I had my consult yesterday with the bowel surgeon…the guy who, as far as I knew, was just going to cut scar tissue off of my bowel and free it up so that I could poop properly.
I just turned 30 (I’ve been trying to write this post since like, 1:30am, but I keep dozing off, though I can’t stay asleep). I get to open my 31st year (think about it…you’re not born a one-year-old, are you?) with some wonderfully vague surgery information! YAY!
I’m really tired (my uterus is having a last hurrah, and it’s wearing me out), so let’s just do this in list form. Until Monday, when I call my insurance company and also hopefully get my colonoscopy appointment set up (yes, you read that last part correctly), THIS IS WHAT I KNOW:
1. The surgery is going to last “however long it’s going to last.” Literally, that’s a direct quote from the surgeon I saw, today. My guesstimate is between 4 and 5 hours (add more money to the anesthesia charge-barge! toot toot!), but there’s a complication.
2. The complication is that there’s a lump, bump, nodule, SOMETHING between my uterus and bowel, literally stuck in all that scar tissue, that’s actually pushing into my bowel. It’s low enough that a simple physical exam (yes, I basically had a prostate exam, and the nodule is located about where a prostate would be) detected it. It’s also so tender that when the doctor pushed on it, I nearly threw up. I think we found the major source of the referred pain…we just don’t know what it actually IS, yet. This tacks on “exploratory surgery and possible biopsy” to the list of chargeable surgical procedures.
3. As a result of that anomaly, the surgeon said he’d feel better if I had a colonoscopy. Hooraaaaaay. So that’s being scheduled, hopefully very soon (so I can get it out of the way), because…
4. My surgery date is anywhere between 2 and 8 weeks from now. No, I’m not shitting you, that’s an actual range given to me. I will have my boyfriend proofread this and confirm it if anyone doubts the utter vagueness of everything the surgeon said to me. It was infuriating. But by the end of September, I should have the surgery. (This vague-answer is the one I chose to harp about that point with, but it’s the only one of these where the vague-ness is justified, as the surgeons have to find a date they can work with me at the same time.)
5. Rather than the “belly button to pubic bone” cut I’ve been expecting, apparently they’re just going to cut me open “as much as [they] need to in order to do what [they] need to get done.” Just a fun fact, and another direct quote, with pronouns changed to fit my sentence.
6. I was told that this was a two-night stay (3 days, basically) in the hospital, according to some medical professionals. According to the bowel surgeon, I should be prepared to spend up to a week in the hospital. I know he has to say these things to cover his ass, but dude, GIVE ME SOMETHING CONCRETE, PLEASE. Also, a week? O.o
7. Oh, here’s something concrete: I will be unable to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for THREE MONTHS. Why? Because of where they’re cutting, not only on the abdomen, but internally. We must avoid herniation, after all. My question is this: Can’t you just put hernia mesh where you’re going to be sewing up my abdomen? I mean…an ounce of prevention, am I right? I know why he can’t put the membrane over the stitches on my bowel (it’s the same reason you stop wearing band-aids as soon as the bleeding has stopped – so the wound can breathe and heal more quickly), but I don’t see why the abdominal closure can’t be reinforced. If someone could explain this, I would be much appreciative.
8. However, I should be “up and walking around” within a few days. So, in other words, I’ll be able to get to the bathroom and whatnot by myself within a few days, but because I can’t strain myself with lifting or pulling, I will have to be pushed everywhere in my wheelchair, should my issues with walking/weakness continue (and I’ve been given no reason to suspect that they won’t continue, given that they’re caused by my Lyme treatment, which continues pretty much the first day after surgery).
9. Regarding point 7, yes, I asked if the lifting limitation was actually that long, and he said yes, and repeated the time period: three months. At least he’s certain about that.
HERE’S A POSITIVE, BECAUSE I HAVE TO FIND ONE IN THERE, SOMEWHERE: the lump, bump, nodule, whatever – the thing that’s sticking into my bowel wall – is likely the cause of the majority of the pain and whatnot that’s happening. The hysterectomy and stuff has to happen, anyway – but the bowel excision went from “decision I’m making to ensure that future surgeries are much less likely” to “thing that has to happen,” alongside that hysterectomy.
The positive from that is that I know “what” is causing the majority of the referred pain issues. We just don’t actually know WHAT it is, and likely won’t until the surgery.
ANOTHER POTENTIAL POSITIVE: I’m pretty sure I’m already nearing my out-of-pocket charge allowance for the calendar year, so if more money is needed because hooray for more complicated surgery, it shouldn’t be much more…and most of it would be needed for living expenses while I am apparently able to do nothing more strenuous than make cereal.
With that, I’m going to take my birthday-havin’ ass to bed, now, despite it being nearly 6:30am.