Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Today I had my second, and more extensive, "medical procedure." Bear with me while I share a little of the experience; it does relate somewhat to my weight loss journey, but more importantly, maybe this information will help someone else out there who might be going through the same thing.

Before I had my culposcopy, I didn't know what to expect. I had been told I had "moderate dysplasia" and a large area of pre-cancerous cells on my cervix. I had been told I needed biopsies and maybe a LEEP procedure. But during that first appointment (which, by the way, was uncomfortable but not painful), they told me I would have to come back and have a large area of the cervix excised (cut out). I looked up everything I could find on the web about cervical cancer, dysplasia, and LEEP. But what I experienced today was nothing like what I expected.

The Good: It was fast, and the doctor thinks he got it all. A biopsy will tell for sure. There is a 99% cure rate with just excision. I will probably just need frequent checkups to be sure it goes away and doesn't come back. Also good: it is a LOT less embarrassing and difficult to have your feet in stirrups and scootch down a table at 225 pounds than it is at 278 pounds. Trust me on this.

The Bad: Why doesn't ANYBODY tell you about The Shot??? The Shot was the worst part of the whole procedure. Nowhere on the web, and no one who told me they had this procedure done, warned me about The Shot. The doctor didn't even tell me about it. Well, before they start slicing off body parts, they give you a shot of anesthesia in the cervix, to numb it up. Apparently, this shot contains epinephrine, which triggers a reaction known as "fight-or-flight response." So he gives me this shot and within seconds, I felt a severe pain traveling up my back. It felt like a hot poker being shoved up my spinal cord. As the pain traveled upwards I started shaking and my back muscles were spasming. Suddenly my heart started racing a million miles an hour. It felt like it was going to literally thump out of my chest. At this point, I had several thoughts. 1) oh my gosh, I am dying; 2) holy cow, I am having an allergic reaction to the shot or something; and 3) dear lord, I am having a severe panic attack!! I could hardly breathe, my heart was pounding and I was JUST about to say "I need to sit up, something is wrong, I think I am dying, or having a panic attack" when the doctor said, "Did you feel something go up your back and then your heart racing?" UM, YES???????????????? Why didn't he tell me this?? So I guess that was "normal." In a few minutes, my heart slowed back down and I felt completely wiped out. After that, you don't even care that they are hacking off your cervix.

The Ugly: When it was all done, I went to the car. I was drained. I sat there with my eyes closed for a half hour, just getting it together enough to drive home. I was hungry but didn't think I could handle going home and preparing myself something. I felt sort of emotionally flatlined at this point. I went through the drive through and got a grilled turkey sandwich, onion rings, a Pepsi and a small Blizzard. Yikes. But I just DID NOT CARE. I was not "craving" or even wanting any of it. I think it was more out of habit, or desperation, or just wanting something to take my mind off the medical stuff for awhile. I only ate 2/3 of the sandwich, all 6 onion rings and half the Pepsi. I ate 5 bites of the Blizzard and threw the rest away. I didn't see any point in stuffing myself. I was already numb.

I also must say that when we ordered pizza the other night, I overdid it. Way. I think I ate more at that one dinner than I have in any one meal in the last 9 months. I had eaten well all day, exercised, and planned 2 slices of pizza for dinner. But once I tasted it, it was SO GOOD that I just wanted one more slice. Then one more. And one more. I ate until my stomach HURT. I feel bad about it. But ya know, everyone is human. We make mistakes, we move on. If I was my "old self" I would throw in the towel and just give up on the weight loss. That's because my default mode used to be overeating and binging. I varied from my default mode by dieting. Now, my default mode is eating healthy and taking care of myself. So when I have a variation, like eating too much pizza or an order of onion rings, I just go right back to default mode and move on. That has come with a lot of time and effort, but it's a good thing.

My feelings tonight are all scrambled up. Sadness, relief, fear, renewal. I have some pain, but it's not bad. I have some bleeding, but I think in a day or two I will be able to ride my bike again. And I am sure that tomorrow I will be eating right and feeling better. I am determined to take excellent care of myself to give me the best chances possible for living a long and happy life.

Ladies, DO NOT SKIP your yearly pap exams. Fourteen months ago mine was normal. I am not "high risk." You just never know. An exam could save your life.

Thank you everyone who has sent kind thoughts and prayers my way. They are very healing to me. Blessings to all.


Dinah Soar said...

Yikes! That epinephrine shot sounds horrible...didn't know they did that...I would have been scared too...less so had they told me what to expect.

Glad it's behind you...also kudos for handling both food incidents so the larger scheme of things they are just tiny blips on the diet radar screen. Before you know it you will be down another 50 pounds!

Dinah Soar said...

I googled this:

"epinephrine shot during cervical excision"

because I was curious to know more about this type of anesthesia...and had to laugh when the first entry was your blog post!!

Ceres said...

It's all done now, and you handled it all soooo remarkably well :-)
Hopefully today was the last day you are going to worry about this. Sorry about the unexpected shot, it sounds terrible... I can't believe the doctor didn't warn you!
Two extra slices of pizza are not going to make a difference. What does make a difference is your determination to be healthy by default! Little occasions where you inevitably overeat will arise here and there all the time -they do for everybody! But sticking to your plan for the rest of the time is what matters, and this is what you have achieved! Congratulations on handling this so well, on being so strong and on having the strength to write about it as well!

Anonymous said...

Wow! That was a major "thing" to leave out (in my humble, yet clueless opinion). Epi effects the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight--I look at it as stress--sympathetic nervous system) it is initiated in stressful situations. Epi is known as a adrenergic drug. These types of drugs can: dilate pupils, inhibit saliva, accelerate heart, facilitate breathing (slow or fast---fast in this case), inhibit digestion, stimulate the release of glucose, relaxes the bladder, and inhibit the sex organs. These issues effect the thoracic and lumbar nerves. Okay, I know more pharmacology than you needed to know but I guess I learned a lot in my class this semester---shocking.

I hope you are not in too much pain!

Keep on keeping on!

Sarah said...

Huh, good to know about the shot-- my sisters procedure is on Tuesday. All in all sounds like you did great! Life will continue to throw curve balls and each time you get better at dealing without food. I still stumble, but I pick myself up and keep going, clearly you are too. In the great scheme of things 2 extra pieces of pizza are not the end of the world, you are learning, growing and making the right changes.

Way to go!

Anonymous said...

Glad it is over for now. You are handling things very well! I go back in June for another round of MRIs and CT scans and tests galore... I "feel your pain!"

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Teale said...

I'm thankful that this procedure is overwith for you, and now I know the hard part of waiting goes on. Please know that you are in a lot of people's thoughts & keep us updated!

Heather said...

you are right, we are all human and I think after everything you went through, that its understandable you would have a few slipups with food. I would have done much worse!

Ryry the Adventurous said...

Ugh that sounds -awful-. KUDOS to you for keeping the emotional binge under control. You are doing a fantastic job and your strength as a person grows with every challenge you're facing. You're amazing!