Today I celebrate my two week post-op anniversary. Can I get a “whoo hoo?”
So, I know I’ve talk a little (OK, maybe a lot) about what it was that exactly happened. Sometimes it’s easier to explain with a bit of a visual. I explained the part of this puzzle where I had to retrain my pelvic floor muscles to relax (graphic enough), so I thought, what the hell…I’m sure they want some more visuals of the pelvic floor…coming at you from a different angle.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse means that the pelvic floor basically falls. The pelvic floor consists of the bladder, the rectum, and the uterus and all the various muscles that hold it all in place. It’s pretty common for women who have had multiple births to get a loose bladder. I’m not really sure how common a full on pelvic floor prolapse is. So, let’s have a little biology lesson, shall we.
- The uterus. It began sagging down into the vagina. This was causing major cramps, especially when I was working out, plus major bleeding each month. It had to be removed. The bladder had kind of attached itself to the wall of the uterus, which is why it tried to escape during the hysterectomy. I’ve heard that the bladder adhering to the uterus isn’t horribly uncommon, but I don’t know the actual medical statistics on that.
- Once they got the uterus out they were able to lift the top of the vagina to keep it from prolapsing into itself. The doc said that the top repair was done very well.
- The rectum was sagging quite a bit and kind of bulging into the vaginal wall. This caused deer pellets. For you city folk who don’t get the reference, it means that I couldn’t make a question mark in the toilet with my normally regular pooping. Oh, yes…we’re going there! All I could manage were small little balls of poop. A.K.A. “deer pellets.” That is not the clinical term for it. I’m sure there is a clinical term, but it’s probably too long with too many consonants for me to be able to pronounce or spell.
- They repaired the posterior wall of the vagina to keep the rectum from bulging through it anymore. The doc said that it was a good repair. Normally when he goes in to do any repairs like he did in my case, he has to re-repair what previous docs have done. He said that he didn’t have to do that with this one. Not sure if that’s all true and whatnot or if it was just a professional courtesy since he knew how irritated I was at my previous doc.
- This is where the bladder is supposed to be.
- This is where the bladder was actually sitting. Two times a week I have to put premarin cream up the vagina…part of my hormone replacement therapy, and I could feel the bladder bulging there through the vaginal wall. Have you ever put a tampon in not quite right and you feel like it’s going to fall out because you can feel it just sitting there right at the base of the vag? Well, that’s what it felt like to walk. A constant feeling that a tampon was not inserted correctly. Pleasant, let me tell ya! Aside from that, there was the misery during sex. He would hit that thing upon entry. Yowza! This meant very little sex and when he did get it (poor guy…he is a freaking saint!!!) I’d have to be on top to have a least a chance of the bladder falling a little forward and getting out of the way. So he relinquished all control in the bedroom to make sure that I was comfortable. And he never complained! Not once! I really am the luckiest woman on the face of the earth to have such a kind, caring man in my life. Anyway…I digress!
- This is where they did the anterior wall repair. Strengthened up that front wall of the vagina so that my bladder won’t bulge through. He also “tacked up” the bladder to where it’s supposed to be. I do not know how he did that. I’ve gone over and over and over in my head all the anatomy classes I’ve ever had trying to figure out how he would have tacked it up. So, the bladder is back where it should be. The vaginal wall is restructured (who needs a face lift when I’ve had all this other lifting going on) although still a bit swollen. This is normal. Doc says that it may take a month for the swelling to really go down. Being able to sit in the hot tub (TONIGHT, YA’LL) is supposed to help with the swelling.
- Last, but not least is the urethra. In the process of the bladder dropping, the urethra also had to be re-supported. The issue with the urethra is the leaking. I don’t recall if I have used this analogy before, but there is a muscle underneath the urethra that acts as a block during impact (sneezing, coughing, jumping, tripping, etc). Picture a hose on a cement patio. If you step on the hose, the hose pinches between your foot and the cement and stops the water flow. Now, picture a hose on a muddy lawn. What happens if you step on the hose? Nothing. It will not stop the flow of water because there isn’t the support underneath it to kink the hose enough. That’s what has happened with the urethra. The muscles around it are basically a muddy lawn. So they put a mid-urethral sling in which will act as the cement patio of the nether-regions.
There you have it. In a nutshell. I can already tell that #8 is working because I have been able to sneeze without issue. I can tell that there is occasional leakage with a sneeze or cough if my bladder is full. The doctor said this is very normal and that as the swelling goes down I will see continued improvement. I can see that he’s right because every day I notice more things that are right than things that are wrong. I feel hopeful that I will have my life back. I have been kicking myself for not going to a specialist when my POP was first diagnosed. But that’s hindsight. I can’t live my life with regrets. I have to think about all the things that I’ve learned about myself. My own strength and what I’m capable of handling. And I have to think about the things that I’ve learned about my husband. How compassionate, loving and supportive he is. I always knew those things, but I haven’t always acknowledged those things. From every bad thing, something good can come if you have the proper perspective. And I’ve learned a LOT about perspective.
That’s the poop (real, not pellets anymore) about the whole prolapse thing. I’m glad to be on this end of it and am looking forward with much joy and gratitude!