Tuesday, 15 January 2008

First consultation at the clinic

So, 'tis done. What now follows is an honest and candid account of what happened to me this afternoon, in the hope that sharing is both therapeutic for me and helpful for others. I have before me for sustenance a lovely, juicy, large glass of red wine.

I shall also try to be as witty and caustic as I can, but bearing in mind I spent much of the afternoon with what I can only describe as a Renault Espace parked up my bits, I may falter!

First, the main news: it looks like I have a polycystic ovary. Just the one - my left one looks fine, but my right one appears to resemble a barnacle-covered rock. My uterus is present and correct but filled with a whole raft of endometrial crap owing to my not having had a period since November. But the possible revelation about PCOS is enlightening to say the least - and also treatable, or at least surmountable, with ovulation stimulating drugs.

We had to wait nearly 45 minutes before being called in for the consultation proper, although I was weighed (took my boots off - every little helps) and measured and blood-pressured during the wait.

We were asked if we minded a medical student sitting in, and I said why not - after all, what's one more pair of eyes in an embarrassing situation like that?! When we went in, the consultant took a detailed medical history first from me - age at first period, menstrual cycle habits, dates I was on the Pill, any medication or allergies etc - and then from hubby. We were then asked a series of questions about our sex life - which I answered while he stared at an invisible spot on the wall.

The consultant then announced that since I was due a smear anyway, they'd do that to rule out any cervical conditions. She also explained the clinic's blanket policy of testing for a series of STIs through taking swabs at the first visit. I was tested for chlamydia after a previous relationship with a slightly seedy cad, and told her as much, but she was adamant: I was having the swabs. After that, there'd be a vaginal scan to determine the health (or otherwise, as it turned out) of my ovaries.

Right. So. The gory details. I was shown into a small consulting room - the doctor said hubby had to stay behind (to his profound and obvious relief, I might add) - which contained a small bed (avec stirrups - oh joy), a sink, a TV screen which was about to broadcast the contents of my vagina to anyone who cared to watch, and a series of instruments reminiscent of the scene in the horror movie where the psycho opens his satchel to reveal his murder kit. No, not really. The instruments came later!

The smear proceeded fairly ueventfully. The highlight was the moment where she'd opened and fastened the speculum but then tutted and said she'd have to "slip it in a bit further. It's because you're so tall - you have a long vagina," she mused. Does a girl take that as a compliment?!

So, smear and swabs successfully completed, the Renault Espace was brought out of the garage so we could commence the scan. She put a condom on it - really - and then squidged a big glob of good old KY onto the end. And then in it went - and because this is an honest account, I'll say that it entering wasn't entirely unpleasant - but I have to admit that I did experience the promised "pressure and discomfort" when she started moving it around in order to broadcast my organs.

The scan was much more thorough and in-depth, in the literal sense, than the rather basic "yep, you have sexual organs and are indeed female" slimine swipe I had at the hospital back in March. The consultant was also massively more helpful - she tilted the TV so I could see it, and explained what the various blobs were - perhaps in an effort to take my mind off the Espace doing a three-point turn, but nevertheless it was interesting. It wasn't actively painful - but it was uncomfortable, and there was pronounced discomfort when she pulled it this way and that trying to get a better picture.

The upshot of it all is I likely have a polycystic ovary. I need to have a series of blood tests taken over the next eight weeks, as well as a procedure called a hysterosalpingogram. This is to happen within 10 days of my next period, at the hospital. Basically they drive the old Espace again but this time with a slim catheter-type thing on the end which is inserted through the neck of my cervix so they can inject a load of dye into my womb and tubes, thus determining if there are any blockages. More on that later, depending when I get a period...

All in all, then, a slightly traumatic experience but one that was easily copable-with and which may also have given us a much-needed diagnosis. If it is PCOS, they can give me ovarian stimulating drugs and hopefully we'll be on the road to parenthood (albeit possibly of twins!)

Here's hoping...


mutterings and meanderings said...

You're a brave woman - and you must be ecstatic that they think it's something that can be treated in a straightforward manner. I believe the lovely Victoria Beckham has the same condition...

Northcountrylass said...

Yes, you are brave. It takes guts to pull your knickers down in front of medical staff for the usual female clinical procedures, so good luck. Hope it's treatable.

queenpheebs said...

lmao @ because this is an honest account, I'll say that it entering wasn't entirely unpleasant. ur hilarious

Down and Out said...

I just stumbled on to your blog yesterday after doing the one thing I was told not to do- googling! after my very own Renault Espace encounter and my very own bilateral PCOS diagnosis.
Your blog is AMAZING.
Scarpering to read more now.

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