NSFL: uterine artery embolization is horrible and disgusting PART II

16 04 2012

when last we saw our heroine (that’s me), she was smacked out in a hydromorphone haze, leaving her bed only to go to the bathroom (and frequently), get water or juice, or take more pills. i couldn’t walk my dog (trusty nurse zak to the rescue!), put on pants, or eat food of any kind.

at this point, the only major pain was in the gaps between pills if i overslept or forgot. i can’t tell you how many times during those first few days i couldn’t remember whether or not i actually took my pill or not. sort of like those groggy mornings where you can’t remember if you shampooed your hair or not. unfortunately, i would have to err on the side of not taking the pill at all- rather than take a double dose. poisoning myself is a slightly greater concern than too squeaky hair.

but then on tuesday, i sort of woke up. mostly lucid for the first time in days, my first thought was- WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH MY MOUTH?

again, if you’re about to bite into a big sandwich or you want to ask me out on a date- now is the time to debark the story.

now, imagine that you’ve been bedridden  for 4+ days doing nothing but sip juice and pop pills to stay alive. when you finally do wake up and realize that you haven’t brushed your teeth since friday (now tuesday), and that there are some sort of gummy particles falling off your tongue. a quick mirror check will reveal that your entire mouth is covered in crusty white blobs.

a panicked bout of vigorous teeth and tongue brushing would result in the following:

1. a sink full of blood.

2. a tongue mostly devoid of tastebuds.

a panicked call to my doctor yields another doctor’s appointment and a prescription for a vile tasting viscous yellow liquid that i’m supposed to “swish and swallow”, but that i immediately barf into the sink instead. i make the compromise of squirting it on my tongue in tiny microdoses, and hoping that some of it eventually makes its way into my throat. it seems to be working.

on a hilarious sidenote, i decide to walk to the cvs a few blocks away to pick up my prescription and to get some fresh air. at one point in my life, i distinctly remember swearing that i would never go out in public in my pajama pants. so to anyone who saw someone who looked like me, in a pair of blue and white striped sweatpants shuffling drunkenly down forest ave on wednesday afternoon- YOU SAW NOTHING. but seriously, for a brief moment in time, i was officially one of the creepy/crazy people at the pharmacy that you actively try to avoid.

but back to our story…

while i’m battling it out with my disgusting mouth infection, i notice something else strange. despite being able to finally down more than just juice (though not much more), and despite dutifully taking the “stool softeners” twice a day, i have not pooped for 5 days. i panic.

i also start having low grade fevers (100ish degrees) in the gaps between my pills. and then as soon as take the pills i am jetted into menopause worthy hot flashes/sweats. i panic some more.

when i call my doctor to follow up on these new and alarming symptoms, she promises that she will call my surgeon to check and make sure there is nothing to worry about. she never calls back.

the next day, i call. i think the pills make me extra crazy and frantic, because every time i try to talk to a medical professional who doesn’t give me a straight answer, i fall apart. i cried on the phone no fewer than 3 times in 2 days. i’m positive that the front desk lady at my doc’s office has written: EMOTIONALLY UNSTABLE somewhere on my chart. i should probably find a new doctor after this.

a direct email to the surgeon yielded a more satisfactory result. i guess “post embolization syndrome” is a thing where you get a fever while your fibroids are dying. because i had so many big ‘uns, i guess i get extra fever fun days. i am told not to worry about the pooping. it will “work itself out”. GROSS.

well, it’s been 10 days. and for the first time since the morning before my surgery, i actually feel like a normal person. i did dishes. i changed my sheets. i took my dog for a walk in the sunshine. i ate peanut butter cups for lunch.

now that my pain is under control and my tastebuds have started to grow back, i guess the biggest problem i will face for up to the next month is the intermittent exhaustion. i’ll feel totally normal for a while, and then i’ll have to go lie down for 2 hours. i’m scared to start work tomorrow. i’m scared to go to the grocery store. as much as i want to launch back into my old go-go lifestyle right now, i know i’m not quite cooked yet. one really good day is great, but it’s still only one day.

consider this the temporary end of my vile little fairy tale. i know it was probably awkward and embarrassing to read, but i wanted to make sure that anyone who goes through this surgery actually knows how it is. obviously, it is different for everyone, but my ridiculous account is at least better than: I almost knew immediately that the procedure had made a difference. It was night and day. (fuck you testimonial lady)

i have no idea if it worked. i lost 6 pounds, and my abdomen is still as hard and protruding and lopsided as ever. i definitely have to pee less- which is pretty weird, because i thought that was just something about me that was unchangeable. but it will take at least 2-6 months before i know if it worked at all. i’ll let you know.

but maybe for now, we could think about something else for a while.


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8 responses

16 04 2012
Miss Catherine

Oh, lady. To say this was an ordeal is an understatement. Proud of you for getting out there in your pajama pants! There’s no shame in that. And if you ever want someone to take you to the grocery store, I’m in. Even if you wear the pajama pants again. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo!!!!

17 04 2012
Amy

I admit I am interested in your account because I’ve wondered if I should “do something” about this bag of rocks I feel like I’ve been carrying in my abdomen for the last 15 years. I’ve been in menopause for two years now, and that definitely helped the achyness, but I’m waiting for the fibroids to “shrink” as the doctors ( well, the Internet ) says they will.

19 04 2012
Gerry

wow, so sorry to hear this was awful! Sounds like a nightmare, but am glad this is behind you. At least, most of it is behind you. right? All downhill from here? Geesh, I really hope so. You have surely earned some good karma now!
-Gerry

22 04 2012
bessmarvin

thanks gerry! do you get karma for going through a lot of pain? i don’t think so, but maybe i should pretend :D i am finally puffing back up though, i give myself 80% normal for this week, and i’m hoping for 90% next. the big question is whether or not the surgery actually worked. i don’t want to wait 2-6 months!

21 04 2012
Hina

I have not laughed this hard since last Monday when I went through my own embolization. Everything you described i had (except the mouth thing). But i still cant poop… Almost two weeks later… 1 bowel movement only. Stomach cramps, back ache and yecky discharge also continues. So how are your bowels?

22 04 2012
bessmarvin

i’m so glad that other embolizees are finding this! i don’t know anyone else that has had it done. i’m sorry to hear about your pooping problems! i couldn’t poop for 5 days, and then things evened out. although i had the opposite problem for a few days after i started trying to eat normal food. terrible things happened when i ate some soy chicken nuggets before going to a dance concert. TERRIBLE THINGS! i also got a totally sweet yeast infection. FML.

23 04 2012
Carmen Cormier

Thanks for your story…I go for mine on the 25th.

10 05 2012
bessmarvin

well, how did it go?

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