Friday, March 3, 2017

The Surgery (not as glorious as 'Repo: The Genetic Opera' would lead you to believe)

So I haven't posted in a long time. About three months actually. Things have been difficult for me emotionally. Hannah and I have been fighting to get her a hysterectomy for a long time and the beginning of this year things finally started happening. She's written about much of the experience over on her blog and she's done a great job chronicling the stress and pain she's gone through. And now I want to express a little of what I've gone through as well. 

It is not easy to see your loved one suffer or be jerked around and treated poorly by those in the medical field. Hannah's suffered extreme vaginal bleeding for 8 out of the 9 years we've been together and as a result has been anemic as fuck. For those out there suffering from anemia, I'm so sorry, because it is shitty. It's more than just feeling fatigued. It is a condition that can permanently harm the sufferer if not controlled. In some cases, anemia (low hemoglobin) can lead to heart attacks and death. It's no joke. But for many, many years doctors looked at Hannah and said, "take iron," and sent her on her way. Well iron helps a little but no amount of iron is going to help when you're bleeding through 10 plus feminine pads every fucking day. This became the norm. I started to just accept that this was how it would be forever. But then at the very end of 2016 we learned that it didn't have to be this way. We got in to see a gynecologist and hysterectomy was suddenly on the table. 

For all those years we the frogs sitting in a pot of slowly warming water. But starting in January we finally saw the bubbles of boiling water and panic set in.

Things got worse. Suddenly and terrifyingly. Hormones, hemorrhaging, a trip to the ER, blood draw after blood draw, biopsies, pre-cancerous cells, an irregular EKG, so many doctors, so many ups and downs, a trip the Cancer Center and finally a date for the surgery, February 22nd. But then that date got pushed back. So then March 1st was to be the day. And February 22nd to March 1st was the longest week of my life. I cried every day, had panic attacks, felt a sort of premature loneliness creep over me as if I was preparing for Hannah to die. This was supposed to be just a run of the mill hysterectomy but all of the things around it (the alarmist verbage, the 5 wishes of a dying patient document which I had to sign, the mention that Hannah's weight made this a 'risky' operation) made me feel like Hannah was going to go to sleep and never wake up again.

But she did wake up again.

We arrived at the hospital at about 5:30am. During her pre-op I was allowed to sit with her. She was so nervous. So was I. We chitchatted a little and I told her everything was going to be alright. She wore a bind rune and a drawing of the four elements on her back and I no for a fact that these things worked their magic on both of us. I did cry a little with her in pre-op but mostly I was a silly, fun, strong fiance. The doctor came in and told us that she was going to make five incisions and sent in her robots to do the deed. Well, after she left, I told Hannah that essentially she was going to have Voltron inside of her, which meant that her uterus was Zarkon, which suddenly made surgery kind of epic and perhaps a smidgen less terrifying. She was prepped and taken in for surgery around 7:30 and by 9:30 the doctor herself came out to tell me that Hannah had done well and was in the recovery room. She said that they'd let me go and see her after a little while and that Hannah would be coming home that day. It was surreal. Just like that the surgery was over. It was as surreal as when you wake up in a different country for the first time and really realize where you are. 

There was a moment in post-op recovery that I broke down a little. I was leaning over Hannah, holding up her cup of water so she could drink from the straw. I saw a little crust at the corner of her eye like the salt left from an involuntary tear. I remembered the line in the '5 wishes' thing about "I wish for a warm wash cloth for my face" as a comfort requested by someone near death. Even writing about right now makes me cry a little. Such a small request with such a huge implication. And I just looked at her and imagined how this all could have ended up differently and how thankful I was to the gods that she was just groggy and thirsty and not fading away forever. She saw my crying and playfully, sleepily said, "you really are a wimp." Guilty a mother-fucking charged. I own it. I'm a wimp and I'm really, really happy that the surgery is over and we can start looking toward a future free from the daily worry, emotional and physical pain, and intense fatigue.

She's lying on the couch right now, struggling between medicinally induced sleep and the desire to stay awake and cuddle with me. In about four hours I'll wake her so she can take another pill. So far, aside from some pretty bad aching and a touch of nausea, she's actually doing amazing. I am still afraid to leave her alone. I've seen her shift from doing perfectly fine to sobbing in the bathroom within seconds, so I still want to have someone at home with her while I'm away during this next week for work. But on the whole she's just fantastic. 

And on the subject of fantastic, our friends and support network have been absolutely stunning in their kindness and consideration. I can't even begin to write or verbalize my thankfulness. I am touched beyond words and I know that had it not been for our friends and family, I would be completely lost right now. Thank you to the many who have made Hannah and I feel so very special and loved. 

1 comment:

  1. Happy to see you chronicle your feelings too! And I'm so happy for both of you. Hannah's had a bleeding problem since I've known you guys and I'm just so happy you both get to focus on other stuff now that the Dr's have had their collective heads forcibly pulled from their ignorant asses for nine years.