This month has been hard. Really hard. If using some sort of technologically advance time hop, I would’ve most definitely opted not to remember this month. Thankfully it’s coming to an end and I pray that in July, my health will start to turn the corner and I can start to once again enjoy the things I love, which is pretty much life in general.
I opted not log into Facebook for the past week and a half (totally out of character for me) and have been overall fairly quiet, mainly because I don’t know what to say while sorting through the range of emotions I’ve been dealing with. Some are a sigh of relief. It’s over, right? All of the things that have been giving me health issues since I’ve had Myles 4 years ago have been removed. But then the realization of having four surgeries in 10 months sets in. I feel like I’ve missed so much of my life. I’ve missed a lot of Myles growing up as others care for him. I miss picking him up and cuddling him; not worrying whether or not I have my bandage on or if he’s going to unintentionally hurt me. I regret that I can’t spend time with my family without it being them caring for me. I know it’s not my fault, but I miss the times where it wasn’t about me.
Regardless, I’ve gone back and forth about how much I wanted to share with you. I’ve shared a LOT of details about the last surgeries and after some thought, will stay true to being honest.
Remember this used to be a fashion blog? Maybe one day it will be just that again. It’s one of my hopes as I continue on my long road to full recovery. I also hope that by sharing my story, I’m able to help someone else who may be going through a similar situation. I’ve received a lot of emails and personal notes from people I’ve never met after my last post earlier this month. If anything can give me joy right now, it’s helping others that may not have the blog or will to write out what they’ve been going through. It’s hard. But as someone who writes for a living in some way or another, it gives me a little sense of normalcy in a time where my world was flipped upside down when I least expected it.
The last post I shared earlier this month was about the ovarian torsion I had while vacationing in Belize on June 2nd. While that was a pretty traumatizing situation in itself, I came home, saw my doctor here in the U.S. and was plesantly reassured that I appeared to be right on track. The incision looked good and hopefully my visits to the OBGYN office would be less frequent. While the good news should have been settling to most, something in the back of my mind kept me from completely having faith that everything was over with. As the week following the surgery went by and my husband prepared for his business trip to China, I started to experience the same pain that landed me in a hospital in Belize City to have emergency surgery. To this day, that incision still isn’t completely healed.
But I kept reminding myself that it could be nerve pain or phantom cramps (I’ve had those too over the past year). All four of the OB-GYN doctors I see also reassured me that the likeliness of getting another ovarian torsion is like winning the lottery. It’s just not likely to happen. But then of course, we’re talking about me here. My reproductive organs always seem to want to make the record books and without a doubt, have succeeded numerous times.
On a side note, I looked up the odds of someone having two ovarian torsions that result in the removal of an ovary. The staggering result: Close to one in 900,000 women. I seriously need to consider playing the lottery. Like, now.
Business went on as expected the second week in June. In between doses of narcotic pain medication, I spent my days making phone calls to our insurance company, my employer, the airline company (so we could get reimbursed for having to change our flight home) and figuring out what to do with the hospital bills from Belize. The time it took me to get through all of this seemed to take much longer than when I had my last two surgeries and hospital stays in between. Sometimes getting off of the narcotics to just be coherent enough to speak to someone on the phone seemed unbearable. In addition, the troubling thoughts that this wasn’t the end of my hospital visits and surgeries never seemed to fade. I felt anxious and had this sinking feeling of worry, but kept reassuring myself and those around me I’m getting better everyday. When in fact, I wasn’t.
My husband prepared for his business trip to China that weekend and I kept informing him that I had plenty of help and not to worry. And I did have plenty of help. Still not being able to drive, I relied on friends and family a lot. For visits, to help give Myles a bath because I still can’t lift anything, company, a trip to the pharmacy.. it’s those little things that often get overlooked, but can be so challenging while recovering.
A few after my husband landed safely halfway around the world, the pain in my side worsened. I spent my days in a Percocet stupor hoping for the best. But when the Percocet brought absolutely no relief, I knew something was wrong. I work the morning show for a news station here in Cincinnati and luckily have friends who are getting up for work at 2 a.m. Graciously, one of my morning show friends offered to stay with Myles until my parents could come relieve her as I decided it was best to head over to the emergency room.
My blood pressure skyrocketed and my heart sank as I entered the ER. The first nurse I saw looked at me with a saddened expression, “Megan! Again? No! I can’t believe you’re back. It breaks my heart”. I’ve unfortunately become a familiar face at Christ Hospital.
The standard procedure took place; inserting the IV, injecting morphine (which didn’t offer any relief). I had been throwing up from the pain the entire day before so they gave me some anti-nausea medication. A bunch of tests were preformed which resulted in the finding of large hemorrhaging cysts on my last little piece of my reproductive system. Again. However, I was assured it probably would take care of itself. Here’s pretty much what you’d find if you looked up info online. In summary, it’s extremely rare to need surgery or have a torsion because of hemorrhaging cysts.
I was sent home with more Percocet after three injections of morphine and one injection of dilaudid, an even stronger version of morphine. It was the first I’ve ever heard of it, but was desperate for relief so I’d take anything at that point.
The emergency room doctors decided to sent me home and hoped that the hemorrhaging cysts would rupture and that’d be the end of it. As I struggled to walk out of the doors of the ER with my mom holding on to me, I remember thinking and saying, “They shouldn’t be sending me home like this. Something is really wrong. I just know it”. She was more leaning towards the side of the doctors in that the pain is temporary and it will all subside within the next few days.
That Thursday, June 18, I finally was able to get some sleep after being up for over 30-something hours. I was home by myself, but had friends calling and checking on me every few hours. I don’t remember, but was told I answered and said I’m good and hung up. Time went by and the pain started to come in waves but stronger each time it struck. My mom and dad kept Myles overnight and our friend Matt stayed with me in case I needed to be taken back to the hospital. Sure enough, it got to the point where I was packing my bags and heading back to the ER. I was shaking from the pain that the narcotics should have dulled.
The visit to the ER was very similar to the night before, including a similar greeting by name from another nurse who’s cared for me over the past months. My level of pain was right about where it was before I was laid on the operating table in Belize just weeks prior. Talk about terrible flashbacks. When the tech was performing the ultrasound that night, she had to have someone come hold me down because I was uncontrollably shaking from the pain.
An hour or so went by and I finally was greeted by the ER doctor and a resident from OBGYN. They both looked at each other and let out a sigh before informing me I’d need to have another surgery later that day. One of the hemorrhaging cysts they discovered the night before had nearly doubled in size to around 10 cm. I even had added bonuses: New hemorrhaging cysts had formed in that short time I was at home sleeping! My chances for an ovarian torsion were favorable, but as I was told by so many different OBGYN doctors, it’s like winning the lottery. You just can’t possibly have another one — it’s simply unheard of.
However, I was weak and they could tell. I had a fever, probably associated with pain because infection was ruled out through blood work. I hadn’t been sleeping and couldn’t really eat. My first incision hadn’t even healed yet and the color in my face was diminishing. Having another surgery wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear, but I had that feeling for weeks that something wasn’t right, so I almost felt relief. Even if it meant going under the knife later that day.
After I was admitted and was prepped for surgery, my anxiety was worsening. The doctor didn’t really know what was going to happen. They might have had to cut right over the last incision or it could have been five small incisions and completed lapriscopically. Thankfully, the procedure was completed lapricopically but the news that blew my mind the most post-surgery: I had an ovarian torsion and the ovary had to be removed.
For whatever reason, this surgery hit me the hardest. While I knew I wasn’t able to ever have a child again, I held on to the that little remaining and pathetic ovary hoping if I ever REALLY wanted a biological child and had a lot of money, an egg could be extracted and a surrogate could carry a child for me. I wasn’t ready for that by any means, but it was an option. Like a safety net.
I also was dreading the recovery. Before this, I had 17 days of recovery behind me. 17 days of pain while sleeping, standing up with the sensation that my insides were going to fall out, easily getting worn out but simply doing the smallest tasks all while being on a ridiculous amount of drugs, all that had to be taken at certain times with certain things. My other fear is that my friends and family who’ve been my cheerleaders three times already were needed again. While this might seem like the new ‘normal Megan’ to them, this surgery is when I needed the ‘cheers’ and support the most. Let me remind you that my husband was in China through this entire 4th surgery experience, so I relied on my parents and one friend to help with Myles, and had others come spend the night to help me get in and out of bed, who made sure I ate and took my medication on time. However, the outpour of support was very comforting, even on Facebook as hundreds of people left me sweet messages and well wishes.
As this month comes to an end, I wish I could say something other then, “It’s okay. I’m sure I’ll be better soon.” as the generic response I give to those who’ve been so kind to reach out to say they’re sorry to hear what’s happened. As positive as I try to be with new found perspective I’ve gained from each surgery changes and strenghens for the better, I’m not there yet. I’ll be real honest here and probably giving you too much information, but I just got out of diapers because the catheter created bladder spasms that lasted for almost a week. I’ve lost weight and still can barley eat without it coming back up. I can only write, sort bills or do anything with confidence when not on narcotic pain medication. I still have some time before I can drive again and sleep almost as much as my cat (she’s the only one who truly enjoys my recovery time). I now have to wear an estrogen patch indefinitely but it doesn’t magically work overnight. One minute I’m doing okay and the next minute I’m crying because I had a dream my friend yelled at me over buying tomatoes. True story. That was yesterday actually.
My intentions aren’t to have anyone feel bad for me, as things could always be worse. I have a incredibly handsome and loving son, a husband with patience and a heart of gold and parents who have been here to help in anyway they can. My friends are right up there with family and my support system is strong. I’m thankful to have them. Writing is like therapy for me. By sharing my story, I hope to shed light on something so many woman go through (perhaps not two ovarian torsions in one month, because remember, I’m one in a million – literally); that women can find comfort in knowing there’s someone sharing their story of emotion, fear, exhaustion, sadness, faith, strength and relief all at once. That’s a lot of mixed emotions.
I guess that’s why there are so many menopause memes out there. Here’s my favorite:
Anyway, I promised myself I’m going to start getting up and making myself start doing things I enjoy. Who says you can’t make jewelry in bed? Hopefully the next blog post will be of freshly made jewelry or perhaps a painting I’ve been wanting to complete.
Throughout this month I’ve also been reminding myself to allow my faith to be stronger than my fear. Things WILL get better and once again, my perspective and value for the little things in life will have changed for the better.