May 24, 2010

creating a post-hysterectomy medication plan for pcos

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOS). As a woman, it's all kinds of awesome to have: you get hair in totally cool places for women (think chin, neck, breasts), it helps you put on weight, and your period ranges from little to nonexistent. Then again, the last one's not so bad.

In a nutshell, my ovaries weren't doing me any favors. Needless to say, when it came time to make the decision about my hysterectomy, I told the doctor to take out everything, including my ovaries. I donated one to a PCOS study, and one to a study about embryo development.

Prior to the surgery, my only meds were my daily vitamin and the Metformin (prescribed due to the PCOS). I'm not the type to take medicine unless absolutely necessary. In general, I just don't like to put all that extra crap into my body. If I've got a headache, I'll muster through it. If I'm sick, I don't take Tylenol PM, or Sudafed, or anything like that.

On top of my post-hysterectomy to-do list was to meet with Dr. Nice Lady and talk about my medication plan. Do we explore hormone replacement therapy? Do I still need to take the metformin? What about hotflashes? Menopause? How will we replace the function my baby oven used to give to my body?

First things first: she's thrilled with the amount of weight I've lost since my cancer diagnosis in February (12 pounds to date). We chatted about what to do going forward. I'll continue with my daily multivitamin, and she wants me to stay on the Metformin so she can continue to monitor my body sans ovaries. I'm happy Dr. Nice Lady agreed with my decision to not want hormone replacement therapy. (Nurse Mom swears that the hormone replacement she received after her hysterectomy led to her breast cancer. That knowledge, coupled with the research I'd done, led me to the decision to not want to pursue it.)

To date, I've not had a single hot flash. #fingerscrossed

May 13, 2010

cleared for exercise (and sex) after hysterectomy

Met with the doctor's new resident today for my post-op appointment. I can't believe it's been a month since the hysterectomy already. Going back to work was a bit tiring, but went much easier than I thought. Since they did the surgery without having to slice me open, I only have two tiny scars - one on each side of my belly button about two inches away from it.

The biggest issue, honestly, has been putting pressure on my waist (which is exactly where the waist band for all my jeans, skirts, etc. falls). Even underwear falls right. On. The scars. You know, the elastic that holds them in place. Yeah, it falls right on 'em. Hell, it hurts. Hey underwear designers: work on that!

The visit itself was overwhelming. I know the doc had to place her hand inside to check the sutures, but that part scared the bejesus out of me. What if she poked too far? What if it hurt? What if, what if, what if? I asked for a nurse to come in, and she happily held my hand as I cried through the procedure. The good news is, it all looks good!

I asked when I could begin exercising, and she cleared me. Of course, we talked about paying attention to what my body is telling me and not to push it too far. Even in the past month, I've noticed that going up steps is too much, so I take it easy. Also, opening doors tweaks my core muscles, so I'm taking advantage of the chivalry of my coworkers and letting them open doors for me.

Warning: Blunt talk of lady bits and boy toy parts ahead.

The last thing we discussed was sex. Originally, we'd been told to "not stick anything in or near the sutures for 8 weeks." The sutures are at the top of my vajayjay, and I've got to admit, I was pretty scared about that first time post-op anyway. I'm glad I asked the resident about it today, because it turns out that with my type of surgery (total hysterectomy: removal of cervix and whole uterus; also the ovaries) they actually recommend 12 weeks of abstinence.

12 weeks. No hankily pankily pooh.

Turns out that women who had sex after 8 weeks ended up rupturing their sutures (eww!), so the docs are now recommending women wait until 3 months post-op to do the big nasty. Considering everything, IT Geek took the news quite well when I told him tonight.

[Insert snarky comment here.]

May 12, 2010

answering the "so when are you going to have kids?" question

It feels like IT Geek and I are newlyweds again.

Now that we're past the cancer and hysterectomy, everyone's asking, "So when are you going to have kids?"

BC (before uterus-taking cancer), it was the standard, "Oh, we're trying." It does seem like such a personal question to ask a woman - I mean, what about the women who don't want to have kids?

To be honest, I spent the better part of three months (Feb. 1-April 14) planning shit stuff, setting stuff up, reacting to stuff, injecting myself with stuff, planning for stuff, and figuring stuff out. I'm quite enjoying this down time right now, basking in the glow of being cancer-free.

I'm particularly loving, as one of my college buds so succinctly pointed out, "Having some time when you aren't scheduling something or counting down to something...(that's) a good break."

So for folks who are asking when we're going to start the surrogate process, I say, "Soon." As in, after we get from our Hawaii vacation in June.

That's when we'll lawyer up and continue the journey to Baby DeFrias.

(Or, if it works out, "Babies DeFrias." Yes, we're hoping for twins.)