Remember the rule about when the category is “POP?” You know, the rule that says there’s about to be way too much information shared? Well, looky here. The category is “POP.” If you’re squeamish, walk away! If you don’t know the story and aren’t squeamish, check out the posts in the category and get up to speed because I’m just going to jump right in.
Today was my initial appointment with the specialist. The Urogynecological specialist. The people who deal specifically with prolapsed pelvic organs on a daily basis. It’s all they do. That’s why they’re the specialists! Sixteen months post-HELL, I’m wondering why I ever thought that getting anything medical-related done in my town was a good idea. I should have gone up to the university hospitals and clinics when I first found out that I had something more serious than just a leaky bladder. Hindsight, though. You know what they say about it.
So. After filling out ten (not kidding about that) pages of history regarding my nether-regions (from peeing, to pooping, to having sex, to having periods, to having a hysterectomy, to the normal medical history questions you have to answer) I was able to get out of the waiting room – where I was by far the youngest woman – and get back to an exam room. The nurse was awesome. Very nice. Very knowledgeable. Went through all the same questions with her that I had answered on the crazy-long form. Then she said that the doctor would be in momentarily. I sat there staring at the exam table where the traditional “take off all your clothes and cover up with this thin piece of material” items were placed. The nurse didn’t say anything about getting undressed and covering up. But what am I doing here if the doc’s not going to examine me? So I’m probably supposed to strip from the waist down and sit on the table and wait. But what if this is just a consultation and I have to come back for another appointment where the examination will take place? Well, gawddammitalltohell, I’d better not have to come back. I WILL be examined today!! But what if the doc just wants to talk to me first and then will do an examination afterwards? Why the hell was I not instructed as to what the proper procedure is supposed to be? I’m not a naked person, folks! I really don’t care to be naked. I’m not comfortable being naked. So. Until someone tells me specifically to strip down, I’m going to sit in the chair, fully clothed, and if that’s not right then blame the nurse because she didn’t tell me! She was very sweet, though.
Then the doctor walked in. Oh my gawd!!!!! I instantly wanted to run from the building screaming. If I didn’t know any better I’d have sworn it was Danny DeVito! In a pin striped suit! He didn’t look like a doctor. He looked like a New York City mob boss! And I was supposed to let him take a peak up my hoo-hah? I’m not exactly sure what my facial expression was, but I wonder if he gets that a lot. He pulled up a rolling stool and began asking questions. You’ll never guess. The exact same questions that I’d filled out on my forms. The exact same questions the nurse had asked. I was starting to get fidgety. Nervous. Agitated. Annoyed. I had already been at the office for nearly an hour and had done nothing but answer the same damned questions.
After all that he said, “Do you mind if I do an examination?” No. I thought we’d just shoot the shit for a little while and then I’d go home and instantly have everything all better. Because I saw a specialist! He said that he preferred doing the initial visit when the patient was clothed. Alrighty, then! Let’s get this show on the road. So he left. I stripped. He came back and the prodding began!
To say that he did a thorough examination would be an understatement. And he explained what he was looking for and why he was calling out numbers to his nurse. There is apparently a magical formula to find out the exact degree of prolapse. Then he needed to find out if my bladder was capable of emptying all the way so he had to catheterize me. He seemed quite impressed at my ability to produce urine. Before I even went into the exam room I had to give them a urine sample and they got a good amount of it then, too. He said, “You weren’t kidding when you said you stayed well hydrated.” Even though I’m the valedictorian of producing urine, I have to say this was the least favorite part of the exam. The last time someone inserted a catheter I was under general anesthesia. It is NOT fun having something shoved up there when you’re fully conscious! Just sayin’
With that fun part done, he continued on with the examination. He said, “Have you been experiencing pain to your left side?” Yes, I have. “Have you been experiencing pain during sex?” YES, I have! He nodded. I waited for an explanation, but true to doctor code, all I got was a “Hmmm” and a nod. Once he was done I asked why he asked if I was having pain. He said we’d discuss it once I got dressed. Apparently, he pretty much sticks to his rule about only having conversations with clothed people. So he left the room and I got dressed and waited some more.
Here’s the scoop. Obviously, I have a prolapsing bladder. Whoot. Fun times. But I’ve been having pain during sex. A lot! And not just since the surgery. But for probably six months or so before the surgery. Before the surgery, I thought it was from my droopy uterus/rectum/bladder. So I expected after the surgery that the sex would not be painful anymore. Well. That didn’t happen. It still is. And it’s been very frustrating. (TMI ALERT!!!! Because, you know, the past few paragraphs haven’t been near graphic enough.) If I’m on top the pain is minimal. Tolerable to where I can take care of business (if you know what I mean). But there is still pain. If he’s on top. Well. Let’s just say that I can’t allow that to happen because it is way too painful. The reason for that is because when I lay on my back the bladder basically sits on my spine. So the process of it being pushed out of the way…well, it’s like my bladder’s a pinata, and he’s swinging the bat at my pinata. When I’m on top, the bladder falls to the front, so it’s not in the way. Nice, right? I have been thinking that I’ve been losing my mind, and that the pain is all in my head. After all, the bladder can’t be in the way when I’m on top. So why is there still pain? Here’s why:
When the prolapse first started happening, the first symptom was the leaky bladder. Coughing, sneezing, stretching to reach something from a top shelf, lifting anything heavy, running, jumping, skipping…anything that caused an impact, or caused my stomach muscles to contract would cause leakage. Those symptoms appeared about a year before I began noticing cramping when I worked out (the symptom that made me actually go to the doctor and find out what was wrong with me). So, for a full year I was clenching the muscles up in there to keep from leaking. He said that women who have this issue don’t realize they’re clenching and the muscles begin to tighten up and never go into a relaxed state. Let’s say you were going to show someone how big and strong your bicep was and you flexed your muscle, but then never unflexed it. Eventually you’d cramp up pretty bad. Like a charlie horse. So basically, I’ve got a charlie horse in my twat. Fun, huh?? Who even knew something like that could happen? I sure didn’t. I am glad, however, to know that I’m not crazy.
For some reason, if I know what is causing something, I can deal with it better. The unknowns get to me. And I have been a woman on the edge lately. I have felt like I will never be whole again. Like my life is just over. I have been having a difficult time keeping a positive attitude about anything and everything. This prolapse has just about beat me. It has turned my world upside down. And logically, I know that there are people with far worse things to deal with. Life threatening things to deal with. And in the grand scheme of things, I know that this is such an insignificant thing. Yet it has been making me a little crazy.
But now I have a plan. I will have pelvic floor therapy. Weird, huh? That’ll be interesting. It involves electrodes. I’ll tell you about that after I’ve had it and know more about it. I’ll have my pre-op appointment in December. They’ll have to shove a small camera up inside me so that they can check the health of my bladder and make sure that the stitching from the original puncture looks good. That just sounds like so much fun I can hardly stand it. He said it would be no worse than a catheter being inserted. Whee. Then I’ll have surgery the second week of January. I’ll have to be off work for two weeks and I won’t be able to lift/push/pull anything heavier than 10 pounds for six weeks. But then I can start healing. Healing my body. Healing my mind. Healing my soul. Becoming whole again. Finally, after sixteen months, I see a light at the end of the tunnel.