The Radioactive Uterus (aka My HSG Experience)

Source:  The Radioactive Uterus (aka My HSG Experience)    Tag:  hsg x ray
{Began this post after my HSG yesterday, 7/24/12.  Was way too tired to finish until today.  None of this matters.  Read on!}

So, where to begin?  Whaaaaa?  The HSG, you say?  Psssh, that old thing?  You MUST know by now that I am an old pro at all things Hystero now.

No.  But, seriously.  I rocked the thing.  I was so horribly nervous and was absolutely sure I would vomit/faint/seize/suddenly develop a shellfish allergy and react to the dye....all those "rare" things they warn you about when you sign the consent form.  Which, in case you're not ultra experienced with western medicine, is the form you sign, agreeing that you are aware that you may very well curl up and die today, and it is no one else's stupid fault but your own.

So, anyway, I feel it is only fair that I share my experience in detail, as I scoured the interwebs for these stories and mostly found the horriblest of the horrible ones.  They are out there and they are abundant.

While I don't want to get toooo personal, I will say that I went to a pretty well known infertility-type doctor's office in Phoenix.  (Which, by the way, is the WORST CITY EVER.  Why do people live there?  It was 108 degrees today.  1-0-8.  And the A/C in our van died.  Phoenix killed our A/C.  We were stuck in rush-hour traffic, on the highway, with no A/C.  I hate Phoenix).

The shopping, however, was fantastic.  Or window shopping, at least.  My credit card is about $1,500 heavier now, due to my desire to be with child again at some point in life.  My Disney credit card.  Kind of weird to earn Disney Rewards for this kind of thing, don't you agree?  Anyway...

So, here's how it went:

1) Crystal enters an unfamiliar office, only to be greeted by two cheery individuals:  the office gal and the nurse.  Crystal mentions that she is early.  One out of two cheery gals states that it's a good thing, as cheery nurse can get her blood.

2)  "Blood?" Crystal asks.

3)  Yep. Blood.  Didn't she just get rid of some blood last week?  No matter. Crystal gets checked for, among other things, Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  And all your run of the mill horrible venereal diseases and such.

4)  This is getting weird.  First person time!

5)  I also pee in the largest, most comfortable cup I've ever peed in.  (Obligatory pregnancy test)  No urine on any unnecessary body parts today!  Also, the bathroom is LAVISH!

6)  Nervous as heck, I go back to the lobby (where I am the only patient in this small office) and try to care about some celebrity magazine story.

7)  Cheery nurse calls me back to the dreaded room.  She proceeds to tell me that I probably won't die.  I proceed to tell her that I am 100% sure that I will be the .01% that does.  She laughs, then tells me to get undressed from the waist down.  I ask if I can leave my socks on.  (I am a pro at horrible questions...for my chest x-ray, I asked if I needed to fast beforehand).  [Shakes head sadly at self]

Actual picture of the "dreaded room".  It, like everyone else here, is actually pretty cheery, given the circumstances:

8)  I get half-undressed and imagine that strip clubs probably wouldn't have gotten so popular if the strippers left the top half on and walked around bottomless, with socks on.  I figure out a way to climb onto the quite-tall table (which is comfortable and NOT metal at all, like I had been dreading), and sit there, attempting to fully cover my lower half with a thin paper sheet (at least it was a pretty pink color, I guess) and failing, as usual.  Just noticed there is a stool in the above picture, which I probably should've used.  Preeetty sure I stepped on that TOTALLY innocuous looking red box there.

9)  There's a circular "thing" hanging in a weird spot (see above) and it is uncomfortably close.  I wonder if I'm supposed to be laying down.  "Ooooh, pillow!"  I lay down.

10)  I sit up again, confused, thinking it would be weird to meet the doctor while laying down.

11)  Doctor knocks and comes in just as I tore the paper sheet trying again, in vain, to cover my backside.  He and the nurse are covered from their chin to their toes in nice, thick, safe lead suits.

12)  This makes me suspicious.

13)  Doctor asks me to lay down and put my heels on the bottom corners of the table (no stirrups..yay!)  I'm actually not ultra uncomfortable.

14)  The procedure begins....

15)  The doctor, who is awesome, tells me everything just before he does it and as he's doing it.  Did I mention he is awesome?  I proceed to tell the doctor that I am nervous, though I shouldn't be, since I've given birth and it can't hurt more than birth, right?  RIGHT!?  Slight, obligatory chuckle may or may not have been heard.

16)  It starts out as a normal pap, with a speculum.  Dr. Awesome is extremely gentle and this doesn't cause any discomfort, as it normally would.

17)  A quick swab is taken (again, absolutely zero discomfort) to check for additional horrible venereal diseases.  There are apparently many different varieties.

18)  Doc puts a shot of "something-caine" in or around my cervix, to numb it.  I felt a very slight prick (less painful than the blood draw from 10 minutes ago) and a slight burning sensation.  Nothing major. The burning went away quickly, and I could tell the cervix was numb.  Doctor mentioned that my heart may start racing as a side effect.  I mention that it already was.  It doesn't get faster, but it definitely starts beating much harder....this only lasts for 20 seconds or so, and I feel fine through all of it.

19)  Doc inserts the tenaculum, which I probably spelled wrong.  This is the clamp that pulls the cervix down a bit and holds it in place prior to the catheter being inserted.  While I do feel a tiny bit of "something," my cervix is numb so it doesn't annoy me much.  I am still not uncomfortable at all, oddly.

20)  "This is weird," I think.

21)  Doc inserts the catheter.  Again, I barely feel anything.  I'm looking up at the ceiling, expecting the worst, as I hear the next part is where it gets painful....

22)  Doc instructs me to look at the 2 screens to my right.  The first x-ray is taken and it just shows some possible intestine-looking outline things, but mostly it looks blank.  He and the nurse point out the catheter.

23)  The dye is inserted.

24)  And I feel nothing.

25)  I am awed at the still x-rays that follow, which show the dye moving up into my uterus, eventually filling it, filling and spilling out of my left tube just fine and, eventually, spilling out of my right tube.  No pain at all.

26)  "Am I supposed to be hurting right now?" I ask.

27)  "You may be feeling some discomfort, yes."  The doctor had no clue I was only asking out of curiosity, as there wasn't much of anything going on.

28)  "That's it!"  Everything is removed in a couple of fell swoops and I can sit up whenever I feel ready.

29)  I immediately feel ready.  I cramp very mildly....even more mildly than my cycle day 1 or 2 menstrual cramps....when I sit up, and I can feel some grossness leaking out of me.  My uterus seems to be pushing some of the dye out in an attempt to preserve her modesty.  Poor uterus.

30)  I could've opted to have the doctor insert a tampon, but I just think that's weird.  I opted for a pad.  They gave me KOTEX NATURALS!  The same kind I use at home...they really spare no expense, these people. =p

I think 30 numbers is enough.....I feel absolutely great and can honestly say I worried for nothing.  It was less painful than any pap smear I've ever had!  If I ever have to have one of these done again, I will find this doctor and make an appointment.  He is the only one I will allow to fill my lady parts with radioactive dye henceforth.

The news was good-ish to not so good-ish....there is definitely some sort of something in my uterus, as the dye was obstructed at first and the uterus didn't fill evenly.  My left tube was textbook....looked great.  My right tube, although obviously open, had a weird shape and may be "clubbed" at the end, instead of completely open.  More than likely, there are some more endometriosis adhesions distorting the anatomy a bit.

He didn't feel another laparoscopy was warranted, and I went ahead and agreed, mostly because I don't want to do a bowel prep and be hunched over for a week after the surgery.  Works for both of us.  Still moving forward with operation "get that junk out of my uterus," and can not wait to have that polyp (or whatever it/they are) out and sent to a lab for others to behold the hideous marvels that my body now creates.

And....I'm done for now.  If you are one of the lucky few who found this blog post because you have an upcoming HSG, I hope this gave you a little peace of mind.  My advice would be to find a doctor you trust, and MAKE SURE an experienced doctor, not anyone else, will be the one actually performing  it.  My saline ultrasound, which is supposed to be cake compared to an HSG, was far, far worse due to it being done by someone with inept hands.  Oh!  And, also, take some ibuprofen before-hand if you can.  My doctor's website said "800 mg of Advil."  I took 600 mg because I'm a tiny person and didn't want to deal with OD'ing on top of everything else.

Until the next procedure!