Sunday, March 02, 2008

Well, I Didn't See That Coming Part II

So the problem started about a week ago. I was working in my office when I started havng serious AF cramps. The only thing that concerned me was that this was the last day of AF and I have never had cramps on the last day of AF. Ok, the other thing that concerned me was how much it it: I felt like I was in labor. If I had been pregnant, I would have called the doula.

The next day, I was still in pain. But this time, it was more specific and "stabby". Also, when I, ummmm, tried to go to the bathroom, it hurt like a mother. And the pain wasn't in my booty, but in my belly. When I was trying to "relax" to go to the bathroom, it hurt so much I nearly shot up off the potty. Again, childbirth came to mind, it felt an awfully lot like trying to pooh the first week after giving birth. It really hurt and it scared me.

I knew it wasn't a bowel obstruction because of course I got online to see if I was dying or if I just had a really horrible case of constipation. As this is really unusual for me, I seriously thought of emailing Dooce to see if she had any advice.

The pain continued off and on for four more days, right around the same time I was in the throes of the flu. Going potty still hurt a lot. Lying on my side in my bed hurt. Sitting up in my bed hurt. Walking sometimes hurt. At one point, the pain was so bad that even though I was sitting in the chair, I had to get on the floor in Cat/Cow to see if I could find any relief.

So Thursday morning, I got up and it still really hurt to potty, so I finally called the doctor. I told the triage nurse my symptoms and they invited me in immediately. The doctor took some x-rays and said she didn't see anything but just to be ultra-safe, she wanted me to get a CAT (or CT) scan. Here's where I was starting to feel foolish: I wasn't in pain anymore. I honestly thought they were wasting all this time and money on me and it was just bad constipation and I was a totally complain-y pants. Because I have never had a CAT scan, I didn't realize that my 3:00 appt really was a 4:30 appt because I had to drink the barium stuff and then they had to put an IV of contrasting dye to check out all my organs etc. (Wonderful side effect of the IV drug is that you seriously feel like you're peeing yourself. Lovely!!) So what turned into a quick check up at the doctor's ended up spending half the day getting checked out.

All in all, it felt like no big whoop and because I had not really eaten anything that day, I honestly felt a lot better. In fact, I told Dave I wish I'd waited one more day because I would not have gone in.

I heard nothing that night nor early the next morning, so I rightly assumed there was nothing so awful that they needed me to go to the hospital. Besides, I felt fine except for an occassional stab in my gut.

The doctor called at 11:15 on Friday. She apologized for not calling last night. "No problem!" I said. "How are you feeling?" she asked softly. That's a little weird, I thought, but I said, "I'm doing much better. No pain and no fever." "Well, I'm glad that we did that CAT scan," she told me.

Let me point out that no doctor ever starts a comment with "Well, I'm glad we did that extra, expensive test" and it end up with "because we found nothing wrong at all! What a great waste of time and money that was!!" I think that's about as rare "I'm glad we did that CAT scan because we were finally able to see someone who is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside."

Nope, she instead continued "Yes, you have diverticulitis with a small abscess. I'd like to set you up with a surgeon immediately. It's small enough you may not need surgery, but I want a surgeon to evaluate that. Do you have a surgeon in town? No? I'll find you one. And by the way, your IVF is off the table until this is resolved."

"Ummm, ok." (I have not told you that the IVF had officially just been finally put on the table on Wednesday. We had our first meetings set up to coincide with the start of my next cycle. It was a complete "go".)

Three hours later I'm in the surgeon's office after having done only minimal playing of Dr. Google because I had a ton of meetings. The surgeon (who has the name of a cute doctor on a popular medical show, I humorously noted) came in and again explained the diagnosis. I told him that I was really surprised because I consciously really try to eat at least 20 grams of fiber a day. He said that it was very unusual for someone my age to have this problem. Indeed, he called me "young" and "thin." (HA!! It's official!! A doctor called me Young and Thin! I like this doctor!! However, I did not want to point out to him that based on what I saw in the waiting room, his practice is skewed to the Old and Fat. But let's not burst his deceptive bubble, eh?)

So, yes being as young and thin (ahem) as I am, it's really bad for me to have diverticulitis, particularly with an abscess. Therefore, I'm going to soon need surgery to remove it (And the conversation had been going so well! Why all of a sudden this turn to the worse???)

"How soon is soon? Like 5 years?"

"Uh, no. In a month."

I started crying and explained the whole IVF thing. He said IVF was off the table until this was resolved. And then he said, well, he knew of one woman recently who only had to spend 4 days in the hospital and then blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

"Ummm, let's go back a second. Did you say 'hospital for 4 days?'"

"Yes, this is major surgery. I'm not giving you any good news here."

"You suck!" I laughingly told him.

"Can I get a second opinion on that?" he replied.

"Yeah, you still suck!"

(OK, so I was not quick enough for the "you still suck" rejoinder, but the first part was accurate! And funny.)

So, ummm, yeah. There we go. I am on spring break this week and since I don't get sick leave, it seems like now is a good a time as any in the next 4 weeks. Also, my IVF clinic will not start anything until 2 months after this is resolved, and my RE is voting for surgery. IVF is apparently off the table for him until I have this surgery.

Surgery for this at my age is controversial. What everyone agrees on is at my age, I am very, very likely to get this again including the abscess. Additionally, if it reoccurs while I am pregnant, there will be an infection rubbing up against my uterus and could kill the baby. (A bad thing indeed) Theoretically, I could google "diverticulitis abscess pregnant IVF" but I really don't think there's going to be a whole wide range of studies and support groups for this particular problem. It's really, really rare to get diverticulitis with an abscess at age and with my usually healthy habits. (Young!! Thin!!)

We're going in Tuesday to meet with the doctor and at this point, the surgery is set for Wednesday. I hope to be home from the hospital on Sunday. I should be back up to speed in 2-3 weeks and then we'll wait 2 months and then FINALLY freakin' start IVF.

I cannot apparently take the easy route from Point A to Point B


OneTiredEma said...

Holy shit, Anita.

I'm glad they found it, and you're going to Just Do It wrt the surgery, because do you really need the idea of a recurrence hanging over you?

Major abdominal surgery blows, especially without the cute baby at the end, but if you want tips on getting out of bed afterwards, you know where to find me.

Anonymous said...


This reader sure didn't see it coming either (not that compliments on your writing style are what you're necessarily looking for here) Part way in to that account I was thinking "kidney stones?" and "oh good -- that must have been it and she passed 'em spontaneously, no problem!".

This is clearly not the kind of "tummy tuck" one would hope for -- but the up-side is that you will 100% for sure be even thinner when it's done what with those four days in the hospital and not really feeling much like eating for a while and all. Bright side -- there's always a bright side.

Really sorry you have to deal with this though, Anita. Good for you for going to get it checked out even though you were feeling better.

I'll be sending lots of good thoughts in your direction for the duration. Is your mom going to come hang out with Dave and Conor while you recuperate? Sure wish I lived just down the street and could stop by to help!

Hug you!!!!!!


Scott said...

One you are not fat...

Two he sucks...

Three your the best...

You or me had poster growing up that said "hang in there baby friday's coming?". You'll get there. No worries about that.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear that, Anita. I wish you the best in dealing with this and hoping for a quick recovery.