A couple of day later, the doctor gave me my options. I thought very hard about the reconstructive surgery but the prospect of no longer having any more pain won out. I decided on the hysterectomy and oophorectomy.
The GYN told me I would not miss my periods but I would experience changed orgasms. Okay, let’s get that puppy out!
Scott had asked me to wait until his vacation, the first two weeks in July, so he would be available to help me out. So, I waited six months for the surgery. Every day was pain, bloating, and very uncomfortable.
I remember the aftermath of the surgery as though it was yesterday. I woke and there was no pain. The day after the nurse sat me in a chair while she changed the bed. In the middle of this she apologized for forgetting my pain shot. I said, “I’m not in pain. For the first time in years there’s no pain. Just soreness along the incision.”
My primary care doctor came in and sat down. He apologized for not hearing me when I said I was in pain. (I am just too quiet and don’t always force medical personnel to pay attention to my problems. This would explain why no one had helped me before the GYN.) He explained I had lost about a pint of blood and would feel weak for a while, but that was normal. He then promised to listen more carefully to me in the future. (And he did, I saw him for a total of 30 years before we had to change insurance programs and go with an HMO.)
I had my first hot flash 48 hours after the surgery while walking the hospital corridors with Scott and Selene. The only real pain I had was from my bowels beginning to work again. That gas was so severe I would pace the entire hospital, go back to my room, and be thankful I didn’t have a roommate. My nurses brought me prune juice at least three times a day.
When I got home, I began to feel better fast. Of course it didn’t help that Scott’s project while I was recuperating was to gut the bathroom and start over. We had a half bath where I took sponge baths. My savior was my friend Kathi who would pick me up every other day and allow me to shower at her house. Heaven on a stick!
When I went back to the GYN for a checkup, he was called out of the room. I went through my file and found a picture of my uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. They were so miss shaped. I could see the many tumors and cysts that were in my uterus and all over my ovaries. The tissue removed weighed 17 pounds! The doctor thought I would be shocked but no, I was more curious than anything else. He explained that he had had to scrap endometrial tissue from all over my abdominal cavity. I had one of the worst cases of endometriosis he had ever seen.
Well, here I was, no more pain, no more PMS, no more orgasm. Yeah, I thought he said, “A change in orgasms.” So I went back. Plus, I had lost interest in sex completely. He tried hormone therapy. Still nothing. It was about a year after the surgery that the GYN moved away. When I went to my primary physician with my libido problems he said sometimes watching porn helps. Well, uh, I love my husband and I really do want to participate; yeah, I’ll give it a try. It worked and what is what counts. Eventually I began to respond without the porn and things got back to pretty much normal. By the way, a woman’s uterus is a significant factor in her orgasm. Removing it changes her orgasm and it does take time for her to get used to these very different feelings.
Throughout this whole story I cannot tell you the emotional duress I had. During the cramping I would sob and cry out to God to let me pass out so I would not have to endure the pain! I would pray as to why I had to suffer. I saw my mother, my friends going about their daily business and yet I was bedridden every month for 12 to 24 hour! Why?
“What was the pain like,” you may ask? As I have found out from my friends, my cramps were as bad as labor. When Scott passed a couple of kidney stones his doctor explained that his pain was akin to tabor. A few years after that, I passed a gallstone. We got to talking about the pain and I explained that the gallstone was no more painful than my cramps. That stopped Scott in his tracks. The only difference between the gallstone and cramps was I knew the cramps would eventually end.
In the next and last installment, I will document my emotions during the 15 years of infertility.