1.02.2016

Day 5 Post Oophorectomy Follow Up Appointment

* Updated to include my nighttime happenings in day 5.

Hooray for day five!  See, with every down, there must be an up.  Yes, yesterday was an awful day.  I fear, on these down days, that I'll get stuck in them and that's how life will be from now on.  But then, I have these awesome good days, my up days, like today.  The up days are what recharge us, keep us going, remind us what the heck we're doing this all for.  

I had my follow up appointment this morning with my amazing doctor, Dr. Dharshini.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again, she is my comedic relief, but in a totally good way.  She is so real with me, to the point (those of you who know me know that I do enjoy the sugar coating every so often), but makes it palatable, relatable and just digestible.  When you're going through major life changing surgeries, let alone, milestones, you need someone like that in your life.  This time, I brought my husband with me, the first time he actually got to sit through an appointment regarding my oophorectomy (hey, he met my mastectomy surgeon online for the first time, just like me, so this isn't all that strange.)  I was excited for him to meet Dr. Dharshini so that he could share in my enjoyment of my appointments and understand my affinity for her.

I explained everything happening over the past four days...the sweating, insomnia, the foggy brain feeling, the low blood sugar feeling, the crying...shall I go on?  Everything to her, was fine.  She attributed most everything to the fact that I just had MAJOR SURGERY, removing my freaking hormones overnight.  (I stress this part for those of you reading this who think this was a minor surgery and a walk in the park.)  She was most concerned about my insomnia, as sleep is a major factor in healing and overall emotional health, and said that this would be her focus for right now.  This pleased me greatly, as my husband pointed out, I LOVE sleep.  I'd hate to break up with it.

By Andr.V.S. (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

After describing all of my concerns and issues I was having, she did the physical exam in the next room.  I do not look at graphic photos, so I already passed on the surgery photos, but I don't look at wounds, sutures or anything else to do with cutting, bleeding, etc.  So, staring at the lovely plain white ceiling, I twiddled my fingers on my chest while she poked and prodded my surgical sites, removing the bandages and re-bandaging at my request.  My belly button actually felt fine during the cleaning and overall check.  It even felt fine when she pressed on it, several times.  It wasn't until about 20 minutes after the exam that I started aching, more than normal, for the first time since surgery.  She obviously touched a trigger point.

Back in her office, we resumed our conversation about the side effects of surgery, the side effects of the lack of estrogen, and what our plan would be for now.  So, here we go (with updates):

Sleep:
I told her I was taking Unisom the past two nights, and she wasn't too thrilled with me relying on something like that for sleep.  I'm now on Melatonin, nightly, to see if it helps.  If this doesn't help, we'll take the next steps, but she's hoping this does the trick.

* Update: last night was AWFUL.  The insomnia was back, but worse, every 20 minutes I was throwing the covers off and drenched in sweat.  At 1am, I was turning to my online lovelies for support, but tears welled.  This happened with the AC on and the fan pointed directly at me.

Pain Killers:
No more pain killers, and really, I'm on Panadol irregularly now.  Despite the pain I felt after today's exam, overall, I really don't NEED anything.

Hot Flashes:
Interestingly, she mentioned that many women who remove their ovaries like me, preventive and losing estrogen all at once, often don't experience hot flashes like women going through natural menopause.  It's usually much easier, less frequent, if at all.  After talking to women online, I know that I've heard from both camps, so not sure on this yet.  However, I can say that I'm overall generally warmer than normal.  I used to be cold all the time...now, I don't even want my pj bottoms on.

* Update: Yes, they do exist...and for me, it was 100% noticeable all night long.  Perhaps I don't notice them during the day as much because I'm busy, but last night, every 20 minutes and they were furious.  

Gas:
Gone!  No more gas, hallelujah!  Now, just a little bloating from the surgery swelling, but no gas.

Crying:
I didn't cry today, but she did mention it will take a while to regulate all these emotions...about a month, to see how I'm really doing.

* Update: Cried tonight!  Go figure!

Physical:
We went out after the appointment again, enjoying a couple hours out of the house.  It pushed me as I had just had my stomach poked and prodded and was walking through the pain, but it was good for me.  No crying, no hot flashes, no blood sugar issues...just, what I would call, extreme fatigue.  I'm now on daily vitamin B complex to help with my energy throughout the day.  I'm also on 5000mg of vitamin D for my bones, as they are very susceptible to deterioration from this point on.

No HRT?:
Nope, no HRT for now.  Here's how she explained it to me.  I've just gone through major surgery to remove my ovaries, which produce estrogen, which to a person who has had breast cancer or has the BRCA1 gene, is not a good fit.  This is controversial, so I'm only stating what is happening for me, at this time, based on my doctor's recommendation.  For her, putting me on any dose of estrogen right now is basically saying, then why did you even have the surgery in the first place?  She went on to say that if I continue having issues physically/mentally, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, at which point she might be forced to put me on a very low dose of estrogen.  But for now, she doesn't want to.  It was relieving to hear that fat can help produce some amounts of estrogen...so the fat in my belly is actually helping something!

* Update:  We're gonna have ourselves a little sit down, heart to heart about this.  I will not live like last night.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you are feeling better. Your sleep will slowing come back, nothing like before. But I am able to sleep now a solid 6.5 hours. No more hot flashes.. I do take a very low dose of HRT. My doctor said that the amount of estrogen that your body produce is nothing compared with the HRT.. Is more to control the menopause, plus my libido decrease so bad I was so worry so 6 weeks after the surgery my doctor changed my hrt and gave with some new hrt with Testosterone.. Is really really dose. But my friend I totally agree with you Mentally is a crazy ride. :( sucks that we have to take this major changes to our bodies to be healthy for us and our family. I totally understand you. It will get better promise. I still don't feel 100% like used to, but I feel much better now. Sending you a big hug. Xoxo

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