Monday, August 11, 2014

Where I Talk About My Lady Parts

...I warned you.

I've been dreaded returning to get my annual gynecological exam because last year's was such a slap in the face.  I don't even know if I wrote about it and now, almost a year later, I'm willing to accept my part in the fallout but, still, jeez, read my freaking chart Doc.

Let me back up.

Like every year you go in and they give you a sheet of paper to fill out.  And it inevitably asks questions like do you have children, what form of birth control do you use, do you want children.  And even though I've jumped off the Reproductive Endocrinologist highway, if you ask me if I still want children, I'M GOING TO CHECK THE BOX.  Am I not supposed to check the box?

Because even though I was 42 years old, overweight, already had 2 operations for infertility related conditions, had 10 IUIs, have 2 new fibroids, the largest measuring 4cm, and had my appendix disintegrated by endometriosis, when my Gyn walked in the room she started talking to me about how IVF was an option to me if I wanted to have a baby.  She didn't even throw in donor eggs, it was just, oh you want to get pregnant, well, geez, you really should, you know.  I walked out of there stunned and a little pissed off.  Later I expressed to Brian that I think there's some sort of marketing/referral thing, the company is ginormous and I can't help but think there's an IVF clinic tied in there somewhere.  And I recognize it's kind of my fault for checking the "do you want children" box.  But this year do I have to make myself not check the box?  It's a little heartbreaking.  I wish the box said, "Have you exhausted all attempts at medically treating infertility?"  Yes, the answer is ab-so-fucking-lutely yes.

And the thing is I need to talk to my doctor.  I'm not ready to roll in there with a quiet pap smear and get out of there.  I'm having real problems and every time I bring it up, this will be the third time, I get the brush off.  I was told the first time, when it becomes a problem then we need to address it.  It ate my appendix, obviously it's a problem!

The past few periods I've had on the second day I have been experiencing a new kind of period pain.  I get this sharp pain in my lower left side that's so bad I have real trouble standing up and I usually yelp in pain.  Each time it happens I consider going to the emergency room, it's that bad.  I'm in pain for about a day, maybe as little as 8 hours or so, and then the next day I'm back to my normal regular awful period pain.  The can only assume it's endometriosis or a really bad fibroid (worse than I've ever had).  I want someone to talk to me about having a hysterectomy. 

I want to know why I wouldn't want to have a hysterectomy.  If any of my readers have had a hysterectomy and can give me some information, I would be very grateful.  I know hormones are an issue, how big of an issue are they?  Are they more of an issue than these terrible periods I'm having?  The last time I discussed this they mentioned Lupron and I don't want to go on Lupron.  I think having another myomectomy would be counter-intuitive at this point and I don't want ablation, I've heard it's painful and doesn't always work.  Why is hysterectomy not on everyone's radar?  Why is it never mentioned?  Is it because of the box?  Because I think everybody should know what you want isn't always in the cards and I'm okay accepting that but I still want to check the box.

11 comments:

  1. I do not fit in the box either. I write notes in the margins.

    You might prefer to work with a male OBGYN because I have found them to be more caring. Or you might consider nurse practitioner if the practice has them. Sometimes they have lighter schedule and are more caring.

    Make a list, write it down, so you have it in your hand and can make it your agenda.

    I ended up with D&C and Ablation. It has held me since 2008. I still have cycles. I am 53. If my pain/heavy bleeding returns, I am having a hysterectomy and not waiting for menopause.

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  2. To be very honest, I was getting brushed off too. I see a psychiatrist who regulates my meds. I see him every 4-6 months. I happened to mention female issues I was having and the fact that I was not getting any help. He was upset on my behalf. He had me switch doctors. He called new doctor to tell him all the problems I had been having. That is the doc that suggested trying D&C and ablation. He said it was worth a try because it is easier surgery. It has to be timed with cycle for maximum effectiveness. He said if that did not work we would just do hysterectomy. My quality of life was being impacted HUGELY and that contributed to my weight problem. When I finally stopped being in pain and bleeding ALL the time! everything started to feel a lot better.

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  3. Good Day,
    I have a lot of the same female junk problems as you...fibroids that bleed all the time, cysts that strangled and killed an ovary, appendix surgery... anyway, I used to take a herbal supplement called Vitex for ten years to help with period pain before my lady problems started and wonder now if taking vitex kept the problems under control. I also went through a stressful time and found taking an adrenal supplement (Adrenal SAP) helped with the physical effects of stress.

    Below is info I found at

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/484095-vitex-menstruation/

    Vitex, also called chaste tree or chasteberry, has been used with varying amounts of success to treat several maladies associated with the menstrual cycle, such as premenstrual syndrome, infertility and absent periods. As with any herbal medication, only take vitex if you are under the care and supervision of a medical doctor to avoid potential complications.
    Premenstrual Syndrome
    Symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, include sore breasts, headache, bloating, depression and anxiety. These usually begin shortly after ovulation and last until your period starts. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and some women have symptoms severe enough to impact their daily lives during the second half of their menstrual cycles. Vitex may help reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, but MayoClinic.com reports that there are very few scientific studies to prove the link between vitex and PMS relief. If you have severe PMS, see your doctor.
    Irregular Periods
    Irregular periods, including absent periods, may be improved by taking vitex, especially if the problem is a high level of the hormone prolactin. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the herb must be taken for 12 to 18 months in order for it to be effective. In some cases, the herb may bring on regular periods after you take it for only six months. If you miss three periods in a row, see your physician.

    http://rmalab.com/medical-laboratory-tests/hormone/adrenal-function-panel

    Adrenal Function/Fatigue
    Everyone experiences stress at times, but how well we cope with stress depends on a number of factors, one of which is hormone balance. The body's experience of stress is carefully mapped out by a series of hormone responses.
    Fight or Flight
    In an extremely stressful situation, the body releases bursts of the hormones cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline to prepare for a “fight or flight” response. High levels of cortisol free up stored energy to help the body physically resist or flee from physical danger.
    Modern-Day Stressors
    Unlike the physical stressors of past centuries, our modern-day stresses tend to be less dramatic, but of longer duration. This means that cortisol levels may stay mildly elevated, resulting in symptoms like feeling tired but wired, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety. Excess cortisol also interferes with the action of other hormones (progesterone, testosterone and thyroid), creating more hormone imbalance and more symptoms.
    Low Cortisol
    With continued stress, the adrenal glands may become depleted from producing too much cortisol or may reduce cortisol production significantly in response to the detrimental effects of high cortisol.
    Symptoms of low cortisol may include fatigue (particularly morning fatigue), increased susceptibility to infection, decreased recovery from exercise, allergies, low blood sugar, burned out feeling, depression and low sex drive. Other adrenal hormones can be affected, particularly aldosterone and DHEA. Low aldosterone may result in reduced sodium and potassium levels. Symptoms of low DHEA are not well defined, although low DHEA is often associated with chronic illness.

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    Replies
    1. The funny part of your comment is I actually have a Chaste Tree that I planted in the front yard of the yellow house. I guess I could cook up some leaves and save some money.

      Some folks are true believers in vitamins and supplements, I am of the other camp and am very wary of taking vitamins. I know it's controversial, people love supplements, but they aren't regulated and frankly, they concern me. I did take Folic Acid for many years though. I looked up Vitex and it looks like you should not take it if you have uterine fibroids (http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/Vitex.htm) so I guess it doesn't matter either way. Thanks for all the information though, I appreciate a little background info.

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    2. I actually stopped taking Vitex because I had taken it for so long and had read some articles about the lack of regulation of supplements and homeopathic meds. After the Vitex was out of my system I began to have problems again which lead to five years of DR visits that did not help and an online search that lead to adrenal dysfunction. These are the only supplements I have ever taken and they helped. If possible do the saliva test
      for adrenal dysfunction. If this is a problem for you a DR can give you a prescription or you can try Adrenal SAP.

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  4. Hey, for different (potential cancer related) reasons, my best friend had a hysterectomy. She kept one ovary--so no hormone replacement. She says it's great--no period issues, no hormone issues. I never knew that was an option, so I thought I'd share. Good luck, it's a big decision either way.

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  5. I think as long as you check the box they might not bring it up and will discourage it. I was older than you, no kids, survived breast cancer and it was always a discussion even though I was pretty certain I wasn't going to carry any kids I might have. So you either need to check no and know it means physically carry them, or write in more words by the box even when there isn't room. I think the hormones aren't necessarily so bad if they keep your ovaries intact. If there is no thought of cancer they can do it laproscopically, which has a relatively quick recovery.

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  6. I think the smart thing to do is think of the box like Kim says, I can't carry them, rather than I wish I could carry them.

    Although I know very little about my situation because doctor's won't discuss it with me (hopefully that will change this year), I'm pretty certain in my case my ovaries would have to go, which is a whole different ballgame than when you keep your ovaries. I have heard of ablation working but I also heard it doesn't always work. Something to discuss with the doctor I guess. Thanks for all your help guys! I love it when you guys help me out.

    It would be nice if SOMETHING could be done laproscopically on me. My appendix left me with 4 scars!

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    Replies
    1. Ablation has to BE TIMED WITH CYCLE TO WORK.

      There is no guarantee it will work for everyone, but the people you know where it did not work, might not have had doctor who made them chart, schedule correctly. Or they might not have listened and just wanted it done immediately.

      If you have any type of procedure, make sure you talk to doctor about positioning to protect your lower back. They sometimes put you in odd positions for convenience of doctor. I had major, long surgery last December and my surgeon and I talked a lot about my back (preventively).

      Are you stuck with this doctor for some reason?

      Go in with a list. If you do not have every question/topic resolved on your list by end of appointment ask for someone (else) to see you.

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    2. I had a doctor I trusted who retired, then I really loved the doctor who helped me through my first miscarriage, then she moved, I liked this lady I've been seeing but the last visit was more an IVF sales pitch than anything else. Another doc in the same group really gave me the brush off when I went to talk to him about endo after my appendix surgery. It's one big group with like 20 doctors, I thought I picked a good one but apparently not. I think I'll ask next time if anyone there specializes in fibroids and endo. For all I know I should maybe go back to my RE who did my myomectomy. I just don't really have any direction, I have to ask more questions. The focus has to get off babies so I have to stop checking that box.

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  7. Wow! It sounds like you need a new doctor, specifically one that specializes endo. Be an advocate for yourself but if you cannot (some times it is hard to be in medical situations) would Brian feel comfortable going with you and being your voice (or is that too weird?)

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