Diagnosis Makes For Thoughtful Treatment and Lifestyle Choices

In Dis Abled Mom, Family by Amy Blanchard

Funny thing about me – I have the miraculous ability to not feel the pain and discomfort of pretty much any given malady – until it’s pointed out to me that I should. It may be because of my spina bifida, considering I’m partially paralyzed below my knees. But I’ve experienced this in other parts of my body as well. So I don’t know. But that’s how it goes for me.

Now, thanks to a recent routine doctor’s appointment – well, I’m feeling the pains of a malady I was, just days before, blissfully unaware of.

My diagnosis? Uterine prolapse.

Simply put, my uterus is falling. The ligaments that hold it in place have weakened, and so it’s begun its slow descent out of my body. Yes, out. Not that that’s in danger of happening anytime very soon. But, I’m told, it could happen. Yay.

So, I’m confronted with three choices

I could do nothing for now. But, sooner or later, something will have to be done on a more drastic level for sure.

Or I could have a pessary, or dam, inserted into my body, supporting my uterus up where it belongs. However, pessaries must be removed “regularly”, cleaned, and reinserted. What a pain. Also, given that my muscles are so weak in that vicinity due to my spina bifida, I don’t even know if such a device would stay in place.

The third and final option is a hysterectomy. Meaning a long recovery time, missed worked, and limited ability to help with the house or Ella’s care. Oh, and no more babies.

Still, taking all things into consideration, I’m thinking of going the surgical route. That really seems like the best choice I can make. Just get the thing out of me already! Obviously it doesn’t want to be there. And I haven’t planned on more kids anyway. So who needs it?

Plus, some of the other non-surgical solutions listed in the literature I picked up include: losing weight, stop smoking, and no lifting of heavy objects or engaging in other activities causing unnecessary strain.

Maybe viable alternative measures for some, but for me: A) I’m already too skinny, B) I don’t smoke, and C) sometimes I have no choice but to strain.

You see, I sometimes get absolutely terrible stomach pains (mostly from eating too much of the “wrong” kind of food). And pretty much the only thing that even remotely makes me feel any better is to try to push out the pain.

Easy for the healthy person to do – just push, poop and feel better. Not so easy for me (or most others with varying degrees of spinal damage, I imagine). All I can do is push my little heart out, get limited to no physical results, but perhaps work my way through the waves of pain.

So, I’m hoping I can get by for a while with no tummy troubles. And that may be a tall order, considering the cruise my husband and I have planned for next month. I mean, cruises are made for all-you-can-eat binge partying, aren’t they?

Oh well. I guess I’ll be having none of that. Just simple, small portions for me. I really don’t want to be pushing out any more than what should naturally leave the body come bathroom time, right? Right. Sounds like a plan to me.

And what about this no more pregnancy thing? With my pre-existing disability and now a couple pregnancy-related difficulties factored in, the likelihood of having a safe and healthy pregnancy and child is pretty much nil.

With Ella I ended up developing pre eclampsia and, therefore, delivering her 3 weeks early. Any successive pregnancies, I’m told, could potentially bring the pre eclampsia on earlier than before, further endangering both the baby and myself.

Then there’s my spina bifida. Not only does every pregnancy present again the risk of birth defect to the unborn child, but it also further deteriorates my own body. More back pain. More weight on my already weak legs. More bladder issues. It’s just not good.

And now – my prolapsed uterus. How in the world could I ever carry another pregnancy if my uterus doesn’t want to stay where it belongs!? Even with a pessary I’d think that, with the growth of the fetus, things just wouldn’t want to stay put for very long at all.

So, like I said, they should just take it out. Remove my good-for-nothing uterus and let me get back to life as I know it.

My only concern right now is timing. There’s our upcoming cruise to consider. Then, the first week we’re back at work, the woman who replaces me goes on vacation – to Las Vegas – for a week. So the earliest I could even think about having surgery is mid to late October. Fine – as long as my body cooperates, that is.

Because I really don’t want to wind up in an emergency room before it’s time, I’d rather not have to be rushed to some Bermudan hospital because my insides have picked that week to make their final descent into the world. That is definitely NOT my idea of a fun vacation.

And an emergency hospitalization before we leave wouldn’t be any better. We’d not only have to cancel our own trip, but my co-worker would also have to cancel her long-awaited vacation so she can cover for my emergency leave. So, because I really hate ruining the lives of innocent bystanders, not to mention my own good time, this would be a totally uncool scenario to have to play out.

That’s why I’m now so conscientious of the movements I make that may strain or stress my body. I am careful not to laugh too heartily, cough or sneeze too vigorously, or strain too much.

In the coming weeks I’ll be talking to more doctors, researching on my own, taking it easy, and living as comfortably and simply as I can. As long as I can make it to my next doctor’s appointment at the end of this month, when Hubby and I can ask more questions and schedule my surgery, I’ll be happy. Decisions will be firmed up at that point and I’ll more confidently be able to move forward.

From a routine appointment I was tempted to cancel to a life altering medical diagnosis. Life sure does like to throw curve balls, huh? I just have to learn to adapt and prepare to make the smartest choices I can with the information I’m given.