WARNING: This blog talks extensively about my uterus and female issues!
I have been writing this particular blog for the last month. I have felt quite a bit of trepidation about finishing and publishing this due to its content. Getting old is a horrible beast that does appalling things to our bodies. As women, we’ve always had to struggle with Aunt Flo knocking on our door every month; some worse than others. It’s like an unending cruel joke. Aunt Flo has always maintained regular, moderate visitations with me that typically lasted about 3-4 days. Then, I turned 42 and everything went whacko! July of 2013 we went on a family trip to Michigan to see the in-laws. Flo chose that time to show up. On this five hour trip, I was going through the largest size tampons made at the alarming rate of one every 1-2 hours. If I didn’t stay on top of it, there was a huge mess. I think I was near hemorrhaging. If that wasn’t bad enough, mid-October I began to have periods every two weeks, and they were still very heavy. Sometimes they would stop for a day and then start up again. To top it all off, I was becoming so dry downstairs that the delicate skin began to get tiny, excruciating paper cuts. It was confusing, frustrating, and more than a little concerning.
So I went to my gynecologist. I was poked and prodded and samples were taken. Then I was told that it could just be a matter of me growing old. I was put on birth control and was told of a number of other procedures I could get, ending in a hysterectomy if nothing else worked. The birth control helped a little bit, but I was still having issues. When I went back to see my doctor, she told me that she was concerned with the number of medications I was taking and she thought I should go off of birth control. Her suggestion was for me to get an endometrial ablation via the NovaSure® procedure. Basically, I was to get the lining of my uterus burned out of me. Ouch! They say that general anesthesia is not required for this procedure. I was still nervous. There were two options: get it done in the doctor’s office, not get knocked out, and pay my insurance copay, or get it done in the hospital where I would be knocked out and end up paying over $800 in doctor and hospital fees. I apprehensively opted for the doctor’s office.
Before the procedure, I had quite a bit of reading to do. My doctor had given me a booklet to inform me on what I needed to do and what to expect. I was informed that I could not have intercourse for a month (two weeks before, two weeks after), but that there were no other restrictions and I should be able to be a productive citizen the very next day. Reading this only seemed to stoke my fear and I was on the verge of crying the whole two weeks before the surgery. I tend to have an issue with relaxation medication. It works just fine on me, until the actual procedure it was meant for starts. Then it magically disappears out of my body and the calm is gone. I was terrified that I would feel some of the burn.
I had several medications I had to take the night before and the day of the surgery. We arrived at the office and began the prepping. I was given an anti-anxiety pill to calm my nerves and a shot in the butt of a pain medication. There were 3 very friendly nurses in the room, and my husband was also allowed to be with me. By the time the doctor arrived, I was feeling woozy and calm from the medications. One nurse described everything that was going to happen immediately before the doctor did it. First they filled my uterus with water, and then inserted a camera to ensure it looked healthy and there were no huge fibroids. They even let me see it on the screen and showed me the fallopian tube entrances. It was fascinating, but of course, the real procedure hadn’t started yet! The doctor then inserted a slim wand, and I was told to prepare for a loud click. I both heard and felt said click, and the panic set in! After the NovaSure® wand was inserted, the head flared out to the size of my uterus and revealed a gold mesh, which heated up and emitted radio frequency waves for approximately 1 ½ – 2 minutes, effectively branding the inside of my uterus to hopefully prevent the build-up of the endometrium and any further periods. Then, the wand was closed and removed, along with the lining of my uterus. I was allowed to clean up and head home after about 15 minutes.
Let me tell you, that was the longest 1 ½ – 2 minutes of my life! The click I had felt when the wand was first inserted was uncomfortable. When the procedure began, it felt like someone had reached into my uterus and grabbed the inside. No burning sensation here, folks! For the duration of the surgery, the hand I felt in my uterus kept opening and closing, tugging at it and trying to pull it out of me. I know I groaned quite a bit, and I think I clamped down pretty hard on my husband’s hand. The doctor and the nurses were all full of encouraging words, most of which I did not hear. Although I do recall hearing my doctor at one point chant: “Just remember, no more periods!” After it was all done, I ended up getting sick a little bit. Apparently one of the nurses gave me shots of anti-nausea and pain medications. I do not remember this.
When we got home, I ended up sleeping the rest of the day, with breaks to take more pain medication. I had quite a bit of pain and cramping from the surgery, and my husband said I was moaning in my sleep. The next day I was pain free, but I did get some mild discomfort if I stood for too long. It’s now been a month since I’ve had the procedure done. The pain has faded in my memory, as well as has most of the procedure itself. However, so far things are looking and feeling great!
I recently had a follow-up visit with my doctor. She says everything looks great. As of right now, I cannot say for certainty if I will continue to have periods or not. Mine is currently due, but is not present, so that’s a good sign! Aside from the aforementioned pain, I would definitely recommend this procedure to qualifying women, but I would strongly suggest getting it done as an in-patient. If this is something you and you’re doctor are talking about, and you are interested in pursuing, you can find lots of information at NovaSure®‘s website: www.novasure.com.