Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Saga of the Last Two Weeks

I want to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and prayers.  It's been a rough 2 weeks.  So here's the story. 

It actually all started 7 years ago.  Colin and I had just got back from our anniversary trip and found a message on the phone saying my maternal serum test came back positive and out baby had spina bifida.  Let me tell you that's a terrible thing to leave on someone's answering machine!  That was Friday and it was a very long weekend till we could get to CHEO for our 'genetic counselling'.  Long story short it's a really bad test with a very high false positive rate and my baby was perfect.  They were a little concerned with a protein level that the baby might stop growing, so I was sent for monthly ultrasounds after that.  Every ultrasound the tech would say 'have you ever been diagnosed with fibroids?', I'd say no and the conversation would stop.

I ended up with a c-section and the doctor mentioned fibroids to Colin too.  Fast forward to 2009 and I asked my RNP about the fibroids.  She sent me to Renfrew (our preferred hospital) for an ultrasound.

I knew something was wrong because the u/s tech brought in the doctor to look at things, but of course they won't tell me anything.  We finally get a follow-up appointment with my RNP and she won't tell me anything except that there was 'something' on my ovary.  I have PCOS so I wasn't surprised but they didn't seem to think that was the reason.

So now we were sent to Pembroke to see their new OB/GYN Dr. Y.  And of course they didn't want to use the Renfrew u/s.  We did the u/s again and then they sent me for a CAT scan -which didn't please me because I don't do needles well.  We finally get the appointment to see the doctor and I'm ready to be told it's ovarian cancer (Colin's ready to start shaking people because he's tired of all the secrets).  Dr. Y walks into the exam room, looks at me and says 'don't worry you're not dying' and proceeds to tell us that the 'thing' on my ovary is gone and there was nothing wrong with me.  What a relief!  I was pissed because since it was gone that meant it was just a cyst on my ovary from the PCOS and they put me through unnecessary tests.

Now we fast forward to 6 August 2012.  Monday afternoon I was feeling like I was getting food poisoning.  But it was only pain, not being sick.  Tuesday I was still feeling miserable and so I did a little surfing and web md told me it might be my appendix.  Knowing everything Colin went through, I didn't wait and he took me to Renfrew hospital that afternoon.  Word of warning, don't go to the hospital around 4:30, shift change is around 6 and they didn't take anyone out of the waiting room until after the change.  Two hours later (and almost passing out a couple times) I finally get seen by the doctor.  He isn't sure what's wrong.  He fairly certain it's my appendix but maybe my gallbladder.  No problem, they will send me for a scope and take out whichever is causing the problem.

Two attempts to put in an IV later (which really helps my needle issues) and off I was whisked to surgery.  I woke up later and found out they didn't remove anything and had found 'a mass' on my uterus.  But the surgeon couldn't tell me anything because she's 'not a gynecologist'.  That was frustrating -don't they teach surgeons about the whole body??

Wednesday morning they decided to do an ultrasound.  Wouldn't that have been a better first step instead of waiting till I had 3 holes in my abdomen from the scope?  Still can't decide what they are looking at so off I was sent to the Ottawa Civic Hospital.  They were so busy I didn't get into emerg. but I was sick enough I was put into 'off-loading' which meant I didn't have to lay in the hall with the ambulance girls.  I have no idea how long I was there.  Things were rather snowy  :)  They put in another IV in my other arm, boy was that nurse great with a needle.  She did it so fast I barely had time to cry.  Eventually Colin and Grandma had to go home and shortly after that I was taken up to the OB/GYN floor.

Thursday Colin and Grandma came down (it's about 1 1/2 hrs from home) and waited and waited and waited.  I was supposed to be sent for a MRI but we waited all day and nothing happened.  Need I mention how well farmers deal with 'hurry up and wait'??   The only thing that happened was I was well medicated and didn't hurt quite so much.  We convinced the nurses that my bandages should be changed and it's a good thing we did.  It seems that Renfrew hospital used staples to close my scope incisions.  The nurse was horrified, apparently 'no one' uses staples for a scope, they only use steri strips.  Certainly happy we found that out before they put me in the giant magnet (MRI).  I was also dying of thirst because they haven't let me eat or drink anything since my lunch on Tuesday.  Colin and Grandma went home and shortly after that Dr. Kelly (the wonderful resident) came around to apologize for me not getting into the MRI and to let me go on full fluids (boy did that jello taste good).

Friday Colin decided to stay home.  He had so much work to catch up on.  Grandpa does the basics when Colin's away but we don't ask him to do everything.  That morning Dr. Olga (the other wonderful resident) came by to say I was going for my MRI shortly and would have surgery that afternoon.   Quick call to Colin to get his parents to drive him down (so they could take Ella back home).  The nurse removed the staples and off I went.  The MRI wasn't too bad, going in feet first helped I'm sure.  Boy that's a noisy machine.  Back up to my room and Ella and Grandma arrived to visit for a while.

Ella brought me some beautiful flowers (which are still beautiful 2 weeks later). Each rose was given a kiss to make Momma feel better.  It was so wonderful to see my girl again.

Now this is the only time that Dr. Kelly showed that she is still learning.  Dr. Kelly came into my room to talk about the MRI.  Right in front of Ella she's telling me they still can't tell what's wrong and that it's either a fibroid or it's a cancer tumor that's grown onto my uterus.  I completely lost it.  Dr. Kelly's trying to tell me that it's not a death sentence anymore and that they treat it like a chronic illness.  All I could think about my dear friend Kimberly who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at the end of October last year and was gone December 2nd.  I just thank God that Ella has no idea what cancer means.

Colin arrived in lots of time.  I was taken to surgery.  The nurses down there were really great too.  Very reassuring.  Yet another IV, but the anesthesiologist was fabulous.  I woke up in recovery rather upset, so the lovely nurse there sent for Colin and let him come into recovery to sit with me. Dr. Feigel came in to talk with us (I don't remember) and he told Colin it all looked fine.  It seems the fibroid on my uterus outgrew it's blood supply and was dying.  So they removed my uterus and left ovary.  My right one was nice and healthy looking so they left it so I wouldn't go into menopause.

Now do you want to know the tragic part of all this?  When I got to emerg. at the Civic, the radiologist recognized my name and remembered seeing my u/s and CAT scan in 2009.  They do the reading for Pembroke and sent the report to Dr. Y.  They pulled my old file and compared the new pictures.  Guess what?  The fibroid was the same size as back in 2009!  There is no way Dr. Y didn't know about the fibroid!!  It was 5cm/4cm/11cm (2 in/1 5/8 in/4 3/8 in).  We could have possibly treated this in 2009 and made it go away or at least the surgery could have been scheduled at a convenient time and without all the extra pain. We also would not have had the cancer scare.

I received such wonderful care at the Civic.  I don't think I had one cranky person.   My nurses were so kind and caring and took very good care of me.

Monday they finally let me come home.  They would have let me go on Sunday but the narcotics had me so nauseated I couldn't eat and they wouldn't let me go not eating.  Colin and Grandma came and kept me company all weekend and Grandma came down bright and early Monday morning to bring me home.  Luckily they have repaved hwy 17 since Ella was born (boy that was a bumpy ride home) so the drive home wasn't bad.
I had one happy girl when I came home.  She didn't want to let me go.  She's had such an upside-down week.  She's never stayed with Colin's parents that long.  Ella's a bit wild right now.  I think Grandma and Grandpa let her run wild.

There is a bit of a silver lining to all this.  As of last Friday (one week post surgery), I am down 12 lbs.  Colin thinks it will be 20 by this Friday.  He says there is less and less of me every time he hugs me.  Guess my body was filling with fluid from the dying fibroid.  Also, I haven't had any Coke since the Tuesday I got sick.  

One thing I was very thankful for -my friend Catherine.  She's a surgical nurse in Renfrew and at the Civic.  We were lucky that she was on Wednesday so Colin was able to talk with her after the scope.  She was there every evening to answer any questions Colin had.  Catherine even phoned down to the girls doing my surgery on Friday and told them to take extra good care of me.  That really helped.  Catherine also said Dr. Feigel is one of the best OB/GYNs and if he says there is no cancer there was none.  Catherine was a really great support and made this ordeal so much more bearable.

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