NSFL: uterine artery embolization is horrible and disgusting PART I

15 04 2012

having spent the last several weeks digging through the internet (which seems surprisingly small sometimes when you can’t find exactly what you want) looking for detailed accounts of the uterine embolization process, i had it in my mind before i got down to surgical business that i would write my own detailed personal account of the procedure. i could entitle it something hopeful like “surviving uterine embolization” or encouraging like “UFE is not so bad after all”.  like a fibroid filled sacagawea, i could guide the women of the internet through this harrowing territory, and safely out to the other side.


as you can see from the above title, my rose colored glasses got ripped off my face on friday morning, and immediately smashed into powder. perhaps someone spit on them for emphasis. when the only other choice is hysterectomy, and you’re 34 years old and not ready to potentially catapult yourself into premature menopause… it isn’t really a choice. and truthfully, despite the fact that i’m just now starting to not be completely bedridden, it’s still probably the choice that i would have made. but seriously… WHY DIDN’T SOMEBODY TELL ME?!

if you have a weak stomach, are eating at the present, or possibly might be interested in having sex with me someday… i would recommend not reading any further. however, if your uterus looks like a little like this, and you’re not ready to have that fucker removed completely…  here is what you might be in for. 

now, i should probably preface this whole shebang by saying once again that i have 5 fibroids of SIGNIFICANT size. like grapefruits or softballs. many women who get this procedure done have much smaller fibriods and as a result, probably less pain and complication.

friday was actually pretty much what i expected. got to the hospital, checked in, was given some sack like unflattering garments to wear (am i the only one who wonders how many people have died in those johnnies?). was told to put all of my belongings in big pink garbage bags bearing the logo of the hospital (they did not find my “just like getting out of prison” joke very funny). had to pee in a cup and give them some blood (not pregnant! wait? um… my uterus is covered in tumors and has been spewing blood for MONTHS- did they really need to check? not exactly a hospitable environment for life). got suited up for my IV. got wheeled into surgery. cried a bunch. declared that i wanted both my mom and my dog. blacked out.


conscious sedation is kind of awesome. something really terrible could be happening (like having a camera jammed down your throat, or getting cut open and having a tube threaded through one of your major arteries), and you wouldn’t know a damn thing. you might ask questions or drift in and out of consciousness. or, you might lay there and be wide awake the entire time. it’s weird, but i definitely felt no pain.

well, i felt no pain until the procedure was almost over and the magic started to happen. the magic of INFARCTION! this is what happens when otherwise happy living tissue loses its blood supply and starts to die. necrose, if you want to use all your fancy t.v. doctor speak. and speaking of t.v. doctors… an infarction (of the quadriceps muscle) is EXACTLY why house m.d. is a cranky old vicodin addict who walks with a cane.

star wipe to a 24 hour montage of me intermittently begging for death and pressing that hydromorphone button before blacking out for another 8 minutes. i would press that button every 8 minutes until my bags were packed and they were shutting down the “short stay” ward for the weekend.

your doc is correct when he says that it feels like really severe menstrual cramps. your ability to imagine how severe menstrual cramps could possibly get is WOEFULLY INADEQUATE.

at least i didn’t have to be catheterized. i did have to use a bedpan at one point (a little humiliating, but passable in the drug addled moment). you’re not allowed to move for 4 hours after the surgery, yet the meds make you thirsty as hell, and have to pee like a motherfucker. i would spend the rest of the night dragging my IV stand into the tiny bathroom in my room every half hour or so. unremarkable, except that there was this pan in the toilet bowl so they could measure how much i was peeing.

i don’t know if it was the narcotics or the pain, but when i peed a lot, i felt a little bit proud.

they sent me home with some giant fucking horse percoset, some anti-nausea meds, and some colace (because apparently narcotics make it hard to poop- more on that later!). and it was probably just the remains of the day long pain button orgy,  but the first percoset seemed to do the trick. i go a couple of cookies and some applesauce down the hatch, and passed out for a few hours… UNTIL I WOKE UP IN THE MOST UNGODLY UNBEARABLE PAIN I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED.

horse percoset ≠pain relief in the world of fibroid infarction. especially if you’re me.

i spent the entirety of saturday night in a half fever delirium of sweating and abdomen clutching.

ever polite, i waited until 7 am to call a friend (thanks zak, you were an awesome nurse!) to take me to emergency room. because if there was one thing i needed more than more hydromorphone (which they would eventually give me), it was ANOTHER IV hole in my arm (i had 6 puncture wounds by the end of this ordeal). i also got myself a sweet abdominal x-ray out of the deal. still not sure why. TERRIFIED of hospital bills.

but like i said, they sent me home with the good shit, so the next couple of days were blurry.

so let’s leave it there for now. me, sweating quietly in my blanket nest, waiting for my next 4 hour dosage.  but you’ll have to tune into tomorrow for the exciting and revolting conclusion of “uterine artery embolization is horrible and disgusting”.



23 responses

15 04 2012

Oh girl!! I am prayin’ for ya!!

16 04 2012

thanks cassie! i put on pants today. it was a good day.

16 04 2012

Christ on a crutch :/
I hope this goes fast as can be cause it sounds totally hellish!

16 04 2012

every day it gets a little better. i’m nervous about work tomorrow, but i’m starting to feel like a real live person again. good times!

16 04 2012

Ouch! I’ve given birth 2x. once sans drugs and had double hernia repair surgery, so I might have an inkling of how you feel…might being the operative word.

Fibroids run in my family and I have known a few women to go through this process. Hope you heal quickly!

16 04 2012

oh, i’m sure you have more than an inkling. i can’t imagine that childbirth isn’t more painful than this bullshit. you’ve definitely earned your stripes girl! although if you have fibroids in your family, definitely make sure your GYNO checks for them during your lady visits. my life would be significantly easier right now if i had caught these 3 years ago. thanks for the well wishes 😀

16 04 2012
Miss Catherine

Oh my word. I thought it might be awful, but this…wow. Do I want to read part 2? No, but I will. Also, I still want to have sex with you. Haha!

And I loved your getting out of prison joke, btw.

25 06 2015

I am with you Ms. Catherine but the worst part is that the doctors do not inform of the worst part. The fibroid never goes away. They shrunk down to 50 percent of their regular size. Later the chemical come out of you and somehow it make bad discharges and weight gain after the chemical comes out of the fibroids.

26 11 2015

I had the same experience. I rushed to the emergency after 2 . Excruciating pain!! It’s been 2 weeks now and I still have issues. Make sure if you can take the pain or go for another option.

2 12 2015
Allie Munier

I’m sorry you’re suffering! The worst part is that I started having symptoms again after a year and actually had to have a hysterectomy last year 😦

1 03 2016

So, I’m on week 4, and the pain has mostly subsided, but I’m exhausted! It seems no matter how much sleep I get, I can barely make it through the day. Has anyone else experienced extreme fatigue as a part of recovery?

1 03 2016
Allie Munier

I was EXHAUSTED for a few months after the surgery, but especially the first one. I remember going back to work after 3 weeks out and just having to keep putting my head down on my desk. My whole body felt heavy and slow. I did eventually perk back up, but it took a while! The best advice I have is to honor the rest your body is asking for and don’t push yourself to far too soon. Good luck fellow embolizer!

11 05 2016

Just had one 15 days ago, my whole body hurts even my hair. It’s like I’m coming down with a bad flu? Is this or

12 05 2016
Allie Munier

That sounds about right. I was in pain and exhausted for a few weeks. Hopefully, you will start to feel better soon. Just honor your body and rest as much as you can. I’m sorry you’re having such a sucky time of it!

11 03 2016

Guess you should just got the hysterectomy…

14 03 2016
Allie Munier

I did eventually! I just wish I had known enough to skip this unfortunate interim step, if they were going to take the whole unit out anyway.

11 05 2016

Feel better

19 07 2016
Toura Hooper

I had mine done on the 7/12/16 so I’m 7 days in and I have to tell you, I wished for a coma. I just wanted to sleep for two weeks to avoid the pain. I had to stay in the hospital for 3 days because my pain could not be controlled and I could not stop puking. I finally got my bowls working again,( colace just gave me gas! I huge mug of hot water and lemon followed by a huge mug of decaf coffee with creamer did the trick!). I’m still in pain and it’s hard to sit but now I have pain every time I try to poop.Right after the procedure, a doctor told me that I might have to have a second one done and if the fibroids didn’t shrink down to 50%, I would need a hysterectomy.

They need to tell you JUST HOW MUCH PAIN you will be in. I think that staying in the hospital for 3 days should be offered.

20 07 2016
Allie Munier

I ended up going to back to the hospital for pain management on day 2. I wished I’d stayed at least one more day with a morphine button. It was terrible. The worst part being that I ended up having to have a hysterectomy anyway 2 years later (which was so much easier and less painful). I’m sure there are some success stories out there, and I wish they would share them here! Unfortunately, I just don’t think they’re finding my blog because they’re not Google searching “UTERINE ARTERY EMBOLIZATION IS THE WORST KIND OF HELL.”

15 06 2017

I concur. ..i am day 7 post UFE. I am Soooooooooooooo surprised I didn’t die from that pain

3 07 2017
Allie Munier

I had never felt anything like it- and I had kidney stones! Hope you’re starting to bounce back to your original state. I remember being so tired for weeks after, so pace yourself and honor your body. Good luck!

23 04 2018

Maybe i am one of the lucky ones but my pain was dealable theoughout. I did have an epidural instrad of the morphine pump and therefore at the hospital my pain level was mostly a 1. Post UfE day 2&3 were the least plesant with nausea but the anti nausea meds took care of that and the pain was quelled with a norco every 4 hours. By day 5 i was off the norco and here in am day 10 and only took a 200mg advil this morning for slight cramps.

23 04 2018
Allie Munier

I think you are very lucky! I suspect my level of pain was in large part due to the enormous size and number of my fibroids. That said, this isn’t a pissing contest, and I’m super glad (and jealous) to hear that you’re feeling good about your level of pain. Sorry if I scared you! I really hope UFE works out better for you than it did for me. Keep us posted on your progress.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: