Surgery for scoliosis and now HRT for postmenopause.
|I had severe
Degenerative Disc Disease and couldn't work as a pediatric RN because
of it. I'll always remember
the first day of my last period because it was January 19, 2006, the
morning of my scoliosis surgery. I take a lot of meds every day for
pain and high blood pressure. Now I hope that the hormone replacement
therapy will help me to at least stop the uncontrollable crying, sweating,
hot and cold changes and let me try to find some enjoyment in a physical
relationship with my husband.
On January 19, 2006, I went into the hospital to have my scoliosis surgery
done. I started having severe Degenerative Disc Disease and couldn't work
as a pediatric RN because of it. My ortho surgeon decided to just go ahead
and straighten my spine with the rods and the whole deal. I’d had
scoliosis since age 13 years and never had problems throughout my nursing
career until I went into pediatrics. I guess the repetitive motions of
picking up and chasing the little ones finally got to me at age 45 years
and after eight spinal epidurals for pain and cervical spine surgery done
to replace 2 discs in a little over a year, it was time to fix the big
Well I'll always remember the first day of my last period because it
was January 19, 2006, the morning of my surgery. I thought, "Oh great.
Now I'll have to deal with my period as well as recovering from surgery."
I had just gotten married for the first time the previous October 2005
and my husband has been wonderful through all of this. My periods have
always been regular, even after I went off birth control pills at age
35 years. Because I smoked, I stopped using any forms of birth control
because part of me wanted to have a baby, even though I wasn't married
then. However, I never did get pregnant. I was engaged 3 times and broke
my engagements 3 times before I met the man I was supposed to marry in
2003. Having children then was out of the question as he had raised twin
girls by himself, for the most part.
Anyway, that day my surgery lasted 14-1/2 hrs, and I had 2 rods, 15 brackets
and 30 screws put in starting at T2 on down, and a disc replaced at L7.
Recovery to this day has not been easy and I have been dealing with excruciating
pain in my left hip, groin and thigh.
On March 9, 2007, I had to have a spinal cord stimulator implanted to
try to ease my pain. Throughout all of this since my surgery, I have had
uncontrollable sweating at all times of the day and night. I got so I
just had to stop wearing any make up because it would just run off of
my face. I had times of being so cold and hot that I always dress in layers
because I change feelings of warmth without warning. My emotions have
run the gamut where I want to divorce my husband one minute and then cry
uncontrollably when talking to anybody, including strangers, about anything.
My pain doctor asked me why I was crying so much, and I told her it was
because I was in pain, and because I just can't stop crying when I talk
to people face to face and even on the phone.
Of course, depression plays a part since the recovery of my surgery has
been so difficult, but my crying and mood swings happen for no apparent
reason. It truly is embarrassing. Being a nurse, and just common sense,
told me that since I hadn't had a period since January 2006, I was in
menopause but I really didn't know what I wanted to do about it. I take
a lot of meds every day for pain and high blood pressure. I am currently
on 3 very strong opiates and have been on them since my surgery and have
added some throughout the year to try to control the pain in my left hip
and thigh. Hopefully, my spinal cord stimulator will ease my pain enough
to begin weaning myself off the opiates. I did question whether some of
my symptoms were related to the use of the opiates, and I have no doubt
that some of them are.
I finally went to see my OB/GYN because I have been unable to have sexual
intercourse with my husband because it is too painful. Not painful from
my surgery but painful inside to where it feels like sandpaper when we
have tried to have relations. I feel so bad for my poor husband since
we were newlyweds when I had this blasted surgery, and we haven't been
able to have a normal sex life since.
My OB/GYN told me, the first time I went to see her to hear her tell
me that I was in menopause, to try a lubricant during sex and she recommended
one. She ordered labs too, all fasting - chem 12, CBC, Thyroid, FSH -
which I did promptly the next day. I also went and bought the intimate
lubricant she recommended and with high hopes, my husband and I attempted
to have sex and once again, it was agonizing for me because inside I was
all dried up. Another crying jag for the whole day! I went back to see
my OB/GYN this past Tuesday and I told her I was fed up. I wanted to do
something because I couldn't go on this way.
Well she told me that my thyroid was fine, my chem 12 was fine, my CBC
showed that I was anemic but I don't eat too well lately, and finally,
she told me my FSH was 30 and that I was postmenopausal.
I didn't really understand the difference between menopause and post
menopause and she gave me an explanation which I just decided to accept.
She also started me on PremPro 6.25mg once a day. I go back to see her
in 8 weeks for my annual PAP test.
I have a history of having had 2 benign lumps removed from my breasts.
I am adopted but my biological sister was adopted with me and she is 51
years old and an adult internal medicine physician in Bloomington, Ill.
She is going through menopause herself right now and she uses the PremPro
patch since it bypasses the liver. I am thinking that maybe I should use
the patch since I take so many medicines right now. I have heard so many
horror stories about taking hormones but I need some relief from my symptoms.
I am trying to read as much as I can about it.
I try to get my OB/GYN to slow down long enough to talk to me, and I
know she has a very busy practice, but I don't want to sound like an idiot.
For crying out loud, I already take so many meds, what is one more except
that I am not wild about the side effects.
My adoptive mother had an early menopause because she had a hysterectomy
due to endometriosis in 1965 at age 43. She was put on Premarin and I
remember her taking it every night. She had a long history of benign breast
lumps but at age 62, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and passed away
in 1987 of breast cancer. She also had a very strong family history of
cancer and to this day, cancer has taken all but 1 of her 5 siblings,
as well as her father. So, as I am adopted, I’m hoping for better
luck on that front.
I hope that I am doing the right thing. My orthopedic surgeon told me
that it normally takes 2-3 years to recover fully from my surgery since
it was so extensive. I would just be thrilled if the spinal stimulator
works well enough to help my pain to some degree - they tell me that it
usually helps decrease pain by 50-70%.
Now I hope that the hormone replacement therapy will help me to at least
stop the uncontrollable crying, sweating, hot and cold changes and let
me try to find some enjoyment in a physical relationship with my husband.
If anybody has any ideas that could help me, that would be great. Right
now, I feel like a great big science experiment.
For more information about managing your menopause: