Thursday, November 8, 2012

Today's PSA

I posted this as my status update on Facebook on Tuesday, November 6th, and I feel it bears repeating.  I have added to what was originally posted so while this is definitely full of TMI, my actual Facebook post was not quite so detailed.  

"Today's PSA (which has nothing to do with politics): Ladies. No one knows your body better than you. You know which are the super cute jeans, which pants make you feel like a cow, which outfit makes you feel like a million bucks and which PJs look enough like normal clothes you can pull off wearing them to go buy milk. You may not know how you got the bruise on your shin, but you know how you earned each and every one of your scars, right down to the one on your wrist resulting from scratching at your Chicken Pox when Mom wasn't looking when you were nine.  You know which days the mirror is your friend and which days it is the most evil thing ever invited (for which you think some man is totally responsible).

But more importantly than what the world sees, you know your innards. And you know when something is wrong. Either something doesn't fit the way it should even though you haven't gained weight, there's lumps where there shouldn't be, you've experienced a drastic change even though you've changed nothing in your life or your Spidey sense starts waving red flags saying "Yo! This just ain't right!" Do not ignore this. After you've done what we all know not to do and Googled all your symptoms and have determined either everything is fine or you have some rare disease native to an indigenous tribe on some remote island no one has ever heard of and feral cats you found on page 12 of your search, go see your doctor to confirm it. Because sometimes something and nothing have the exact same symptoms. If it's something, you don't want to be too late and wonder "if only..." And if it's nothing, peace of mind is the best gift you can give yourself.

Like many of you, I am participating in a 30-day gratitude challenge. Today, I am grateful I spoke up at my annual exam and my awesome doctor listened. I am also so incredibly grateful I did not have to wait long to learn that my symptoms were just a polyp and not uterine cancer."
For me the symptoms started off gradually and then became pretty apparent.  I've been on the Pill forever because I'm not regular without it.  I mean really not regular.  As in between 14 and 38 days between cycles which were incredibly heavy the entire time and lasted between 5 and 8 days.  The 8-day flows were usually the ones that came 14 days apart.  So I either went for long stretches or it felt like it was always that time of the month.  Lots of fun when you're in high school and college!  Plus, it made me sick.  I vividly remember being so sick one time when I was 16, I couldn't even keep down a sip of water.  I remember this because I had to participate in a church mock fashion show that evening and wasn't sure how I was going to pull it off-and I didn't want to have to explain why I was sick when I looked perfectly healthy.  (I was much better by then).

So the Pill has been a Godsend for me.  After James died, my doctor and I decided to keep me on it.  I was messed up enough without throwing my hormones out of whack on top of it, and truth be told, I don't want to go back to having to guess every day "Is today the day I start?" and constantly having to be prepared for it.  I'm a control freak and this is something I'd been controlling for years so why stop now?

Because my body, it turns out, had other ideas.  All of a sudden, I wasn't in control.  Instead of good ol' Aunt Flo being her predictable self, she started arriving when she was supposed to but was leaving when she damn well felt like it-some "visits" were the usual 5 days, but over the last several months, she started sneaking in a few extra days here and there. The last two months were both 8 days.  My initial thought was maybe I'd just been on the particular pill I'm on for so long it was just no longer effective?  

I would have gone with that if duration had been the only change.  But it wasn't.  Flow increased substantially too.  I went from one really heavy day to two or three, depending on if it was a 5-day or 8-day period.  With the last one, I was still passing quarter-size clots on day 8.  The biggest change, however, was I went from very light to no flow at night to waking up one morning every month covered in blood-it looked like I'd suffered a miscarriage during the night. 

It just so happened that the bulk of the change happened after I'd already scheduled my annual exam.  My doctor is awesome and therefore popular so it's hard to get a "date" with her.  (Much easier when she's concerned because you are symptomatic for uterine cancer, however!)  I had been documenting the changes so I could have an informed conversation with her.  I asked her about a hysterectomy.  And then while I waited for surgery and did the whole "what if?" thing, I realized while logically I know my chances of having biological children at this point are pretty slim, it turns out I'm not ready emotionally to completely give up on that.  So last Thursday I had a hysteroscopy with D&C.  I had a polyp removed that was pretty much filling my entire uterine cavity and I had the lining scraped so there isn't as much there to shed each month.  When the phone rang Monday and I recognized my doctor's number, my first thought was "Oh shit.  They never call this soon when it's good news."  Thankfully, it was-pathology on both the polyp and cells from the uterine lining were benign.  Hopefully, this procedure will put me back to normal and no further options will need to be explored as my doctor suspects it will.  Because as awesome as I think my doctor is, I've seen far too much of her lately and would love nothing more than not to see her again until next October!


Andrea Renee said...

I'm so glad it wasn't anything more serious!

Heather said...

Thanks, Andrea!!