Guys! Guys. I haven’t posted in 3 months. And I kinda hate myself for it. But I also hate that I don’t really mind either. I miss blogging, I really do. So why have I been so absent? Well… put simply… 2015 has been kicking my butt. Like hard. I think life has steel-toed boots on right now. I don’t really want to be a Debbie Downer but I’m going to get real. You’ll understand the title soon. Here comes part 4 of our infertility journey. You can check out part 1, part 2, and part 3 here.
So when our story left off, I had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease where my immune system attacks my thyroid when I eat gluten. So I went gluten free. I was hoping and praying to get pregnant. I was determined to find a new doctor, which was especially scary after miscarriage #2. And, in general, I was feeling loads better.
That brings us to October 2014. I had found a new OBGYN who specialized in infertility. I was going through a process of having many tests to get a better handle on the cause of our struggles to get pregnant. During one of my many, MANY tests I was diagnosed with PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. Basically, because of my wack-a-doo hormones my ovaries become covered in cysts, thus not allowing me to ovulate regularly. THUS not being able to get pregnant. This combined with my chronically low progesterone were the root of our problem. But then we discovered another problem. During that ultrasound where I was diagnosed with PCOS the tech noticed a large mass on my right ovary. After talking to my doctor, we found that many times these masses resolve themselves so we decided to keep an eye on it for 6 weeks and then check it out again.
Well, the 6 weeks came and went and it was time to check in on my little cyst. Well, I guess it wasn’t so little. It was the size of a golfball. This second ultrasound found that the cyst wasn’t in fact a cyst. It was a tumor. A dermoid teratoma to be exact. A teratoma that had grown to the size of a lime. And the only way to get rid of it was surgery.
So after a freak out of the possibilities of the big “C”, we were able to schedule my surgery for January 20 of this year. Going into surgery I was a little terrified. I realize how ironic this is because I am a RN and I’ve worked briefly in the OR. But things were different from this side of the gurney. The wait for the surgery was agonizing. Knowing that little “Betty” was still in me, causing all kinds of problems was scary. And yes. I named my tumor. #iknowimweird. #itslessscarythansayingtumor #nowyougetthetitle.
January 20 came around and I arrived at the hospital bright and early. Except it wasn’t bright. It was still too early to be bright. It was dark. So I arrived at the hospital dark and early! I was ushered into pre-op where I changed into my sexy hospital gown that showed off my assets, got my IV, requested 15 million warmed blankets, and waited. And waited. For what felt like forever. Finally my nurse came and got me and I was wheeled away from my mom and husband. I was doing my best to put on my brave little toaster face. As soon as I entered the OR the anesthesiologist gave me the “good stuff”. Within about 30 seconds I had no anxiety and was feeling pretty good. It was then that I realized that I had a team of all men to perform my… ahem… girly surgery. So I was feeling good and relaxed and drugged with a bunch of men gathered around my head. I looked up and said, “Hey guys. Welcome to my lady parts.” Why yes. I did. It was awesome. They just laughed. Then I remember laying on the OR table staring at 2 little lights on the ceiling wondering when the anesthesia would kick in. Next thing I knew, I was waking up 2 hours later in post-op.
Surgery apparently went well but took longer than expected. If things were straightforward, it would have taken 30-45 minutes. But a few things came up during surgery. First of all, they discovered that Betty was, in fact, not ON my ovary but IN my ovary. So they had to cut my ovary open and scrape Betty out. I have pictures. I chose not to share them. You’re welcome. Second, they found a small patch of endometriosis on the wall of my abdomen. Luckily, they were able to remove all of it during the surgery. (For those wondering, endometriosis is when your uterine lining – AKA what you shed when you get your period – grows on other places outside of your uterus.) They also found some scar tissue and a few more cysts on my fallopian tubes. All of which they were able to remove. Praise God!
I was lucky enough to head home later that day. I spent the next 2 weeks recuperating and being pampered by my mom and husband, the best nurses I could ask for. Eventually, my incisions began to heal, the CO2 used during the surgery began to dissipate, and my abdominal muscles stopped screaming whenever I tried to get up off the couch or bed. I started to get back to normal. I had a mini-dance party when I got the call from my OBGYN that the pathology on my tumor came back as benign! PRAISE GOD!
So what does all of this mean? Well, it means that I had A LOT more issues going on than any of us knew. According to my OBGYN, even a pin’s head amount of endometriosis can cause people to not get pregnant. I had a dime’s size. Not much compared to some people, but enough to contribute to our infertility. That plus Ugly Betty and the PCOS and Hashimoto’s (both which explain the low progesterone) we have a good idea of the problem. Now… to find a solution to those problems. My 6 week post-op follow-up appointment is tomorrow. I’m ready for a game plan. #RIPBetty #notreally