Because I know what the doctors found when they opened me up on 2nd March, I’ve looked up the usual treatments for fibroids, I have a rough idea of what the doctors are going to say to me next week at my follow up. I can’t really help myself – I like to work out all the permutations ahead of time so that I can get the most out of every doctor’s appointment. I think my choices are:
1) Cutting off the blood supply to the cysts. This involves a procedure where they insert a catheter into my leg and navigate around to the womb where the blood supply to certain parts are burnt off. This is a good option only if the fibroids are in strategic locations. I may not be a good candidate for this due to my reliance on the birth control pill – so the cysts will probably just come back.
2) Ultrasound can be used to attack the cysts but this treatment is only seen as partially effective – which I’m really not interested in.
3) It’s rarely mentioned on the websites but hormone therapy may be an option. I will need to have a very low oestrogen level (which I thought I had already thanks to my PCOS). This may involve the drug-related hysterectomy or it may involve something else and will take several months.
4) Hysterectomy. This is the one that I’m dreading and thinking it may be my best option all at once. I’m tempted to ask them how they think it would work if they removed my womb but left my ovaries and then if I carried on taking my birth control pills (because at the moment I seem to have no active endometriosis). The plusses for this option are i) I’ll never have a period again and ii) theoretically my hormones won’t change and so I won’t change “in myself” (and by this I mean that I won’t necessarily mentally change).
The down sides of hysterectomy include my concern as to how I will feel about myself after a hysterectomy. This has nothing to do with me ever potentially having children. I am more concerned with feeling womanly and my physical relationship with my husband. I’m probably going to sound rather base here but, frankly, I really like sex with my husband. If I let them remove my womb, I may never have an orgasm again. Would you want to take that chance if you’re having amazing sex at home? On the other hand, I’ve been having pain immediately after intimacy for a number of months now and it’s only a matter of time that my body starts to associate intimacy with pain so I have to do something!
Another down side of a hysterectomy is that I’ll need more time off work. I’ve used up my sick allocation for the year so I’ll be given Statutory Sick Pay for the time that I’m out of the office. SSP isn’t a lot of money – certainly not enough to live on, but I can save up for the event and hope I can get back to work within just a couple of weeks. Money is not a critical issue (thanks to a number factors that I won’t go into here) but it’s something that I need to consider.
Having said all that, the hysterectomy may take care of my fibroids but a hysterectomy is not a cure for endometriosis. OK, at the moment I don’t have active endo lesions but there is a chance that my endo will flare up again and consequently my pain will not diminish after a hysterectomy. Can you imagine how I’d feel after that? I think I’d demand some anti-depressants, painkillers and Lord-knows-what-else after that!
I suppose what I really want is some indication that one direction is the best thing for me (even if it leaves me with a little, manageable pain). At the moment I feel like I’m painted into a corner. No option looks better than the others. No option leaves me with the guarantee of a pain-free existence. It reminds me of the choice of the next leading politician – there is no good choice, just deciding the lesser of all the evils.
If I have my Buddhist hat on, I am reminded that suffering is a mandatory part of living – the choice we have is to endure, or to not endure what pain we have. If I have my Christian hat on I am reminded in the Lord’s Prayer that it’s “Thy will be done,” not “My will be done”. So no matter what happens, it is my lot in life to be trapped in this body. I have no one to sue for life not living up to the advertisement. The fact of the matter is that I’m here and this is the hand I’ve been dealt.