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Thursday, July 09, 2009LEEP Of Faith (Or Torture, You Decide)
I've been debating whether or not to post about this and have come to the conclusion that I should. So here, Internet, is the juicy details of what happened on Tuesday.
The day started great, actually! Blair and I both needed to have the day off and since my surgery wasn't scheduled until the afternoon, we decided to go down to the County Records Office and get our marriage license. -One of those things that needs to be done within 90 days of the wedding and can only be done M-F, during business hours. Who knew that it would take TWO HOURS of standing in line to get that piece of paper? By the time we got up to the window, I was ready for a nap. Anyway, that was done and now things are feeling more official - my new name is even printed at the bottom.
We had a quick bite to eat and then headed to the doc's office.
I was told to arrive an hour early so they could give me a mild sedative. We arrived earlier than that and I was very clear to the nurse: GIVE ME ALL THE DRUGS YOU HAVE TO KNOCK ME OUT in other words I DON'T WANT TO FEEL ANY PAIN OF ANY KIND. She heard me. And said this one little pill should do the trick; she would be back to check on me.
Have you ever been lied to but didn't know it? I first started getting suspicious of my nurse when she came back to check on me and I looked "happy." Yeah, I felt normal. What was that pill supposed to do, again? She said she would check with the doctor to get me something more. When she came back empty handed, she assured me that the doctor just wanted me relaxed and everything should be just fine. That was a lie; only, we didn't know it then.
By the time we got around to going into the surgical room, I assured Blair that I would be fine and he could wait outside. I got undressed and got into the position with those stirrups. There is no better way to make a woman feel vulnerable than to have her lie down on an elevated bed with her butt at the end of the table, spread eagle. If my vag could talk, it might just say HELLO, WORLD - TAKE A LOOK AT ME IN MY FULL GLORY; I'M A SEXY BEAST, DON'T YOU THINK? And when the doctor actually sits in his chair to check out that vag, he pulls apart your knees and dives right in. Ah, there is absolute humility in the Ob/Gyn Office.
So there we are: me, the doc and the nurse who lies. I asked the doctor a few questions before we got started and REITERATED my point: PLEASE, NO PAIN. The doctor said he would give me a couple of shots to numb the area and that should be the worst of it. Okay... I braced myself. Shot one - a pinch, a sting, but tolerable. Shot two - same. At this point, I'm figuring that if that was the worst, the rest should be clear and easy sailing. Now I'm lying to myself.
We're ready to begin the procedure. I had examined all the tools prior to undressing and figured I had educated myself enough about what was going to happen that all I had to do was close my eyes and wait for it to be over. The machines were making loud noises and I figured I would feel a little pressure. The doctor asked me if I felt this (no) how about that (no). Cool. I was numb.
He told me he was going to start. ...And then he did... AND THAT WAS WHEN I FELT THE WORST PAIN OF MY LIFE. If I could have, I would have flown off that table. Actually, I sort of did because he told me to not jump. I have never felt my insides being cut like that and let me tell you, I hope I never do again. To give you a sense of what was happening: imagine a cheese slicer that is cutting your raw flesh ON THE INSIDE OF YOUR VAG. Holy hell, it hurt... My face was contorting in ways I didn't know faces could contort. I was saying things and making sounds that had never come from me before. My teeth were clinched so tight and my veins in my neck were bulging that I thought they might pop out and spray that white surgical room with Pollock-style red dots. DO YOU SEE MY EXPRESSIONISM, DOC, DO YOU?!
After the first cut, I was done. I didn't want to do this anymore, just count me out. But, oh, how we weren't done. Again, more pain. This time I had to ask him to please please stop because it hurt too much. I asked for more drugs, anything to stop this immense pain. He just started up again. What made it even worse was that after the first two go-arounds, I heard a loud beep when the tool was to start cutting again. So now I KNEW when the pain was coming. Nothing like that half-second anticipation of knowing my insides would be shredded to relax all that tension.
Four times the doctor put me through hell. And in all likelihood, it lasted mere seconds but I swear it felt like hours. It was misery, people!
After that, he had to put on the medicine and clean everything up in there. By that time, I really didn't care - the pain was over. I was crying uncontrollably and my legs were shaking. The nurse was caressing my feet, which were ice cold, and giving me tissues for my tears. All I wanted was to be left alone. They had both lied about the pain -no, TORTURE- and didn't knock me out like I had wanted. They were lying liars who lie.
They left me alone for about five minutes to lay on the table and relax. The nurse came back with Advil to help the cramping that had now started. I wanted to punch her and tell her to get me morphine with a bottle of Vodka. But I took the Advil. The cramping did not subside.
The nurse showed me the flesh that was removed. It was about a quarter-size around and about two centimeters thick. It looked like a piece of meat floating in a sterile cup. I would hate to be the bastard that had this ripped from his body - OH, WAIT.
When I was ready to get up and get dressed, I started to reason with myself. I'm not dead. This procedure had to be done. The torture was over and I should never have to go through it again. I can stand on my own two feet (which were still ice cold) and I can walk outside. So I did - I walked right out to Blair who enveloped me in a great big hug. I just wanted to go home. I felt like hell and knew I looked about the same.
On the drive home, I recapped the gory details for Blair's listening pleasure. I was surprised that he had not heard the screams coming from the room... was I really not as loud as I thought I was? Anyway, when we got home we found some vicodin that I had saved from last summer's painful ordeal. Even that didn't help the cramping, but at least it was tolerable.
Now that it's all over, I want to express the importance of getting regular check-ups from the doctor. Although not fun, getting a pap and following-up with your doctor is critically important. This ordeal has been a long time coming and with constant monitoring from my doctors, we caught it before it turned into cervical cancer. I will still need to be checked every six months until my cells are "normal" but the prognosis is good.
As for family planning, I guess we will have to wait and see. The biggest risk is not being able to carry to full-term... but anything is possible. That's neither here nor there at this point, so there's no sense in stressing over it. I remain hopefully optimistic that nature will find a way.
For more information on this procedure and to learn more about cervical cancer, please click HERE.