Monday, June 25, 2012

A Quick Word of Thanks

It seems so strange to bare a bit of my soul on this blog, spend hours and hours reading and responding to all your wonderful comments and e-mails and expressions of support, and then abruptly go back to "OMG lookit this cool steampunk thing!!" the very next day. Ha! So, allow me to say - though this will be wholly inadequate - thank you. Truly.  I am simply overcome by your generosity, and I've laughed and cried and cringed my way through the hundreds of stories of hope and pain you've shared (and are continuing to share) in the comments and via e-mail. I'm afraid I won't be able to respond to you all, but please know I'm reading and appreciating every single one.

Clicking "publish" on that post was a big leap for me, but I can tell many of you took that same leap by sharing your own stories, and I think that together we're the better for it.


Wednesday John gets his stitches out. Friday is my exam. And Saturday? Saturday, WE ARE GOING TO A CON, gosh darn it. Yep, we decided today that we're going to drive down to Miami for the Florida SuperCon, because we both need something to look forward to this week. With that, and all the many prayers and thoughts and lovely words you readers have given me, I'm thinking maybe I'll be Ok this Friday, after all.

Thank you, again, a million times over. And hey, meet me in Miami on Saturday, and I'll totally buy you a Cuban sandwich at Versailles. You've earned it.


  1. Jen,

    I don't comment a lot on your blogs, but I check at them every day. With the amount of smiles and giggles and wonderful geeky links and pictures you've posted to brighten my day (and as evident by the amount of comments, others as well), I think, at least in my opinion, that it's just our (at least *my*) little way of saying Thanks to *YOU* for the everyday smiles. Wish I could come down from Ohio to that con!! :) You and John will make it through the week, I just know it! And I can't wait to see the pics from the con that I know you're gonna end up taking!! Live Long and Prosper, and May the Force be every in your favor! (Yes, I mixed the last two quotes, and have a shirt that says it, and I love it.) ^_^

  2. I wish I could join you at the CON this weekend to celebrate, but living in UT makes it difficult. :) And what a wonderful end-of-the-road reward for you and your hubby!

    Just remember to take this week one day at a time. Take deep breaths. Know how much you are loved. Hold his hand. You will get through this! You're amazing!

    Good luck!

  3. Good luck this week Jen, we're all thinking of you.

  4. Good luck Jen, and have a ton of fun at the CON! I've still yet to go to one, sadly, but have extra fun for me!

    As long as you have your support with you, I'm sure you'll do alright. You're in my thoughts!

  5. Good luck to both of you, will keep you in our prayers. My daughter wanted to go to SuperCon, but driving in Miami makes me crazy, so we're saving for MegaCon in March! Orlando is closer and doesn't make me as nuts! Hope to see pictures from this weekend! Have fun!

  6. (BIG HUG) After some of my own doctor induced hysteria, I finally returned after 5 years and a diff doc recommended a total hyst. My endometrium had grown into the myometrium (muscle layer. Yada yada yada, I may have to use estrogen patches BUT I have far less anxiety, and am able to have a sex life again!!!
    PS I now have a great husband too! GO JOHN!

  7. hey Jen- wow- what a response- I hope it will help you to remember how many people care about you and support you..
    I suggest that you take something that reminds you of your blog with you- to your appointment- if you think the thought of all this love *might* help.. hold it and remember...
    I know no one else has to actually live through your personal situation- and no one can face it for you- but maybe those who care about you can help you find the courage to do so.
    I have been attending births for about 16 years- which makes me feel old to say- and obligated to point out that i am 34...but i have seen my share of women feeling more than traumatized by the medical system- women who are told that if they are healthy- they should be thankful- while inside feeling like they have been raped.
    Any time someone in a position of power (and believe it or not- with your popularity- that *IS* you) shares their pain- I believe it helps others who have suffered.
    So thank you for your strength- and I -like many many others- will be thinking of you and wishing you well.

  8. I really need a John to make doctors appointments for me. I'm terrible at keeping up on that stuff.

    I hope you have found a doctor that will work with you, but if the first one doesn't, please see another. Its a huge pain but its your body, so you have the right to make the choices regarding it. Please keep seeing doctors until you find one who makes you comfortable. (Or as comfortable as possible).

  9. I am happy that you are going to treat yourselves after the hard couple of days! But the real reason I am writing this post is about Cuban Sandwiches...I love them...and that love has grown stronger throughout the (so far) 5 months of my pregnancy...there is this place by me (a BBQ place, actually, where EVERYTHING is delicious!) that serves their twist on a cuban on Wednesdays...I swear, I wake up in the morning thinking about it! "Today is Tuesday, that means Black Dog has the Cuban tomorrow!". My husband makes fun of me and doesn't quite understand, but it is Oh So YUMMY! lol! Get through the yucks and enjoy the convention this weekend!

  10. Good luck to both of you this week. I wish I could make it to the Con this weekend, but I guess I'll just have to settle for seeing y'all at CVI. (You are going to that right???)

    Lots of Love and Happy Thoughts from Germany!!!

  11. Jen, I read cake wrecks everyday, and check Epcot every so often, so I'm a little late to the comment train....
    I glanced through everyone's comment after your medical post, and, though I didn't read anything that worried me, I noticed that no one referred you to NaPro technologies.
    Let me explain: my family on both sides have female problems, so I was looking early on to prevent these things without the pill, or other meds, or invasive procedures. I practiced this method of charting, and most things seemed ok, but I had some unusual bleeding at odd times, and bad PMS. I talked to my GYN, but she didn't know what to do about it. She gave me ultrasounds, the procedure you went through, and her only solution was to start the pill, or have a DNC done (not pretty). Fed up, I went to a doc that only specialized in NaPro Creighton model tech. He took one look at my cervix and said, "oh, there's your problem." I'm estrogen high and had some swollen glands. It's solved by a progesterone supplement at certain times in my cycle. Compare that to my mother and my paternal aunt who both have had hysterectomies early on. They don't regret it, but if you are surgery squeamish (honestly, who isn't!?), this may be the route to go first. It can be a little annoying to chart everyday, but it's pain free! Oh, and did I mention I have NO PMS, and mild cramps only on the first day of my period. Amazing what happens when you just pay attention to your hormones! I beg of you to consider this. It's worth every minute spend, and every penny spent for the initial classes. Your body will thank you.
    Anyways, I just wanted another wonderful lady to feel as good about her lady parts as I do now. Feel free to contact me to help you out if these links don't work..l

  12. As EPBOT and Cakewrecks are my daily "sanity" check at work, the least I can do (and probably most of us loyal hench-wreckies or hench-crafters can do) is to send along well wishes, encouragement and general "You rock, you'll do great!"s. Having a great spouse is the best start you can have - so you're already on top of everything! While my hubby and I can't make it from Providence to Miami this weekend we will be keeping an eye out for you at SWCVI in August!!! Remember - you guys ROCK and you'll do great :) Thanks for always brightening your loyal hench-peoples' days!!

  13. I'm always amazed at your bravery when you post personal stuff (I know I have trouble with that kind of blogging myself)! And you should know by now that almost every geek girl in the world loves you (we all relate!) - those who don't just haven't read your blog. =)

    Wish I could meet you for lunch and share the fun of the con! I will be praying for your exam on Friday.

  14. Have fun at the con and stay safely away from that lovely tropical storm I see you're having down there. Geeky props from Ohio! :)

  15. I'm just not catching up on my blog reader and went to read your post. I've had similar (though not nearly so bad) experiences and can understand your trepidation. I've had a doctor refuse to believe the results of an MRI and refuse to do surgery when I was clearly in pain. I ended up having to travel to a doctor who would help me. I've had an OB/GYN perform another exam just to be sure after looking over the results of a test, and she did it rudely, not at all gently. I've also had a biopsy that I wasn't entirely sure was necessary. And I've had doctors tell me that I just need to be on even more anti-depressives. That it's not possible that those drugs are why I can't get up in the morning.

    All that to say, I understand, I wish I could hug you, but I'll have to settle for praying for you as you approach your exam this week.

  16. I thought the jump to those incredible dolls was perfect! Thanks for sharing your life with us as well as the fun stuff. Will add my prayers to the others and what a great idea to plan a CON trip after this week!

  17. Meeting you for a Cuban sounds awesomelicious (because you are awesome and Cubans are delicious), so if I magically win the lottery before Saturday, I'll see you there. Heck, I'd even buy the first commenter a ticket too, since we apparently have the same problem of Ohio being so far from Florida :)

  18. Jen,

    THANK YOU for sharing your ordeal and how vulnerable it makes you feel now. While I am truly sorry anyone has to go through what you and so many of your other readers have, it is a relief to know I'm not the only one who has been through the wringer, thanks to doctors rummaging inside our female parts.

    You and John enjoy the CON! :D

    Love and thanks,

    Mary Ellen :)

  19. Jen, take some Tylenol or Advil before the exam, just in case (which is what I do before every dentist appointment), practice relaxation exercises and tell the doctor that you've developed a reflex which causes you to kick anyone who does something unexpected to you. After that, just look forward to the CON. Remember we love you :)

  20. Good job finding something to look forward to as incentive to make it through your fear.
    My life is in turmoil at the moment so i've decided to go to Vegas. I'll put a buck in a slot machine for ya.

  21. You got this, Jen. You're one of the toughest ladies I know of, even if it doesn't always feel that way. You totally got this. ^_^

  22. Julie G. from IowaJune 25, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    A couple of years ago I had the same exact biopsy. Thankfully, I was aware this was going to happen and my doctor explained everything along the way. I will say I was surprised at the sudden cramping though! Ouch! Even though she basically said she was about to tear out bits of my uterus, no one can really be prepared for that. How could you? It sounds like some medieval medical practice. But at least she was quick about it.

    I'm so sorry you went through such a terrible ordeal. Sounds like your ex-doctor needs to work on their bedside manners.

    As a patient we deserve no less than all the information a doctor can provide at the beginning of every procedure. And as patients we should never be afraid to question, question, question!

    Most of us grow up in awe and fear of our doctors. But they put their pants on one leg at a time just like you and me. Sometimes they forget what it's like to be sitting with your ass hanging out of a paper gown nervous and afraid. They forget that they need to explain EVERYTHING because we don't already know it all like they do. They forget that we forget the list of questions we have because our nerves push all those thoughts right out our heads as soon as we sit on the table.

    Something I do for important medical visits or procedures for myself or a family member is write all my/our questions down in a notebook ahead of time. I take it with me to the appointment and I don't let the doctor finish with me until all my questions and worries are satisfied. I've had some doctors try to rush through my appointment because they're overbooked or behind in their schedule, but I've gotten stronger about this over time. I figure I'm paying good money for my appointment and if I don't speak up, no one else will.

    We have to stand up for ourselves and be unafraid to speak our minds. I've also found out through my own experiences that by sharing my extra concerns and questions it actually has helped my doctor diagnose me. What may seem insignificant or minor actually gives doctors insight into the bigger health picture, and can make a big difference.
    My last appointment I rambled on for about 15 minutes and just laid it all on the table, so to speak, and let my doctor figure it all out. I mean really, that's what they went to school for anyway, right?
    And if you don't like what you see, feel, or hear from your doctor... fire them! We are the boss of ourselves, don't let them boss you around. Don't be afraid to take charge.

    And... speaking of rambling. I guess you can say I'm passionate about this. After my father had a bad accident and was in ICU for about 6-8 weeks and after basically living at the hospital, you learn how to work the system and make the most out of each and every doctor's appointment.

    Because it matters.

    Because you matter.

    Thank you for being so brave for sharing this with all of us. You make a difference and are helping so many people by discussing this topic.
    Keep fighting. And have fun at the CON!

  23. Good luck this week! I'm looking forward to the pics from the Con!

    I haven't had time to go through all of the comments, so this may have been suggested already - but if you do opt for the full hysterectomy, ask if it can be done laparasopically. I just (last Sept) had an 11 cm fibroid removed, and my surgeon wanted to do a full incision. I made her give me a referral to a doctor who could do it laparascopically - with a ROBOT! Much less pain, less blood loss, and I was only out of work for 2 weeks. Back in the gym at 3 weeks. There are a lot of options for surgeons when working on our 'girl parts.' I know you'll do your research and find what's right for you :)

  24. I'm a little behind the times right now, so I'm commenting on your procedure here. I also had a traumatizing endometric biopsy a few years ago, and spent the next 6 hours curled in a ball crying. I had to have one in February and flipped out. But I have a new dr, and she gave me Xanax and a cervical softener and they helped. She's also such a sweet person, so sympathetic. I've got another one coming up in August, and while I'm not looking forward to it, I'm feeling a bit better about it. I'll be thinking about you this week, and hoping that you have a better experience - or come to Atlanta and I'll hook you up with the best OB/GYN there is. (I've got a great dermatologist for John too...) Much love and positive energy flowing your way...

  25. I hope your trip to the Con makes up for anything you have to endure this week. :)

  26. I haven't read all the comments on the original post, so I hope this isn't redundant, but I had an idea to help you get through your next appointment(s).

    Find something that makes you feel powerful. A totem representing something strong, or a souvenir from a time when you did something totally brave. Take it with you to the appointment and hold on to it... if things get scary, look at your power object to find the strength to get through, or if the doctor pulls some crazy crap like before, draw from it the bravery you need to speak up for yourself.

    I have my own objects for different experiences, but more often than not, I have a Power Color. It's pink. Like... PINK. I love it. Being a young gay guy, I've encountered some difficult experiences, but wearing a hot pink shirt, or feeling my pink key ring in my pocket help me remember that I've survived a lot worse, and I always make it through!

    Take care, and be strong. We're all thinking of you!!

  27. Jen,

    I can't tell you how sorry I am that you've had to go through the horror that you've had. I know there isn't anything I could have done about it, but the fact that anyone has been through that is just awful. My own medical experiences have been pretty good and after reading the responses here, I can say I am VERY grateful for it. I sincerely hope all goes well for y'all this week. You've a strong contingent of people bombarding the universe with good thoughts for you!

    I look forward to the pictures from the con as I live vicariously through them!

    As Katrie said: Live Long and Prosper and May the Force be ever in your favor!!

  28. I just caught up with the posts from the last several days. Jen, I'm so sorry you had to endure that incredibly painful ordeal at the hands of a doctor. A competent doctor should have walked you through the procedure verbally first, which would have given you both the opportunity to realize that wasn't for you.

    I'm very glad that you and John have each other and that he's able to go with you to your appointments. We all need someone to hold our hands from time to time and while you have a wonderful, supportive community here, it's no substitute for having him right there in the room, lending you strength.

    Big hugs and good luck this week -

  29. I hope your's and John's appointments go well. It's always such a dreadful experience for me. I've found that chewing gum helps with my nerves (and nausea) when going to the doctor. Plus, when it gets really uncomfortable I can gnaw away on the gum, lol.

    Have fun at the con this weekend!

  30. @Sherie - I'll definitely look those up, although I have been taking bio-identical progesterone for years now. The one MD I found who uses both "alternative" and traditional treatments prescribed bio-identical estrogen & progesterone (I was having hot flashes at 28) but I don't think I've ever gotten the proportions/dosages right, so I quit the estrogen about a year ago. Some months I thought it was better, others worse, and it was so frustrating rolling the dice each month, tinkering with the dosages. I'll check out those links, though, since I'm already a little familiar with bio-identical HRT. Thanks!

  31. Have a great time at the CON this weekend. Yes you both deserve it after your "war wounds"


  32. It was so brave and awesome of you to share your experience and your concerns, because as you can see from the comments, there are so many of us out here who have been through the same kind of things but may never have talked about it before. Thank you for that!

    I'll be thinking of you and John. I know you'll be enjoying the con in no time!

  33. Thank you for your courage in posting, Jen. I am facing a super-scary (for me, cuz I'm a wuss when it comes to dental stuff) root canal a few weeks after I deliver my baby, since they can't do the procedure this late in my pregnancy. I found out all this the day you posted about your medical fears, and it was such an encouragement-exactly the "me too!" that I needed. Thank you.

  34. At the con you should stop by and see the Vice City Rollers, not sure which girls will be there but some of us are cakewrecks fans and I personally love coming by here and might be shackled to our table there.

  35. You should defnitely make sure to come and stop by the Vice City Rollers booth at SuperCon. We're the derby league in Miami and I know that some of the other girls are cakewrecks fans. I love stopping through here for the steampunk goodness.

  36. I actually am going to be in Miami this weekend!

  37. You could try hypnotherapy or one of the therapists that specialize in in phobias. At my therapists suggestion I volunteered to do kangaroo care to get over my ptsd from my daughters hospital stay. I couldn't even see my BFF for almost a year because he worked at a hospital and smelled like one and it would trigger panic attacks.

    I would also suggest calling a local midwife and ask for references to a ob-gyn they will know the best and worse. Hopefully the dr you see on Friday will be everything you need in a dr.

  38. Wishing you excellence in future health care equal to the past distress you've suffered. There are good docs out there, you just have to find them.

    I've had several surgeries, all postponed too long for one reason or another. I'm not sure whether the hysterectomy (wasn't a candidate for ablation, kept ovaries & cervix as they weren't "broken") or my hip replacement was the best deal. What I do know is both times I had an excellent doc who explained everything, took my personality into account, and absolutely encouraged me to have a support person whenever I needed them. I had to interview 4 Gyn and 2 Orthos before finding the right doc.

    I'm a medical social worker and I'll also congratulate you for making sure to do something you and John enjoy after a stressful time--excellent self care! Have fun at the Con!!!

    Originally read Cakewrecks then my daughter pointed me to Epbot. I love both blogs, love your voice, your humor, and what a genuine person you are.

  39. No need to post this comment but I realized I forgot to say how sorry I was that you have had to go thru this kind of crap with dr's.

  40. Dear Jen,

    Greetings from Singapore,an avid reader of your blogs (yes, both CW and EB). I'm praying for you and John, hope everything goes well. Hmm, you just reminded me that I need to go have some fun too this weekend, been a while.


  41. I'm pretty sure you'll also need one of these little guys to take with you to any necessary doctor visits and etc. I do hope it goes well for you! Best of luck!

  42. Warning: More Doctor Talk

    I read your Previous Post and read through some of the replies and I can't help but wonder how people choose thier doctors. Because I've been employed by the same company for 20 years, maybe I'm sheltered, but I've had the same doctor for 20 years. I found one I liked (after several attempts) and I've stayed with her all this time. Having a relationship with my doctor - from one visit to the next - makes both her job and mine easier, safer and dependable. I dont' know her, but I know what kind of a doctor she is. I know that not everyone has an insurance situation that allows them the choices I can make, and that many people have to rely on walk in clinics or urgent care for their care. But, please, if you have the option of going back to the same doctor each time, please take advantage of that. It's your body, for heaven's sake, it's your life and quality of life. I'm sorry for the bad experiences, I've had my share, but I exercise my power of choice, walk away from the bad doctor and stick to the good one.

    Have a wonderful time at the Con - bring back some of your delightful picutres.

  43. Oh wow. I just read your other post and have tears in my eyes. I've had not one but two of those awful uterine/endometrial biopsies. The first time, I had no idea what to expect and it was awful. The second time, it was even worse. I refuse to ever let anyone do one again unless I'm unconscious. The pain was unbearable. And I was alone.. both times.. and had to drive myself home. It was awful. So I can totally empathise. It has also made me EXTREMELY uncomfortable with any sort of OB/GYN visits.

    I have one scheduled for August because I haven't bled in 10 months and am very obviously definitely not pregnant and too young for menopause. So they want to check me out. I WILL NOT LET THEM do another biopsy though I am TERRIFIED of being alone there with them and vulnerable. TERRIFIED.

    I'm sorry that you had to go through that pain.. and perhaps it's wrong.. but I guess I feel a tiny bit better knowing I'm not the only one who found the whole thing barbaric and awful and traumatizing. :(

  44. I'm an expert at avoiding doctors, even though they keep me alive, so you have my sympathy big time. My too many surgical procedures weren't usually as bad as I expected them to be, especially under general anesthesia. You've had some bad luck with yours, so now you're due for a good one. They're always a lot easier with understanding doctors. It sounds like you had a loser once or twice, but most doctors are kind and caring and I'm sure there is a good out there for you. One who can do what you need to feel better again.

    Doctors use local anesthesia whenever possible because general has additional risks. The kind dentists commonly use is safer but only puts you into a semi-conscious state where you aren't aware of the pain and don't remember it later. It's not adequate for major surgery. John has my sympathy, too. I've had abscesses cleaned out and it hurts like hell because the local anesthesia doesn't numb the infected tissue effectively. I'm so glad he had you to help him out. And that you have him. Always. As a longtime reader I'm glad to have met both of you (online, at least.)

  45. Chongo-longo! I don't know how I missed your medical update post. I checked back to see if there was anything new and I totally didn't see it.

    I'm so sorry you guys are going through that. Good luck, John with your stitches today. Jen. I'm am horrified by what you had to go through. Please get referrals from people you know in your area for a good, compassionate doctor that will not violate you. I cannot even imagine how terrifying that was for you. Seriously, my heart breaks for you.

    You both are so precious. We are here for you.

    There are some amazing, caring, totally upfront doctors out there. I pray that you find one. You could come out to the So. Cal. to see my doctor. She's pretty great. After my first baby, I went to see her because I was passing tissue. She scheduled a D & C, but went over everything with me and told me I would be put out, that it is done all the time, reassured me that everything would be fine. I was still glad to have my mom with me at the appointment. :-)

    Thank you, John, for taking such great care of our Jen, and Jen for taking such great care of our John (and giving an extra glare in the doctor's direction for us, too).


  46. Dear Jen,
    I was so sorry to read about your horrible experience. I can’t say I know what you are going through, but as a chronic worrier with a lifelong aversion/fear of the doctor’s office, I thought I would offer my two cents worth of advice for Friday. I have two methods for getting through scary trips to the doctor’s office; the first is to keep constant physical contact with something comforting. For example, I sometimes wear a piece of jade that my mother gave me on my wrist, and I keep rubbing it and concentrating on the texture of the stone against my skin instead of any other feelings that might be going on. In your case, this might be John’s hand :) The second is a little more strange, but I’ve found it to be very effective. I think of a person, usually a fictional character, and I try to keep up a mental commentary about how brave and strong they are and how I can be like that too. When I was in high school and Return of the King came out, it was Eowyn all the way; i.e. “Eowyn wouldn’t cry at a needle coming at her, no way, remember how that bad guy smashed her arm with a mace? She took it and stood back up, so I can totally handle this needle…” The mental ramble helps. Also, just try and stay optimistic, that honestly does help as well. You are going to be just fine on Friday, I am sure. It will be OK.
    Best Wishes,

  47. Praying for you tomorrow! ((hugs))

  48. Just want to say you are absolutely doing the right thing by postponing your appointment so you can locate a doctor worthy of your trust. It makes all the difference in the world to work with someone who has both expertise and humanity - and they are out there, if you are willing to hold out for what you deserve.

    Also, as a psychologist, I want to mention that your traumatic memories, which are very sensory-oriented, most likely could be successfully addressed by a few sessions with a therapist who is experienced in EMDR or self-hypnotic techniques (these are different approaches that each can be highly effective in reducing the anxiety and flashback quality of bad memories). I have seen people experience significant or even total relief from the emotional residue of a traumatic experience much more quickly than they could have imagined.

    Thanks for your blogs, which bring humor and delight into my days... very much appreciated.


Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>