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This post will include talk of surgery, ladies parts, fertility and ‘wounds’.  If any of this bothers you, please don’t read any further 🙂

 

So this was my view for most of yesterday.

Hospital gown laproscopy

 

I was struck by how brown my knees looked and how thin my calves were in those special stockings!  I’ve now taken all the medication and feel well and awake enough to type…so I’d better get the words out of me before they wear off!

I’ve been a bit of an absentee blogger recently.  Admittedly this is partly because I’ve been busy, but also because every time I sat down and began to write, all I wanted to talk about was my upcoming surgery.  I wasn’t sure if this was something that I wanted to share with everyone or even what I would be telling them.

A few months ago I was referred to the Women’s Clinic with what appeared to be a growth on my right ovary or fallopian tube.  If you’ve been reading Vintage Folly for a while, you might be aware that I suffer from secondary infertility, as a result of damage that was done to my fallopian tubes when Beth was just a baby.

The specialist was horrified to hear that despite years of worry and my many attempts to find out the extent of my infertility, help had been far from forthcoming.  She looked at me and said; ‘You’ve been let down and I want to help you.”  I cried buckets.  Instead of begging for help and being turned away for being too young, too single, too newly wed, this person was offering to help without even being asked.   Given my medical history there was as much chance of the ‘growth’ being a symptom of the damage to my tubes,  as anything more sinister and the scans were inconclusive.  So she suggested that we carried out a series of fertility tests which would give me an insight into my fertility levels and in turn diagnose the nature of the ‘growth’.

The waiting was unbearable.  Although I knew that the ‘growth’ was likely a swelling or blockage in my tubes, I couldn’t shake the fear of something more serious.  It hung over me like a veil.  I struggled to to sleep, struggled to think straight and I really struggled to talk about it – even to my closest friends and family.  I think it was largely because I didn’t know what I was telling them?  I had no idea of timescales for a diagnosis, percentages, treatments…..I knew that they would worry and have questions and I’d have no answers.  I couldn’t talk about how I was feeling – not even to Phill.

I eventually told my dearest friend Kat, over a glass of wine – actually I also placed a shot of vodka in front of her too, just incase she needed it!  I then told my friend Kiki who suggested that I write my feelings down and email some of my friends, which I did and it helped so much.  My step-mum was incredibly understanding, she and my Dad tried to make me see the positive side – that all this would be over soon, that the team looking after me were clearly on the ball and that in the end, not only would the ‘growth’ be gone, but I’d have the fertility answers that I’d searched for for a decade.   Then there was Phill, who allowed me to cry, scream, shout, sulk, blame, sleep, disappear and ultimately shut him out and despite it all, continued to love me.

rose

After a number of tests and scans, I was referred for a HyCoSy which is a procedure where a contrast is injected into the fallopian tubes.  They scan your abdomen and can see if there is a blockage or anything leaking :-S

Both tubes were blocked and the right was leaking fluid into my abdomen, there also appeared to be damage to the right ovary.  I was as I’d suspected, completely infertile.  The ‘growth’ wasn’t a growth at all, it was debris and fluid in the right tube.  The procedure hurt a lot.  Pants off and legs akimbo, the consultant told me that he would need to operate as soon as possible to definitely remove the right, but probably both tubes and the right ovary.

It hit me like a wall.

But at least I’d be well and there wasn’t anything more dangerous going on (try to see the positive!).  Then another wall hit me.  “Once you’ve recovered from the surgery we’ll arrange to harvest some eggs, then you can have IVF in the future if you decide you’d like another child.”

Walking out of the Hospital, I couldn’t hold back anymore.  Big, hot, wet tears began rolling down my face, the sort that build up over years.  It was so much information to receive all at once and without my pants on too!

That evening I explained the procedure to Beth – I felt I had too.  She isn’t daft and had been eavesdropping realised I was having tests done.  It seemed cruel to leave her worrying and in any case, I certainly wouldn’t be able to hide a hospital stay from her!  I drew a uterus, with fallopian tubes and ovaries I tried my best to help her understand.  She said it was difficult to take the explanation seriously now that she knew my uterus looked like an alien! 🙂  Beth took the news very well and asked some very calm, grown up questions which let me know that telling her the truth was the right thing to do.

uterus drawing

The days that led up to the surgery were hell!  I was in pain and so anxious – I really struggled to stay calm and my pre-op appointment gave me little information.  What were the risks?  Where were the scars? What were the success rates?  I was told that I could ask any questions on the morning of my surgery (until then I was free to worry to my heart’s content!).

So yesterday was the big day and as I drifted off to sleep on the operating table, I thought of this picture and tried to dream of the two people in it.

beth phill

When I woke up I felt numb.  Emotionally that is, as physically I felt like I’d had my insides blended!  As soon as I could I asked the Nurse, what had happened in my surgery.  She took a look at my notes: “He’s removed them both” she said.   There’s those big, hot, wet tears again.

But doctor’s writing is terrible and even the most experienced nurses can come a cropper!  The surgeon did remove my very damaged right fallopian tube.  But he left the right ovary as it actually looked ok and the left tube: he opened it up!  He made it very clear that he couldn’t guarantee the functionality of the left tube, but it’s still in there and both ovaries look great.  I must have had an angel watching over me.

earrings angel wings jewellery

I came home to Angel earrings from Beth.

I looked the surgeon straight in the eyes and tried with all the words I could muster to make him realise how grateful I was.  He just smiled, patted me on the shoulder and said “I’ll see you in about five weeks, now get some rest.”

So in the last couple of months I’ve gone from being infertile for the last ten years with a ‘worrying growth’ on my reproductive system, to being well and potentially fertile!

Right now I’m exhausted and in quite a lot pain.  The hospital has sent me home with all kinds of pain killers but I’m still uncomfortable and the wounds, two at knicker elastic height and one in my belly button, are a bit weepy and grim-looking.  But today feels like a new start and I’m over the moon.

The clinics here were fantastic, thank God for the NHS!  But I could have done with more information along the way, just to stop me worrying about the unknown.  That isn’t a criticism of the service, they saw me quickly, did a great job and everyone was so kind, but there just isn’t time to chat with the sheer number of patients they have to see.  Now that I know where I stand, I feel comfortable and confident talking about things and I think it’s important that we do talk more openly about fertility issues.  As ‘issues’ go, this one can be crippling and yet here in the UK, it’s something that we shy away from.

If you check back in on me in a week or two, I might even show off my scars ;-P

Love Rachel

x

 

 

 

 

 

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  • great post. It must have been a nightmare for you having all that worry to deal with for years and I’m glad you have some (very positive) answers now. It did make me laugh though – “It was so much information to receive all at once and without my pants on too!”

    Good luck!

    • VintageFolly

      Thank you 🙂

  • Wow I can’t imagine the stress you have been going through for all that time, it sounds like you have been through the mill. I am glad you have some really positive news from it! I hope you make a swift recovery and in the meantime keep knocking back those painkillers! xx

    • VintageFolly

      Oh I’m taking aaaaallll the pills right now! Haha. Xxx

  • Liz Purkis

    Hey sweetie. Now I understand where you went. Sorry I couldn’t go there with you. I’m told I have a reassuring face, me I think it just looks older. But anyway. What a bloody roller-coaster that’s been and still not over. I hope beyond all hope that you are completely fertile now as I know how much it means to you.

  • Kitty Clerck

    I just wanted to wish you all the very best with your recovery from your surgery as well as for what will hopefully be a bright and exciting future. Like you I had to deal with secondary infertility (although for different reasons) and it’s very hard to get other people to understand what this can do to you – I got very fed up with being told I should be ‘grateful’! Despite all the odds, miracles do happen and I’ve got my little Lara to prove it (well, she’s now 8 so not quite so little any more). We were even told that IVF ICSII would be most unlikely to work for us and since we didn’t have unlimited funds, we decided to draw a line under it all . . . and within 3 weeks I was pregnant naturally . . . I had only done a pregnancy test as I was filling out a form to start the process of investigating adoption. Now you need to give your body and mind time to heal and recover from all the stresses you have had to endure. I love following your blog and although I don’t know you in the ‘real’ world I just think you and your family are such lovely, lovely people and I just want all the very best for you all. Lots of love, Terri x

    • VintageFolly

      Terri thank you so much for your kind words and for being so generous with your own story. Xxxxx

  • Old Fashioned Susie

    Oh Rachel- what a whirlwind! I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that you become uber fertile now- how exciting! And the scars will heal to virtually nothing- I’ve been there and got the T-shirt twice. Let me know if you ever fancy meeting up and talking gyne and kids and vintage- now there’s a interesting combo! xxxx

    • VintageFolly

      Gyne, kids and vintage! Oh my! (Spoken a la Wizard of Oz). That would be lovely.

  • I know you’re in pain and uncomfortable, but I’m so pleased with the outcome for you. Fingers and toes crossed for you all honey.

    xxx

    • VintageFolly

      Thanks Charlie xxx

  • Here is hoping you all the best. Glad things look brighter for you and hopefully you are fertile again and if not their is still IVF you could try. Hope your recover quickly.

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  • I’m glad you’re ok and that you got some positive news on the way! I hope you’ll soon recover fully from the surgery!

    I’m sorry to hear though, that you got so little information before the surgery. Worrying about the unknown is the worst! I don’t know how I would have managed…

    Thank you for sharing your experience! There are certainly people in similar situations and reading about someone who has gone through something similar may give them strength.

    Love,
    ~ Sesame

    • VintageFolly

      Sesame, there have been days since writing this where the thought that someone else might take comfort in the story has been the greatest comfort to me! Thank you so much for stopping by xxx

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