke she seems to know and suddenly I was thrown into the beginning of a new life.

You know what? I'm tired. I think you and I need to put down our glasses, both the visual and drinkie poo kind and I shall let you know aaaaall the excitement which ensued from then on, tomorrow!
Trust me, the colonoscopy part really is relevant to this long winded story! It's not what you think!