Friday, June 3, 2011
Well since Judgment Day didn't come May 21, 2011 as predicted (shocker), my surgery was a go on May 24th, 2011.
Yep, they just had to cut a sista. I had fibroid tumor in my uterus that was causing monthly mayhem and menopause can't get here quick enough for me, so it had to be removed. If you're an African-American female and don't know what a fibroid tumor is, you need only ask your mom, aunt, sister, cousin or friend. I could go on because that's how prevalent they are among black women. According to The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 80 % of black women will develop benign uterine fibroid tumors by their late 40s. Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that develop in the uterus. The cause is entirely unknown. However, fibroid growth seems to depend on the hormone estrogen and family history is also a big factor.
There are different options for treating fibroids. I chose to have a Myomectomy, in which a small incision is made at the bikini line, the fibroid(s) removed from the uterus, leaving the uterus intact so that a woman can still bear children. I'm 42 with no children and felt I wanted leave that option open.
I wasn't a total ball of nerves about the surgery itself. I was just ready to get it over with and get my prescription pain killers. I like to affectionately call them "happy pills".
I did have a little pre-surgery paranoia, which I attribute to my love of psychological thrillers. Specifically those that take place in hospitals. First there's the general anesthesia. I mean just thinking about the "state of unconsciousness and loss of protective reflexes" is a bit terrifying. That coupled with the fact that anytime you are "put under" there is a chance, albeit rare, that you may not come out. And also if you've seen the movie "Awake", where the guy experiences "anesthetic awareness” and awakens during surgery to feel everything. Apparently that's rare also, but can you imagine the horror of that. I spoke to the anesthesiologist before the surgery and he was very assuring, so I relaxed on that a little. So then of course I just had to ask what operating room they were taking me to. I asked because I was praying that it wasn't room number eight, but of course it was. How uncanny is that? If you have ever seen the movie "Coma", then you know that was the room number where they would take patients to put them into comas and harvest their organs to sell on the black market. See, I told you.
The second procedure that unnerved me was being intubated. I have television hospital dramas to thank for that one. That's when a tube is inserted in your airway when you're unconscious or unable to breathe on your own. They wait until you are sedated and remove the tube before you come out, so you are totally unaware of the procedure, but it's very disconcerting to even think about having a tube down your throat.
But all of that anxiety fades as soon and they roll you into the operating room and administer the anesthesia, you don't remember being nervous at all. In fact, you don't remember anything because all of a sudden you're awake and the attendants are transporting you to your hospital room, with a catheter, a support garment and a medication pump with morphine for the pain. You have no sense that any time has lapsed. It's all over. I had a hospital stay of two days.
So now I'm home on medical leave recovering for six weeks, doctor's orders. I'm not feeling as debilitated as I thought I might. I'm still experiencing a little numbness and soreness in the area of my incision, but I'm told that is normal and will take a while to totally subside. The only thing I worry about now are the growth of new fibroids. I've read different studies and most report that fibroids that have been removed through a myomectomy do not come back, but a uterus that grew fibroids once is prone to developing new ones. Recurrence rates vary, but are believed to be around 20 to 40%.