Saturday, May 28, 2011

Boobs & Boredom

In between daydreaming about being a mommy, I stare myself down in the mirror and say, "Self, why are your boobs so small?"

In the weeks leading up to my robotic myomemctomy, I often told my mother that if I didn't wake up with a working reproductive system, I'd at least like some bigger boobs. She told me the doctor would probably need more money AND warning to make that little dream come true. 

I'm not writing this up to have a self-hate moment. What GOD gave me is not whack. I'm pretty healthy, I don't think I was born the wrong gender and I don't look like big foot. However, sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I had a c-cup instead of a no-cup...I mean an a-cup (which I magically turn into a b cup. Oh yes, honey. It can be done). 

I've thought about this since my college years. I often joke and say when my husband gets rich, he'll buy my boobs.  The truth is even if he became a millionaire, I'd still be a no-cup.  It's not because I'm too cheap...after all, I want a $175 pair of Tori Burch flats. It's just that...I'm simply too scared to do it. It's just not worth it to go dangerously close to death, which is what I consider surgery, for something cosmetic. (Just because I think that now, doesn't mean I won't change my mind someday.)

Sooo...I'll spend the rest of my least the foreseeable future... wondering if a c-cup has the power to change my life.  I'll also be hoping that I have a healthy daughter who has everything I have in life AND MORE. That includes a Ph.D. and a c-cup. 

Here We Go Again

It's starting again--my obsession. Last night I had a bit of a belly ache. As I tried to figure out what caused it, guess what creeped into my mind? Pregnancy...yes, pregnancy. I thought about it all. night.long. 

I didn't realize that one of the blessings of my surgery was peace of mind. I couldn't worry about the possibility of pregnancy because I knew it couldn't happen.

But now, my three months are over and my imagination can run wild again. I have to be honest, linking last night's belly ache to possible pregnancy was pretty irrational.  I am likely going to drive myself nuts...more nuts than I already am.  

I have to somehow keep my focus off reproduction, yet on it-- and I really don't know how I'll do it. (I'm tearing up as I write this) I really don't want this to consume me again. I was feeling sooo good and positive.  Now I'm getting scared and depressed again. Nothing makes me feel worse than losing or failure. I am a master at avoiding things that could lead me to those two evils. But this...this I can't seem to shake and it is truly shaking me. 

I'll fight it though. I refuse to let it consume me. I've got bigger things to worry about, like getting a permanent job so I can buy myself a $175 pair of Tori Burch shoes. 

What's the lesson in this? When the important things become too much to bear, focus on something dumb--and cute-- to get you through it:-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Do The Robot! (my surgery)

Soooo...I had to take off from work the day BEFORE the surgery (robotic myomectomy). Dr. A put me on a liquid diet. That meant no solids and only clear liquids, plus I had to drink some stuff to clear my bowels.

CHICKEN...all I could think of was chicken. I didn't know how I would survive this diet and I was only about an hour in. I took a moment to google why a doctor would choose to torture me just a day before he planned to cut me open. Once I learned that they needed the bowels clear to make sure there would be no "contamination" during the actual surgery,  I got the strength to make it through the "clear diet."

On the day of surgery I was feeling good. Two of my favorite people were by my side-- my mother and my husband. We arrived at the hospital two hours before the operation, as the doctor scheduled.

CHICkEN WAS STILL ALL I COULD THINK OF, but the "REAL STUFF" was under way. A nurse came in to put in my IV. She made two attempts and said she couldn't do it. Not only were my veins small, but they had all but disappeared because I stopped drinking liquids at 8 the night before, as the doctor ordered. Lucky for her AND me she was beyond nice and gentle, so I wasn't freaked out.  I wasn't even freaked out when the second nurse came in and pretty much spanked my hand to make my veins appear. Moments later, the IV was in and I was good to go.

A string of doctors came in to talk to me and my peeps (mom and hubby). Just as I was about to cry a bit, the anestisiologist came in. Since I don't cry in front of strangers, I sucked it up. My mom and hubby left and I was given something to relax. Next thing I knew, two guys wheeled me down the hall and into an operating room. They told me to move over a bit and *snap* I  was out.

When I woke up, I heard a voice call me angle face and saw the inside of the recovery room. I thought I should be able to get up and go. My mom and hubby were back in the room, but I couldn't leave.

The doctor completed a robotic myomectomy on me. He made five incisions across my abdomen so that my stomach resembled Tupac and his "thug life" tattoo. During the time I was knocked out, he removed two fibroids. One of which had a baby fibroid trying to grow out of it.   So technically, that brought my total to three. In all, they weighed a half pound, which sucks. I was 10 pounds over weight, not a half pound (lol).  But in all seriousness, Dr. A said if i am able to get pregnant, i will deliver by c-section because of the big incision he made at the back of my uterus. Oh..he also told me I'd have to give my uterus three months to recover before I could try to conceive again.

As I stood up in the recovery room, I didn't know any of that. All I knew is that I couldn't move as fast as I wanted and I needed to pee. They wouldn't release me, until I peed. I had a major breakdown, which I thoroughly believe was related to all the drugs in my system.

I freaked out after the nurse gave me peanut butter and crackers. My mouth was dry and the peanut butter stuck to my mouth. I COULD NOT handle it. I totally lost it, but mom and hubby took it in stride. They calmed me down, gave me water and got me back in bed.

From there, I needed to pee. BUT I COULDN'T!!!  It took about four hours.  The nurse scanned me with a machine to make sure I had something in my bladder. I finally took my iPhone to the potty. Believe it or not, reading facebook helped me to relax and pee (hooray!)

Needless to say, I was no longer thinking about chicken.  About three days passed before I could think of food again.

A traditional myomectomy takes six to eight weeks to recover from and you have to stay in the hospital overnight. A robotic one takes two to four weeks and you don't stay in the hospital overnight. But don't get it twisted like I did---it is surgery. I took large doses of ibuprofen for two weeks to fight off inflammation, plus I had oxycodone for moments when the pain was too much. Lucky for me, I only needed two or three of those for my entire recovery.

I was taking small walks by the end of the first week after my surgery. By week two, I was bored and wanted to go back to work. I returned to work on week three and learned I was not 100%, but I was about 80%. Truth be told, it probably wouldn't have hurt me to take three weeks off matter how boring it would have been.

All in all, it went ok. I'm finally three months post op. At the time of the surgery, my uterus was the size of a 16-week pregnant woman and I had a pouchy looking stomach. Now, my belly is back to a normal size.

I can start trying to conceive next month, but I'm nervous and scared. I don't know if I'll actually start trying.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Meeting Mr. Miracle (ok..the doctor)

I prayed for this surgery. I prayed for it. I went in to meet the recommended surgeon in January knowing full well that I would be leaving the state in April. I needed a miracle to actually trust this surgeon and get a date for the operation.

My appointment was on MLK day. This happened to be the first year that my job was actually acknowleding it as a paid holiday, so I didn't have to take a sick day (hooray!).

As I drove to the hospital, I told my mother that if this doctor was scary, looked like Dr. Death or smelled, he was not going to get a chance to cut me open.   I had already looked at his picture on the internet and let me tell you, his chances of getting me on the operating table were looking slim.

With that said, I approached our first appointment with as much positivity as I could. I felt like I spent a lot of time in a room waiting for him. I passed the time by playing Scrabble on my iPad. He caught me mid game and to my surprise, was quite interested.  It turns out that he loves playing the game with his wife(that touched my heart).

I was thinking, "ok, this guy is down to earth and he is far better looking in person." That Internet picture didn't do him any justice, but there was one problem-- he looked really young to me. BUT..he knew his stuff.

He looked over my MRI, felt me up (you know--the usual "down there" examination) and determined that I was an excellent candidate for a robotic myomectomy. During that time he called me tiny. Yup, he said I was so tiny that he wanted to make sure my torso was big enough for him to use the robot.

Well after that, he could do no wrong. He called me tiny when I was nowhere near it. He went on to tell me that not only was he concerned about the fibroid obstructing my cervix, but he feared the smaller one was blocking any chance of a miracle egg implantation because it was growing in the most desirable part of my baby-cooker (uterus).

Because he is a pioneer with the use of robotics in gynecology, his surgery schedule was packed. He told me that the earliest he could get me in was March. However, he would try to get me in earlier if there was a cancellation.

After many schedule changes and lots of prayer, I was blessed with a surgery date of February 25th. That meant I could get it before our move and before we lost our insurance because of my husband's job change. Thank You, Lord!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dye-ing for Answers (HSG)

I got all geared up for this HSG (or the dye test). You're injected with dye to give doctors a look at your reproductive system. I watched women get it many times on the Discovery Health channel.  In nearly all the cases, the women became pregnant shortly after the test because the pressure from the dye cleared up minor blockage in their Fallopian tubes. 

I'll let you in on a little secret: I was pretty sure the dye test would cure me. I thought I was like those women on TV. Uhm, yeah...I was wrong. 

So I'll tell you how the test worked. I took some antibiotics a couple of days before the actual test, then I took 600 mg of ibuprofen right before my appointment. 

I walked in and was told to change into a gown and put a little hat on my head. I looked hilarious. It's the normal shower cap looking thing they make you wear for procedures, but I cracked myself up in it. I even texted a picture to my hubby so he could laugh too. 

Several minutes later, I was walked into the room. I was told to lie on a table and put my feet in the stirrups.  While Dr. J worked "down there" another woman was on the side of me watching the monitor and warning me when the pain would be at its worst.

Ok..let's take a minute and address the pain. I don't know if the ibuprofen was working or what, but it wasn't that bad. It wasn't a walk in the park, but I survived. It felt like an intense burning sensation when Dr. J inserted the dye "down there." BUT I didn't freak out because unlike a menstrual cramp, I knew the pain would stop very soon. 

Here was my problem: THE DYE KEPT LEAKING OUT. I never got to see if my tubes were clear and I basically went through the test three times.  My largest fibroid was distorting my cervix. Who needs a condom or birth control when the sperm can't get through the cervix? (Prepare yourself for TMI) This moment connected so many dots for me. I never knew my huge puddle after sex wasn't normal. 

This test made it clear to Dr. J that I needed to remove the fibroids. She felt there was a real danger that if I got pregnant, the fibroids would terminate the pregnancy.  

Ladies and Gentlemen, I was on track for a date with the inside of an operating room.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Getting Back on the Bike

Finally, nearly a year after giving up on having a child, I started looking for an infertility expert or an Reproductive endocrinologist. The doctor I chose was a New Yorker in Orlando. I loved her accent and her straightforward nature. 

When she examined me, she could feel the fibroid. I think it may have grown during that year. 

Through extensive questioning, Dr. J, discovered I had classic signs of fibroids. After heavy cramping during my cycle, I also got this unbelievable pressure. It would force me to walk doubled over, unless I took more advil. I never thought anything of it because I have had painful cycles from the beginning. In fact, in middle school, I would actually throw up at the start of each cycle. AND GET THIS, an assistant principal accused me of being pregnant because of it. How funny that is now, especially since I was a virgin until 22 and apparently couldn't get pregnant anyways. BUT, I digress...

Dr. J performed an ultrasound HERSELF. If you read my earlier posts, you'll remember my old doctor wasn't even in the room for the ultrasound. Dr. J set up an appointment for an HSG or dye test. She wanted a better idea of the shape of my uterus and find out if my Fallopian tubes were clear. I didn't realize it, but that's when the real discovery would begin. 

Facing the Truth

I knew something was wrong early on. I'd never been on birth control pills and though we weren't "trying," I should have gotten pregnant because there was no prevention. I kind of spoke to DH about it and expressed my concerns to doctors. Since the doctors kept saying I was healthy, DH said don't worry. 

Well, then our best friends became pregnant and I had a breakdown because I KNEW something was wrong with us. After three years of marriage, my husband no longer wanted to wait for a "chance" pregnancy and said he wanted to actually ttc. We did...AND nothing. 

While we tried, the besties had a SECOND child. In fact, DH kept that pregnancy a secret from me. We lived across the country from them and really, he's best friends with the husband. The wife and are besties by association, so it was easy to keep that from me.  

I finally switched Gynecologists (new doc, same office) and told the new one my concerns. He gave me the same "young & healthy" speech, but I told him I didn't believe it. SO he scheduled blood work and an ultrasound. 

I went in. Blood work: no problem. I'm a big girl. I took that needle like a champ. Ultrasound: PROBLEM! Yes, I went to college, but one told me that there could be an "internal" ultrasound. I watch tv and thought this bad boy would be on top of my stomach. So when homegirl pulled out a wand and put a condom and lube on it, I was thinking, "whaaaaaaat?!"

I know rape is a powerful word, so I will tone it down and say I was violated with that wand and as I laid there making jokes about myself in my mind, the technician goes," OH,that's a big fibroid.  There's another AND you have a cyst on your ovary." I don't cry in front of strangers, so I had to think of dumb stuff to get through this. I thought to myself, "dang your uterus is a freaking landfill!"

She went on to tell me that the largest of the fibroids was a good size. So with that info, I headed to the doctor.  He told me black women seem to be at a greater risk for fibroids and science hadn't figured out why yet. BUT he said the fibroids likely weren't impeding pregnancy and I should just get to the fun part of trying. He said it with a smirk and I wanted to slap it off his face. What did he think, we weren't trying? Anyway, he set up a second appointment for more blood work and another ultrasound. 

The second visit left me just as angry. The blood work was great.  my hormone levels were good and it appeared that I am ovulating. BUT that ultrasound was more than I could handle. This time I got a technician who lacked tact and a good bedside manner. When she saw my largest fibroid, she asked me in rude tone how I couldn't feel it. She said it was so big, I should have felt it. It was like she was mad at me. 

I thought to myself," sorry, lady. I come here every year and every year YOU jerks say everything was fine. No problems. It took me begging for fertility checks to find it in the first place!"

SOO after HER, I went back into the doctor's office. I told him that I was very concerned because the technician seemed to think my fibroid was a major problem. He made it like it was no big deal. I went on to ask him if maybe we should get the thing out. My mom and aunts all had theirs removed in their 40s. He said I should try to get pregnant first because I would have to wait 8 months after surgery to ttc.   Once again, he told me to do the fun stuff and "try." 

I left devastated. I decided I hated him and ttcing...and I was just going to give up. I was pretty damned depressed, but because I was always taught to smile, no one knew my pain. 

Introducing MrsDjRass

I'm 30 something with big dreams that i still don't know how I will achieve (like working for Oprah). BUT there is one thing I always knew I would fight for and that's having a baby. HOWEVER, I didn't realize I'd have to fight this hard!

I went to college and met my soulmate right before graduation. I married him four years later and immediately caught BABY FEVER:-) My DH wasn't really ready for a child. He said if we "happened" to get pregnant, it would be great, but we weren't technically trying. Too bad a spontaneous pregnancy wasn't in the cards for me. I had fibroids and it took four years to get diagnosed because no one wanted to believe a young, healthy African-American woman could really be battling infertility.

I just want to share my experience because no one seems to have had my issues. Every woman I've read about found out about her fibroids because of a miscarriage. Well, I've never been pregnant and the only birth control I ever used was a condom. I feared pills and hormones, so I've never taken them for pregnancy prevention. I just always figured I was quite good and responsible with the condoms. I never figured my body was the real barrier between me and a baby.

I'll use this blog to recount my experiences as I prepare to ttc again. I had surgery to remove my fibroids 2 months ago. I can't ttc until I reach month three and I'm getting anxious. I want to try. I don't want to try. I'm afraid it won't work. I'm optimistic it will work. I'm a mess and ALL I have is baby on the brain.