Things I Learned While Having An Operation With MS

The Long Wait

While sitting waiting to go into the theatre, I was lucky enough to have my husband with me, I had ample opportunity to reflect on the reason I was there. As I sat waiting for my ablation (burning away the lining of my womb) and Hysterescopic (keyhole) sterilisation, I was surrounded by heavily pregnant woman. These woman were about to enter the world of motherhood while I was waiting to close the door on that possibility for myself.

Thanks to my MS medication Tecfidera effecting my hormones, my life has been an almost constant menstruation – I would have a period for 14 days every 28 days – so two weeks period, 2 weeks off. I was on my period half of my life! And given the fact that I have my two lovely daughters, the fact I could potentially never have another period, birth control would no longer be an issue and I most definately should not get pregnant on Tecfidera due to the risk to the foetus – these procedures were a no-brainier. At least that’s what I decided to believe. My husband and I had been toying with the idea of trying for a third but given that Multiple Sclerosis had robbed me of the energy I would need to handle a new born and the fact that Tecfidera seemed to be working for me – Gary and I came to the very tough decision we did. Really if I think about never holding my newborn again it’s heartbreaking really and I’m having to wipe away a tear as I write this.

And that is how I became sterile at the age of 35. The only responsible option given our circumstances. A difficult decision we were forced to accept given a lack of other options.

Anaesthetics and MS

Before getting dressed in my super alluring hospital gown and compression socks, my husband and I met with the anaesthetist. He then told me that as this was the first surgical procedure I would have since my MS diagnosis. As such I had no history of going under general anaesthetic since diagnosis and MS being the gift-that-keeps-on-giving that it is, I was told that general anaesthetic put added stress on the system and given I had Multiple Sclerosis my heartbeat, blood pressure and breathing would be irregular during the surgery, but not to worry (really?), that’s what he (the anaesthetist) was there to monitor and regulate. Then the news that I could have a relapse due to the added stress to my body. But a week on I’m glad to say that hasn’t been the case and I trust in my Tecfidera that it won’t be.

Going in and under

After that chat to the anaesthetist and then the surgical team doing my procedures, a pregnancy test and more waiting in the waiting area I was ushered into the sedation room by a wonderfully pleasant nurse. I had a bit of banter with the nurse and anaesthetist while I had a very cold liquid pumped into the cannula in my hand…

I could hear voices. No. I was awake, would they notice I wasn’t sedated? I couldn’t move then my eyes opened and I saw a nurse. Panic set in as I was still unable to talk and she hadn’t seen me. My eyes were open and blinking – Finally the nurse came over and I fully expected her to be alarmed I was awake during the procedure! But I wasn’t. The nurse patiently and softly told me I was in recovery.

My first thought – ‘I’m alive’. The dedicated nurse didn’t leave my side until I left recovery.

After being in recovery a short time I was taken to the ward and I didn’t miss a beat asking for my husband to join me as ‘I had MS and he was my carer and I needed his help’. And so we were reunited.

NHS Is the best

The hospital and all the staff I encountered were amazing! I was very fortunate to have such wonderful doctors, anaesthetists and nurses looking after me. I would never have had care like that in South Africa where we had to pay exorbitant amounts into a medical aid, so we had private health care and in the UK the public health system can’t be beaten! I pray the ‘magic money tree’ is forthcoming, the NHS should definitely get the funding it needs.

2 Replies to “Things I Learned While Having An Operation With MS”

  1. Hi Ang,

    A very powerful read and you are such a brave woman. You are also a real ‘super woman’ the girls love so much and Gary is the luckiest man to have you as his wife. Life can be very cruel, but it’s how you deal with what is thrown at you and this proves you are strong and brave, more than you think.

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