Monday, September 07, 2015

An FYI re: My ER Trip

had a full hysterectomy in June. For the most part, it's been a fairly easy recovery; I have been sore and extremely exhausted, but thanks to the kickass Hyster Sisters website, it was something I expected and was prepared for. 

Last week, I noticed an unpleasant pain in the region of my belly button, pelvic floor, and lower right abdomen. It wasn't like any pain I am accustomed to; usually pain in that area means constipation, UTI or kidney stone...but this didn't feel like any of those. And trust me, I'm on a first-name basis for everyone of those sadistic bastards.

On Wednesday night, the pain suddenly escalated. What was a 7 at worst, was now an excruciating 9 on the 1-10 scale.


am still in a very high level of pain (8/9 on the 1-10 scale). The ER instructions have not helped. I am either in pain, or sleeping from pain meds. If it gets worse, I will be going back to the hospital tonight. If it stays the same, I will try to get in to see the surgeon tomorrow.

The worry is a post-surgical problem called "adhesions." This is scar tissue that attaches to or wraps around abdominal surgical sites and/or internal organs. Given where the pain is, and the blood in my urine, it's likely my kidney and/or bladder. 

These adhesions are not rare...95% of patients with abdominal surgery get them. So it's actually abnormal NOT to get them (and naturally, no one told me this). Whether or not you get them can be hereditary. My dad got them pretty badly, but that was from an emergency surgery from another gunshot wound, not a scheduled laser operation. He told me they were worse than the bullet and the surgery. If these are adhesions I am suffering through, I tend to agree with him.

The problem is that adhesions, on top of being extremely painful, can put you at serious risk...especially if the organ they choose to dryhump is your appendix. Fortunately, the pain isn't from that area, so it's unlikely to be the culprit. Trying to nail down where this pain IS coming from is like the most stressful "Where's Waldo" ever. 

The kicker? The only way to diagnose abdominal adhesions is exploratory surgery...which has a 95% chance of causing adhesions. It's also the only way to treat them. It can also be harder to recover from, as you are opening wounds that have barely healed. The chances of infection are another concern. 

As you can imagine, I am hoping that this isn't adhesions but instead maybe another kidney stone that just feels way worse because I recently had major surgery. Or that it is adhesions, but they have formed on the internal incisions alone and thus don't require surgery, or only require the exploratory surgery to rule out organ adhesions. 

You may have seen advertisements on TV/Internet about the transvaginal mesh. In the majority of those cases, the adhesions formed and caused serious complications when attaching itself and the mesh to an organ. They did not use the mesh in my surgery. 

I won't know more until I see a doctor again. I am really hoping I can hang on that long, as my experience with weekend ER doctors hasn't been stellar (I imagine you remember my "Caligula" experience). 

Naturally, the MS has taken offense to anything claiming superiority in the department of pain in my body, and is making this situation worse. I have a symptom called "MS Hug" which feels like the worst bear hug ever. You feel like your ribs are breaking. Well, the pain I am dealing with now is like my stomach being pulled apart...the exact opposite of the MS Hug. The two are feeding off of each other, and I feel like a living, breathing Stretch Armstrong doll. 


The pain is considerably worse now that the MS has decided to play tug-of-war with my surgical site. 

Please don't be too worried, folks. This is far from rare, and I have incredibly good doctors and surgeons. Even if I have to return to the hospital for more surgery, I am very glad I had this done, especially in the light of all they found. 

I am choosing to look at this adhesion stuff as just part of the healing process from being turned into a eunuch (a little sarcasm there; if I am still capable of telling what could best only be described as "a stressed-out mom version of dad jokes," I figure I am still ahead of the game). 

It is far worse than the surgery itself pain-wise, but again: I am choosing to look at it as just part of the whole process. 

So there you have it. As for how I feel? Between fighting this and the round-the-clock pain meds, I feel completely wiped out. I literally sleep, wake up in pain, take meds, sleep, rinse, repeat.

In other words: I'll be grateful once this passes and I am somewhere other than my bed & bathroom!