Meet my 6 pound Uterus!

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*Warning, this post contains images some may find disturbing. Don’t keep scrolling if you are sensitive to medical photos.

So here goes nothing, I’m putting it all out there. Here are all the gory details.

Recap of how we got here to this moment: years ago I was told by my family doctor I had fibroids in my uterus but was never told how they could/would evolve or even if it was something I should keep an eye on. All I ever worried about was getting pap-tests to make sure I didn’t have cancer. I didn’t have cancer so, in my world all was good.

Then over time, my lower stomach area got bigger and bigger which I thought was all part of getting older. WRONG. Plus, I have never been flexible so when bending over got more challenging I blamed myself for not keeping up with stretching or my lack of dedication to yoga. WRONG. Then my period, it was always “normal”, always every 28 days and no issues until the last 2 years where it became all consuming, BUT again I brushed it off because everyone said “you are perimenopausal”. WRONG!

And then there was this photo shoot. We were taking pics for work and I decided to wear IMG_2106a fitted dress and honestly in my head I said “It’s OK that your stomach isn’t flat anymore, embrace who you are and you are OK with who you are” which is how I try to live my life every day but to be honest, in this picture I am also wearing 2 layers of Spanks. Look at my stomach, this  picture is unedited and you can clearly see my stomach area looks pregnant even with heavy duty compression.

Then there was my bunk gallbladder, thank you for being terrible! Without you I wouldn’t be here! Thanks to the stones in my gallbladder it triggered an ultrasound and the discovery of my extraordinary uterus. I had my gallbladder out the week before Christmas 2018 n an emergency surgery because the stones had gotten infected and then on January 23rd, 2019 I would have my hysterectomy surgery where I believed I a single fibroid thatt had grown to 10 cm.

Here is the play by play of my hysterectomy.

My husband and I arrived at the hospital at 10am, by 1pm I was in the OR holding area, my doctor came to chat with us and Derek (my husband) asked him “How big is the fibroid now?” to which Dr. Sheridan replied “It’s about 21 cm now” WHAT!!! OK that was not what I thought but it’s all starting to sink in that perhaps I am actually sick. *Note nervous smile below.IMG_6323

The surgery lasted about 3 hours, when I got back to my room I was super drugged out and in terrible pain. The nurse told me the incision was bigger than originally planned and that there were over 25 staples holding me together.IMG_4166

The next morning at the crack of dawn in walked my doctor and the first thing he said to me was “Boy, do I have a story for you….wanna see some pictures?” UM YES! As it turns out my uterus was HUGE! 6 pounds huge, over 30 cm huge and had grown up and over my belly button. It had pushed my bowels out of place and forced all of my lower organs out of their comfort zone. Dr. Sheridan said in the 27 years that he’s been a doctor he’s only ever seen one has big as mine. In a surgery like this they use a cork screw (yes, like the kind for opening a wine bottle) to pull out the uterus, they had to use 2 to get mine out (something her had only every had to do once before). He said they tugged, tugged and tugged thinking after one pull it would just pop out, nope! To put it in perspective, the average uterus weighs between 5.5 to 6 ounces and should look like an upside down pear. Mine had grown completely out of control and he said it was like I was pregnant for years. Here she is!IMG_4160

That first day post-op was a revolving door of doctors and nurses who were in the OR with me and they all had the same question “You felt no pain? You had no idea that was living inside you?” and the answer was NO! But now looking back the signs were all there!

Trouble bending over, constantly feeling tired, upset bum all the time, never feeling good were all not as I thought “just getting older” or “not taking working out enough” – I had a monster growing inside me.

It’s been 5 weeks since my surgery and it’s still tender, I am not quick yet to go from sitting to standing but I am so unbelievably excited for the future. I realize now, I haven’t known “healthy” for years and I can’t wait to see myself in 6 months from now. The human body is amazing and watching the changes in the past few weeks has been incredible.

I am not grossed out by my 6 pound uterus, I am impressed with myself that I kept running marathons, mountain biking with 6 pounds of dead weight hanging off of me and most of all that I didn’t let the norms of society make me believe I didn’t belong on TV, big belly and all.

Be Kind,

Fiona

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Congrats! You’re having a tumour baby!

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To be exact, my doctor said “Ooooo, your tumour baby is getting bigger! It’s time for it to come out“. Out? What does that mean?

Here is my unexpected hysterectomy story and I am trying really hard to not freak out.

I have always known that I have fibroids in my uterus but lately they have been setting off a lot of alarm bells. It all started about 18 months ago, I was having intense bloating in my stomach and it felt like a balloon was about to burst under my skin. What I didn’t know at the time was that my gallbladder was about to make it’s unexpected departure but it was my uterus that stole the show.

Every time my stomach would blow up I would go to a walk-in clinic and they would immediately send me for an ultrasound. While being all slathered up in warmed-up blue ultrasound goo the technicians would say the exact same thing every time “Oh looks like you have a little stone in your gallbladder….um, wait a second….do you know about this in your uterus?” to which I would always nonchalantly reply “oh ya, I have fibroids“. I always treated that information in a “no-big whoop” kinda way but as it turns it out it’s definitely a big whoop, over 10 cm each kinda whoop.

The fiborids always were the start attraction at these appoints and we never discussed to why my stomach was so bloated (ding, ding, ding it was that tiny stone hiding in my gallbladder) but those fibroids did land me in a specialist office pretty damn quick. The first time I saw my doctor he was pretty unfazed by it all and said there was “no point in cutting you up like Swiss cheese just yet“. “Yet” was the word that lingered in my head.

Well let’s fast forward to right now. At the end of November I went to the doctor just for a routine physical, I had no aches and pains, no signs of discomfort, just noticed my lower abdomen was puffy but I just thought I was getting fat(ter). I laid down and with 2 quick pokes of my stomach my doctor proclaimed I would be getting a hysterectomy. You know that thing women whisper “lady surgery“, that thing that sounds completely life changing and terrifying…ya, that thing.

In my situation, my doctor will remove just my uterus and leave my ovaries and fallopian tubes because as he says “I still need them“. I need them to produce hormones and prevent me from being shocked into early menopause, I’m ok with this scenario. I know menopause is a few short years away but I’m not ready just yet.
*Side note: I will still produce eggs so if anyone out there wants to carry baby for us then I’ve got eggs for you!

So just after I got this news I barely had any time to let it all sink in because remember that hey girltiny little stone that nobody seemed to care about…well it started feeling really left out, decided to get infected and I had emergency gallbladder surgery the week before Christmas. The surgery went really well and the hospital staff were incredible. However, it was also during this time it really hit home that I needed this damn uterus out. When they were doing the ultrasound on my gallbladder they did the ol’ uterus swoop and the technician immediately stopped and looked me square in the face and said “You know about this right? You are taking care of this, this needs to go”.

Message received!

Getting older and being perimenopausal isn’t fun. To be super gross, I’ve never had a red-velvet-cakesuper heavy flow but lately it’s been so intense I can barely leave the house. To be clear, I don’t have endometriosis or cancer of any type, just a belly full of delicious fibroids. With this surgery I will still get a version of PMS (yahoo…said no one ever) but I will never get my period again (yahoo said every woman always). In fact, my husband and I celebrated my last period a couple weeks ago but eating red velvet cake and guzzling bright red cocktails.

So there it is. My surgery is January 23rd, I’ve been to a million doctors appointments, I have stocked my freezer with easy to re-heat food, I bought the pre-surgery antibacterial wash and packed my hospital bag. The surgery itself will be like a c-section (an incision my doctor says “will only be detectable by my fella”)  and I will be in hospital for a total of 2 days, then off work for 6 weeks recovery which I split up between Saskatoon and Toronto. I am nervous as hell but optimistic that perhaps this is the beginning of some better days ahead.

I am ready to have my tumour baby, wish me luck.

(Advice welcome)

F