Taking the Bullet

I went to the dreaded LEEP surgery consultation, as first mentioned in Leep-Into-Cin – Part III, and more recently in  A Peach and A Catalyst.

Dodging Bullets
Honestly, I’ve been dodging this since I received word in May that my Pap came back bad again.  I put off the colposcopy until July, as I mentioned in All the Pretty Things.  The results of the colposcopy were among many things that triggered my breakdown in August, most noted in Meet Me in the Magnolia Tree.  I was informed at that point that I would need the surgery.  And I failed to go to both my August consultation and my September consultation.  I couldn’t face what I knew she was going to say to me.  I couldn’t hear that I may never be able to have more children.  And after the debacle from my last surgery, mentioned in Leep-Into-Cin – Part II, I couldn’t fathom the idea of having to go through another one.

The Reader’s Digest Version
It’s a lot of history to take in all at once.  I understand.  So, for those of you that really don’t have the time, or simply don’t want to sift through all of it, I will provide the abbreviated version.  I was diagnosed with HPV in August 2007 and had cervical dysplasia as a result.  At the time, I was in my early 20’s and the doctors all insisted that it would clear up on it’s own.  I got pregnant at the beginning of 2008 with T.D. and it only got worse.  In fact, so bad that I had to have the worst colposcopy of my life when I was 34 weeks pregnant.

Due to some insurance problems, I wasn’t able to get another colposcopy until May 2009, when it was discovered I had CIN-II and III in some places.  Essentially, I had the worst precancer before it became real cancer.  I had a very traumatic cryosurgery done in June 2009, and that was that.  For then.

Here we are, two years later.

My Worst Fears Realized / Speculated and More
From the moment I got the call, I’ve done my research.  I knew the words that were going to come out of her mouth.  And, I had face it alone.  C.S. and I decided that it would be better to save that 1/2 day off, in case I need it after the surgery.  Not that emotionally agree with the decision.  I see the logic.  But, I knew I’d need him there.  In a way, I am hurt that he doesn’t consider my health more important than his work.  I know he is only trying to make things stretch.  But, I feel like if he cared enough, he would have been there.

Like I already knew, I risk cervical stenosis, scarring of the cervix and cervical canal, that may make natural conception impossible.  I am at a higher risk for cervical incompetance, which may make carrying a child to term impossible.  I risk infection, hemmorage, etc.  But here’s what I didn’t know.  I risk damaging other organs in the vicinity, such as the vaginal walls, colon, bowel, etc.  And that made the whole ordeal so much worse.

All my doctor could say was, “The risks and complications are a possibilty.  I can tell you that these risks are small, but I can’t make any guarentees about what’s going to happen.”

On the subject of future children, “Cervical stenosis isn’t as much of a concern as cervical incompetance.  It depends on how much we have to remove.  We can only determine that when you’ve healed.  I’ll check at the 2 week follow-up and we’ll have a better idea then.”

My Aching Heart
I cannot get my mind away from the possibility that I will be incapable of having anymore children.  I wanted one, maybe two more if I feel my biological clock start to tick later on.  I cannot fathom the idea.  It breaks my heart to think about.  I may never have another child, ever again.  I could end up barren with the thoughts of the child that I could never have.  The child that would have been a sibling to T.D. and a child to C.S. and I.

Worse, is the possibilty of having multiple miscarriages.  I had one, and I know it was my fault.  I didn’t know I was pregnant until I miscarried at about 10-12 weeks.  I was drinking heavily at the time.  And that likely did it.  If that child had lived, he / she would be 9 in January.  It took me a long time to accept the truth about it.  But, I knew it wasn’t meant to be.  The day after I conceived, my boyfriend broke up with me.  I told him a year later about what happened.  His response was, “It was better this way.  I wouldn’t have left her (his girlfriend) anyway.  Now, we can all get on with our lives.”

It was cold-hearted, but he was right.  I was in no position to be a mother.  I was too young, with no college education, no income, and hardly a stable place to live.  The child would have had a deadbeat dad, and I would’ve been outcasted by my family.  This is not to mention that I was not yet diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  That baby has a better home in the life beyond.

Will I have to go through the unimaginable pain of losing a child?  Losing multiple children because my body just can’t do it?  I’m terrified at the idea.  I cry when I hear about it.  How could I even begin to handle that?

My doctor tried to be reassuring and said, “Most of my patients who have undergone one LEEP have gone on to have successful, complication free pregnancies.” Most.  Not all.  This is my second surgery.  I don’t know exactly what I will have left when all of this is said and done with.

The Worst Case Scenario of Them All
What if this LEEP doesn’t do it? What happens if the dysplasia grows back. I only have so much cervix. Do I have to face another LEEP? And if I do, that will destroy all hopes of another child. Beyond that, we’re looking at a hysterectomy. I’m too young to have my uterus removed. So what then? Hormone replacement therapy for the next 10 – 15 years? Or will I just have to bear early menopause?

That is honestly the worst of it all. Not being able to have children and having to go through menopause.

The Only Good News
The actual surgery isn’t nearly as bad as cryosurgery. I will have a cervical block, as well as IV sedation. Instead of being in the office, I will be at the hospital. The procedure is supposed to be painless, and afterward, I should sufffer no symptoms worse than a light menstration.

The after care is much like having a colposcopy, and heaven knows I’ve had enough of those.  Literally, I’ve had four or five.  With the last one, I wasn’t doing great the same day.  But, within a few days, I was back to my regular self.  I should be healed enough to resume normal activity within two weeks (like aerobic activity), with the exception that I’ll have a lifting restriction for a month.

The Plan
The date of the surgery – November 10th or 11th.  I have off on the 11th, so I tried to schedule it for then.  But, I can take the 10th off, if needed.  My doctor specializes in treatment for woman cancer.  I trust her and really like her.  She reminds me of the wonderful OB that delivered T.D., except she’s a little more forthcoming.  She’s the only doctor that has sent my specimens to an oncologist for review.  She is the only doctor that has been extremely proactive about this.  And she is the only doctor that hasn’t treated me like I’m a case, or I’m insane, or anything else.  She’s regarded me as a person every time.

I just want to get this all behind me.  I want to be able to deal with the aftermath as soon as I can.  And, I need to make the attempt to get pregnant as soon as I can afterward.  Because, if I have to face another LEEP or hysterectomy, I’ll be damned if I don’t at least try to have another baby before we come to that.

Occupy and Multiply

By now, we’re all familiar with the protesters that have been camping in Liberty Square in NYC, under the banner Occupy Wall Street. We have a local chapter called Occupy Pittsburgh. This group now calls Mellon Square outside of BNY Mellon home.

I wrote a piece in 2008 called Stop Them Before They Spend Again!. I included it in the “Lulu’s Other Projects” drop-down. I have always been interested in politics and how they affect the little guy.

I predicted this in 2008. I made one of the public outcry’s against the bailouts as being ultimately detrimental. I was outraged in 2009 at the fiscal irresponsibility and the “take the money and run” corporate strategy. Back in 2006, I knew that the 1% continued to reap huge profit margins, while the 99% were slaves in the corporate machine. Now that the 99% is working poor, if employed at all, it’s come to a head. I knew it would. I called this earlier in the year. One day, the 99% would wake up and take a stand.

They have. I support the cause entirely. If I didn’t have T.D., I’d be camping. Instead, I have to remain on the outside as a supporter and a sympathizer. But, I urge everyone to get involved. If you can, join your local camp. Picket and protest. The only way change can really happen is through civil unrest and action.

We have to take it in our own hands now. Obama promised us change, and that’s exactly what we have left in our pockets. Now, we have to take matters in our own hands because we know that our best interest affects profit margins and the bottom line. We can’t trust the people we voted in to be our representatives any longer. We’re working for them when they should be working for us. We pay their salaries, so they really are supposed to be working for us. Are they? I think not.

Occupy now exists worldwide. You’re a 99%. Add your own voice to the collective to make the message louder and stronger. For all of the things we can’t afford, food, water, shelter, medication, etc – you cannot afford to miss this chance. We cannot afford to fail. We stand together now against greed and corruption instead of being mindless puppets in the machine.

I’m in. Are you?

Construction Zone – Self Improvement in Progress

Per Brandon who writes The Daily Bipolar, I’ve been inspired by his post Too Much At Once?.  In his post, he was examining goals for himself and prioritizing.

Obviously, I seriously have a problem with that.  I’m often stuck in the here and now situation.  I tend to focus on the most pressing problem of the moment instead of continually striving for the bigger picture.  It wasn’t always like this.  I’ve really lost faith in my ability to carry a plan all the way through.  And worse, I have been neglecting responsibilities through extreme procrastination.  In order to reorganize my priorities and get back on track, I’m going to make a list of the things that are most important to me, instead of the most pressing issues.

Make Appointments and Keep Them:  I have difficulty keeping appointments.  Typically, this is because of the pressing issue at hand.  If I am deep into a depressive episode, I’m not motivated to go.  Especially if I know that it’s going to be bad news.  Even so, I’m still fearing the bad news that is coming my way and the challenges that are ahead of me.

Since when did I start living my life in fear?  I’m not sure how that happened.

Quit Smoking For Good: I made what started out to be a very successful attempt to quit smoking between last April and last June.  I was down to between five and seven cigarettes a day.  That’s quite a record drop from 12 to 14.  I was so close to being able to throw out all of my ashtrays.  (Except the Kennywood one.  My mother bought that for me.  I was going to turn it into a hard candy dish).  Smoking is literally killing me.  My doctor and I have concluded smoking is the reason the cervical dysplasia continues to return.  My asthma is getting worse.  It’s bad for my heart which is already having problems.  And more than anything, I want to be a good role model for my kid and the children I teach.  How can I possibly tell them smoking is bad when I wait until I’m in Downtown to jump off the bus and light up?

Return to Journalling: I have been severely neglecting my journal.  It’s not really on purpose.  I had a few Pendulum posts that I wanted to include in it.  However, I do not have a printer, so I’ve had to transpose them by hand.  It was taking much longer than anticipated.  I’m really behind now, although I do leave post-it’s of important thing I want to talk about within it.  I really need to spend some time catching up and make the concious effort to spend at least one hour a night working at it again.  I was doing a lot better when I was keeping a constant log to work out my emotions.

Regulating My Biological Cycles: I am having some difficulty regulating my sleeping and eating cycles due to mood changes and, of course, stress.  I have to make a real effort to sleep and eat when I know that I need to.  It’s unhealthy and obviously is a trigger for disaster.

Start Taking Time for Myself:  I don’t care if anyone around me thinks that it is selfish.  I am starting to realize that it is perfectly reasonable and absolutely necessary.  I think that a number of factors went into my most recent episode(s?).  One of those was being over-extended.  I was performing duties that I was pressured into doing in the here-and-now.  After that, there was no time for me.  Obviously, I’m burnt out, and I’m not taking it well.  I’m holding it together, but there are some serious cracks in the walls.  I don’t want to crumble.  And I don’t want to start over.  Not after I’ve worked this hard to get it all built up again.  If I have to take this time by force, I will.

Become More Focused: Obviously.  But, in order to do accomplish that, I have to continue to keep a set of goals in tangible form.

Appreciate the Pretty Things: I wrote a blog post called All the Pretty Things back in July when I faced the possibility of another surgery.  I need to refer back to the pretty things and update that list frequently.

Start Confronting My Emotions: Talk is cheap.  I could probably go on eternally about the things that are currently upsetting my emotional state.  Sometimes, I do.  What I need to do more than anything, no matter how painful it is, is start conflict resolution.  I must grow the chutzpuh in order to confront situations and people that are harming me.  Action is what gets things done.

Most of all, like it has been pointed out to me, I don’t have to take on the mountain in a day.  This didn’t begin in a day, and it’s not going to be resolved in a day.  It took God six days to create the universe.  Why should I expect to do the same?

I am not God.  I am Lulu.  That’s it.  And I will have respect for myself in knowing that I am capable of doing anything I want to do.