pelvic organs? come on down! (part 2 of 4)

Welcome back to the est. 1975 “pelvic organs? come on down!” series, in which I discuss the ins and outs of female pelvic organ prolapse (also known as The Gynecological Great Escape or MY GIRL PARTS ARE FALLING OUT OF MY BODY.) If you’re just joining us, you can read the first installment here.

WARNING: This series of posts tackles some fairly gory details of some fairly gory girl business. I promise you’ll learn a lot if you read along, but if you’re squeamish, you may want to bail now before you end up doing one of these:

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Basically what I’m saying is this: if reading about medical stuff and/or lady parts makes you gag like a drag queen, you might want to skip this one.

Onwards!

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The loyal so-and-sos among you have been wondering what’s been going on with my girly bits since last we spoke.

Well. The main thing is that I’ve finally gone ahead, hitched up my big girl panties, and scheduled the date for my hysterectomy and pelvic reconstruction surgery. As of right now, everything’s going down on May 14th… or should I say everything’s getting jacked back up on May 14th?

*har har chuckle snort*

*ahem*

Regardless, May 14th is when it all gon happen.

Of particular interest to y’all has been whether or not our family’s health insurance is going to pay for this surgery. The answer is: I still don’t know, and I won’t know until one week before the procedure is scheduled to take place. Which is just AWESOME, because I for sure don’t want to plan my life and finances around possibly having to shell out eleventy billion dollars for this shit. No, I like to fly by the seat of my urine-soaked pants when it comes to that kind of stuff.

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For those of you just joining in, the reason I’m not sure whether our health insurance will cover the procedure is because apparently this kind of surgery is considered “elective” by some insurance agencies. It’s their stance that this is a procedure I don’t absolutely need to have, and that I can easily live without it. I guess it’s a lot like the attitude they take with most cosmetic surgeries, or LASIK.

I mean, technically it’s true. I *can* live without this surgery. I can live until I’m 90 years old without it. It’s not like this procedure is going to correct some drastic problem with my breathing or my heart or my digestion or my neurological function. It’s merely a “quality of life” concern, in that I prefer not to spend the next fifty years of my life:

  • Being unable to completely empty my bladder, resulting in awkward “Excuse me but I’ve just peed my pants” moments whenever I cough, sneeze, fart, laugh, gag, barf, blow my nose, bend over, walk, run, exercise, have sex, do anything, or exist;
  • Straining like all hell whenever I pee, resulting in OH MY GOD I HAVE BUTTHOLE CANCER persistent and painful hemorrhoids;
  • Leaking urine constantly, leaving my “down there” parts feeling and smelling like a damp bog;
  • Living with what amounts to a perpetual urinary tract infection;
  • Having to take stool softeners all the time, which can lead to everything from I’MA KICK YOUR ASS! diarrhea to the dreaded OH SHIT! IT’S A SHART;
  • Settling for a sex life that I would now classify as “essentially frictionless” because my vagina is so saggy and blown out; and
  • Feeling like I have a super-absorbency tampon crammed in my hoo-ha AT ALL TIMES, even though I don’t. (Interesting side note: I haven’t actually been able to use tampons in years. My bulging bladder, uterus, and rectum just push them right back out. The more you know.)

“Elective” surgery indeed.

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Sigh.

Anyway, I’ll keep you updated on the insurance situation as I learn more. For right now I thought I’d take some time to explain exactly what my surgery is going to entail, and in order to do that, I’m going walk you through a list of procedures that my urogynecologist will be performing on the big day. Don’t worry if the medical terminology makes no sense to you, because I’m here to translate it into plain English. You know me. I’m all helpful like that.

Here’s the list:

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Looks completely uninterpretable, right? Don’t worry. You’ll be an expert on pelvic reconstruction surgery when I’m done with you. Now let’s do this!

(Warning: some of the following links have NSFW medical diagrams. Proceed with caution.)

  1. SCH.

Medical Terminology: Laparoscopic Supra-cervical Hysterectomy

Plain English: You know the phrase “she’s got a bun in the oven?” This is the part where the surgeon goes ahead and disconnects my oven. And cuts it up into very small pieces. And takes it out of my body through my abdomen. And burns it.

  1. ASC.

Medical Terminology: Abdominal Sacral Colpopexy

Plain English: This is where the surgeon shores up my lady bits by taking the very end of my vaginal canal and using surgical mesh to hitch it to the very end of my backbone. (This is not, I repeat NOT, the same thing as in those scary TRANS-VAGINAL MESH KILLED MY VAGINA commercials you see on daytime television. Not that I ever watch daytime television or anything. *cough*)

  1. Paravaginal Repair.

Medical Terminology: Laparoscopic Paravaginal Repair

Plain English: This is where the surgeon restores my bladder and urethra to their normal positions by attaching them to my pelvic side-walls. Basically the doc’s just putting my pee-making machinery back where it should be.

  1. TVT.

Medical Terminology: Tension-free Vaginal Tape Procedure

Plain English: This is where the surgeon places a mesh tape or sling (but again, NOT the dreaded TRANS-VAGINAL MESH OF DOOM) under my urethra to provide it some additional support. This step will help put the smack down on my perpetual incontinence.

  1. Rectocele Repair.

Medical Terminology: Rectocele Repair

Plain English: This is where the surgeon pulls together the stretched or torn tissue in The Land of Where My Rectum Insists on Bulging into My Vagina. This helps strengthen the vaginal walls to keep the prolapse from reoccurring.

  1. Perineoplasty.

Medical Terminology: Perineoplasty

Plain English: Plastic surgery for my veejay. That’s right. This is the part where they make my girl parts SEXY, SUPER TIGHT, AND SMOKIN’ HOT AGAIN.

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  1. Cysto.

Medical Terminology: I’m not 100% positive, but I’m pretty sure my doc is just using shorthand for “cystoscopy” here.

Plain English: A cystoscopy can be done for any number of reasons, but I think in this instance it’s just referring to the fact that the surgeon is going to give me a catheter until I can pee again on my own.

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So that’s that. Do any of you loyal so-and-sos have any questions? If you do, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll get to them as soon as I can. No guarantees on the accuracy of my answers, though. Do I look like I have a post-graduate degree in ‘giners? (Don’t answer that.)

Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series when I discuss my first pre-operative appointment which apparently can take up to two hours and is vaguely and somewhat ominously referred to as “bladder testing.”

Till then, head over to my sidebar and subscribe for email notifications SO THAT YOU NEVER MISS A SINGLE HILARIOUS WORD I EVER SAY. Also, take a stroll over to pixie c.d. and check out the clever, awesome, brilliant guest post I did about the first time I smoked weed. And while you’re there, take a look around. It is a vair vair funny blog. I promise.

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Interested in reading more of this series? Follow the yellow brick links!

Post 1: Diagnosis: Prolapse

Post 2: How to Fix Dem Sagging Girl Parts

Post 3: The Wide Wide World of Pre-Op

Post 4: Pain and Catheters and Constipation, Oh My!