Sunday, September 30, 2007

Birthdays, cabinets, fences and walking in circles

Wow, where to start. Two weeks ago I celebrated my 50th birthday. It was on a Saturday so the whole day was free to do whatever I wanted. Strangely enough, I told Sara that I wanted to try mowing the lawn on my own. It's truly a bizaar thing to want to do on your 50th birthday. For some strange reason, I thought if I could do that I would prove that I was better and not an old lady. At that point, I had only done little bits, but, the week before had made a big difference in my stamina, pain, etc. I DID IT! Managed to mow the entire yard while Sara caulked the fence.

The other thing I really wanted to do was go to the antique mall. That was exciting, we found a new cabinet for the bathroom, a spool to make another lamp for the living room, AND best of all and most unexpected, a hoosier cabinet for the kitchen. It is the sweetest thing, white with cool red bakelite pulls. We brought the cabinet for the bathroom home with us and I managed to help carry it to the basement. The finish is good, but, we want to polyurethane it before putting it in the bathroom.

After dinner out and birthday cake, I was pretty tired from all this. Still have that bedtime at 10:30! On Sunday, had lunch with Sara and Cheryl.

As far as the fibroids, I'm still taking Advil for some pain, but, the time between is more and more and sometimes I only take it in the morning. I found that avoiding the bedtime Advil has played into stopping the night sweats. HMMMMM, could the two really be related. Still have some discharge, but, nothing serious. Just long will that last?

The past two weeks, I had to spend some time in Madison for various meetings. That included my first independent road trip. That went OK. Last week I had to stay overnight. On Tuesday night we had grilled steaks for dinner. If my anemia isn't getting better, it didn't hurt to have that 1" medium rare (well more rare than medium) steak. Couldn't eat the whole thing, but, it was good. Avoided the alcohol that was flowing pretty freely at the dinner (no one was driving). The beds at the ol' Baymont sure aren't like mine, not getting good sleep made a big difference in how I felt relative to everything. Wednesday afternoon, doing the rounds of the Rotunda at the Capitol was pretty tiring. Walking on the marble floor for 4 hours wasn't the best. I was taking some breathers, still tough walking that much. It was good to get home that night.

Last weekend Sara and I finished staining the fence! Yeah! At least I helped with the last part. There was the full harvest moon last week and it just glowed in the dark. Now we get to move on to other projects. Yeah! It's good to be feeling better.

Since then, it's been work. Yesterday, went to a breakfast meeting with Sara and then up to the yarn shop in Appleton. My first visit since my UFE. I celebrated by buying some sock yarn that I really don't need and a sweater book. Did yard work in the afternoon and cleaned. Knit in the evening, it was great---haven't done that other than Knit Night in awhile.

I figured out the other day that had I had a hysterectomy, I would just be thinking about starting back to work. I wouldn't be talking about bringing home cabinets, painting fences, and cutting the grass. Sitting around for 2 1/2 weeks was tough enough. Guess I'm just not ready to not do anything.

Coming up----we're planning a party!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Remember how I said that we talked about periods, etc. when I was at the doctor last week. We decided that it would be sometime this week. Well, not bad, considering how messed up I was. I started on Sunday. It's been nothing tremendous or like it used to be. Thank you hormone Gods! But, I have to say I'm having more cramps than I've had for years. Plus (and this is gross), there have been a few pieces of what I figure are dying fibroids (yeah). I woke up today and decided, based on the pain and not exactly knowing what to expect, stayed home. Things have been OK, so I think I can relax (along with my bottle of Advil).

Sara had sent me this link for a hour long utube video of a UFE. It's really good, especially if you have no clue about the procedure (perhaps some medical personel out there should watch this!).

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Lazy Saturday

It's a lazy Saturday afternoon. Sara is out shopping. She had a lot of places she was going, so I choose not to go along.

First, the report from my doctor's appointment on Wednesday. At this point, she said everything looked good. She did a pelvic exam (owie!), guess I'm still a little tender down there. We scheduled an ultrasound for 6 months down to see how things were going. She's having some of the discharge tested, no calls so far. She didn't think there was a problem, said that since I wasn't running a fever, she didn't expect any infection. I asked how long the discharge will last. Basically, it varies and depends on the person and size of the fibroids. She asked about periods. We talked and she said that if I didn't have any thing in two months, I should followup on that. Otherwise, I pretty much got a clean bill of health.

Oh ya, the weight. According to their scale, 13 pounds. Now tell me, do you normall go down 2 clothing sizes when you loose 13 pounds. Something is amiss here.

So, Wednesday night, when we were knitting, Sara told me that we had to stay home on Thurday night (there was someplace I was thinking about going). She said she had bought two new chairs for our living room. One for me (an early birthday present) that is huge! It's been dubbed the healing chair. I can curl up, lay in it, sit however I want. It has an equally huge ottoman. She bought herself a lazyboy (girl) recliner. She had decided while I was sick that our furniture, other than our sofa and the chair Jeffy sleeps in were in bad shape. Neither of the old chairs is with us any longer and our living room is comfy, comfy.

I've felt pretty good the past few days. When the Advil starts wearing off every 6 hours, I have some aching, but, otherwise, my energy is coming back. This morning I washed my bedding, helped Sara mow the grass and did a few other things outside. Using the lawnmower was much better this week. The only thing I have to remember is not to use my stomach and lower body as much as usualy. I'm thinking next week I may be able to do half the lawn.

After all that, I did take a nap but only a short one. We'll see how tired I am tonight.

Oh ya, yesterday I went down to Madison for a meeting. I didn't have to drive, that's still coming late in the month. I was tired when I got home at 3;30, but, what else is new. Gave me a chance to nap in my big new chairWonder how long it will take for that all to stop. In the meantime, what's wrong with a nap?

I still have to decide how long I'm going to work next week each day. I think I'm just going to see how it goes. I know once I hit 2pm or 3pm, right now, I start winding down, and everyone notices. We'll just have to see.

It is amazing when you start waking up in the morning an feeling pretty normal...and that is what is starting to happen. That's surely not a bad thing. Hope everything else keeps going well too.

Happy rest of the weekend! I'm going outside to help Sara with the some last details on the fence.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Work, the weekend and Labor Day

Well, I made it through 4 days of work last week (well, 4 hours each day). I worked 10am to 2pm, just so I didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn. This week, since school has started, the smart move is to start by 7:45, or not good parking for me, unless I want to walk and walk, and that would not be the smart thing at this point.

I did OK last week. On Tuesday, I was welcomed by a banner signed by all my coworkers. It was made by Carmen, my friend Evelyn's daughter and my god-daughter (yup, another good Virgo). Carmen started her last year of grade school this year, amazing how fast they grow up! The banner is great, I'll include a picture as soon as I get to those details. Anyhow, there was the banner and kringle. A mini celebration. It was nice to be back in civilization. But, I have to say, by 2pm everyday, I was ready to leave. I would come home and do a few things, but, mostly I napped. Evenings last week were a little busy with Labor Council on Tuesday and knitting on Wednesday, but, I made it to both. I wanted to try, so while she was resting, I did a short strip of grass, about a quarter of the length of the yard. Read, not very much. The lawn mower, which I usually handle with no problem felt so heavy and the vibration was pretty intense. Just that little bit, and I was out of breath. No stamina or strength. Anyhow, when that was done, we celebrated Friday by ordering a pizza. Nummy!

My appetite has been weird to say the least. One day I'm craving something and the next day that same thing makes me want to gag. It's really frustrating to Sara who is trying to get me to eat a healthy diet. Up until today, fruit really held no appeal to me. But, I had some melon this morning and it was good. More on the past two days later.

Friday was a little busier in the afternoon, since I had to get mega change at the bank for the Labor Day picnic. I had it in a locked box, but, that was pretty heavy for me to carry. Luckily, I was parked pretty close to the door of the bank.

On top of everything else last week, Sara's car continued to not start every few days. She had to have it taken in for repairs on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. As a result, I had to do some extra running around. Poor Sara can't catch the break she so much deserves. But, we've had 4 days in a row with no problem, I think we've got it resolved Houston.

So, during the week, I was pretty much having the same level of pain (2 Advil's every 4 hours for the most part). But, I did start being able to sleep through the night without having to take anything. I'd be more than ready in the morning, but, I was waking up at 2am in pain.

After dealing with Sara's car on Saturday, we commenced with our original plan to take me up to the mall in Appleton to find something to wear for today. I received an award and really didn't think I had anything that would fit me. I didn't want to look like a scarecrow. I had no idea what size I was down to. So, once we found an outfit and a fitting room, Sara brought in like four sizes. The skirt in size 18 fit well. I could actually put on the 16, but, it was a little tight. 16???? I wore an 18 already in high school. That's two sizes that I'm down. I'll find out tomorrow when I go to the doctor who many pounds.

Anyhow, that was pretty hard work trying on clothes (once again, no stamina). I was pretty wiped when we got home, between shopping and the mornings fun with cars. I napped when we got home, but, had promised Sara I'd help her clean. We ate some supper, and then I needed another nap. What would happen is first I'd get cold, then I'd get tired---exhausted. I'd have on sweats, a fleece top and socks, and cover up. I didn't have a fever or anything (I'm trying to take my temp. at least twice a day). About 9pm, I had enough energy to at least clean the kitchen (luckily, Sara always vacuums, I'm not even tempted to try right now). Oh, the other weird thing on Saturday was really thristy. I could have drank the lake. When we went to Starbucks, I opted for a lemonade instead of mocha. Anyhow who knows me is that I love my daily mocha. The thought of it made my throat dry. The employee who took care of me, was surprised I wasn't getting my regular. She said, the lemonade is concentrate and not sweetened. I said great! A few of them had to watch me take that first drink. It was great! Anyhow, the mocha problem didn't last, but, I've almost emptied a half gallon of lemon-limeade since Saturday.

Sunday, Sara's family was coming to visit. We went to church. It wasn't as bad as last week when it seemed like 2 hours long, especially with squirmy kids in front of me. But, I was still tired when we got home. Once again the freezing/exhausted problem. I slept for 3 hours. They had arrived by the time I got up (such a hostess I am). I was good the rest of the afternoon, but, by the evening, I was pretty exhausted again. I was getting worried.

Monday was Labor Day. Usually, we're setting up for the picnic on Sunday night (not this year) and at the park by 8:30 in the morning. No way this year, I knew that wouldn't happen. Sara was out of here by 9 and got out of here a little after 10, the food serving started at 11, so neither of us was that late, they just had to set up without us. I was going to work selling raffle tickets (sitting down). I would be able to leave whenever I wanted. Sara did my usual job collecting money for the food. I felt pretty good when I got there and helped with the tickets, actually until after 3pm! Sara said everyone was worrying about me being there yet. When I got home, I knew I would have to go back to collect all the money, so I figured I would rest for about an hour or so. I really hadn't eaten anything, brats, hot dogs and corn really didn't appeal to me. I ate some cold pizza (ya, I know like that is any better, but, it tasted good). Oddly, there was none of the chills or exhaustion from the weekend. I laid down, and the other strange thing was, I realized I had no pain--anywhere! When I went back to the park, Sara and I pretty much collected our stuff and I took the money. We chatted with a few folks, but were home by 5:30. I counted the money and did a few other things, but, decided to take her easy since today was going to be a busy day.

I got up at 5:30am. Normal time. Took care of Churchill's testing and then took a shower. I felt pretty good (I was worried I'd) be tired. I was at work by 7:45. Sara picked me up on her way in and gave me a ride to the end of campus. A pretty long walk. I had to get ready for the awards. I was a little worried about walking on stage (luckily we sit up there and don't have to climb steps during the ceremony). I talked to the Chancellor before the program and told him that I was moving pretty slow, but, I was OK. A lot of speechifying before the awards, which went pretty fast. The classified staff were in a group in the audience and let their presence be known for all 4 of us getting awards. None of that stuffy academia for us!

So after pictures and hugs, I decided that with "spotters" I was going to walk back to the library. Sara argued with me, but, I didn't want her to loose her parking space. After Jean and Karen promised to take care of me and I promised to call as soon as I got back, she let me go. As promised they stayed with me. Karen was amazed at how tired I was. I kept telling folks to just go around us, at one point the Chancellor came up from behind with a few other administrators. I said, just go around I'm moving slow, he just said, you're not moving slow, you're strolling. That made me feel better. Anyhow, I was at work 6 hours today. I was as tired when I left and I went and picked up my prescription for iron tablets and some vitamins. Still feeling Ok.

Oh ya, Sara sent me an article she found about studies that are being done on women who have their ovaries removed prior to menopause. There are links being found between that and dementia. Isn't that interesting. But, heck, we'll just take those pesky things out to as long as we're at it.....grrrrr!

Tonight I'm tired, but, that's pretty normal after a day like today. Somehow, I feel like the weekend was turning a corner. We'll see how things go tomorrow with the doctor. Hopefully good. I'll try to give you a timely report and also get some more done on the post on the procedure itself and the weeks after.

For now, that's it today.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Good Monday

I'm going to keep working on the retrospect, but, I thought I should start giving you daily updates.

Tomorrow is two weeks since the procedure. I'm going to go back to work tomorrow. Since my job can be as much sitting down as I want it to be, I think it will be ok. I just have to find out and see. I really getting bored at home, I guess I'm not a slug. I thought I'd be reading and knitting and having all sorts of fun, but, it just doesn't feel right. Actually, for most of the time, I haven't really been able to concentrate on more than TV and naps. The fact that it rained for 7 straight days doesn't help either.


I was pretty active this weekend. I watched Sara mow the hayfield that should be our lawn on Saturday morning (usually my job, she hates doing this and I feel bad that she has to). Then we cleaned (I did all of my share, thank you). That tired me out and I napped for about an hour. We had a corn roast to go to in the afternoon, my first real outing besides a store or Starbucks. It was great to see people and they seemed happy to see me up and about. After that I made my first trek to the grocery store. That pretty much finished me for the day.

Yesterday, I went to church. I never realized how tiring that is. It seemed two hours long. Sara varified that it was only an hour. Part of the problem might have been the squirmy kids in front of me. That always drives me crazy. Anyhow, a trip to Target was pretty much all I could deal with after that. But, it was a beautiful day, so while Sara and Kyle were out buying the parts for the last details of the fence, I sat a lawn chair in our newly fenced yard and read and knit. Jeffy came out and joined me and purred and asked for pets. I felt really guilty sitting there while they worked. The fence is a wonderful thing, but, my plan to do it before the surgery was probably bad strategy, since I was totally useless. Sara did laundry for me last night. Since our washer/dryer are in the basement, I'm still a little reluctant to climb the steps a lot. I vow I am going to be doing that soon.

I slept well last night. I'm still having night sweats, but, I think that's my hormones and nothing else. I was having them before I was taking progesterone, so now that I'm off that, I think my natural cycles are kicking in and peri-menipause symptoms are once again in control instead of the evil bumps.

When I got up, Sara was still home. I told her I would pick her up for break and drive to Starbucks. I ate breakfast, took a shower, got dressed and was ready to go by 9:30. And I wasn't whipped out! What a concept. It was raining buckets, but, we spent a nice break having our coffee and ol' DPN girl working on her sock. After I dropped Sara off from work, I was a little tired, so I sat down for a little while. But I didn't fall asleep. I eventually did the dishes. After I ate lunch, I spent the afternoon catching up on my work email and doing the reports for the Labor Council meeting tomorrow night. I also printed posters for the Labor Day Picnic. I decided at 3pm that perhaps it was time for a nap and Advil. I hadn't had any Advil since 8am this morning and the pain wasn't bad. I took a nap and was woke up at 4pm by my new OB/GYN's office. I have an appointment scheduled for next Wednesday with my new female doctor. Yippee. I hope she is as good as her discription sounds.

At 4:45 I had an appointment to have my hair done, the grey is all gone! I figured it wasn't a big deal while I was just slugging around at home.

When I got home, I ate supper and decided to read the blogs and work on mine. I'm really trying hard to not nap at night, since I don't want to have trouble sleeping, despite the drenching night sweats.

Oh ya, I think I had my period! I'm not sure because my body has been so goofy. However, late last week and this weekend, the "stuff" coming out was a little (just a little) heavier then what it had been. When I went back to my old calendar where I kept track (before the evil progesterone), I counted it out, and if my body is trying to follow it's old schedule, it would have been late last week. If that's what it's going to be like from now on, can I say thank you to the inventor and those who do UFE's.

So, tomorrow it's back to work....four hours, 10am to 2pm. I'll let you know how that goes.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Trip so far

I had my Uterine Fibroid Embolization on Tuesday August 14. Although my recovery has been pretty good, if you've done any research on UFE's you are going to read about being very tired after the procedure. This is very not think otherwise and do not think you are superwoman and are going to be different. More on that later. To start out, I'm going to go back in time a few months and give you the background of how I got to this point.

March, 2007
After spending a year and a half dealing with exessively longer and heavier periods, I decided it was time to go to an OB/GYN for my yearlies instead of having my regular doctor do them. So, I made an appointment with an OB/GYN recommended by my insurance companies "nurse direct". He was an OK guy, and pretty much from the start, based on my description of my symptoms, suspected Uterine Fibroids. He did my yearlies and indicated that he could feel what he thought were fibroids in my uterus. Instead of fooling around, I had him do tests to make sure there was no cancer. All OK on that front. He made a followup for a uterine ultrasound and then followup with him.

April, 2007
After the ultrasound (not exactly my favorite experience), I had the consult with the OB/GYN. He said I had at least 4 large uterine fibroid. The largest the size of a softball, others he described as varying types of balls. I've heard them described as fruit, but, heck, I had a sporting goods store in my uterus! We went through all the various options, because of the size of the fibroids, my age, the fact that I didn't plan on having children, etc. At that point, he said he thought my best choice was to have a hysterectomy and just take care of it. They would take out my ovaries of course to avoid any problems in that arena, and that would cause immediate menopause. Any effects of that we could deal with hormones.

Well, I'm like, whoa buddy, wait a minute. I had a busy spring summer coming up. A conference with a friend coming as a speaker in May, my neices wedding in July and a big convention that my friend Sara and I were working on some major projects for. No time right now to spend 6 weeks recovering from a hysterectomy. I didn't give him all these details of course, but, I did say that I didn't have time for that right now at work or in my life, so is there anything we can do in the meantime. I think he was a little taken aback that I didn't just whip out my calendar and say, lets do it next Wednesday. But, he said that sometimes Progesterone would help reduce the symptoms and slow down the growth. I said, lets try it. So, I started taking Progesterone for a week and off for 3. It helped reduce the flow, but, my period started getting longer. On top of everything else, of course, I was pretty anemic, so I also started taking Iron supplements in addition to vitamins.

My next appointment was scheduled for the end of June.

In the meantime, my friend Sara and I had been having some pretty heated discussions about the whole situation. She insisted that a hysterectomy wasn't my only option and started combing the internet for information. We're both Librarians, she just has a little more time to do extented research on stuff. She would send me stuff about women who had hysterectomies who were upset and had problems and frankly, it didn't sound like a lot of fun. But, since I've never had surgery other than dental stuff, anything sounded scarey to me.

Oh, besides everything I mentioned earlier, did I tell you we were in the process of buying the house we had rented for almost 5 years. Despite the fact that our banker kept telling us everything was fine, it was nerve wracking. Also, because we were buying it from our landlord, we had to do a lot of things that realtors do. It was a learning experience and stressful, on top of everything else.

So April was pretty uneventful otherwise. The progesterone did control my period somewhat that month (my body probably didn't know what to do at first). Sara hated it that I was taking this, thought it was more harmful than good. She would come into my room and check on me in the middle of the night to make sure I was alive. It got to the point that Jeffy my cat would also come up from the end of the bed and check on me. I figured I was willing to give it a chance.

The Story of the Bumpy Bluterus
In late April, our Labor Council has a Solidarity Dinner. Before the dinner started, we were talking to our Council Presidents wife. She was about 5 months pregnant at that point. She teaches childbirth and has had all three (Lucien born August 15) at home with a midwife. Since Ellen knows that both Sara and I knit, she asked if we could knit her a uterus for her classes. Sara and I looked at each other, and then said, OK. Sara got home that night and I think she went on line yet and found TONS of patterns. She proceeded to knit Ellen a lovely pastel varigated uterus for her class. Sara kept offering to make me a new uterus and we began calling it the "bluterus" for some reason. My personal organ became known as the bumpy bluterus.

May/June 2007
At the beginning of May we closed on our house and at the end of the month we started on our yard projects for the summer. The first one was to get rid of two incredibly ugly bushes, one in our front and the other that was consuming the back yard. Our friend Kyle helped and him and I did a lot of work. It didn't wear me out and I felt good working outside on MY HOUSE.

After the bushes were removed, Sara and I built a retaining wall where the former ugly front bush was. We also removed the grass (using hand tools). After we had the wall built and the ground ready, we planted $150 worth of perennials. They were little, but, we vowed to water them and make sure they made it through whatever summer had in store. I felt good and did a lot of heavy lifting and digging to get the wall built and the plants in. It is beautiful now. I'll get some pictures posted soon.

Anyhow, as June went on, I was doing OK, but, I was dreading my next appointment with the OB/GYN. I also had another Uterine Ultrasound scheduled. That was at the end of the month.

About a week before my appointment, I had the period from hell. I woke up in the morning and decided to sleep a few hours. Usually this would help and I could make it through the rest of the work day. I showered and was doing OK. But, as soon as I got to work, I practically stayed in the bathroom. I decided it was worthless to try and stay. I came home and scared Sara to death (she was home for lunch). I ran into the bathroom and stayed in there for about a half hour. No one at work knew where I was. I finally crawled to the phone and left a message for my supervisor. Then I layed in the middle of the living room on my back for 45 minutes. I was close to the bathroom and being on my back slowed things down. I finally got to my bed and slept like the dead for the rest of the afternoon. I felt like a rubber band and had not energy after that. Ya think, I probably lost a lot of blood in those 6 hours. I didn't have to work the next day, Sara and I were working on our union history project by then. I tried to help Sara put up the window box she built for the front, but, that was the beginning of my energy drain. Sara started me on Gatorade, and that did help me get to feeling at least functional.

The next week, Thursday was my next appointment. During the ultrasound, the technician actually spoke! (She hadn't said a word other than directions the first time). Her comment, wow, these are really large! Afterward I went to my appointment with the OB/GYN. He had looked at the images and said that the fibroids, at least two of them had grown (so much for the progesterone). I told him about my really heavy period (it had never been that bad before). He decided the answer was to up my progesterone to 3 weeks on and 1 week off to try to prevent that. Then he proceeded to go on about hysterectomies, again. He told me that one of the fibroids was prolapsing into my cervix and this could cause major problems. Sure make me feel that there are no options. Luckily, Sara had gotten through my thick skull enought to make me ask him if there were absolutely no other options. He said, well, there are UFE's but his description left a lot to be desired. He said it had something to do with an MRI and a cathether and cutting off the blood supply to the fibroids, but, he really didn't know if that would work for me. I asked him to refer me for an evaluation. I think he was a little stunned. I left then. I eventually told Sara what had gone on. But that time, she had no trust in my OB/GYN, who she called "Mack the Knife". He had scared me enough to think that I had no options. It was upsetting and it was Sara's birthday.

July 2007
Anyhow, as time went on, I assured Sara that I had told him that I wanted to be evaluated for the UFE. I was still in his control, since he had to make the referral. It almost took two weeks to hear back. I was ready to call when I got home and found the message on the answering machine from the scheduler at the hospital. That alone was a kick. The person at the hospital was all ready to schedule the UFE. She did not know what she was talking about. By that time, I had done my research. I said, don't I have to be evaluated first. Oh, maybe, perhaps I should have the Interventional Radiologist's office contact you. I did not expect to get a call back that day, but, within a half hour, I was talking to perhaps the nicest medical person I had talked to in a long time. She was the PA for the Radiologist's who would do the work. We talked about the procedure, and an hour later, my MRI was scheduled for the Monday after our convention (July 24). That would get me through the wedding and convention. My biggest worry was that I'd have flood during one of those events. Having it during the wedding would have been devastating. I was so worried that was going to happen

In the meantime, folks kept telling me how great I looked and asking me how much weight I had lost. I was actually down one size. I was doing anything. Between the progesterone, the constant periods and I think the stress, I had obviously lost weight.

July 24
I left work for my MRI and consult with a dread hanging over my head. What if I wasn't a good candidate. Then it was back to Mack the Knife. I registered at the desk and was taken back to the radiology waiting area. Little did I know that I would see this area in just a few weeks. The person who took me back asked if I was working with the PA from the IR's office. I said yes. She said, "oh, she is the sweetest person, you are going to love her". That was completely unbiddened. But, it made me feel really good and I relaxed a little.

In just a little while, they were prepping me for the MRI. I had never had one before. A IV was started for the dye that would help them see the blood flow to my fibroids. The MRI room was FREEZING. They wrapped me in a nice warm blanket and gave instructions, don't move, etc. I was a little leary about it, but, once I realized that my head wasn't going to be in the tube, I relaxed. The whole thing took 45 minutes. The last portion was with the dye where I had to also hold my breath. That explained why they didn't want you sleeping.

After I was finished, the PA was waiting for me. While the results were being assembled. She explained the UFE procedure. Asked me what my symptoms had been, etc. She was the first person who mentioned "quality of life" as a reason for doing this. I felt like hugging her. One of the Radiologists was available to look at the images, so I left knowing that I could have the UFE. I just had to work out when....
As it turned out, I would have the procedure on August 14.

So, Sara and I sat down and talked about things. There were some projects we wanted to get done around the house this summer yet. Primarily, putting up a fence in the front and along one side of the house. This was going to be a BIG project. We kinda thought if we both took a week off, we could get the picket fence done and maybe with help get the privacy part started. Based on this we thought the week of August 13 would be a good week to have the UFE. That would give me alost three weeks before classes started to feel better. Well, the best laid plans.

We started working on getting what we needed for the fence, building permit, etc. The weekend of August 4, we borrowed a friends truck and bought the pickets, cement and posts. We decided to have the privacy panels delivered. We had also realized by that time that we would not be able to handle to privacy panels, so I talked to Kyle, a friend at work about helping out. He didn't hesitate, I think he likes building fences. I was fine on Saturday loading and unloading the supplies, but, it seemed that by late that afternoon, any strength I had was sapped. What a surprise, I started a pretty heavy period that by Tuesday had me pretty sapped out. I was no help in all the hole digging. Poor Sara, wore herself out trying to get things as far as we wanted that week. We had some good help from Kyle, Rob from work and Joe our neighbor. In the process, we acquired a sawzall. I did help Sara put up the picket panals later in the week, I could hold those up. PROGRESS!

On Friday, we took the day off and drove to Door County. We hadn't been there since winter. We had lunch at our favorite restaurant and then drove around in Peninsula State park. We found the trail we climbed in winter when we were snowshoeing and got on the wrong path. I knew there was no way I could have done that at that point.

On Sunday, I mowed the lawn. The last time for a few weeks. Sara made my favorit thing, risotto.

On Monday, the 13th, I figured I would take care of getting all my paperwork signed for the legal stuff (ie., power of attorney, etc). I took care of a few other things. We had chicken for supper and then I wanted to go to Culvers for Chocolate Turtle sundaes. I figured, if I wasn't going to feel like eating for awhile, I wanted to have something good.

August 14
Overnight it stormed. I didn't sleep well because Jeffy kept jumping up and down off the bed. When I got up, I felt like I was getting ready for work, but, I felt a little scared about the whole thing. As we drove to the hospital, another storm was rolling in. I thought that was appropriate....

Sara and I found my sister Cheryl in the waiting area. I got checked in and we started in the outpatient surgery area. This was where I started to realize that there were a lot of folks in the medical profession who didn't know what a UFE was? Little did I know that I would be explaining it many times in the next 24 hours. Getting prepared was a real experience. A blood test, questions, starting the IV, getting the morphine pump set up etc. My procedure was set for 10am. At some point, the PA from the Radiologists came in and went through everything again, just to make sure. She had my prescriptions already written for when I'd go home. Yikes, five of them, how was I going to deal with that? We decided Sara would see if she could get them from the pharmacy so that we wouldn't have to stop on the way home on Wednesday. It wasn't much past 10am when I was ready to go down to the Radiological area. Riding down on the gurney was probably the toughest part. By that time, I knew there was no turning back and I just felt so helpless. I was scared. When they rolled me in the room, I was amazed at the number of people in their. Later, I told them they were like bees on the flowers in the garden. Things got started pretty fast. I didn't feel anything for a least the first half hour or so (forgive me, my sense of time from this is probably off). I started getting worried, because I remember being told that I would start feeling cramping at some point during the procedure. Finally, the Radiologist told me that I'd probably start feeling something. I didn't---did that mean it wasn't working? I was worried. I said it again about five minutes later, that time I felt it. I told the person who was monitoring my vitals, etc. At that point they started the pain meds. I was awake during the whole thing (I might have dozed off for a short time). I had to hold my breath a few times while they took some images. The pain wasn't bad, yet. During the procedure, I could tell the Radiologist was explaining the procedure to folks. I guess I was right, folks don't know a lot about these. Sara would tell me her experience later.... When the UFE was done, I asked the radiologist if I could see the before and after. He seemed excited to show me and it was interesting to see the vessels before feeding the fibroids (evil things) and then see then shrunken to nothing or almost nothing. After pressure was put on the artery to make sure it wouldn't bleed, I was prepared to be brought to my room, moved back to a gurney, etc. By that time, the pain was starting in earnest. Whoa! Cramps like I never felt in my life. I was moved to my room in the Women's care unit. There were several others up there to help move me to my bed. One of them, nurse, CNA, I don't know, was pretty chatty. She seemed to know what I had done. She made the comment, oh, you decided to not become a member of the anti-uterus club. A bunch of us up here have had hysterectomies and we're so happy. I half expected Sara or Cheryl to come flying across the room and deck her! Then, when I was settled in my bed, she asked me if I thought I would be going home that day. Excuse me, I have a narcotic pump, I'm supposed to stay 24 hours. What a dumb question. Luckily, that was the last time I saw her. From then on, it was pretty much pain and dozing off and on. I just wanted to curl up in a big ball, but had to keep my right leg straight. At least I could move my left. Imagine the worst cramps you're ever had and multiply by 100, that was how it felt. I had no sense of time. I know Cheryl stayed until later in the evening to make sure I was OK. Sara left for awhile to go to the pharmacy. I moaned and cried and slept. Later Sara came back. She really wanted to stay and make sure I was OK. The nurses were great. Because I was basically in an OB room, it was really nice. Big bathroom, nice couch and chairs. The couch did convert into a bed and the nurse helped Sara get set up. But, Sara couldn't sleep and finally she decided that she needed to sleep to be able to take care of me on Wednesday when I got home. After she left, I did finally fall asleep for more than a few minutes.....