Three months passed quickly with not much changed and we found ourselves back in the doctor’s office discussing the state of my fibroid. We arranged to have tests done on my husband to ensure that he wasn’t “shooting blanks” as so many like to folks say. I had a bunch of blood work done and another ultrasound. The ultra sound indicated that the fibroid had now grown to the size of a cantaloupe, which was about a two-inch increase. This started to worry me more. Waiting around for me to get pregnant was giving Nancy, the fibroid, time to grow and further complicate things. My symptoms had been getting worse. Heavy bleeding two weeks of the month is not fun. Missing work because of heavy bleeding and painfully crippling cramps is not fun. Having to pee every half hour to hour is just plain annoying. And being able to feel and see a strange lump on your lower abdomen, that you know is not a fetus, is very disconcerting.
This is when Plan B was formed. We would go ahead with surgery to remove the fibroid and hope and pray that all the worse-case scenarios of hysterectomy and infertility would be avoided. My surgical date was set for August, a mere four month wait. It had already been a year since it was first discovered, and at first the thought of waiting four months to have the surgery didn’t bother me much. We had a lot of family events to fit in during that time (my brother was getting married in Poland and we would be travelling there for it), but as the months went by and I was in increasing discomfort, I got anxious to get the whole thing over with. Two months before the surgery, I was actually starting to look pregnant. In fact, I was mistaken as such a couple of times on our trip to Europe. It was pretty devastating and frustrating to think that all I was growing in there was a big ugly tumor. The fact that I looked so much bigger, had me quite worried about how much it was actually growing. Oh, how I started to really hate Nancy.
By August 4th 2010, my surgical date, I was nervous and simply exhausted. Heavy bleeding, constant soreness, worrying, bloating, all of it, was taking its toll. Not to mention the extreme emotional rollercoaster that had been our lives since June. We had managed to fit in the marriage of my middle brother, the death of my father-in-law, the marriage of my husband’s niece, and the near death of my oldest brother. I was ready to check into the hospital and focus on myself for a time. I can’t say I wasn’t nervous, because I truly was. I’d never had to stay in the hospital as a patient and as they rolled me through the doors to surgery and away from my husband, I started to tear-up.
The procedure was very invasive. The size of the fibroid required an abdominal myomectomy, which is open surgery with a large incision and a long recovery period. I found out later that the surgery itself went quite a bit longer than anticipated because they were having difficulty removing the entire fibroid through the horizontal incision that was made. A vertical incision would have given the doctors more room, but would have been even more difficult to heal. In then end, the fibroid turned out to measure about 12x12x10 inches, close to double the size since the last ultrasound. It weighed just shy of 5 pounds! I had almost forgotten what my mostly flat tummy looked like!
I will save you the details of my “fun” at the hospital. I stayed there for four days and was then able to go home. My hubby worked from home the first week, so that he could be on hand if I needed any help with food and such. I had already arranged with work to be off for the seven weeks that my doctor and surgeon had determined I would need to recover. It was slow going. Sleeping was incredibly difficult. It was weeks before I could even lay down flat without the support of every pillow in the house. I slept a lot. The first two weeks were literally just getting up to take pills, eat, shuffle a little loop around the house and then back to bed. Repeat several times a day. My constant companion was our cat Chloe. She loved the hours spent dozing in bed, but became frustrated when she found out that she couldn’t sleep on my tummy or crawl on me. I had to resort to keeping a pillow on my lower abdomen to keep her from causing a painful shock as I slept. Oh, but I wouldn’t have dared denied her companionship during the many weeks at home. There really isn’t too much photo-wise to share in regards to my journey with Nancy, the fibroid, so here is a photo of Miss Chloe instead.