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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Surgery Update...and another procedure to come in 2 more weeks!

    Well, I had my surgery a couple of weeks ago.  Time has gotten away from me these last couple of weeks, but I wanted to update on how that whole process went.  There were a couple of things I had to do to prepare for the surgery, since it was gynecological.  I had to go in and have my cervix dilated the afternoon prior and because of that I needed to take a small course of antibiotics to help prevent infection.  Taking medications is typically a no-no for me.  I have too many obsessions about having an allergic reaction to something, very fearful of a life threatening anaphylactic reaction, which stems back to some problems I had about 10 years ago when my OCD first took off.  So to put it very blunty, this was a week of many exposures for me.  But I came out on the other side of it great, and I am thankful for this process because I think it helped me to face many things I would typically avoid.   A lot of "what if's", but at the end of that week everything turned out just great and it helped to show me I could take some medical "risks" and still be okay.
     The antibiotic was the first hurdle.  I was so fearful of this that I truly took the first dose in an ER parking lot, so that just in case I did have a reaction, I could literally walk right through the doors of the hospital.  The first dose wasn't too bad, I felt myself getting a little anxious, but I didn't have a reaction!  I drove home after 45 minutes because I was fine.  As I continued to take the medication through the week, I did become desensitized to the anxiety and found it not to be a problem.  In fact, after just a few doses of the medication it became normal and I really didn't have any anxiety at all. 
     The day before the procedure I went in to have my cervix dilated.  They use a device called a laminaria, which is basically a matchstick size piece of sterile seaweed that absorbs fluid overnight and causes your cervix to dilate.  This actually was probably the most painful part of the process, and again I was nervous about having some type of strange reaction. But once it was in, I actually did really well.  Had some cramping that night,  which was expected
     My biggest concern with the surgery was the general anesthesia:  I was really scared about this part.  Scared about what would happen and being put under and not knowing what was going on.  I had never been under general anesthesia before, and was truly terrified.  All kinds of "what ifs" came in to play here.  What if my heart stops?  What if I stop breathing?  What if I don't wake up?  What if I have an allergic reaction to the anesthetic?  Every time the nurse would ask me if I was doing okay, or when anesthesia would come in to talk to me beforehand, I would start crying, but then I would be fine until someone asked me about it again.  Ultimately, it was all good though.  My heart didn't stop, I didn't stop breathing, I didn't have any reaction, and I DID wake up!!  I don't remember much after they put the mask on me in the OR, I was probably out within a few seconds, have a very brief memory in the recovery room, and was pretty much "back to normal" within just over an hour of the start time of the procedure (the actual surgery only took about 10-15 minutes).  
     Of course I also had a few concerns about the actual surgical Procedure, but nothing too terribly anxious:  Nothing really bothered me much surprisingly, looking back on everything.  I trust that the hospital follows good disinfection guidelines and the nurses were super on top of using hand sanitizier basically every time they came into the room and did anything with you.  So I felt pretty comfortable overall there.  I also knew my nurse in the outpatient surgery area, which was a bonus.  She gave me lots of good TLC and lots of hugs (which hugs typically bother me, but it's weird that as I've learned to be more contaminated those things don't bother me as much).....but I knew that I was going to feel ultra contaminated from the whole hospitalization that day anyway, so I suppose part of that could have been that I knew I was going home to shower immediately afterward, and so I just let myself be contaminated while at the hospital .
    There were a few things that happened in the hospital that proved to be small issues,  but I found my way around them.  After I got back to my room, I ate some crackers that a nurse "might" have touched", I drank from a cup that had a straw in it that was already unwrapped, there was a slight gown issue when I got there(saw some dried set in blood spots and ended up swapping that out on my own when I found some spare gowns in the cupboard in my room), had to wipe down with some antiseptic wipes (which bothers me, chemicals!), my mom kissed me on the cheek before I went down to surgery, I had to use the hospital bathroom (and the first time I got up to pee after surgery I went straight back to bed and didn't wash my hands (the nurse had to make sure I peed this time so she told ME not to flush and that she would after she checked the toilet), so since I was just peeing and wiping myself and not flushing the toilet I went straight back to bed and didn't wash my hands (for some reason this actually didn't bother me).  The nurse was on top of it and handed me a wipey to use.  The rest of the time I was able to wash my hands after using the restroom.  
     The next issue was the decontamination process when I got home:  I just didn't want to bring any of the hospital germs into my house.  Fortunately I felt very well when I got home.  I was completely alert, moving around on my own, and felt actually very normal.  I was supposed to have an adult stay with me for 24 hours, but I told my mom I felt fine and I think she realized I was doing fine.  After she took me home, I let my dog out and played with her and even took a couple of garbage bags outside from my kitchen, so I seemed to be doing fine.  I had all kinds of plans in place for what I would do following surgery, but it turned out I didn't need any of them.  I spent a lot of time (too much time) the entire week of the surgery coming up with plans for each situation that could be present itself.  I had debated if I should go over to her house to recover for the day or have her stay at my house for the day.  Each would bring certain sets of complications for me.  Ultimately having her come into my house and sit on my furniture or use my bathroom, would have produced a lot of contamination from the hospital, that I didn't really want to deal with.  I would have had to wipe off the furniture she sat in (because she wore the clothes in the hospital), and I had even bought a huge blanket to cover the couch with, but thanks to my dog, the night before she got ahold of it and drug it all over the house.  The bathroom would be tricky too, because then I would have to clean the whole bathroom the next day, which wouldn't have been a HUGE deal, but I still didn't want to go through the process.  Staying at her house would have been tricky too for other reasons, but I honestly think had I needed to choose one of those options, I would have stayed at her house.  I just didn't want the hospital contamination to come into my house.  Since I felt so well I showered soon after she left, dumped the clothes I wore to the hospital in my closet (and I will wash those separetly but yes I WILL wear those again).  I threw my underwear out because too much happened to it in the hospital.  My mom had to touch it to give it back to me, I also kind of not really fell backward while I was urinating once in the bathroom, but I was trying to squat over the toilet and kind of misjudged the height and my body kind of went back and my lower thighs both very much came in contact with the toilet seat and the underwear that was around my knees at the time, made full contact with the toilet bowl seat.  I had to put these back on, because I had no choice.  I was bleeding and needed to have pants on.  So my shower was definitely longer than usual, but it wasn't a super long complicated process.  I'd say I was in there maybe 15 minutes, put on some clean clothes, rinsed my mouth out with some mouthwash and was good to go.
I faced so many things this week that I was terrified of, but I made it through it.  God pulled me through.  I prayed every step of the way.  Didn't have any reaction to any of the meds I was given and I feel pretty good about the whole thing overall.
     One thing I am mad at myself about is I kind of wished I had eaten off the hospital silverware.  OK, let me rephrase that.  I didn't WANT to eat off the silverware, but in retrospect I think it would have been good for my OCD.  I think if I could have eaten off hospital silverware, then restaurants would have been a breeze as a step down the next time.  Meaning hospital silverware was a 100 on the scale easily. 
    I am pleased to say that everything came back normal after my surgery.  I had a few polyps that were removed, but nothing more serious than that.  I do have to start taking hormones now, but after the antibiotic exposure, I'm not as nervous about taking new meds.  Now I need to address another issue and have a colonoscopy done next week.  I am actually not too nervous about this one.  More to come on that later.
     I am feeling happier lately too.  More energy again, which is a good thing.  I've found myself a little more motivated to do things, such as cleaning my house, and making dinner again.  I'm finding in general I don't have as many issues with certain things that I used to.  I can clean my bathroom (with chemicals) and not feel dirty or gross afterward.  Being around my dog is getting easier.  I have seen things I "don't like" when at food places and I try to just it let go the best I can.  Although I will admit, I did get take out the other night from a pasta place where they put your food together right there in front of you.  The gal at the front was handling cash and credit cards, then going back and putting her fingers right into the cheese to sprinkle on the pasta dishes.  She did this multiple times, my food included.  Needless to say, I didn't eat my food.  That was a legit sanitary issue to me though, I wish I would have said something while I was there.  I'm still having some laundry issues, but hoping to knock more of that out next year.  Christmas is right around the corner and I don't want to avoid any family gatherings this year.  I also plan to sit down and make out a list of everything I have left to accomplish to rid myself of this OCD.  Since I got a pretty good start on this over the last 6-9 months, I really hope to knock a lot of other stuff out by the end of 2016 and kick things up a notch!!


  1. Sounds like you really faced some fears. Good going! Today I worked with a 13 year old who was afraid to eat off a spoon if it touched the floor. We went through the entire church where my office is, dropping the spoon on floors, dragging it along the handrails, etc. and we kept putting them in our mouths. She will be doing this at home as well, dropping her spoon before eating. Her contamination fears are really decreasing due to her hard work. You can do it as well! Way to go!

  2. Dear Hopeful

    This is my first comment on your blog but let me assure you that I am a regular visitor of your blog and keeps on re-checking it for any new posts.
    Not that it's interesting but because I can feel myself in it. I'm an adult and had been affected by this disorder for so many years but I only came to realize it recently that this is why I am so. I never thought that there would be people like me but after reading your blog and another related to OCD, it's shocking that there are people out there like me inspite of having so different backgrounds.
    I had been thinking to say this for quite some time, also searched your profile for an email id but could not find one and so finally posted it here.