Sunday, February 18, 2007

Rocky Road. Not the Ice Cream.

So here it is.

I have fibroids. I’ve known this for years – in fact, they complicated my pregnancy quite a bit – but my ob-gyn was always of the “watchful waiting” school. (This is a sister school to the “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” school, for those who are keeping score at home.) My ob-gyn said that although the fibroids grew and degenerated most painfully during my pregnancy due to the extra estrogen in my system, they would most likely shrink after pregnancy and not cause me problems. She did hasten to add that should I choose to have another baby, I should pretty much try to get pregnant when Viva was about a year old, if not before. The inference was that in order to avoid any complications – i.e., the fibroids mushrooming into bowling ball size and interfering with a subsequent pregnancy – I should have my kids very close together.

Well, since Viva is almost four, you can see how much to heart I took that advice. And at any rate, as time has passed, the fibroids have gone from being occasionally uncomfortable and annoying to an unrelenting pain in the pelvis. And back. Oy, my lower back – and sometimes the pain radiates down my right thigh. I pretty much feel like I have dull menstrual cramps every day. They also interfere with – how shall I put this delicately – elimination. In sum, they really suck.

I have been to three doctors* since the new year began. The first made me wait three weeks for an appointment and then, after a 45 minute sojourn in the waiting room, had a nurse tell me the doctor would be another 20-30 minutes and there were four people ahead of me, did I want to wait? I think you know what I told her. The second** asked me a couple of questions about my symptoms and immediately anointed me a perfect candidate for an outpatient procedure he pioneered. By the way, he doesn’t take my insurance and can’t seem to find anyone “in network” to give me a pelvic MRI. The third spent 20 minutes with me in her office, taking a thorough history of the fibroids and my symptoms and asking intelligent follow-up questions. She then had me go into an exam room, where she performed an exam, and after that, asked me to join her back in her office, where she explained what the medical options are (um, there are two, and each is only temporary) and what the surgical options are (there are basically three, although one of them – myomectomy – can be performed in varying degrees of invasiveness).

“Before I can make any recommendation, I need to see what’s in there, so I want you to get a pelvic ultrasound,” she said.

Note that she did not try to get me to have an MRI. I asked her about it and she said that it’s unnecessary in this case – basically overkill unless she suspected something else was really wrong with me. This only confirmed my suspicion about Dr. No. 2, which is that he was trying to charge me for as much shit as possible.

So I had the pelvic ultrasound on Friday – the day after I saw Dr. No. 3, at a facility she recommended, through which I was covered by my insurance. Which by the way, is a major national health insurance company, not some rinky-dink outfit run out of a trailer with a push-button phone and a ditto machine in the back.

It seems likely that I will have to have surgery. At this point, I welcome it. Yes, I am that unhappy. More on this as events develop.

In the meantime, work is psychotically crazy. Our non-profit has plunged headfirst into the icy cold waters of a capital campaign, and I am right in the heart of it, dog-paddling like mad and gasping for breath while dodging tree branches and other bits of jetsam that happen by. No worry, it will all be fine. But I clearly won’t have much time to brag about my exploits – er, I mean, blog. Unless I have surgery and am confined to bed while I recuperate. Except I guess if I can blog, I can work. Dang.

* Not one of these is the ob-gyn who delivered Viva. She is inexplicably on a leave of absence, and I miss her wise counsel. I have no idea when she will be back from leave, nor what she is on leave for. I fervently hope it is nothing bad, although in my experience, that is usually when people take leave.

** He, incidentally, is to blame for the title of this post. That is how he referred to the fibroids on my uterine wall. Yes. Classy, I know.


Cee in SF said...

I'll keep you in my thoughts.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Please send ice cream.

Cee in SF said...

MMM, ice cream. Sticky Toffee Pudding cures all! BTW, I got a letter from Haagen Daaz (sp??) who said that STP is now a part of their perm collection!