“I think menopause is like childbirth. Once you are on the other side all the gory details quickly recede from memory.” – Tracey: April 17, 2019
So I had my follow up appointment with my doctor and it went very well. For one thing she explained about how in the last appointment she could really only do the pap smear because the insurance company won’t let you schedule one appointment for two things, like talk about menopause and a pap smear.
So we had a good talk about all my symptoms (which I had written down and she made a copy of) and she did the biopsy and scheduled me for an ultrasound later in the week. And she said we will see a lot of each other until we get things figured out.
ONE WEEK LATER
I get my results back from various tests:
- My FSH level is now 12. (Up from 6.7 last time, down from 22 two years ago.)
- My ultrasound showed three fibroids.
- My ultrasound also showed a 7mm thick lining of the uterus indicating I am not in menopause.
- My biopsy showed polyp cells.
MY INITIAL REACTIONS
- Considering how bitchy I feel right now I am sure another FSH test today would be back in the 20’s.
- Oh, these must be the culprits of all my woes!
- What? I never thought I was in menopause.
- What? I thought I was being tested for endometrial cancer.
REACTIONS AFTER SOME THINKING AND A BIT MORE RESEARCH
- FSH is not rational. And how does one manage Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) if your levels are all over the place?*
- Something like 70% of women have fibroids and mine seem pretty small (if I remember correctly) so probably not an issue.*
- Ah, I think the doctor was making sure I wasn’t in menopause and all the bleeding was caused by polyps/fibroids. It would be pretty funny (not) if I actually was in menopause already and just didn’t know it.
- Well, maybe I was tested for cancer too but she was looking for polyps which she found. Am I the only one who hears biopsy and thinks cancer? *
I am writing down all my questions so I don’t forget anything.*
ONE WEEK BEFORE THE NEXT APPOINTMENT
I must confess I think I am secretly hoping she says, yup, you need a hysterectomy. How does May 20th sound? (After bowling season ends and just before school lets out.) Perfect. And then we’ll set you up with HRT and by Flag Day (June 14th) you’ll be right as rain. But I am pretty sure major surgery is not going to be the first option.
My biggest fear is that I will spend months/years being miserable while various drugs and uncomfortable procedures are carried out and in the end I end up getting a hysterectomy anyway.
In the meantime I am surviving one day at a time. I’ll watch “Poirot” and work in my sketchbook and listen to Cubs baseball.
AFTER THE APPOINTMENT
It was a good visit despite being 30 minutes late. My doctor had two patients in labor so I didn’t get upset. Even crazy hormonal me can’t be mad at tiny babies trying to be born. And once the appointment started she was very focused and explained everything. I got all my questions answered and we have decided on a course of treatment: I am getting a hysterectomy!
I have a large polyp in a bad place and something about a clearly visible blood vessel feeder. So that is why I am having such long/heavy bleeding. I could just have the polyp removed but then I couldn’t have HRT and there is a chance I would just get another polyp. I can’t have HRT because of the fibroids. They are small now but HRT may make them grow and then they would cause bleeding.
By having the hysterectomy I can have HRT for my other symptoms. I won’t have to worry about uterine cancer (another potential HRT risk), fibroids or polyps and no more periods!
Once the insurance company gives the okay I will schedule the operation. It is done robotically, four small incisions, one night in the hospital and about 2 weeks recovery time. I won’t be able to drive for a week or two or swim for four to six weeks. I am dithering between before or after our planned summer vacation.
After the surgery my doctor and I can figure out the HRT. Apparently the FSH level is ignored and she goes strictly by symptoms. So it sounds like there may be some trial and error there.
There is a plan, an end in sight. I am sure once I schedule the surgery and it gets closer other feelings will be generated but for now I will enjoy my feeling of relief.