Sunday, July 30, 2006

I hate shopping

I hate to shop but I love catalogs and I love to buy things on the internet. I've bought shoes, underwear, my dog, pretty much everything but a car on the web. Because of my purchasing habits we get lots and lots of catalogs. Recently a product caught my eye. What a great name. Very straight-forward, no confusion about what it is for. Now if they only made them for humans...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Good news and Bad news

Warning: This could be considered a TMPI post. Feel free to skip it and come back later.

My surgeon called last night with the results from my D&C. The good news is I didn't go through hell for nothing. The bad news is I didn't go through hell for nothing. The endometrial cancer appears to be back (apparently there is very little difference in the appearance of "hyperplasia with atypia" and stage I cancer). The surgeon said it is only in one place on the right side, everything else is clear. We talked about the options and they are going to try local application of progesterone (via IUD). He said I could go and get a second opinion and gave me the name of a couple of doctors at other University hospitals in the area because they are recommending something outside of usual standard of care (usual standard of care for endometrial cancer is radical hysterectomy which includes ovaries and cervix). They treated me with high dose oral progesterone in the past and it was tough. It made me gain weight from fluid retention and I was always starving. I also had horrible hot flashes. I've been on a maintenance dose of progesterone for 2 years but it wasn't enough and now the cancer is back again. I have no interest in a second opinion. I've done enough of my own research to know that there are limited options outside of hysterectomy. I don't want a hysterectomy because they will remove my ovaries and substantially increase my risk of osteoporosis which is prevalent in my family and they will remove my cervix which will leave me prone to bladder problems as I get older. It would be different if I were 60 or even 50 but I'm not even 40 yet.

Wow, this sucks.

Well that was surprisingly effective

After I wrote my long rant about my experience with anesthesia, I wrote a long email to my surgeon explaining what had happened. All I asked from him was an acknowledgement that he had received the email. He replied a few days later and said he was sorry for my experience and he would forward my email to the head of anesthesiology. Then the next day I got an email from the head of anesthesiology saying that he had spoken with my doctor and he would like to talk to me. He gave me his office number and said I could call him or I could email him my phone number and he would call me. Long story short, we eventually connected via phone and he was so nice. The first thing he asked was how I was feeling now. He apologized, he said they could certainly have done a better job with the pre-anesthesia so I would have no memory of the procedure, and he thanked me for my constructive comments. He also said if I ever needed another procedure at that hospital that I should call him and he would make sure that I had a more pleasant experience. I was just stunned. I was so afraid to write the email but I feel so much better now (and I'm not afraid to have general anesthesia again should I ever need it.)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Not moving on like I would like to be

I have discovered that when I am not doing anything else, my lovely experience with "awake fiber optic intubation" pops into my brain. It's pretty unpleasant to keep reliving the experience. I also still have a sore throat and a fat lip. I found out the name of the anesthesiologist (I love the internet) who was in charge of my "excellent adventure" and I wrote an EXTREMELY long email to my surgeon. Hopefully I will be able to put it behind me over the next few days.

I still want to know why they did it. I have had general anesthesia 4 times over the past 4 years (before this time) and I was always asleep when they did the intubation. If there was a problem in the past they should have told me. I also would have appreciated more of an explanation of what was going to happen and what sort of instruments there would be using. When I opened my eyes at one point the fiber optic scope looked like a damned octopus hanging in front of my face.

Anyway it's over. I've done everything I can to address the situation and all I can do is try to be sure it doesn't happen in the future.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A month of anxiety for nothing?

Note to the squeamish or those who don't wish to know about my va-jay-jay troubles...stop reading now and come back when I've added a new post.

Those of you who know me personally know that 4 years ago I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. It was successfully treated with high-dose hormonal therapy and as of May 2004 was cleared. I was maintained on lower dose hormonal therapy and I had several successive biopsies and complete D&Cs that showed normal cells. This changed in early June when my latest biopsy came back with abnormal cells. My gynecologic/oncologist (aka GYN/ONC) said he needed to do another D&C to "see what's going on in there" (as though my uterus is hosting a raucous party). Said D&C took place yesterday.

This was my day:
Got up at 3:45 AM, had to give myself an enema (after the one the night before), showered, and was in the car with The Wife at 4:30 AM. Made the trip to the hospital an hour away. Checked in at "Short Procedure Unit", was interviewed, given a shot of blood thinner in my stomach (whoever invented the stuff needs to work on the formulation - that shit stings like crazy), and fitted with lovely thigh-high compression stockings. Taken to waiting area outside OR. Interviewed by anesthesiology resident (who has probably been a doctor for about 3 weeks given his unfamiliarity with procedures and the fact that new residents start July 1). Anesthesiology resident soundly abused by nurse (she said she needed the chart to check me in, which took 30 seconds and consisted of asking me my name, what procedure they were doing, and my doctor's name. He gave her the chart but asked for the labs from it so he could continue his job. He was polite and professional; she was not. Then she snapped at him again when he asked where to find the surgical consent form in the chart.) Anesthesiologist arrived (resident's boss essentially). She did the IV (thank you, done in one stick; I hate when they let the resident try first when they know I'm not an "easy stick".) Then she decided that they needed to intubate me before I was asleep. I had to breathe liquid lidocaine to numb my throat (BLECH!), then they put lidocaine gel on my tongue (MORE BLECH!) and then they tried to intubate me (they had given me some medication to make me relaxed). I promptly gagged and threw up. It was lovely. They realized they hadn't suppressed my gag reflex enough (I could clearly hear all the discussion that was taking place) so they sprayed more junk in my mouth and had me gargle with more nasty crap and finally (I can see the cords...) they intubated me and knocked me out. They managed to give me a fat lip during all of this manuevering too.

Afterwards (when I was awake but only halfway) the GYN/ONC came to talk to me. Apparently they managed to put a hole in my cervix or detach my cervix from the rest of me in one spot so he had to put in a stitch and was sending me home on antibiotics. Then he told me the kicker: "There's nothing there. I don't know that I even got an adequate sample for the pathologist." Basically he was telling me that the lab may have made a mistake (not the lab at his hospital, the lab my insurance company insists all outpatient testing by done at). We'll know more in a week or so. It appears that I probably had a month or more of anxiety, a horrible experience with anesthesia, and a hole put in my cervix for NOTHING!

The day at the hospital was capped off by the fact that they won't release you until you pee. Normally I lie. I go to the bathroom, wait a few minutes, and tell them "I peed, now can I please go home?" Now they measure. You have to pee in a "hat" and you have to have a certain amount of output (100 cc or 3 oz) before they let you go. I tried to pee around 11 or 11:30 (after 8 oz of cranberry juice and a cup of tea and 1 liter plus of IV fluid) but no luck. Then I started drinking water and finally 3 cups later I went. Of course, after all that water we had to stop on the way home so I could go. The McDonalds we stopped at had no power but The Wife made a plea for them to let me use the bathroom. Peeing in the dark in an unfamiliar bathroom after having general anesthesia is its own special trip. The manager did give us 2 bottles of water though.

In the end all I really care about is that I am probably not having a recurrence of the cancer and I don't have to go back on the high-dose hormonal therapy (which has some major side effects).