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Conversations with the oncology social worker… or, what happens to my lady bits after they take them? PLUS UPDATE- SHE CALLED BACK WITH THE ANSWER AND GAVE US MORE QUESTIONS!

Oh boy.
The oncology social worker called to ask if I had any questions regarding my upcoming hysterectomy.
I really could not think of anything… then I giggled, because I DID have ONE question- and I asked her:
“Um, what happens to my uterus after? Do I take it home and bury it under a tree? I mean, they let you take your placenta home now after birth… what’s the etiquette with losing your body parts?”
I went on to further explain that I didn’t want to eat it or anything- like some do with their placentas- but I wanted to make sure they didn’t do something with it, like turn it into Soylent Green.
The lady on the other end of the phone stuttered a bit and said:
“Wow, nobody’s ever asked me this before- let me ask them. I think it goes to pathology for cancer testing and disposed, but IDK if you could get it returned to you… wow, yeah, let me ask”
I laughed and told her that it really wasn’t a pressing issue with me, but she continued:
“No, no- I really want to find out, too- I know a lot of people who take their placentas home. This makes perfect sense- no one’s ever asked me this”
I think I may have begun anarchy in the uterus removal trade today, inadvertently.
LOL… I mean, I was just curious. If they give it back, do I have to give it a funeral?!

UPDATE:

Megan, the social worker, called back not even an hour later with a reply!!

1. they used to let you take your body parts home with you, if you signed a waiver of some sort- but now you are no longer allowed to do so due to health and hygiene laws.

2. Megan and I then wondered what the hospital would rule (I like this chick) if, say, someone from an Asian religion had this surgery and needed the part back due to their belief in progressing in their Afterlife.

That was some interesting banter. I really like this office.

I speculated  that it would probably be a state’s law and hospital policy call.

For example, in the state of Michigan, you are allowed to opt out of vaccinations due to religious reasons.

Megan agreed. I mean, you could possible do someone irreversible harm by incinerating their spleen or what-have-you and not allowing them to sew it up in an embroidered cloth, simply because they’d believe they were not going to the Hereafter because they didn’t have all their bits.

That could mean a lawsuit.

I then absolutely assured her that they could have my troublesome uterus, as I didn’t want the damned thing, and that this conversation in no way reflected my personal beliefs.

She laughed and told me I needed to go to law school and come work at her hospital.

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I should be blogging, but life & bleeding & Bourdain & grads & ballet get in the way…

CBHNBKSWYAE0HUF

I should be blogging about my female issues, part 2, but at the moment my innards are weeping the bloodiest of tears. I’ve slept so much this week since the endometrial biopsy- and it jump started my period early. I had no idea that simple uterine biopsies could take so much out of a person. The pain is better, the fatigue is not.

My hysterectomy is scheduled for 12 July.

My endometrial biopsy (the first) should be back early this week, the oncologist says.

My son graduated from high school last weekend, I still need to add this to the blog. I am so proud of him.

Maisie has her 2nd ballet/tap recital of her life tomorrow. I will be herding cats/taking care of the tots back stage, like I did last year. Someone has to do it and I’m evolving into a stage mother at this point.

The other crazy things happening in the periphery are dying down, for now. I’ve had my say and will continue to work through this, as a reminder to myself and others- don’t let people walk all over you. There are some seriously chronically messed up opportunists out there- and yeah, while addiction can account for a lot, that still is not an excuse for what was done to us.

I think about Bourdain and his fragility- and the fragility of those around us. This world will eat you up and spit you out if you don’t stand up for yourself and for what is right. Tony Bourdain stood up against the tides, championed his girlfriend’s #metoo cause against Weinstein- and it still wasn’t enough.

I saw a chilling post Bourdain put up on his Twitter on 22 May. It called out some guy re being found hung (I’m paraphrasing) in a lavatory from auto-erotic asphyxiation. It kind of gave me chills. While I don’t know the circumstances surrounding his death any more than the rest of us (a bathrobe belt, found tied to a door)- suicide or accident- neither is preferable.

He had his child at 50. That alone would make it impossible for me to take my own life, but I don’t live in anyone’s skin but my own.

It’s sad, sad, sad in this mad world.

Death comes to all of us, sooner or later. I think about my own mortality a lot right now. I’d fight tooth and nail against it, just like I fight tooth and nail against any other injustice levied against others and myself.

But life goes on, children grow up and graduate and do their recitals and play with their toys. We grow older. We die.

Over and over, in different bodies and different lives, it is all the same. We all share this common thread- even though we believe we’re unique.

We’re not unique. That is the beauty of it. The sameness, the threads that bind us- that’s the wonderment.

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The Decline of My Kishkes, or Retroverted Uteruses & Reproductive Health Scares Part I

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I have a tipped/tilted/retroverted uterus and it can be annoying, to put it mildly

WARNING: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC AND/OR HILARIOUSLY DISGUSTING DESCRIPTIONS OF DOCTOR’S VISITS, BIOPSIES, RETROVERTED UTERINE ISSUES, AND ADENOMYOSIS/CYSTIC OVARY SYMPTOMS. IF YOU CAN’T BEAR TO READ STUFF LIKE THIS- SPOILER ALERT- GO AWAY NOW.

“Pet Peeve #545:

When ALL your specialists and primary care doctor feel your issues are gynecological, yet your male gyno thinks everyone is wrong and refuses to listen to you OR EVEN TEST YOU until you stick a proverbial foot way up his ass”

This blog started out primarily because of my freakish reproductive system (hint, Maisie).

It is only fitting that I update the trials and tribulations of my nearly 50 year old reproductive organs.

Let me preface this by saying, I am not in menopause and my body doesn’t seem to know it is a-coming. My menstrual cycle is consistently 28-30 days.

I also was born with a retroverted/tilted/ass backwards uterus. Such conditions can worsen over time from childbirth or other uterine issues.


According to Wikipedia, it is defined as:

A retroverted uterus (tilted uterus, tipped uterus) is a uterus that is tilted posteriorly. This is in contrast to the slightly “anteverted” uterus that most women have, which is tipped forward toward the bladder, with the anterior end slightly concave.”

“Tilted posteriorly” means tilted towards your ASS, ie, posterior. Mine is particularly tilted waaaay back, which makes basic bodily functions more difficult over time- more gross details to follow later.

Oddly, I started having some very strange symptoms that became progressively worse in the years after Maisie was born. I went to specialist after specialist to no avail. Gastro docs, urologists, nephrologists, rheumatologists, gynecologists, pain specialists who simply wanted to get me hooked on pain pills, which I refused- nobody could figure out what the hell was wrong with me.

I had lower back pains and kidney infections that did not start out as urinary tract infections- and I’ve never really had bladder infections prior to this, though I’ve had kidney stones before. They kept coming back, no antibiotic seemed to help. My doctor sent me to every specialist she could think of. My bowels stopped working regularly. I had to take massive stool softeners and even that didn’t always help. 

Everything, every test came back normal. I was starting to feel like I was losing my mind, but I KNEW something was wrong.

(for my rant on what I pay for my crazy expensive healthcare insurance, go here)

I KNOW my body and I am pretty much a health nut. I live a Ketogenic lifestyle. I rarely drink and never have been much of a drinker. I don’t ‘party’. I love to cook healthy meals. I work out a lot- I am a FitBit freak and try to get at least 10k-20k steps a day, mostly for the endorphins. The few prescriptions meds I must take, for high blood pressure (another genetic pain in the ass) and GERD, I do religiously. I don’t have depression.

I mean, I HAVE to take care of my health. I had a baby at 45.5 and I want to live to see her grow up. There can be NO room for error at this point. My child needs me to be healthy.

In mid-December 2017, my primary care physician ordered an ultrasound of my pelvic region. The results were complex septated cysts in my left ovary, thickening in my uterus, etc. Complex septated cysts are considered a bit more dangerous than regular ones.

My paternal grandmother died of ovarian cancer at my exact age. Her daughters and one son all carry the BRCA1 mutation. 3 out of the 4 girls had BRCA1 breast cancer. My father was fortunate- he was the only child out of 6 to not have the mutation. Unfortunately, even though I am not a carrier, this still increases my own chances of gynecological cancers.

A MRI was recommended as a follow up. Because we couldn’t get the MRI approved by the insurance company, we had to go with a 6 week follow up ultrasound.

On top of this, I take care of my family- and I mean everyone, including extended family. I am the medical POA for many and the patient advocate for the rest.

I spent months in San Diego this year (and the end of 2017) sleeping in a trauma unit with a family member who was in a catastrophic motorcycle accident- and taking care of them once they were discharged. I only came back to Michigan because of my own health issues.

While in Encinitas, CA, I had my follow up ultrasound at Scripps hospital. It showed no change in the cyst size, but my uterus was getting larger, with new polyps and fibroids and thickening of the uterine walls.

Armed with this info, I sent the ultrasound results to my primary doctor in Michigan. She felt it was urgent that I come home and get this checked out, since my ‘fancy’ insurance didn’t work in the state of California and my pain and symptoms were worsening by the day.

We set up an appointment for March with a gynecologist and I forwarded all of the info from CA to his office a month ahead of time.

I planned for fly back home to MI in March for my scheduled appointments and be back in CA to take care of my family member after the appointments, as they still could not care for themselves.

It didn’t work out this way.

Little did I know, there was going to be a fight on my hands just to get my MRI and to be taken seriously, as his staff did not put the 2nd ultrasound in my chart…

(to be continued in part 2 with the discovery of adenomyosis, cancer biopsies and testing, and my journey towards hysterectomy)