A Funny Anecdote

Because I can’t be miserable 100% of the time.

So after surgery, as I mentioned, I had a catheter in. I’ve had catheters before but for some reason this one was particularly irritating and made me feel the urge to pee nonstop, which is very unpleasant! If you’re not familiar with a catheter, God bless. It’s a rubber tube that goes through your urethra up into your bladder to drain your pee so you don’t have to go to the toilet. It is especially helpful after a surgery like this because apparently some people have difficulty voiding their bladders after genital surgery because of the swelling.

In order to be discharged, they needed to reverse fill the catheter with 300ccs of saline, remove the catheter, and I then had to pass at least 100ccs of saline back out to prove my bladder was good to go. As a side note, Google informs me that the average human bladder maxes out between 300 and 550ccs of fluid.

The nurse was wonderful but as soon as she started I was like, “Okay my bladder is already full, this is not going to work.” I had been telling everyone my bladder felt super full but they’d all checked the catheter and been like, “Everything is working fine!” so I assumed I was just being a weenie. But again – I’ve had catheters before and never felt the urgency I did this time.

So she keeps filling. One huge syringe… I’m wincing. TWOOOO huge syringes… I’m squirming. THREEEEEEEE HUGE SYRINGES… I was like, lady, you best stand clear when you remove the catheter because I am bolting for the bathroom. She finally finished and was off like a shot. Ran to the toilet and started peeing in the hat (that’s the creative name they use for the urine collection device in the toilet, because it looks like – you guessed it – a hat).

After 30 seconds or so she asked, “Are you doing okay in there?” “Yes,” I replied, “Still peeing!”

When I finished and triumphantly left the bathroom I had almost filled the hat. SIX HUNDRED CCS OF FLUID. Double what she had put into me and 50ccs over the supposed “maximum” a human bladder can hold! Within the hour I was back in the bathroom peeing another 300ccs!


  1. Something was definitely up with my catheter.
  2. I am a champion pee-er.
  3. I would like my extraordinary bladder control and capacity acknowledged and rewarded. Thank you.

Rectocele Repair/Hemorrhoidectomy Update

I am overdue for an update and this one is a hard one to write. Let me say at the outset, everything is fine – just not what I expected.

The surgeries went just as they were supposed to. I’ve never had a surgery that long before – three hours – and I highly recommend it! Usually they wake me up from anesthesia and I feel like I just went to sleep. This time I felt nice and rested! It helped too that I was inpatient, as I was allowed to relax and doze while they found me a room.

Time in hospital wasn’t great. Nothing to do with the hospital – the nurses were phenomenal, I had a private room, and it was surprisingly quiet. But I had a catheter taped to my left thigh and an IV in my right hand so getting comfortable wasn’t possible. The pain initially was primarily cramping and pressure, as well as an overwhelming urge to pee, but that was caused by the packing and catheter. Those came out on the second day and I immediately started feeling better. Unfortunately, around the same time, the long-lasting anesthetic the doctor injected for the hemorrhoidectomy began wearing off. By the time I made it home, I was pretty uncomfortable around the rear, with feelings of pressure and burning (there was also packing back there that had not come out).

My doctor told me key was not to become constipated, which is easier said than done when you have IBS. I faithfully chugged Miralax and Metamucil… and chugged… and chugged… nothing. By Sunday afternoon I was quite concerned as he’d told me not to go longer than 2 days without moving my bowels, and the last time I went was Thursday afternoon.

Managed to talk to my GP as well as the on-call doc (and eventually my own surgeon) and the recommendations were keep taking Miralax, try Dulcolax, try mag citrate. I tried all of the above and finally Sunday night began having diarrhea. At the same time the anesthetic had worn completely off so my butthole felt like it was on fire 100% of the time. I was sent home with 10 Dilaudid pills but they’re an every 4 hour medicine so they didn’t last long. It’s a point of pride for me that I never finish painkillers but there’s an exception to every rule and I’m down to one Dilaudid at this point and have emailed my doctor about more. I find it embarrassing to ask – I don’t know if it’s because I don’t want him to think I’m an addict or because I’m ashamed that I’m not stronger.

Anyhow sorry this is a little disorganized. So the rectocele really isn’t bothering me much at all. I periodically (no pun intended) have some light cramping akin to menstrual cramping and I’m bleeding but nothing I can’t manage. I have an external stitch (or two? No clue) similar to an episiotomy stitch so obviously need to be very gentle with the area but it’s not a constant pain. Just a dull ache.

The hemorrhoidectomy on the other hand – hoo boy. I had always heard that hemorrhoidectomies were absolutely brutal but having been through many brutal things that are supposed to be “the worst pain you can experience” I was not any more concerned than normal. Friends – it’s brutal. BRU. TAL. My butthole feels literally as though someone is holding an open flame to it. At the same time, it also feels as though something is pressing it – hard – from the inside, although I can ASSURE you that after over 24 straight hours of diarrhea, nothing is. Sitz baths help but only so much and for so long. No position is comfortable. If I try to do anything, even walking around my house or showering, for longer than a few minutes, I begin shaking from pain and exertion.

Friends keep checking in on me to ask how I’m doing and I keep telling them, “Horrible.” I am an optimist with a high pain threshold so this is the first time in my life I have been recovering from something and not had a chipper, upbeat attitude and good news to share. The mornings always feel slightly better than the day before but by the time early evening rolls around I am in agony and having a hard time coping.

So that’s basically the update. I am truly sorry, and for some reason embarrassed, that this isn’t a cheerful, comedic, positive post about my recovery. I hope those are coming soon. Thank you to eternity for your love, patience, and kindness. It will not be forgottten.

Surgery Updates

Okay so I had the cyst excised this morning. I hated it. I don’t know why, God knows I have been through worse. But everything from the position (lying on my stomach with my head turned sideways) to the anesthetic (multiple shots in my scalp) to the sounds (crunching) to the smells (burning) – horrible. No pain but by the time I was done I had the shakes. I did look at the cyst, which was pretty cool to be honest. Anyhow I’m glad it’s over!

Before I did that, I had my pre-surgical consult at Lankenau. I really like the doc who will be doing the rectocele surgery. He seems competent and we laughed about some stuff and I felt comfortable with him.

Turns out the procedure is inpatient, which I didn’t realize. I have never had an inpatient surgical procedure before. (Well, my emergency surgery for my ruptured ectopic might have been, I can’t remember. But not a planned one.) I haven’t met with the doctor doing the butthole surgery (yeah, that’s what I’m calling it) yet for a pre-op so I won’t have details on that. This will all be about the rectocele repair. This doctor’s name is Dr. Berger.

The procedure for the rectocele repair will take around 40 minutes, during which time he will go in and remove the excess skin that has been stretched. Here’s an illustration so you can see what I mean:

Then he will stitch me inside and presumably dust off his hands, nod approvingly at his work, and bid my vag a good day, sir.

I will have packing in my vagina to keep pressure on the stitches as well as a catheter, They’ll keep me under observation overnight and then take out the packing and the catheter the next day and I should be cleared to go home mid-morning. Dr. Berger says the pain will be about the same as with episiotomy stitches – which I never had to have, but which as a doula I am familiar with. It will be important to manage the pain without constipating me, which will be a challenge. 😬 I will probably have bleeding for 4 weeks and also can’t have sex for that amount of time.

I think that covers it as far as the info I have so far.

It’s funny, after I posted my last blog I thought, maybe this is too far. Maybe I should keep this to myself. I want to help other people but maybe the people in my life just don’t want to know this much about what is going on with my nether regions.

Since then I had one good friend comment on Facebook that she was sure this info would be helpful to others facing the same thing, and another friend reach out to me because she has been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and went through my old blogs from when I had cancer and could relate to them. So I feel like the universe is saying to press on.

Keep me in the light, friends who are reading this and aren’t put off by my openness. I am so grateful for you. ❤️

Upcoming Surgeries – Cyst Excision, Rectocele Repair, Hemorrhoid Removal

The saga of my bizarre and complicated body goes on.

Thursday I will be having a small cyst excised from my scalp. No big deal, I don’t even have to go under and I can drive myself home afterward. Not excited about it, but not too nervous.

Next Friday, the 3rd, I have a dual surgery scheduled and I am writing about it because I can’t find a lot of first-person accounts online and I really wish I could because I AM nervous about it. And also it’s not the type of surgery you bring up in casual conversation, which means I have basically not told anyone about it, but it’s a serious surgery – I have to go under for it. So this will be my introductory blog on the subject and then if you want to know more you can read the follow up blogs on the procedure and recovery.

Ever since I can remember, I have had jacked up digestion. Then during chemo I had c diff not once but TWICE, and since then have had IBS. So my whole digestive system is a mess. Add to that two full-term pregnancies and you just have a real train wreck.

One of the issues is a rectocele. I won’t get into all the specifics of the problems it causes (you have Google), but here’s the brief definition from the Mayo Clinic:

A posterior vaginal prolapse, also known as a rectocele, occurs when the wall of tissue that separates the rectum from the vagina weakens or tears. When this happens, tissues or structures just behind the vaginal wall — in this case, the rectum — can bulge into the vagina.

I would love to indent that to set it off but WordPress has completely changed the way you format blogs since the last time I posted and I can’t figure out how to. Sorry.

Anyhow I have been putting off rectocele repair surgery for a LONG time for a lot of reasons but over the past year I’ve had not one, not two, but THREE thrombosed hemorrhoids and the theory is the rectocele may be contributing to them. Don’t know what a thrombosed hemorrhoid is? You’re so lucky! I had one for my birthday last year. Here’s the good ol’ Mayo Clinic again:

If blood pools in an external hemorrhoid and forms a clot (thrombus), it can result in:

  • Severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • A hard lump near your anus

YAY! I can 100% confirm the severe pain and can also inform you that the first one I had was the worst one and it lasted nearly 2 weeks because I am an overachiever.

So I’m finally getting the rectocele repaired, and at the same time, I am getting extra skin removed and any visible hemorrhoids repaired/cauterized. I don’t know all the details to be honest with you, but I will be finding them out (presumably) at my pre-op consultation on Thursday (right after I get the cyst removed). And then I will be sharing them with you.

All this goes to say that yes, I am continuing my journey toward being bionic. And please keep me in your thoughts over the next two weeks.