Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Burbling Begins

Tomorrow I am having my oophorectomy, or, more completely, my bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, which it's called since I am getting my fallopian tubes removed as well as my ovaries. In more common terms, I am getting spayed. I may have described the surgery in my blog before but I'm too lazy to go back and check, and besides, I'm assuming you readers are too, so here I go again:

It is laparascopic, which means that there will only be small incisions made in my belly. Two incisions are ¼ inch, and one is ½ inch. One ¼ inch incision goes in my belly-button, and the camera goes in there. I then have another ¼ inch incision over my left (I think . . .) ovary, and a ½ inch incision over my right ovary. The larger incision is where both my ovaries will be extracted, once they and the fallopian tubes are excised from their traditional location, to either side of my uterus. My uterus will be left completely intact, although, of course, perpetually dormant. I asked why both ovaries are pulled out one side, because in my image of the abdominal cavity there are actually small bits of connective tissue holding the skin on in various places—that is, the belly skin is not simply a purse that things are tossed into—but evidently the potential injury to non-blood bearing, minor tissues is much smaller than the potential infection to a larger, ½ inch incision. So one is okay because it's necessary, but two are not necessary and so it's safer to stay with the ¼ inch size. I have to be in at 7:15 tomorrow morning, but should be back home by early afternoon. The procedure is outpatient, and takes about an hour.

Even though the actual physical surgery is pretty much as minor as a surgery can be, since it takes place in my abdomen I am required to do a one-day bowel cleanse. This involves, first of all, no food today, the day before the surgery. I can drink clear fluids—including coffee and tea, apple or cranberry juice, energy drinks, and chicken broth, but nothing solid or opaque. This sucked a little already this morning when I went to the U Village Burgermaster with my book group (we actually had read a book this time, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which I am obsessed with and have read 3 times already). When we originally set the date, I was planning to try a milkshake for breakfast (I've already discovered that one occasionally makes a fine supper), but as it was, I was limited to a large cranberry juice and a cup of coffee.

The next, more important step, since I won't be adding any solids, is to clear what is already there, languishing through the 30 feet of digestive tract, in many fewer than the usual 20 or so hours. To accomplish this, I have to drink two bottles of magnesium citrate with a "pleasant lemony flavor." Magnesium citrate is an oral laxative and, as I'm not actually constipated at this time, you can imagine the effect it's about to have on me. Although you probably don't want to.

Excuse me a moment while I go to prepare my second bottle.

So, yes, my bowels will be clear. I am supposed to drink lots of fluids so I won't be dehydrated and my electrolytes won't be completely off. But it's increasingly hard to watch the people around me having tasty hamburgers, chips and dips, even toast. And especially milkshakes. I am going to do my best to not fall victim to hanger, though, and instead enjoy this routering out of my system. I have never felt the need for a fast, and yet I'm glad to have the opportunity to experience one (of a sort).

And now, in the spirit of the external matching the internal, I'm going to go clean months of unknown ickiness out of the fridge. If anything will make me not hungry, that will.


Shelley Millis said...


KateMV said...

I think that, seeing as how we have not been there since going with you two in April of 2008, the two of us would be happy to accompany you to Burgermaster for either a dinner or breakfast milkshake at some point in the near future.
Good luck tomorrow - I'll be thinking of you.

allyson said...

thinking of you.