Friday, November 18, 2011

Getting Personal - Part 4

This website is not to the surgeon I used


I'm going to start this post with a little reminder (disclaimer) -I am not a doctor!  That will become very clear as you read on and find my lack of "technical terms" ;-)  Also, every person is different - this is my story.

I completed my 3rd appointment which was a follow-up with the doctor to discuss my test results.  As he predicted from my first appointment, the tissue that provides support for the "tube" (the final passage of urine before it releases) is deteriorating.  It is no longer providing enough support so when under pressure (cough, sneeze, jump), the tube twists and releases urine.  To fix this I will need to have an out patient surgery done.  I will be put under anesthesia for the procedure.  An incision will be made in my vaginal area (to access the area from the bottom) and two pin hole incisions will be made in the outside of my abdominal area.  The larger incision will allow enough space to insert a mesh ribbon that will act like a hammock for support.  The two exterior abdominal pin holes will give the surgeon access to manipulate the ribbon into place.  

The surprise news about my test results was about the position of my bladder.  During my discussions with others I have become familiar with the fact that many women have issues with their bladder lowering and needing some form of surgical procedure to raise it back into place and add some type of support for it.  During my first appointment the doctor mentioned that my bladder appeared to be low but not to the point of any concern.  However, the X-rays showed that my bladder is really low and that the tissue providing support has greatly deteriorated.  The surgeon was surprised that I hadn't noticed discomfort and that I hadn't seen a doctor about it.  Obviously he doesn't know my high tolerance for pain ;-) Heck, I almost had my first child at home because I didn't think that I was really in labor - I thought I was supposed to be in more pain!  Besides, any discomfort felt I figured was just part of life as I get older and my body changes.

So, I will be having two procedures done.  To repair the issue with my bladder the surgeon will be making a second incision in my vaginal area to access the area under my bladder.  He will be inserting a larger mesh ribbon that has 4 "arms".  These are extra sections that will attach to areas inside me to help provided needed support.  The doctor said that another option would be to simply "fix" the tissue that is deteriorating (just sew it back up like you would mend a hole in a shirt) but since that is the same tissue that has already failed me there is only about a 40% chance that it will work.  The mesh type of material they use is intended to be permanent.  Keep in kind that they don't have 25 plus years of history with this to know for sure but so far things have been working as expected.  There are also cautionary things to know before having the procedure done but they all seemed not important to me since I know that my surgeon is a specialist with over 2,000 successful procedures completed.  So, do your research on who you have doing a procedure like this.  I surely wouldn't have my normal OBGYN operate on me like this!

Restrictions:  I need a driver to get me home after the procedure since I will be under anesthesia for a chunk of the day.  Most of my post operative restrictions are because of the bladder portion of my procedure.  I can not drive for 2 days.  I can not lift more than 10 pounds for 6 weeks!  That will be a hard one with my cuddly kids but they are at a good age now to understand and respect my limitations.  And my physical activities will be very limited until the doctor lifts my restrictions.  

I have to admit that after this appointment I went through a bit of depression for a couple of days. It's kind of hard to explain.  I went into this knowing there is a problem and that surgery was going to be needed to fix it.  I left this appointment with a plan and an appointment.  Why would I be depressed???  For me, I think it was a reminder that I am getting older.  When my mother-in-law turned 70 years old she made a comment that I remember vividly.  She said that it was kind of strange because she knew she was 70 but in her mind she felt more like she was still 30.  For me, I still feel like I am younger than I am but my body gave me a reminder that I am not.  I'm at the point in life where some things will just need to be fixed to keep working right.  

I have scheduled my procedure.  I was lucky to get a day that my kids do not have school, my mom can watch them, and my husband has the day off work so he can be at the hospital with me.  I have also scheduled 3 follow-up appointments.  Of course, the surgery and the follow-up appointments all have to be on days that I am not in my menstral cycle.  For some reason no one ever reminds me of that when I am scheduling the appointments so I always have to reschedule some things later when I have reminded myself.

Cost to date: 2 co-pays (one for each time I actually met with the doctor).  For me, that's a total of $30 out of pocket so far.

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