My Detour Down Fibroid Lane
Nobody WANTS to get surgery, but I am living proof that if you ignore something this necessary long enough, its going to jump out and grab you by the throat sooner or later.
I’m also writing this for anyone who has observed that after a period of intense devotion to my film avocation I seem have gone radio silent. Not to worry, I’m still here, just -- I am temporarily out of the road race. Well, I’m actually completely knocked off my bike and am flailing by the side of the road clutching my belly.
The reason? It seems that I have been blessed with a generous supply of Uterine Fibroids.
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that develop in many women and tend to run in families. Apparently, my mother’s side of the family has been blessed with this tendency and three generations back women have undergone hysterectomy to deal with them.
And now its my turn. Only, now luckily there are a lot more surgical options… and there is a also confusing array of information and video out there on the finest internets. My search for knowledge often turns my mind into a morcellated (yes thats a word and it means chopped up) jumble of confusion. Don’t worry, I’ll explain about the morcellation word later — just don’t read this if you are about to eat.
Enter “The Egg in the Bottle”
So lets just say that I’m not ready to be physically scrutinized right now. I’m still getting in shape, losing weight and am super self conscious about all that. Trouble is, none of that matters now — I’ve got to leave that at the door of any doctor’s office I now need to reveal myself to.
My current potential surgeon (we’ll call him Dr. S) is a big deal in Santa Cruz County and has won awards for his “minimally invasive” surgical techniques. Basically, minimally invasive surgeons strive to perform complex operations with the minimum trauma to the body and with less scarring. In my case this will leave me with a much shorter recovery time and the ability to wear a bikini without looking like I had an upside down C section up past my navel.
So Dr. S explains: suppose you have a (hard boiled) egg in a bottle (with the shell), or (maybe you even have several). You need to get them out—what to do? You can break the bottle but that’s pretty traumatic—kind of like traditional hysterectomy. Or, you can stick something in the bottle and crush up (morcellate) the eggs. Trouble is, even though now you can dump out the eggs, they are now also smashed up inside the bottle. Not a good look.
Actually, this last point is pretty important. In 2014 a doctor contracted Stage 4 cancer after a supposed fibroid was morcellated as part of her hysterectomy with a power morcellator—a kind of hand blender for internal organs. The reason surgeons do this is that its pretty hard to haul a totally intact organ out of the human body. If you want a small incision, chopping up the offending body part is really the only way to go.
Embedded in this particular doctor’s fibroid was a Sarcoma and the cancer spread all over her body very quickly. She died 3 years later— her life cut short by a mechanical spray of her own cancer cells inside her body.
Before her death, she and her husband (also a doctor) campaigned to end the morcellation of fibroid laden uteri using a power morcellator. The trouble is, what are you going to do if you don’t have that option?
That's why there is chopped uterus in a bag. Yes, this is a thing. The surgeon taketh away and puts it in a bag before using the power morcellator. And now there’s no chance of any cancer leaping out--unless of course the bag breaks.
What will come next? I don’t know. But the eggs in this bottle are not volunteering to come out by themselves.