Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Husband

I was rewatching my wedding video, and I realized that it made me happy.

This is tremendous. The work I have done with the CBT therapist, the fact that I am recovering from the surgery, my having reached this making me happy. I can listen to our wedding music, the same music that played during that disastrous night where we tried to have sex and it completely failed, and I can feel nostalgic and happy. I can even feel romantic. I can watch romances on TV and not feel angry or jealous, but rather just like I"m looking forward, like hopefully my time will come.

I still have a very long stretch ahead of me. I'm still in pain from the surgery, still icing and taking four baths a day. I still can't walk normally, and have to waddle around like a duck. I am living cooped up in my house, pretty much making our bedroom my headquarters. But in spite of all this, and in spite of being worried about the potential formation of cysts or scar tissue, and the fact that the surgery does not work for everyone, I'm still looking forward.

I know this is my best shot. I'm doing everything I can to follow the doctor's instructions, and that's all I can do. And I don't know what will happen next. Maybe I'll have my post-op appointment and the doctor will say everything is fine. And alternatively, maybe there will be a problem, like the scar tissue forming in a problematic way, or a cyst forming and so forth. Hopefully, after working with the vaginal dilators for a time, my pain upon penetration will abate. And hopefully, my husband and I are going to have a happily ever after, and when the time is right, a child. That child who won't even know how much they are wanted, and what milestones we've gone through to get to them.

But. One thing I've learned from all this is that even if the happily ever after doesn't happen the way you imagined, if you have a deep, loving partnership with your spouse, you can get through almost anything. I am privileged to have a husband who adores me, and who took a week off of work to be at my beck and call. He looks at me when I feel disgusting and sweaty, having lain in this bed all day wearing nothing but a flimsy nightgown, and he sees an angel. As far as he is concerned, we are in the middle of our happily ever after, not just hoping for it.

And I think it's that which helps me. My husband's not like me. He's not negative. He's not down on life. He sees this as an obstacle we have to tackle and overcome, where hopefully we will be successful. But if this doesn't work, then it will be on to the next thing, the next strategy. I'm the type to decide that if something doesn't work, all is lost. And I admit that I will be extremely bummed if this surgery was for nothing, and if it doesn't help my pain (or even ends up increasing my pain). I will feel very betrayed and very angry.


But I know that my husband will be there to offer me his hand, pick me up off the floor, and just say, "Okay, let's figure out what we do next."

And that's what makes him incredible.

Friday, June 21, 2013

More Pain Meds Situations

In today's news, I've discovered 600 mg of Ibuprofen taken every 4 hours disagrees with me. It's caused me to be extremely nauseous and to vomit twice.

Guess I'm going to try being solely on the Ultram. Maybe that will work for me.

Update: Nausea was actually a delayed reaction to the Ultram. I'm on Ibuprofen now and it's working, for the most part.

Vestibulectomy - Day 4

Everything is SO much better now.

Alternating between Ultram and Ibuprofen is working, so my pain is now under control. I am really sleepy because I need to get up throughout the night to ice and to take my meds, but the pain is gone, the constipation is gone, and the horrible drowsy muggy feeling from Percocet is gone.

I am happy.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Super Duper Pooper

So when I was a little girl, we had this potty training video that included a song about how a girl was a "super duper pooper" and I remember being really proud of myself when I was able to go potty.

Here we go:

Yeah, well, that's exactly how I just felt when I FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY had a bowel movement! Who knew such a simple thing would be such an ordeal? Yay! Oh my gosh, I never realized how amazing the body is until just this second. I was in so much pain and discomfort because of the constipation, and even though everyone told me not to strain, I still had to strain but thank God the rest came out nice and loose and easy.

I think one piece of advice that really helped was to drink a mixture of prune juice and orange juice heated up (either in the microwave or on the stove) about three times per day and also to go off the Percocet until I had a bowel movement.

Now my husband is going to pick up my Ultram for me, and hopefully everything will be much better.


New Drugs!

Doctor has decided that since the Percocet is making me super constipated and unhappy, I get a new drug, so he's called it in to the's called Ultram!

Hopefully this will make things better. In the meantime, I am trying not to strain since everyone says that will pop the stitches, and instead am drinking down cocktails of prune juice and orange juice in the hopes of being able to create a bowel movement.

It's funny that with all my advanced degrees, my one goal in life at this moment is to just have a bowel movement. Well, it's funny but it's not funny.


A Rant

I hate Percocet.
I hate Percocet.
I hate Percocet.
I hate Percocet.
I hate a drug that fixes the pain but makes me nauseous, drowsy and constipated.
I hate that the Ibuprofen is not fixing my pain.
All I want is to go to the bathroom.
I hate Percocet.

Vestibulectomy- Night 2

It's 4:25am and I'm caught in a bind.

The doctor stressed how important it is to NOT GET CONSTIPATED. Well, I've been taking stool softeners, eating prunes, drinking apple cider, eating high fiber everything, drinking water and you know what, still can't get myself to pass a bowel movement.

I think it's because Percocet is a very constipating drug. Anyway, the problem is that I've got a deal with the devil. I need to take Percocet every three hours, because if not, I am awake in tons of pain. But if I take it, I can't go defecate. And I really want to do that. And I've never understood Asher Yatzar like this before, and all I can think is that if I can't get this to work, I'm gonna have to have an enema and oh my God, I really don't want that.

But I have to take the pain meds because otherwise it starts jackknifing up to a crazy degree, and then I can't handle it, so I take my Percocet after some existential anguish, and then I try gulping down some water and hoping that maybe sometime today I can defecate.

Yeah, I never thought all my prayers would be directed towards a bowel movement, either.

Man, am I not in a happy place right now.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

More on Vestibulectomy- Day 2

I've discovered I have a choice. If I take Percocet, it cuts through the pain, but it also makes me very drowsy and nauseous. So if I take Percocet, no pain, but also no ability to eat food. Eventually, I fall asleep, but then I wake up when the drug wears off so I am in more pain than before.

If I take Ibuprofen, it does not cut through the pain at all, but it leaves me clear-headed and able to eat.

The obvious thing would be to alternate, but the alternating is very difficult, because even though I know that I'm taking the Ibuprofen in order to eat, I"m still in lots of pain during said eating, so that's not fun.

On the positive side of things, I have an awesome husband, who is helping me with everything, and who I love. Go him.

UPDATE: I called the doc, and he says to take one tablet of Percocet every three hours. We'll see if that works/ helps.

Vestibulectomy- Day 2

Slept through the night but woke up at 4am to take some Ibuprofen and then again at 6:30am because (to parody the popular Alicia Keys song) bits are on FIRE!

Seriously, I'm in a lot of pain right now. I guess the numbing reagent that Dr. Goldstein put directly to that area yesterday when performing the surgery has worn off. So I'm going to be on Percocet now, possibly exclusively, since the Ibuprofen was not cutting it for my pain.

Randomly, the only thing going through my mind is a parody of "Milkshake."

My vagina brings all the drugs to the yard,
And they're like
It's better than yours
Damn right, it's better than yours
I can teach you
But I have to charge

And then I crack up because I have this bizarre image of all my drugs (Percocet, Ibuprofen, anti-nausea pills) crowding around my vagina with curious expressions on their faces, almost like the pill bottles are mini-doctors Like this dude.

. And one is holding a stethescope and staring pensively at the stitches, and the other is holding a tongue compressor or a knee jerker and basically they are checking me out seriously and considering what to do next to fix up this piece of me.

"Hmm, that's rather a lot of redness over there."
Or "Tsk, tsk, her ice pack is melting."
Or "Why is that stitch pulling at her?"

It cracks me up to think of my pill bottles as mini-doctors, and I'm not sure if that's because of my strange sense of humor or because I'm loopy due to Percocet. But it's probably the former.

Later today, I'll be starting my sitz baths (I have to take 4 per day, spread out through the day, for 20 minutes each) and it's bound to be an interesting experience. Hopefully, it will relieve some of the pain.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Vestibulectomy- Day 1

I had my vestibulectomy today. Here's how that worked.

I got to the hospital at 5:30am and was sent up to the 2nd floor. My husband was given a special bracelet that marked him as a patient. I wasn't given anything at that point.

Then, I went up to the admitting desk and told them my information. They gave me a little transmitter along the lines of a Carlos and Gabby's beeper, and when it started beeping and saying 'Return to the Admitting Desk," I returned to the admitting desk. Then, I was given some more information, handed over my ID and insurance card to be scanned, asked if I wanted to fill out Advance Directives (I didn't for this particular surgery, although it IS a good idea to fill out at some point). I had to sign some forms, and then I was sent up to the second floor.

An awesome nurse named Niddah (I think it's hilarious that this was her name) from the Philippines met me there and put me into a room where I changed out of all of my clothes and put them all into a bag marked Personal Belongings. I was given a hospital gown that tied in the back (not a paper gown, a real one), a shower cap to cover my hair and some awesome grey socks with white tracks on them so I could stay grounded on the floor and not slip.

Many nurses, doctors and the anesthesiologist, including two med students/ residents who were going to watch my procedure all came in to speak to me. There were definitely at least five to six people in the room with me. They asked me the same questions several times (my name, how to spell it, my date of birth and why I was there today and whether I had any questions). The anesthesiologist started an IV line. She was Chinese (I think) and named Dr. David, which I took as a good sign. (David being the one who composed Tehillim and all). I had mistakenly taken some sips of water in the morning and had to clarify that it was only sips and not a glass, because apparently when you are on anesthesia they put a chest/ breathing tube into you and they want to make sure there is no reflux and you don't choke on something you've eaten or drunk.

I signed some more consent forms and filled out some more surveys about sex and sexual desire for Dr. Goldstein before the anesthesiologist inserted the 'happy medicine' which put me to sleep. I don't remember anything after that until I woke up after the procedure. When I first woke up, I had a very uncomfortable pressing feeling in my rectum like I needed to go to the bathroom to excrete, but that was not actually the case (it was probably just caused by the strain of the stiches in the vulvar area). I also had an ice pack directly on the vulva region and some cool mesh white "panties" (I could not wear and cannot wear real underwear for a while). I had to change the ice packs several times. I was asked what my pain was, but since I had been numbed in that area in addition to receiving the anesthesia, my pain was at 0.

The nurses didn't seem to have a totally firm grasp on what Dr. Goldstein's instructions had been, so they walked me faster than I thought he intended to the bathroom and I tried to slow them down as much as I was able since he had said to walk with little shuffling motions like an old man. I wasn't allowed to leave until I had urinated, so I drank two cups of apple juice and some water and had some IV fluids attached to me until finally, at around 12pm (and remember, I had the procedure starting at 7:30am), I was able to urinate 150ccs. I was then allowed to be discharged from the hospital after being given the phone numbers of every single doctor or hospital person related to my case and a sitz bath.

My husband and I have a fabulous cabdriver named JD and he came and picked us up and let me lay on a towel in the back seat all the way home (on top of a towel that I had brought).I've been told that for those people who live out of the area and are not so close by, a hotel stay is advisable, but luckily, that wasn't an issue for me. Unfortunately, the cab really wasn't quite so long that I could lay flat with my legs extended, so I bent my knees but still kept them together and hoped it was enough. I shuffled into our house, keeping the thighs together and carefully changed my ice packs and got into bed. Then, I finally ate some food (banana and meatballs, in my case, plus some apple cider to keep from getting constipated, which I have been told I must avoid at all costs). That's the point at which I started getting nauseous- probably aftereffects of the anesthesia- so therefore, I took both Percocet and then let an anti-nausea pill dissolve under my tongue. Within five minutes of taking the Percocet, I got super sleepy and went straight to sleep.

Now I'm up again, having taken an Ibuprofen pill, and having changed the ice again. (Before, I had been using freeze packs from the hospital; now I've switched over to ice inside of a sandwich bag wrapped in a paper towel. I bought a huge pack of party ice from a local store, along the lines of what people normally use to store beer and soda cans in a cooler, so that I won't run out). The deal is that I am supposed to ice constantly and then, 24 hours after after the procedure (so basically, starting tomorrow, probably at around 9am or so), I'm supposed to start taking warm sitz baths for about 20 minutes per bath, 4 times per day in addition to the icing. All of this is to keep the wound site clean and not infected. There is (and is supposed to be) bleeding for this first week, but it is minimal.

For now, this is manageable. I'm not sure how I"m going to take to being caged up in the house for 6 weeks (I suppose I could walk outside and stand on the porch, but I don't really want to be shuffling to the grocery store or anything like that). I guess I'll be able to experience what Martha Stewart went through- somewhat of a cushy house arrest. My husband is an incredible man, on the positive side of things. When I was groggy coming out of the anesthesia, I felt very sad and kept on saying how "I didn't like playing this game." I was also very bothered by the breathing machine in my nose and kept on bothering the nurse and asking her if I could take it off (I must have asked four times) till I finally could. My husband bought me a stuffed turtle from the gift shop that is super cute, talked to me (he was allowed to see me for five minutes every hour on the hour while I was in the PACU, which is some kind of anesthesia recovery unit), and helped me all the way home and now that I am in home. I am just sitting here in bed and he is the one in charge of bringing me food, setting up my computer, and getting me whatever I need. I am very blessed to have a man like him in my life, and I love him a lot.

So here is hoping that the rest of recovery goes smoothly, that I haven't torn or harmed any of the stitches and that I don't do so, and that things go well!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

More On Surgery

So I'll be having surgery soon.

I have to spend a week on bedrest, and the next five weeks just shuffling around, moving very, very slowly (like a little old man). I have to ice and take sitz baths. I have to take hard drugs (well, if Percocet is considered a hard drug).

I have mixed feelings about all of it.

On the one hand, I want this to be over. The sooner I have the surgery, the sooner I can get to post-surgery, where I work with dilators to stretch the area and can eventually attempt to have non-painful penetrative sex with my husband.

On the other hand, I will be spending six weeks of my life recovering from this operation. Six weeks that will probably be rather lonely. I have TV shows to watch, movies to watch, books to read and so on, but this just isn't my ideal way to spend my time. Especially since I'll need to come up with excuses as to why I'm not available to go out with friends (since I can't explain that I need to shuffle like an old man if I go out with them). At least I was able to take off from work (short term disability is a wonderful thing).

Being rolled around in a wheelchair is not an option because it puts pressure on the site, and the doc really doesn't want me to do that.

So I just hope this all gets better with time.