Laparoscopy Experience: Patient Perspective of ‘Going Under the Knife’

On Friday I had a laparoscopy. When I was researching what’s involved with this procedure I didn’t find a lot of details from a patient perspective so thought I’d sum up my experience. It might get a bit lengthy and I won’t be offended if you click away to something more interesting…like what Nicole Kidman was wearing at the oscars last night 😉

The result was 4 spots of endometriosis removed. I’m frustrated because I won’t know until our follow up appointment next Monday if they are large, small, or to what extent they might have been impacting our ability to conceive.

On Friday morning hubby and I arrived at the hospital at 7am. I was taken away to prepare for surgery. Once I was in a gown, hooked up to an IV, and resting comfortably in a bed the nurse brought in hubby so he could sit with me until they took me in to the OR. Getting wheeled into the operating room was very intimidating. I’ve never been through anything like this and I couldn’t believe all the people involved: 3 nurses, my doctor, a resident doctor, and 2 anesthesiologists.

Just outside the OR the main anesthesiologist asked me a bunch of questions. Both he and the nurse who set me up on the IV had never heard of metformin being used to treat PCOS. They were both asking so many questions about my blood sugar that I finally said “I don’t have diabetes, I take metformin for polycystic ovaries”. They were surprised to hear this.

I was really relieved to hear my own doc’s voice as she arrived. Something about hearing a familiar voice that helped put me at ease. As we entered the OR I was again intimidated by all the equipment. Lots of bright lights and machines. I shuffled from the gurney on to the operating table and the anesthesiologists put me to sleep.

I awoke in the recovery room and immediately thought I was going to be sick. Thankfully I just had the dry heaves and they passed quickly. The woman next to me was weeping which apparently is another common reaction. My throat was parched! I had to wait a few minutes to have any water so I didn’t throw it up. When I asked why my throat hurt so much I was told that I’d had a tube down it. Huh, didn’t expect that.

After 15-20 minutes I was wheeled into the second recovery room and my hubby came in to be with me. Boy was I glad to see him. He held the cup with the straw while I drank as much water as I could. My throat was so bad I could barely whisper but it was so good to just be with him. My shoulders were also incredibly achy. I’d expected this as I’d been forewarned that the gas they use to expand your belly area can get trapped in your shoulders. Something about how the diaphragm works.

With my throat and shoulders causing the most pain I did wonder if they’d done the right operation!

Our doc had gone to see hubby after the operation and told him they’d removed 4 spots of endometriosis and they know that removing it increases our odds of pregnancy by 30%. The resident did come tell me a similar thing but I had only been awake for a moment so I’m not sure it really registered. I seem to recall that he said they were 4 small spots so I’m feeling unsure how much of an impact they might have been having.

After an hour the nurse got me up and into the bathroom. I was able to pee which meant I was able to go home. When I asked her why it hurt so much to pee I discovered that I’d had a catheter. Ouch!

It was an uncomfortable ride home but I was so glad to get into my own bed. I slept all afternoon and about 5pm hubby helped me down to the couch. He’d picked up some trashy magazines for me and also gave me a weekend pass for unlimited foot massages.

The rest of the weekend was just about relaxing as much as possible. I’m not the kind of person who sits still very well so I found it hard. The pain wasn’t too bad when I was sitting still so I didn’t take too many of the Tylenol 3’s. They really make me dopey and it’s hard to read. I just tried to sit still and let my body recover.

Overall the nurses made the whole experience manageable. I really think it takes a special person to nurse people back to health and I can’t thank them enough for making me feel comfortable, answering my questions, and making sure I was OK.

So now I have 3 cuts in my belly, 2 of them are getting yellow/purple bruises around them. I also have a nasty bruise where the IV was put in. But I can move around a lot easier today, although I’m still careful how much I lift.

I’m VERY anxious for our follow up appointment so we can talk about next steps. I’ve been so focused on getting through this surgery I need to know what’s next in our journey. Our doc did say the next 6 months are an important window, I presume she meant before the endo grows back.


February 25, 2008 at 7:49 pm 4 comments

Infertility Chapstick

Ironic that just yesterday I wrote a post offering up a promotional idea for fertility clinics. Yes, it was a little tongue-in-cheek but at least it’s a lot more practical than the promotional item we received from our clinic!

I ran out of Metformin and my hubby, dear that he is, said he’d run up to the clinic for me. Unfortunately the clinic didn’t have any so they had to phone it in to my local pharmacy. I guess they didn’t want my hubby to go home empty-handed so they gave him a chapstick with the name of the clinic on it.

I work in marketing and I’m all for promotional items and getting your name out there. But seriously, chapstick for a fertility clinic? Here’s all the reasons I think this is wrong:

– We’re not looking to advertise the fact we’re seeing a fertility specialist in our TTC efforts. In fact we don’t even really advertise that we’re TTC, although lots of close friends now and I’m sure others suspect. Chapstick is the kind of thing I’ll likely carry in my purse and pull out everywhere. Uh, no thanks.

– No tie-in between the promotional item (chapstick) and the services offered by the clinic. After 2 weeks of progesterone supplements post IUI I have dry lips, but they ain’t the ones on my face!

– We’ve spent close to $10,000 so far. And we realize it’s likely we’ll spend thousands more. I expect chapstick from my hair salon, dry cleaners, video store…somewhere that I’m spending less than 4 digits a year.

So what would be a good customer appreciation promotion?

– How about a gift certificate for a local coffee house (that serves decaf and tea of course!). Next time I’m doing an IUI and waiting for the sperm wash to be done I could relax and enjoy a hot beverage.

– How about bagels and fruit in the clinic every Monday? Getting to the clinic for 7am on a Monday morning just plain sucks. Breakfast would mean one less thing to worry about.

– How about bath salts to help me relax, especially after a negative result when I’m a bundle of angry stress.

Any other ideas?

February 21, 2008 at 9:27 pm 5 comments

Promotional Idea for Fertility Clinics: Find My G Spot

According to a BBC article, women can now rely on science to help them find out whether they have a G spot. Apparently it all has to do with tissue thickness between the vagina and uretha:

In the nine women who reported being able to achieve vaginal orgasm, the tissues between the vagina and the urethra – which carries urine out of the body – were on average thicker than in the 11 women who could not reach orgasm this way.”

So I bet your wondering how this relates to infertility, which is what I usually write about. Well, as a woman who has gone through many cycles at a fertility clinic I have had umpteen internal ultrasounds done over the last year. I think it would be an excellent customer appreciation idea if clinics took an extra few minutes while the magic wand was up the wazoo and located the much sought after G spot…or at least determined if indeed the spot exists.

The article indicates it would be a fairly straightforward task so why not offer it up as a little extra bonus for those who wanted it.  Of course it might be a tough decision to find out if you actually have one or not. But it could add a little fun for those of us struggling with infertility and the repercussions it has on our sex life.

I’m pretty sure I’d go for it. How about you?

February 20, 2008 at 11:41 pm 3 comments

Pre-laparoscopy bloodwork

I’m scheduled for my laparoscopy this Friday so today I went in for the pre-op bloodwork. Thankfully it was easy-peasy! I didn’t even feel the needle stick. Either the technician was extremely talented or I got lucky.

It was my first time at this particular hospital so it was good to get a lay of the land before Friday. It’s funny how knowing the small details removes some of the stress. Just knowing where to park and how to get to the building from the parking (this hospital is huge!) is reassuring. A few less things I’ll need to think about on Friday.

I had cramps last night that indicated my period is coming. It shouldn’t arrive until Sunday at the earliest. But of course my mind is racing wondering what will happen if it arrives early. Will they still perform the laparoscopy during menstruation? Someone asked the same question on Yahoo and a couple of people said they would. I hope so, I’m all mentally and emotionally prepared!

February 19, 2008 at 11:30 pm 1 comment

Me and My Eggs Just Turned Another Year Older

I celebrated 36 years of living on this earth 2 days ago. I’ve never been phased by the passing years, until now. I know that going from 35 to 36 decreases the odds of conceiving. Weird that it’s just one day and yet I move into a different age bracket on all those charts that show the probability of having a baby in each age group.

I can accept the growing wrinkles around my eyes. Well almost, I did splurge on a lovely night cream for myself this week. I figure I’ve spent thousands on my ovaries over the past year. What’s $23 to help smooth away the effect of spending all those thousands from around my eyes!

And so begins a new year for me…

February 18, 2008 at 7:35 pm 3 comments

The 5 questions/comments I hate the most about infertility

I think all of us who are trying to conceive have a short-list of the most hated things people say to us. Here’s mine:

5. When are you and that man of yours going to get serious and have kids? I know it’s intended as a friendly joke. But really, we’ve made no secret of the fact we want kids. I’m 36 so obviously no spring chicken. Put 2 and 2 together people. I beg of you!

4. Is that you or the hormones talking? This is occasionally uttered after I’ve made a snippy comment or overreacted to something. It’s rare as only people who know we’re in fertility treatment would say it but it does happen. There is no separation between me and the hormones when they’re running rampant through my bloodstream. They might be affecting my emotional stability but they do not have a voice of their own. And besides, even if it’s hormone induced, it’s what I’m feeling at this moment and it sucks. So please don’t write it off as ‘she’s fine, it’s just the hormones’.

3. Do you want kids? This is a tricky one. It really is a very legitimate question and I don’t blame people from asking. Although having dealt with infertility for a few years I don’t think I’d ever ask anyone this question. But my experience gives me unfair advantage. I really don’t think the question is rude, it’s just so damn difficult to answer. I want to scream “Yes! Desperately but we’ve been trying for years with no success”. Usually the person asking this question is not someone I know well and that response would send the person running away making awkward excuses. So my response is something more like “Yes, we’re planning on it” and then change the subject as quickly as possible.

2. Do you feel pregnant. Um, in case you’ve forgotten…I’ve never been pregnant so how the hell would I know what it feels like!?! Especially at 4 days after an IUI.

1. I have this friend/sister-in-law/cousin who got pregnant the minute they stopped trying, you just need to relax. I understand this happens for some people. I also understand that couples who have gone through infertility, and made the decision to adopt, probably do not start using birth control again and therefore this is bound to happen for a certain percentage of people. But it does not happen for everyone and suggesting that my ovaries and tubes are anything but in a blissfully relaxed state just isn’t nice. I might be stressed and yes even tense some of the time but I am not intentionally clenching my womanly parts. Please don’t insinuate that I am.

So that’s my top 5 list of most hated questions/comments. How about you? Anything you particularly hate?

February 15, 2008 at 9:35 pm 6 comments

I will never take my good health for granted again

There I said it. It’s out there and officially on public record. Well as official as the world wide web and the ever lasting google can be 😉


I felt it was worth yelling. I’m off all medication and not going to the clinic this month. The difference is incredible. I’m exercising regularly, eating well, and basically just full of energy. Even my friends have commented that I sound different in email and on the phone. It is really reinforcing just how crappy I feel when I take the fertility drugs and spend hours driving across town at the crack of dawn to be at the clinic when it opens.

Before this whole infertility experience I didn’t really think about my health. For a few years I was an avid triathlete but even when I gave that up (too much time training!) I still ran and exercised regularly. I never got winded by climbing a flight of stairs or bringing in grocery bags from the car.

Then I swallowed Clomid pills and shot up with Bravelle in my butt (not at the same time of course). The energy seeped out of me and it was compounded by the stress of getting to the clinic for 7am and then rushing to work on time. By the end of the day it was all I could do to make dinner and collapse on the couch watching reruns of Friends.

I knew I wasn’t feeling great but because it happened slowly I didn’t really realize just how crappy I was feeling. Until now. Now that I’m back to my usual energetic self I can see just what a toll the past few months have been.

So I make this vow to myself – I must not take my health for granted. I know I probably have more crappy months ahead of me and that’s fine, I’ll deal with it. But when I’m feeling good I must take the time to appreciate it!

February 14, 2008 at 2:36 am 3 comments

Older Posts Newer Posts

RSS Subscription