I made it.
I had my fibroids removed and I'm in week two of the healing process. For someone who has never been hospitalized and loves being on the move, the process of having such a big surgery was numbing. As I lay out in bed, trying not to move, I thought over and over again about how I would share this experience with everyone. So here it goes...
Fear. This Brooklyn girl loves to play it cool. I did, initially. I joked. I chatted incessantly about how it was great to start the New Year with a new body. I even made wisecracks about the big suitcase and cumbersome Uggs I lugged to the hospital. Then it was time. As I walked down the long path to the operating room, my BK swagger began to falter. I'd only seen ORs on TV, and the mere notion of being strapped down, spread-eagle and knocked out had me thinking about life after death. I had to strip nude in front of about 10 people. But when the staff strapped my arms down and gave me oxygen... I lost it. I lay back with two ears full of tears and placed my life in the surgeon's hands. I closed my eyes, prayed to God and my ancestors, and believed.
Pain. That's the first thing I remember saying to the attending medical professional who asked how I felt in the recovery area of the hospital. I can compare the feeling to being repeatedly punched in the stomach — I've never experienced childbirth. While the pain was agonizing, feeling so helpless was horrible. I only wanted to do one thing: rest.
Sleep. Slumber was my best friend the first few hours after my myomectomy. My lower torso was so numb that I naively thought that my body was "all good." Since my surgery was in the morning — and I was still feeling no pain due to anesthesia — I mistakenly thought my body was relatively fine. I was texting pals and even responding to work email by 10 pm. Big mistake.
WTF? That was my first thought when I woke up the next day. I could not sit up. I could not roll. I could not lift my legs. Luckily, the staff at the hospital (Long Island College) was great.The first thing Veronica, one of my fabulous patient care specialists, said to me was, "We're going to take good care of you, but you're here to heal — so you have to get up." I did.
Tears. I cried several times during that stay. In the back of my mind I thought the rug would be pulled from under me. Did I have cancer, like my mom? Was I fertile? Would a complication arise? Passing gas, urinating and having a bowel movement required more effort for me than advanced calculus. It was also painful. It was like my body was finding a new path for them each time. I had no appetite, my nose was more sensitive than a hound's and I could not eat — which meant the medication made me sick. There was only one good thing: I was not alone.
Love. My family, friends and LICH's great staff are the only things that helped me get through this ordeal. If any were off, it would have been a terrible experience. First, I must say my little sister (she's fully grown, lol) was my rock. Every time I woke up I'd see her brown face hovering over me. My dad and brothers were also always about, looking nervous, but showing their support and love. Then it was my aunties. I'd wake up and see one sitting next to me, peeking through the curtains or hear about them calling in favors. Next up, my girls and friends. Some called. Others pledged to dedicate time to my healing process. Some sent gifts. All in all, I felt loved. Lastly, the staff at Long College Hospital was phenomenal. Each staff member on the maternity ward who I interacted with (Anna, Cynthia, Veronica and countless others) was so supportive, encouraging and patient.
Healing. Today I am balancing the healing process. I know I have to be patient to ensure that I'm healthy, but I'm so used to bustling about! Luckily, one of my BFFs has dedicated the week to helping me get right — and chill out. I know that stress and a poor diet contribute to the growth of fibroids. Additionally, many women have multiple surgeries over the years. I am committed to making the best decisions regarding my emotional and physical health. A new year, the same me... but a little bit better.
To read the first part of S. Tia Brown's "Facing Fibroids" story, click here.