February 1, 2011

Everything You Never Wanted To Know...

...about my ute.

Since I'm in the midst of the 2ww (7DPO today), I figured this would be a good time to get you all up to speed on a somewhat relevant bit of my history. Plus, I know when I was wondering what was wrong with me it was helpful to hear others stories. Be warned there may be TMI for some.

First the back story:
In December 2007 I was working outside at my job. Woods in Virginia. On an Army base. Just me and 5 guys. It was my time of the month (no biggie, used to that in such situations). This day was different. The bleeding was so heavy I was going through a tampon AND a pad in about 10 minutes. Clots passing that were quarter to palm sized. The guys were asking if I was OK as I was pretty pale (in hindsight, I was probably anemic). Needless to say we did the bare minimum we needed to do that day and then baled. The rest of my period was fine. I figured it was some fluke thing.

Until June 2008. In mid June I started spotting mid-cycle. I was on BCP at the time and figured it was just time to change the type of pill. So we changed the type of pill. Still spotting. Changed pill type again. Still spotting daily, sometimes pretty heavily. In the meantime at each follow-up appointment I'm being screened for everything under the sun that could cause the bleeding. Syndromes. STDs. Cancers. Stuff that really gets the mind racing. Nothing like knowing something is definitely wrong...but not having anyone be able to tell you what that something is.

There was another incident of extremely heavy bleeding in late August 2008. I remember the exact date as it was at my best friends wedding. Awesome Timing. I spent half the event in the ladies room trying to keep up with the bleeding. I got back from my trip to the wedding and got in to see my doctor ASAP. Enough already.

My normal OB/GYN realizes she's in over her head as the issue isn't being resolved and refers me to a specialist. This was in Sept 2008. THREE MONTHS of constant spotting/bleeding later. This specialist, my first male OB/GYN, puts me on a different pill. This pill actually made a difference with the bleeding. Got it down to about 5 days of spotting in the 3 weeks of active pills. Doctor isn't satisfied with the results. Wants it down to 0 days. I get an unexpected uterine tissue sampling done in his office that afternoon. Cervix manually dilated and they scrape out some tissue. No anesthesia. Not Fun. Sample comes back negative for uterine cancer (woo hoo!). Since there are still no answers, its time to go in and take a look around.

The Resolution:
In January 2009 he performed a hysteroscopy and D&C. For those that aren't familiar with what those procedures are, I'll give you a quick description. In a hysteroscopy, they distend the uterus with either a liquid or gas (in my case, saline). They then insert a contraption called a hysteroscope to look inside. In my case he was looking for the source(s) of the bleeding.

(Image Credit: http://tinyurl.com/4fzpoqo)

Once he'd had a look around, and removed the two culprits, he performed a D&C. During a D&C (aka Dilation & Curettage) the cervix is dilated and then the contents of the uterus are removed. Though most commonly associated with miscarriages, D&Cs can also lessen heavy bleeding like I was having.

The Diagnosis:

Submucosal Uterine Fibroids. One of the least common of the types of uterine fibroids, accounting for 5% of all uterine fibroids*. These fibroids grow on the inner side of the uterus and I had two of the classic symptoms: Unusually heavy or prolonged menstrual periods and bleeding between periods.*

(Image Credit: http://tinyurl.com/4gtvw7h)

I want to note that uterine fibroids are very common and rarely cancerous. My doctor said roughly half of the women of childbearing age have them. Most of those women have no idea they are even present. My type was enough of a rarity that I got to be a case study for my doctor (Go Me!). Unfortunately, that meant he needed all the pictures of the inside of my ute (I know, I'm strange in thinking stuff like that is cool...but how often do you get a photo like that???) To my knowledge I have two fibroids in my uterus still. One was left during the D&C as they didn't have the tools to reach it. Its up at the top of my uterus. The other was found via ultrasound during my miscarriage, its on the sidewall. I've only had two minor bouts of spotting since the D&C. Nothing to worry about really. And honestly, just knowing they are there is more than half the battle. The worst part of the whole unexplained bleeding deal was not knowing what was wrong. Finding out was so empowering.

I've had about 5 different doctors swear up and down that my having fibroids should have no bearing on my ability to get and stay pregnant. Crossing my fingers they are right.

So, there ya have it...everything you never wanted to know about my ute.

Take care,


* http://tinyurl.com/4fcr8dp

(To any of the Buds reading. Could one of you tell me the trick to get it to say photo credit where I have the links listed under the images? Thanks!)


Mrs. Lydon said...

We have some things in common. Fibroids...haha T&P are with you in Panama!

Cactus Bud said...

I think you may have mixed me up with Explorer Bud. Its all good though. :-)


Bloomin' Babies Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved Bloomin' Babies Designed by Kate M. Gilbert