DAY 18: August 3rd. The Beginning of the End
How to Avoid Multiple Surgeries and Long Stays in a Hospital Bed—if You Can.
Often I look at this experience and think, thank God, I survived and that this will never happen again. But how does anyone know for sure how to keep illness at bay? As I have mentioned before, there were several things I could have done to prevent this episode in my life altogether.
I could have taken the advice of a doctor ten years earlier when I they warned me about my fibroids and told to get a hysterectomy.
When I had surgery a few years later to eliminate the fibroids, I could have been proactive and made sure they were never growing back.
How? I could have eaten a better diet.
I should have had regular check-ups with the doctor who performed the surgery.
When my primary care physician said they grew back and were large. I should have taken action.
In hindsight, this is what would have prevented the hysterectomy. The surgery I was fighting for ten years not to have and now needed to save my life.
A Call To Action
This happens when you think there is no other way. And this was my thinking when first told about the fibroids. My unwillingness to have body parts taken from me called me to action. I found several non-invasive surgery options I could have. I took my chances.
That was not a mistake.
The mistake was in not keeping tabs on the fibroids. The mistake was when they returned. I sat back and hoped my menstrual cycle would end and so would the growth of these fibroids. There is no one to blame here. I could blame myself, but I knew the risks of the other surgery options.
From the beginning, they informed me this option meant the fibroids could still return. The Uterine Ablation surgical procedure would burn them down, yet they would not be removed from my body completely.
You can put out a fire with water, but if gasoline remains around to ignite, the chance that another fire could erupt is possible.
I was optimistic. I thought I could skirt around a hysterectomy and still rid my body of these fibroids. Reality won out over fantasy.
While I waited for doctors to come and see me, this visit was like the last. Someone came in and performed an ultrasound examination on my left and right leg. The left leg was beyond recognition now. It was huge, from the foot to the top of my thigh. My tight skin showed large pores on the front and back of my thigh.
When the decisions roll in…
Unlike the previous visits, those attending my chart knew I needed to be seen and taken care of as soon as possible. I was not in any pain when lying down. I only felt pain in the left leg when I stood or tried to walk.
Two doctors came in back to back. The attending physician and a Hematologist/Oncologist specialist. The look on their faces and tones in their voices said it all.
They admitted me to the hospital. They took me to my room within an hour. I had never felt so relieved and thankful. Someone had listened to me. The pain was not all in my head. This was the beginning of a road of healing.
Still, I was scared. I had no idea what would come next.
Before the day was over, the doctors had returned. They issued me their prognosis. They agreed. The DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) in the left leg could result from having Covid during the same week of the appendectomy. They were not sure. What they were sure of was a hysterectomy would rid my body of the fibroids and should open my veins, leaving them clear to distribute blood back into my leg, enabling circulation, which momentarily seems cut off due to very large fibroids blocking blood flow.
At least this is how I heard it when I was told what should happen next. A visit from the OBGYN team and then a list of surgeries.
The surgery (Venus Thrombectomy) was to remove as many blood clots as they could. I would have two of these surgeries within my two-week stay at Queen Emma Clinics.
I had decided. I could not escape the much needed hysterectomy. There was no need to call anyone and ask for a second opinion. Not now. It was too late. But I wish I had waited on the appendectomy and seen a physician to discuss the hysterectomy options.
Shoulda, coulda, woulda. These are the things and the choices that sit with us. I will not lie. I put all my faith in God to see me through this journey. He did. But not in the way I expected or hoped. Sometimes that is just what we have to do, hope for the best, and pray for the rest.
Do Not Look Back with Regret
Looking back, I should have spoken with my primary about other options other than a hysterectomy, if there were any. My first thought was to wait on the surgery, despite everything was a good one. I would not have survived my first year in the PhD program at Manoa otherwise. And though I have no intention of returning to a PhD program anytime soon, I now realize with the side effects that come with losing your female organs, I would not have lasted through the fall semester.
And I am grateful for the year I had at Manoa. I met some great people and started wonderful writing projects that I always wanted to dive into and finish. It is still hard to concentrate for long periods of time. So, my writing projects are still waiting for me, but I have them on my radar.
When everyone left my hospital room, I sat there in silence, watching the sunset from my window. I knew I would be okay. The doctors at Queens Emma Clinic were thorough with me and their diagnosis. They held experience in their warm, caring faces, and I knew I could put my trust in them.
After all, I had put my trust in God all this time and that trust brought me here–to them. Finally, I could let go and let God.
They issued me a blood thinner. My leg would heal in no time. I swallowed my pride and let the well-trained hospital staff take care of me.
Hospital food–bring it on! No streaming television—Marvel superheroes bring it on!!
The OBGYN team will come in any minute and confirm the doctor’s decision, and here we go. I will be home in a week. The leg will heal as fast as Covid disappeared. My second chance will begin ASAP.
Or so I thought.