I Was the Patient

I know it’s been awhile.   I’ve missed the community, but I just haven’t had the energy to write!

This may be a little long, so bear with me.

In August I had to go to the gynecologist to have my Mirena changed.   I’m just not thinking more children are in my plans, but you never know.  When my Mirena was changed, I had to have an ultrasound since it was a nurse practitioner placing.   The ultrasound took some time and I knew there was something, I just didn’t know what.

A few weeks later, I received a call that they found something on the ultrasound.   I was assured it was fibroids and that fibroids are not cancerous, but the doctor wanted an MRI to determine where the fibroids were so that they could come up with a plan of treatment.

The MRI was terrible.   I had to lay still on my back for 40 minutes.   At one point I thought I couldn’t breath.  All that hassle for fibroids.

About a week and a half later, I get a call that my results were in from the MRI and that I needed to come in to discuss the results.

I went in and all I saw on that MRI report was malignant tumor.   Now working in health care, all I could think was, I don’t have time for cancer.   I have kids to run around, patients to see and life to live.

The MRI showed that there was likely a malignant tumor on my left ovary.   The plan was for me to go to the hospital and have a CA-125 test completed.  This test measures the amount of protein from an ovary which would indicate cancer.

I spent the next few days researching ovarian cancer, which has fairly poor outcome level.   However, all research has also pointed to the MRI being 97% accurate in diagnosing cancer.   Great.   I thought I was doomed.

I received a call from the gynecologist oncologist to schedule my appointment to determine the treatment plan and they wanted me to go in to have an 8 panel blood draw for tumor markers.

I went to my oncology appointment.   I was seriously the youngest person in or out of that office.   I was still in complete disbelief.   During my appointment, I found that ALL of my blood work came back negative for cancer.   The only true way to determine what was going on was for surgery.   It was recommended that I have a total hysterectomy with removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes as well.   At this point, I either did not have cancer or it was a very rare form of cancer which is treated by surgery only.

My surgery was scheduled for 3 weeks, the Monday before Thanksgiving.    I had 3 weeks to complete FMLA paperwork, prepare my patients and let friends, family and co-workers know what was going on.   I had kept everything very quiet at that point mainly because we didn’t want to tell our kids until we knew what was happening definitely.

I had all these plans for while I was recovering from surgery, but I can tell you surgery kicked my butt!!

I tried so hard to be a good patient.  I really did.   I know with all the drugs I had right before surgery I entertained the OR staff.   My main concern going into surgery was the intubation and possible damage to my vocal cords.    I spoke to the anesthesiologist who took my concerns at heart and came up with a plan with me, using a pediatric size tube, soaking it in warm water prior to intubation and using the tube that is made of soft plastic.  This doctor LISTENED to me, answered my questions and let me help to be a part of my treatment.

Shouldn’t we all do this as healthcare professionals?

Recovery is rough.   I’m not sure I’m still completely recovered to be honest, even though I returned to work 3 weeks after surgery with lifting restrictions.

What got me through all of this was the surgeon, who listened to and answered every single question I had.   The anesthesia team that described the procedures to me over and over (yes, I already had some drugs at this point).  The anesthesiologist that listened to and acknowledged my concerns.   The nurse that held my hand and told me it would get better when I had a rough night.

I want to take a little of each of these amazing people and put that into what I give my patients because kindness goes a long way.

13 thoughts on “I Was the Patient

  1. Please take care my dear. You have my warmest wishes for your recovery and health. Cheers and strength to you in 2020.

  2. Wow! I’m so glad you’re back and on the road to a great recovery! We missed your expertise. Blessings to you and your family.

  3. Sorry to hear about your ordeal but glad you are well enough to write about it. Whether at the bedside of a parent, or facing some unexpected illness of our own, for those of us who are healthcare providers the first hand experience often gives us a stark view of what our patients and their families experience. Hope you continue to recover

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