A prophylactic bilaterial salpingo-oophorectomy.
Officially, my fallopian tubes and both of my ovaries have been removed. And, I’m officially in medically induced menopause. And, I’ve drastically reduced my risk of ovarian cancer.
Today is Day 4, and it’s the first time I’m writing. For the past few days, I’ve managed to put out a few brief Facebook posts, but that’s about it. So, let me put this in a bit of perspective: 1) After I gave birth, I was “live tweeting” through contractions and even announced the birth of my kids in near real time; 2) less than a week after delivering my third child, I was at work training 25 students in leadership development; 3) after my mastectomy, with little use of my chest muscles, I wrote a post using my mobile phone and thumbs about my progress; 4) I was standing and snapping selfies of my mastectomy outfit and cracking jokes (I’ll leave the funniness meter up to you); 5) four days after gall bladder surgery, I hosted an outside speaker and an art workshop at work.
But, today. Today is Day 4 of my post-oophorectomy. And, I’m mustering up all my strength to write this.
It’s not necessarily that the surgery was difficult. Heck, the average morning shower takes longer than my surgical procedure. Three incisions, snip-snip-coterize, pull my parts through a bag and out of my body, and sew me up. That’s all. Yet, this surgery has left me exhausted and in pain beyond my own tolerance. Yes, I’m on top of my medication. No, I’m not bleeding or infected or anything.
It just hurts.
The actual trip to the hospital, and the preparations leading up to it, were fairly uneventful. I’m thankful to have prepared quite a bit in advance – bought a huge refillable jug of water to keep bedside, pre-made a few dinner options, and prepared ice packs for post-surgery. I laid out all of my stretchy pants and loaded up the bed with lots of pillows.
In the days leading up to surgery, I was pretty okay. I was fine driving into the hospital and fine even getting poked and prodded before surgery. As the surgical time neared, I said goodbye to my husband, and began the long wheeled journey to the operating room.
That’s when it happened.
I began to cry. For the first time since I decided to have surgery, I cried. As the nurse turned the corner into the operating corridor, I heard someone say, “Get her some tissues.” I sobbed. “It’s been a long day,” I said to the person handing me the tissues. “It’s been a long journey.” Soon after, I was asleep. The next thing I remember was a voice yelling for me to breathe.
Today, I’m just trying to get through the pain. Now, when my older sister had her surgery, she was up and about. She went out to lunch 3 days post-op. She moved easily from room to room. Me? I can’t stand up straight. I have a really high pain tolerance, yet I can’t get out of bed without wincing.
I’m not sure if it’s the surgery, the hormonal crash, or just the natural course of things, but I’m also sleepless. I can’t fall asleep before midnight, am up by 6am, and awake all day.
Needless to say, I’m looking forward to this passing – to the day, soon, when I can get in and out of bed without my eyes welling up in tears; when I can stand up straight; and when I can move without first Lamaze breathing (who ever knew THAT would come in handy again!). Thankfully, the amazing Jorge is here, and he is both enduring my screams of pain AND my annoying desire to pretend this is Downton Abbey and ask him to “draw the curtains” and “fetch my tea.” Poor bugger.
Once I get past all of the medication, I’ll begin my course of hormones, a routine I’ll keep for the next 12-15 years. I realize this all shall pass soon, and the pain will be a distant memory. Until then, thanks for your support, emails and notes!
Peace, love, and realizing I’ve spelled “oophorectomy” wrong for, like, 6 years,