Post UFE-3 Weeks

So, it has been exactly 3 weeks since I had my UFE done.

Things are almost back to normal. No more bleeding of any kind. The bruise on my leg is fading into an almost memory.

The worst thing is that the pain is not completely gone. It is just down to a dull ache, like I am about to start my period. It has pretty much been at this level for the last week. I did call the doctor and get something for it. I explained that I needed to have something non-narcotic as I would be accompanying nursing students on their clinical rotation later in the week and couldn’t take anything that could affect my judgement at all. They called in Toradol which is an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen only stronger. That has taken the pain down to a tolerable level.

I have to admit that I am ready for the pain to be completely gone. Even I thought that by this time I would be pain-free. Maybe when my period starts soon that will help.

I promise to keep you posted. If you have any questions that I am not answering, just drop me a comment and I promise to be completely honest when I answer, no matter how personal. My goal with these posts is to give people a personal account of how the procedure and recovery truly are. When I was researching this procedure, there wasn’t much in the way of real people talking about their experiences out there for me. I hope to remedy that situation.

Y’all Come Back Now.

January 27, 2010. Notebook. Leave a comment.

The Kind of “Help” a 16-year-old is Willing to Give.

The other night the girls and I were on our own for dinner. Hubby had to work late and that meant I was not going to make a huge fuss over dinner because the girls had a snack while we were out shopping that afternoon.

Anyway, I was thinking of something light and easy to make for dinner when crepes occurred to me. I love crepes. You can stuff them with something savory and make a hearty dinner or something sweet and make desert or something light and make a perfect light meal.

So, I go into my 16-year-old’s room to ask if she would like to help. She has been complaining a lot lately that I haven’t shown her how to cook. I knock on the door and ask her if she would like to help me cook the crepes.

Her response, “No, I don’t want to cook crepes.” Long pause. “But, I will eat some.”

She says this like eating them will be a great deal of help to me.

I laughed so hard I had to wipe tears from my face.

Once more, I love my kids. I don’t know how else I would amuse myself.

Y’all Come Back Now.

January 20, 2010. Notebook. Leave a comment.

So That’s What She’s Doing….

One of the great joys of being a parent is getting to see the world from a child’s point-of-view.  They go out into world and try to make sense of it and then come back and share.

I love the sharing part.

Yesterday was our semi-annual trip to the dentist for cleanings and check-ups.

My youngest daughter has been to the dentist every 6 months from the time she was born. I made sure that she saw us sit in the chair and have out teeth cleaned for years before it was her turn.

When she was 2 she got her first check-up. Summer (our favorite hygenist) was very patient with Boogie and worked at her pace, letting things advance as Boogie was comfortable. The first year she actually cleaned and polished her two front teeth and then Boogie declared that was enough.

6 months later Boogie progressed to having all of her teeth cleaned and polished and has been going strong in the chair ever since.

I thought that she understood exactly what was going on every time she sat in the chair to have her teeth cleaned.

Yeah, I know, I should have known better.

Yesterday, after our appointment, we get into the van and Boogie shares her thoughts.

“Hey, Mom, I think I figured out something.”

“Really, Boogie, what’s that?”

“When Summer is carving my teeth, she must be making room for my permanent ones.”

It is such a perfect image. In her little mind this woman, petite and sweet as she is, has been carving at my little ones teeth every six months for the last four and a half years.

What kind of love and trust must it have taken for her to believe me when I said that it was okay to sit in the chair and let Summer clean her teeth all these times?

I love my kids.

Y’all Come Back Now.

January 19, 2010. Notebook. Leave a comment.

Post UFE-2 Weeks and Counting

My procedure was done 2 weeks ago today and I thought it was time for an update.

I am still having some crampy pain, but things are finally starting to ease off. I no longer have any type of bleeding.

The worst thing right now is my leg. I guess that I bled a good deal after the procedure and the bruise that I have makes my whole right thigh sore. The bruise is beginning to heal, but at the current rate I will probably have the bruise for at least another month or so. I was finally able to wear jeans this weekend. Until then I had pretty much lived in sweats if I went anywhere or pajama bottoms at home. The first I wore jeans lasted about 20 seconds. It was the day of my one week follow-up. It hurt so much that I just couldn’t bear the idea of wearing them all day, much less sitting down in them. It was actually the thought of sitting down that caused me to change into sweats for my appointment.

I put jeans on, and was able to keep them on, for the first time on Friday. Imagine my surprise when I took them off that evening to discover the design of my seam in negative on my bruise. The blood under the skin didn’t really have anywhere else to go. I have pretty skinny legs and the jeans just sort-of pushed into the bruise and where the seam was there was no blood. I have worn jeans everyday since then and now I have a void in the bruise in that shape. My hubby freaked out a little the first time he saw it. Of course we are talking about the man who got a little woozy the first time he saw my leg after the procedure and still shudders every time he sees it.

I am still slightly bloated, but that could be because it is the second half of my cycle. I couldn’t tell you exactly when my period is due because they are so irregular, but I can tell you that I am on the downhill side of the month. I started my last one right after Christmas so I expect the next one anywhere from the end of next week (fat chance) to 3 weeks from now. Somewhere in between is probably the saftest bet. Maybe around the first of February? Anyway, I’ll let you know.

I feel like I am pretty much rehashing the same stuff. Yeah, I still hurt, but it is getting better. Yeah, I am still sore, but it is getting better. Yeah, I still get tired easily, but I am gettting better. It seems like it is taker a longer time to get back to 100%, but then again, a part of my body is having to heal in a way I can’t see, only feel. All the literature and the doctor say that I am right on track, a textbook case if you will. I just wish the textbook has less chapters.

Y’all Come Back Now.

January 19, 2010. Notebook. Leave a comment.

Post-UFE 1 Week Follow-up

Today I went back to see the interventional radiologist who performed my Uterine Fibroid Embolization last week.

We went over the course of my recovery for the last week. The doctor asked about my first night home and how well I was able to handle the pain with oral pain medicine. I explained that knowing that the pain would be so intense the first 24 hours, I felt more able to handle what happened.

The doctor and I discussed the rest of the week. He asked about any discharge that I was having. I explained the type and amount of discharge (slight mucousy-bloody discharge that sometimes contained small clots). He stated that a small amount of discharge was normal, but that if the amount increased or continued for more than a week I needed to call the nurse and let her know. The doctor also asked about the level of pain that I am continuing to feel. I explained how over the weekend and for the last 2 days I have continued to experience pain that required prescription strength pain medicine. The doctor reassured me that this was normal for the course of recovery and that I should start to improve soon. After our conversation the doctor asked the nurse to turn down the room lights and actually showed me the radiologic video of my procedure on a screen on his wall. It was very interesting to see. I actually got an idea of how the fibroid filled my uterus and why exactly I was having pain in the specific locations that I am.

All in all, the visit did make me feel reassured about my recovery. It is a 45 minute drive each way to the hospital. The drive itself was physically exhausting and did cause me some pain in my right leg (the site of the catheterization).  I did stop by Wal-Mart on the way home for a few things. I also had to stop by the drug store to fill the prescription the doctor gave me for pain medicine. It is the first time I have left the house since the procedure last week. I was gone for a total of 3 1/2 hours and it was enough to sap my energy. I hope my hubby is ready to cook dinner for the kids again tonight because I don’t think I am ready to resume that duty yet.

My next appointment with my doctor is in 5 months when they will repeat the MRI to measure the reduction of the fibroid.

Over the next few days I will keep you updated every few days to let you know how it is going.

Y’all Come Back Now.

January 12, 2010. Notebook. Leave a comment.

Post UFE-Day 6(and a recap of day 5)

I took a break on the follow-up on Day 5 because, to be quite honest, I was tired and in a good bit of pain.

I have an intense aching and cramping pain in my pelvis and back. The pain radiates up toward my belly button. It was severe enough that I just wanted to take pain medicine and go back to bed. Pretty much day 5 and day 6 have been the same. Last night, when the pain medicine wore off in the middle of the night, the pain woke me up.  I am starting to pass, what I can only imagine, are parts of the fibroid.

I go for my 1 week follow-up today and will bring this matter up with my interventional radiologist.

It is kind of disheartening to start to feel back to normal only to hurt again. Oh well, so is the recovery process.

January 12, 2010. Notebook. Leave a comment.

Starting to Feel Human Again-Only Tired or Post UFE Day 4

Today has been a good day.

I have experienced less pain and have felt almost human again. I have been able to control the pain mostly with Tylenol and have only had to take a pain pill once.

My biggest complaint was that the pain medicine was leading to a little slow down in the gastrointestinal area (constipation). I am happy to report that the extra fiber and stool softeners have resolved that situation.

I am still easily fatigued, but that is to be expected. I still have some pelvic pain, but less that is also to be expected. What it amounts to is that I am experiencing what feels like my worst menstrual cramps along with a feeling of fullness in pain back and pelvic area. I think the link between my back and the pain is that my uterus is inverted. I always experience cramps (and labor) strictly in my back.

All in all, I think that my recovery is going as expected. Slow and steady. With an emphasis on steady. I plan to rest and take it easy for the rest of the weekend. I have my first follow-up appointment on Tuesday with my interventional radiologist. I will let you know how it goes and what he has to say afterwards.

I hope that you are learning from my experience and if you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment and I will answer as honestly as I can.

Y’all Come Back Now.

January 9, 2010. Notebook. Leave a comment.

Post UFE-Day 3

Today marks the third day since my UFE procedure.

I am starting to feel more like myself today. I slept through the night only getting up once to take pain medication and the prescribed ibuprofen. My biggest complaint is that the prescription pain medication has caused some trouble with constipation. But I am adding more fiber and am still taking the stool softener as the doctor advised and hope to remedy the situation quickly.

The bruise on my leg is fully developed now and is slightly tender to the touch. The catheterization site is healing well and no longer requires a band-aid to cover it.

I am still tired and easily fatigued. I am taking things slowly and following doctor’s orders to lay off the house work. We all know that I just can’t wait to get back to housework, yeah right, you know me better than that. Now I just have a good excuse not to do it.

I am still experiencing mild to moderate cramping with some spotting. I have not had to wear any kind of protection. Yeah, I know WTMI, but I assume that if you are reading this post you probably are curious about all the details. I have passed a few small clots,  most of them smaller than an english pea. These were not painful and were smaller than the clots I pass during my menstrual cycle. The doctor did tell me than I would more than likely pass a portion of the fibroid due to its location within the uterus. I understand that it is fairly close to the endometrial lining and that raises the probability of my passing portions of it.

I felt well enough to cook a decent meal tonight. I even experimented by preparing Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon. I also prepared simple oven roasted potatoes as recommended in her book. I was a little trepidatious at first, but I shouldn’t have been. I made extra potatoes thinking that if the main dish were a flop then we could have the potatoes as the main. It was a good thing because they were perfect with the sauce and none of the potatoes or the sauce remained at the end of the meal. My families only request was that next time I make more! Even my six-year-old was scraping up the last bits of sauce from her plate.

Making and eating a decent meal has put me into a better state of mind and has definitely helped speed my recovery. I am glad that I made the effort.

All in all, I am still further ahead in my recovery than I thought I would be at this point. Only time will tell if the procedure will help in the long run or not.

Y’all Come Back Now.

January 8, 2010. Notebook. Leave a comment.

Post UFE-Day 2

It’s now been two days since I underwent my Uterine Fibroid Embolization.

I am still experiencing moderate pain, but it is easily managed with medication. I am taking the 800mg of Ibuprofen every 6 hours around the clock as prescribed. I am also still taking the narcotic pain killers that I was given, although I am now able to take only one pill every 4 hours instead of 2. I am experiencing less nausea and vomitting than the previous days and my appetite is starting to return.

Of course I am still easily fatigued, but since we homeschool I am able to work our schedule around resting as I need to. For example, this morning I was up at 7:30. I woke the girls up at 8 for breakfast and we started our studies by 8:30. We were able to work through all of our assignments for the day that we had to do together and then my oldest studied for her ACT alone.  I took a nap after lunch, but I only rested for an hour. I have kept my physical activity at the level the doctor prescribed. I was finally able to sit down this afternoon and get started on the syllabi for the two classes that I will be teaching at our co-op this semester.

I have noticed a very large bruise. It goes from my groin to mid-way down my thigh and has a slightly striated appearance. I didn’t notice it yesterday after my shower when I changed my band-aid. Yesterday it was only a small purple mark. I don’t know if the collection of blood was there yesterday and only appeared darker today or if there was some bleeding in the night. Either way, it has not grown in size today and is only slightly tender to the touch.

I was able to sleep through the night without having to take more pain medicine except for the one time I had to wake up to take the Ibuprofen.

I will keep you updated on my recovery.

Feel free to ask questions.

Y’all Come Back Now.

January 7, 2010. Notebook. Leave a comment.

Post UFE-Day1

So, my uterine fibroid embolization was yesterday.

The procedure itself went fairly quickly.

I got to the hospital outpatient center at 7 a.m. for my check-in.

Once I had filled out all of the paperwork and signed over my 1st born (just kidding) I was sent to Radiology for my check-in there.

The clerk from the check-in desk escorted me directly the nurses in the Radiology Department.

I was asked to change from my street clothes into a designer gown. You know, the one that opens in the back for all the world to see what you’ve got back there. In my case there’s not much back there.

Once I was changed the nurse came and started an I.V. I was also given a rectal suppository with medication for nausea. I was told that this is because the procedure itself can cause nausea and there is a risk of causing the clot at the puncture site to break off and cause a hematoma or embolism.

I was also given an antibiotic  to avoid infection.

 When the doctor and the room were ready, the nurse wheeled me into the procedure room. Then everything went quickly.

I had requested to not have a PCA, patient controlled analgesic, pump. It was my desire to go home the same day of the procedure and to do this I had to be able to control my pain with oral medication. My doctor was willing to work with me and said that as long as my pain was well controlled, I could sleep in my own bed that night.

When I woke up I was in some pain, but was able to control it with oral medication.  I had to lie flat for 4 hours follwing the procedure, but most of this time I was asleep. The reason for having to lie flat is that a catheter is inserted into the femoral artery in the groin. Once the catheter is removed the body naturally forms a clot at the puncture site. Just like when you have your blood drawn in your arm. There is a chance of the puncture site opening up again resulting in bleeding.

My procedure started at 9:00 a.m. and I left the hospital at approximately 3:30  p.m. the same day.

The doctor had informed both me and my husband that the pain would be intense during the first 8 hours after the procedure and that I can expect the pain to last at a mild to moderate level for the next week or so.

I’m not going to tell a fib here. My pain overnight was very intense. I have a pretty high pain threshold. If this were not the case I don’t think I would have been able to come home last night and deal with my pain with the medications the doctor prescribed for me.

The pain became more intense when I was lying on either side, so I slept off and on most of the night on my stomach. I also took my pain medication exactly as instructed.

Most of the day today I have experienced pain at a 6 on a 1 to 10 scale. Last night’s pain generally stayed at a 9 or 10. Because I had been told what to expect from the beginning, I think I am handling the situation better than if I didn’t know what was going on.

I will keep you updated on my recovery.

Y’all Come Back Now

January 6, 2010. Notebook. Leave a comment.