More on the Rock

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:

  1. My FSH level is now 12. (Up from 6.7 last time, down from 22 two years ago.)
  2. My ultrasound showed three fibroids.
  3. My ultrasound also showed a 7mm thick lining of the uterus indicating I am not in menopause.
  4. My biopsy showed polyp cells.

MY INITIAL REACTIONS

  1. Considering how bitchy I feel right now I am sure another FSH test today would be back in the 20’s.
  2. Oh, these must be the culprits of all my woes!
  3. What? I never thought I was in menopause.
  4. What? I thought I was being tested for endometrial cancer.

REACTIONS AFTER SOME THINKING AND A BIT MORE RESEARCH

  1. FSH is not rational. And how does one manage Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) if your levels are all over the place?*
  2. Something like 70% of women have fibroids and mine seem pretty small (if I remember correctly) so probably not an issue.*
  3. 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.
  4. 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.*

From the on-line ‘Sketchbook Revival’ I am participating in.

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.

I don’t know why but I am absurdly happy with this sketch.

Freaky Friday

When last we left our intrepid heroine she was bravely surviving the Great Heat Wave and courageously conquering the Epic Computer Build of 2017. Let us back up in time, to Friday, the day before all the computer parts arrived.

I finally left the house despite the continuing heat wave. I had no choice, I had three images to be taken at Radiology Ltd.  Let me say I have never encountered anyone who works there that was less than pleasant, friendly and competent.  It is a very comfortable place to have images taken. And I scored a covered parking space.  You have no idea what a difference shade makes when you climb into a car sitting out in temperatures well over 100°. (Or maybe you do and you realize what a big deal this is!)

First up, the pelvic ultrasound.  I ignored the instructions to drink 40 ounces of water one hour before my appointment and thereby avoided the embarrassment of peeing all over myself and/or the technician.  Instead I drank my normal amount of morning water and then right before I left the house I peed, drank 8 ounces of water and then sipped a few more ounces on the drive to the appointment.  My bladder was full enough for imaging but not so full as to be painful.  And as soon as we were done the technician took me straight to the restroom without being asked.  Perfect!

Then she walked me over to have my hands x-rayed as I had time before my mammogram appointment. The hand x-rays took no time at all.  Then I was escorted to mammography where I had a bit of a wait.  Part of that was due to the scheduling and part due to the fact they were running a bit behind.  It happens. I had my book and access to a bathroom (yes, of course I needed to pee again) so the wait wasn’t bad.

And the technician was good. And the room was warm.  In the past I have had some very painful mammograms.  My breasts are very dense so sometimes they feel the need to really crank down on the machine.  This one did not do that for which I am very thankful.

And I walked out the door less than two hours later thinking, gee that wasn’t bad at all!

Those flower seeds I planted in February are somehow surviving the heat!

But wait…the day got even better.  After the imaging I had arranged to drop my car off at Jack Furrier up the street from my house.  For months and months (okay, more than a year) I have had a shimmy in the steering wheel between 50-55 mph.  I diagnosed the wheels needed balancing and maybe I was missing a wheel weight. When I went to pick the car up I was told the problem was actually a leaking valve stem in the left front tire.  Now I knew the tire had developed a slow leak and we kept putting air in it but I had kind of forgotten that. Well, they fixed the valve stem, re-inflated the tire and that solved the shimmy problem. AND THEY DIDN’T CHARGE ME FOR IT!  Not a dime.  Thank you Jack Furrier.

My cantaloup plants are hanging in there.

This is the larger of two teeny cantaloups. I am not giving up hope just yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So a day I had been dreading turned out to be not only not so bad, but kind of good. Life is funny like that.