Monday, November 20, 2006

The Elusive Surgeon

Yuck! Well, I've been diagnosed with a uterine myoma and that has screwed with my head somewhat. Going from totally healthy and fit to being a patient is not easy because you are not mentally geared for it. I have also always taken good care of my health- good clean food, no bad habits, exercise... so of course, a small voice in your head goes- how'd this happen to me? Turns out, too many of us women suffer from this problem. It is the second most common reason for surgery in women after childbirth (why childbirth even needs surgery is another blog being written by April one of these days).

Depending on where you get your info from, fibroids occur in 40 to 70% of all women. A post-mortem study showed it in 70% (or was it 80%) of women autopsied. Most women, it seems, are asymptomatic and either never know they have fibroids or don't need to have them removed. Some of us turn symptomatic. I am one of them. Urinary frequency (my bladder is now reduced to the carrying capacity of peanut - ok not really, but close enough), a belly that is beginning to protrude (doc describes it as 16 weeks) are some of my symptoms.

I want to talk about how difficult it has been as a patient, specially when faced with a physician- oh wait! I have not been faced with him yet and am not likely to before I am rolled into surgery! I have had 2 appointments with my consultant (known as specialists in the US) in the UK under the NHS. And both times I met a fantastic research fellow working under him. She was thoroughly lovely, easy to talk with and extremely helpful but she ain't a surgeon (so she won't be cutting me open) and she is not the expert when it comes to answering my questions on treatment options. What information I have been gaining about what I have and what to do about it has come less from my consultant than from other sources due to active efforts on my part. The one letter I have from him addressing an issue I raised suggests that the guy is probably competent and means well, but boy oh boy, the fact that I will never even get to be more than a paper patient and then a sedated uterus to this guy bothers me no end.

Oh btw, the consent form I had to sign to get on the waiting list for surgery lists the "serious or frequently occuring risks" as:
1. Excessive bleeding during blood transfusion.
2. Excessive bleeding requiring hysterectomy (removal of the womb).
3. Incisional complications including hernia.
4. Infection which may require antibiotics.
5. Injury to adjacent organs requiring further surgery.
6. Venous thrombosis which may or may not result in pulmonary embolus.
7. Failure to achieve desired result.
8. Pain.

Would have been nice to observe a slightly greater investment or even interest in my care from the surgeon.

No comments: