**Warning** This post contains descriptions of reproductive organs, medical procedures and hospital details.
On Tuesday, 26th May 2015, I went in for a Hysteroscopy, Dilation & Curettage and Polypectomy. Before I get into the surgery I’ll give you a bit of background as to why I needed the surgery.
Back in December 2014, I had a period that didn’t cease with me commencing my active contraceptive pills and it was much heavier than usual. I found this a little strange so I immediately went to my General Practitioner to see what was going on. She came up with several theories and started testing. Over the next 6 weeks I did several blood tests, a urine test and had a pelvic ultrasound. I actually found the pelvic ultrasound less uncomfortable than a pap smear. I had a lovely lady as my ultrasound tech and she made me feel really comfortable about it all.
During the ultrasound they found that my uterine lining was thicker than normal, especially after bleeding for 10 days already, and it looked “echogenic in the fundal region” which the ultrasound tech and my GP agreed looked like I probably had some uterine polyps. I was then given referral to an OBGYN for final diagnosis and treatment.
During the wait for the OBGYN appointment my GP put me on progesterone to stabilise my lining so that I didn’t continually bleed. The bleeding with polyps was heavy, with clots and painful. This led to me sitting at work with a heat pack on my pelvis, a sticky heat pack on my back, all after taking pain killers and trying not to faint at my desk. Taking the progesterone was also an interesting experience! The first month or so in taking it, I was emotional and could either get angry or burst into tears at the smallest of provocations. I was horrible! It has also made my skin breakout in pimples and my hair feels oilier than usual.
My OBGYN appointment was scheduled for late April and she was lovely, reassuring and explained everything really clearly.
I turned up at the hospital around 8:30am, admission went smoothly and I paid my $250 excess, my private health insurer covered the rest. I was pretty nervous by this stage. At approximately 9:30am a cheery nurse came and checked my details, gave me my identity bracelets and took my blood pressure. It was a little high at this point, but she wasn’t concerned.
After waiting for another hour and a half, I was finally taken to my bed, given all the glorious clothes they get you to wear, including paper underpants! I had a bit of a joke with the nurse about those. After another hour I was wheeled down to the holding bay where another friendly nurse checked my details and made sure I didn’t have any metal on, including in my hair ties! She also made sure I had enough blankets to be warm and offered me a magazine to read while I waited.
An orderly took me to theatre around 12:15pm and I was a bit sleepy already so I just wanted to get it started! I was also super hungry and thirsty by this point. My OBGYN came over and confirmed what procedure we were doing, had a joke about her just downing a large coffee and the fact I don’t drink coffee (which makes me the weirdest public servant ever).
The anesthetist and his nurse came to transfer me to the surgical bed, took my blood pressure and fitted me with a canula. The anethestist gave me some medication that made me dizzy and a little sleepy, then once that took effect he said he was giving me the “super strong happy medication”, and I was out like a light.
Here are some quick descriptions of the procedures I had done I found on various parts of the internet. Thankfully I was not awake while they were doing all this!
“Hysteroscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look inside your uterus in order to diagnose and treat causes of abnormal bleeding. Hysteroscopy is done using a hysteroscope, a thin, lighted tube that is inserted into the vagina to examine the cervix and inside of the uterus.”
“A dilatation and curettage (D&C) is an operation performed on women to scrape away the womb lining. The cervix (neck) of the uterus (womb) is dilated using an instrument called a dilator. The endometrium (lining of the womb) is then lightly scraped off using a spoon-shaped instrument called a curette.”
“A Polypectomy is a surgical approach of removal of uterine polyps preserving the uterus. Uterine polyps are kind of non cancerous overgrowth of cells of the inner wall of the uterus that extend into the uterine cavity. These uterine polyps develop in the lining of the uterus (endometrium). It is also known as endometrial polyps.”
After I woke up, a nurse checked on my pain level, which was 2/10, and gave me some light pain killers to help. I rested for a little while, my OBGYN came by and showed me pictures and said something about “fluffy lining” but I was so woozy I don’t remember what she said! The nurses brought me a sandwhich and some apple juice. The sandwhich merely whet my appetite, I was still so hungry. Once I had used the bathroom, they took the canula out and that part wasn’t too bad. Although the back of my hand is still a little tender.
I was able to get dressed then, I made sure to bring comfortable clothes, track pants and a hoodie. My mother-in-law came in at that point and after getting some instructions from the nurses about post-operative care I was free to go home! As soon as I got home I ate so much food as I was so hungry, which probably contributed to the bloated look I had for the following 24 hours.
That night I slept badly, but not because of any pain, I think I had just slept and rested so much, I wasn’t all that tired! My bleeding had slowed completely as of the next morning so much that I could call it ‘spotting’. I have had a little bit of lower back pain today, which is usually how I experience my period pain. I have also had a few twinges around my ovaries and a few cramps. I haven’t taken any pain killers as the pain is managable with my heat pack and resting. I still have two days off work which will be needed as I still feel a bit weak in my legs and the cramps are still hanging around.
I have a follow up appointment in 8 weeks time with the OBGYN to get the results from the surgery and the pathology lab. Will let you all know how it goes!
I have the week off work so now I am somewhat recovered and not feeling so groggy I am going to spend the rest of the week stitching, I should have some progress for you all by the end of May.