MicroblogMondays: Thanksgiving

This year’s Thanksgiving was so different from past year’s.  Instead of enjoying prime rib at my brother’s house and hanging out with his family, we were all home this year.  What was also weird was that I started experiencing some discomfort during breakfast time: lightheadedness at first, then fast heart rate as well as a tight squeeze of my right ribcage.  The more I wondered about whether or not I was experiencing a heart problem, the more uneasy I felt.  I could well be having another panic attack, but it was really hard to tell.  We had ordered food from this catering company this year, and I was supposed to go pick it up myself.  Bob ended up driving me there, and on the way there I was feeling my heart rate go up that I almost wanted him to take me to the emergency room.  We didn’t end up going and we did pick up the food, but I felt off for the rest of the afternoon.  Dinner was lovely: turkey, green bean casserole, mushroom and asparagus risotto, corn chowder, corn bread stuffing, a lovely salad and pecan pie.

I felt relieved that I didn’t have to cook.  We had a wonderful time together despite not spending it with extended family like usual.  The kids ate dinner rolls and of all things, salad greens!  Nobody touched the turkey, and they were a fan of the pecan pie as this was the first time they had it.  Hopefully next year we will be able to spend quality time with our extended family again.

(I am late in writing this post because yesterday I experienced more tightness on my chest which led to the feeling of not being able to breathe deeply.  My heart rate went up and I was not feeling the best.  I thought it was another panic attack but was also concerned that it was a heart problem. Out of an abundance of caution, Bob took me to the emergency room.  We got lucky that nobody was there and I was the next person to be seen.  After the doctor saw me and the EKG, things checked out fine.  He went onto do a test called D-dimer to check for the chances of blood clot in my body.  The test was also negative. He said that it could well be another panic attack and asked that I speak with my primary care physician to discuss the next steps for treatment.  I had already made an appointment with my doctor for today after my Thanksgiving day episode.  At that visit, my doctor also didn’t think that it was really a heart problem, and said it could be the withdrawal effect of stopping estrogen a couple of months ago when the menopausal symptoms return.  But as a reassurance, he referred me to cardiology for a full workup, and said that speaking with a therapist about these symptoms is also a wise next step.  Bob’s company offers free counseling for emotional and mental health so I will most likely utilize the services there.  Tomorrow I will schedule an appointment with cardiology and go from there.  It seems like aging/being in one’s 40 comes with a bunch of health concerns.  I would really love to live for a long time so I can watch my kids grow.  As a first step, I am motivated to go back to consistently exercising.  It is not an option not to do it anymore.)

MicroblogMondays: Okra

Okra is a quirky little boy.  He is smart and determined and focused.  He sometimes makes some funny remarks that make me chuckle.  Two examples:

Bob: Are you Chinese or Indian, Bunny?
Bunny: I’m Chinese.
Me: What about you, Okra? Are you Chinese or Indian?
Okra: (Thought for a couple of seconds with a matter-of-fact look on his face) I’m an elephant.
Conversation with Okra last evening before bedtime:
Me: Okra, don’t pretend to be a dog after you wash your hands (because I don’t want him to be crawling on the floor anymore)
Okra (pretending to be a dog): I change back to a person?
Me: Yup that’s right.
Okra (thinking for a moment): No, I now change back to a dog that stands up on two legs.
He also has the best curly hair lol:


I was going to write an update much earlier but life got in the way.  After I published the last blog post, I emailed my surgeon at around 4pm Monday to get an update.  She replied promptly saying that the doctor at the MRI facility wouldn’t send results on that day.  She said, “Maybe tomorrow.”  I am glad I wrote because at least I knew I wouldn’t be left hanging on Monday wondering if the phone would ring any moment.  Thank the Lord that my sleep wasn’t affected that night as I woke up feeling at peace and refreshed.  Waiting is difficult but the peace from God that transcends all understanding really truly did guard my heart and my mind.  I went about my business that day without feeling anxious or nervous.  A bit after 2:30pm, my phone rang.  I looked and it said no caller ID.  It was my surgeon.  She said that the fibroids looked cellular so they didn’t look cancerous according to the report.  The size of the biggest one was smaller than what we had originally thought.  It was 14cm x 11cm x 11cm.  Maybe my body did respond to the short duration of the medication that I was on, that was making me feel some unusual symptoms.  Maybe since I did stop the estrogen cream in September, my body is finally catching up and stopping the fibroid from growing due to the lack of estrogen.  What is next then?  There are a few options.  One is to do nothing, which may not be the best choice because of the discomfort that I have been feeling, as well as the other organs that the fibroids are pressing into.  The next one is to attempt robotic hysterectomy.  The surgeon went on to explain that it isn’t too much the size of the fibroids that makes it difficult for robotic surgery.  It is the location of the big fibroid.  It is on the left side of my uterus, which is pressing on the urethra.  It is pushing my uterus to the right of my body.  Because the space is so crammed in there, she would have to do something (I forgot what she said) to make room for the arteries and urethra so that she won’t injure the other parts accidentally.  The risk is, if that isn’t successful or easily done, she may have to convert the robotic surgery to an open surgery. Then the risks for complication are higher, and the recovery time would no longer be 2 to 4 weeks anymore.  It would be more like 4 to 8 weeks.  She is now scheduling into early January if I am interested in robotic hysterectomy.  The last option is something called “uterine artery embolization” (UAE) done by a vascular surgeon.  It is a minimally invasive procedure to cut the blood supply to the fibroids making them die.  If I am interested, my surgeon will make a referral and I can get a consultation to ask about the pros and the cons.  What a relief that it is not cancer as of now.  With the increased cases of COVID, I would like to avoid a complicated surgery for at least the next few months, so the UAE procedure sounds like a good option for now, so that the urethra can be freed up and not be inflamed anymore.  Definitely something to pray about, but at least for now time is not as pressing and I can spend some time thinking about it.  Life is so much better now when the shadow of potential cancer scare is no longer hanging over me.

MicroblogMondays: Waiting

I had my MRI last Thursday, and I was told that the doctor at that facility would read the scans and communicate with my OB surgeon today.  So I have been waiting for my OB surgeon’s phone call.  And I am still waiting.  I have been doing relatively well, and been feeling relatively calm, although it didn’t help that my kids were at times rambunctious this morning, so dealing with that while waiting for a phone call wasn’t fun.  I had a good night sleep and didn’t feel overly anxious or worried, although I really don’t know what the MRI results would show.  I just know that the Lord is with me regardless of the outcome.  Of course I am hoping for my scan to show a good ol’ fibroid (or adenomyosis) instead of cancer.  So much is out of my control that worrying about it won’t help one bit.  While I am waiting, I can’t help but think that this feels so much like all the waiting during my fertility journey.  The whole five years up until the kids’ birth was a lot of waiting.  Sometimes for weeks.  Sometimes for months.  Sometimes for hours.  So this is all a familiar feeling.  The difference is, the waiting then determined if I would have a child or not.  The waiting now is about my own health.  Either way it is a bit nerve wracking.  So I am going to go take a nap while the kids are napping and see if the doctor will call.  Will update here when I know more.

MicroblogMondays: Side Effects

I am late this week for my Monday post. There is a reason.

I had a panic attack end of September in the middle of the night when I thought I had COVID with my sore throat and started experiencing shortness of breath.  911 was called.  Paramedics came.  Everything was fine in the end.

Fast forward to end of October.  I am not going to get into all the details now but I returned to an OB surgeon for the second time since end of July because the fibroid/adenomyoma in the back of my uterus felt much bigger to the touch with more pressure, discomfort, and frequent urination.  I had stopped my hormone creams so that the fibroid wouldn’t grow bigger.  The surgeon felt my uterus and confirmed that it felt bigger.  She wanted to rule out cancer on the endometrial lining so she asked me to return for an endometrial biopsy in a few days.  (Although the lack of cancer cells on the lining does not rule out cancer in the fibroid.) (For my age group, there is a 1 in 700 chance when a fibroid is not a fibroid, but is cancer.) In order to safely perform a robotic hysterectomy, she would like to keep the uterus smaller, so she put me on this medication called Ori.lissa to shrink the fibroid/adenomyoma.  Depot Lupron is the usual medication that would do the job but the surgeon felt that the side effects would be too much.  She told me to take one 150mg pill a day for 7 days and we would reevaluate.  If it’s not cancer, the mass should shrink in two weeks.  If it is cancer, the mass won’t shrink.

The end results of the biopsy was that the cells she got were not sufficient for diagnostic purposes because the fibroid is blocking the entry way to the endometrial lining.  The next step is for me to get a pelvic MRI.  One has been scheduled for this coming Thursday.  I am not a big fan of MRI because the noises really bothered me last time.  This time I will bring my own noise cancelling headphones.

What about the meds?  I took it the first day right before bed time.  I felt fine.  I took it the second night.  I woke up in the middle of the night having to go to the bathroom.  When I got up from the toilet, my whole world was spinning.  I lay down and my heart was racing really fast.  I was getting anxious and I eventually had to push my husband awake to keep me company.  We watched a show online and I finally went back to sleep with Psalms playing in the background.  It was the craziest thing.  Given my panic attack the previous month, the surgeon told me to take a half dose for a week and see how I react to it.  If I am fine, go back to a full dose of 150mg.

So I did that for a week.  Once I was on half dose, I was totally fine.  Slept fine and didn’t have any reactions.  I went back to the full dose this past Wednesday.  For three nights I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and had a really difficult time falling back asleep again. My heart was beating faster than usual.  I had such shallow sleep that I felt kind of like a zombie and had to take a solid nap every day.  The fourth night I took a pill at 11pm.  I woke up at 1am to go to the bathroom.  I found that my throat felt lumpy and I had a really difficult time swallowing.  My heart was racing again.  Then I felt the chills.  I didn’t want to wake Bob up so I lay there trying to make sure that I could swallow my saliva.  I turned on a show on my iPad and that woke Bob up.  I urged him to go back to sleep.  After I finished my show, I turned on Psalms again on my bible app and just listened.  That night I again didn’t sleep well at all.  I woke up and that lump in my throat was still there, which felt really odd because I had never had that sensation before.  Swallowing food and drinks was fine.  Overall, I felt anxious and jittery.  I checked the side effects of this meds. Apparently, it is not very common but some people (less than 10%) did experience anxiety or depression while on the meds.  I emailed the surgeon.  Thank God for independent doctors who check their emails on a Sunday and respond right away.  She told me to stop the medication all together and just wait for the MRI results, as these side effects are very unusual.

So that was yesterday.  Well, it didn’t help that we are also potty training the twins.  They have been doing great while being bottomless but there sometimes are some accidents and resistance from both kids.  Needless to say, it was a tiring day, and my residual anxiety and the lump in my throat didn’t help.  Towards bed time, spots on the left side of my body started hurting, such as my eye brows, my cheek bones, my head, and my back.  I knew that I needed to go to bed early.  So I just went to bed without writing a post.  And I am happy to report that since I didn’t take the medication, I had a full night of sleep and woke up feeling refreshed for the first time in a few days.  The lump in my throat was gone.  No more anxious feelings.  I just feel like a normal person all over again.  Rest is so important especially when I have been dealing with a few pee and poo accidents today.  I just never had an experience of such a strong reaction to a medication it makes me weary to think about whatever medications that I may have to take in the future.

As for my uterus, after feeling bloated and being anxious about cancer for a few days, the last couple of days it feels like my abdominal area is feeling smaller and the pressure is not as strong.  I hope that on Thursday the MRI will show a uterus that has shrunk so we can move forward with robotic hysterectomy.

MicroblogMondays: Voting

There are so many things I can write about, such as an update on my fibroid/adenomyosis situation on the back of my uterus, or the first real Halloween for the kids.  The time change makes me tired so I am just going to write about this one thing that I found beautiful.  Sunday night after the kids went to sleep, my husband and I sat at our dining room table and each filled out our ballots for the election on Tuesday.  This isn’t the first time that my husband voted.  He became a citizen the year the twins were born and had voted a few times since then.  We never really sat down to vote together before.  This year’s election is so important to me that I found it so unifying for the two of us to be able to sit down together and marked our own ballots, and for us to be voting for the same candidates for one of the most critical elections in my life.  We are doing this for our future and more importantly, our children’s future.  This morning, I will take the kids with me to drop off the ballots at our City Hall so that they can witness ballots being turned in for the first time.  Tuesday can’t come quickly enough.