April 25, 2008

A miracle under the hood? Not likely....

Heh. As it turns out, the car/mechanic analogy was pretty dead on, though a little reversed. You know when a mechanic gets under the hood of your car and suddenly there's a lot of "broken" stuff that needs expensive repairs? Well, reverse that, and you've got a picture of my surgery Wednesday.

They were ostensibly going in to remove my right ovary and fallopian tube. Over the past year, I've had five ultrasounds (aka, via "dildo-cam," or transvaginally) to monitor the cysts that were discovered on my right ovary when I went in to see my ob/gyn complaining of bleeding at inopportune times. After doing some blood tests, an internal exam, and a cancer screening test at my insistence, she ordered what would be the first of a year-long series of ultrasounds.
I was told that the cysts were not "functional" cysts — the kind that are normal and that every woman of child-bearing age produces when she ovulates — but that they were "septated" cysts, ie, full of fluid and tissue — the kind of suspicious cysts that are sometimes cancerous and at the very least, require serious attention. As the ultrasounds continued, the cysts were observed, measured and photographed for my doctor or analyze. At my last visit with her in early April, she told me that the cysts were not shrinking at all and basically piling up on my ovary (which was totally obscured in the ultrasound photos, and likely eaten away by the cysts) and that her recommendation was that I have the ovary and fallopian tube be removed, because the cysts would eventually weigh-down and twist my ovary into such a painful knot, I'd end up in emergency surgery.
Of course, I couldn't stop thinking about Delle, and her battle with ovarian cancer. If there was a chance that these cysts were cancerous, I was all for taking out the ovary. The decision was made and surgery was scheduled.
While I was being prepped for surgery, the gynecological resident who would be assisting during my surgery came over to talk to me about possibilites, and make sure I understood that they would be sending my cyst-covered ovary for frozen pathology during my surgery, and if cancer was found, they'd be shifting from the less-invasive laparascopic procedure to a full incision down my middle to give me a total hysterectomy. Gulp. Yes, I understood.
While I was left alone before surgery, I silently prayed. I called on Mother Mary to hold me in her arms. I called on God to show me mercy. I called on Delle to be with me.
When I awoke from surgery back in the recovery room, I was groggy when my doc said a few words to me, which I hardly remember. "Everything looked great," she said as she waved some pics in my face which I couldn't see due to my lack of glasses in the OR.
T (aka, "The Nurse," from here on out) was the first to tell me. "You know they didn't take out your ovary, don't you? There were no cysts, Val. Your ovary was totally healthy."

Two days have passed and I still haven't wrapped my mind around it. As I see it, there are a couple of possibilities:
•I was miraculously cured. Of course I say that without even believing is such things are possible. Not likely, in my opinion.
• The ultrasound department consistently a)misread my films or b)gave my doc another patient's films
• My doctor made a huge mistake, is unqualified to read ultrasound results, and/or made a series of mistakes.

This is what I know: I had a totally unnecessary surgery. Yes, I am of course thankful that there is nothing wrong with me. I had a year of anxiety and grief leading up to this surgery, the last few weeks being the hardest. Many tears were shed. So I'm angry. And my doctor STILL hasn't called me post-op. I really can't WAIT to hear her explanation. The Nurse let her have it -- and asked all the appropriate questions. My doc tried to insist (and get her to repeat) that I had been complaining of abdominal pain all along (remember, it was bleeding that was my symptom, not pain.). The Nurse was smarter than that and said no, no, no. My doctor scurried away (probably to consult a lawyer) and promised to call me to answer all of my questions. I left her a message but haven't heard anything back. Stay tuned....

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