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I had my uterfine fibroid embolization procedure exactly 2 weeks ago. I had it done in the UK (north-west London). In short - the procedure went well and I am feeling better and getting stronger each day. I have yet to have a pain-free day though I have greatly reduced the number of painkillers I'm taking each day. Now I usually take 2 mid-morning and 2 just before I go to sleep. I've been experiencing mild cramps throughout the day. They're annoying more than anything else. It's not a steady pain - rather it kind of comes in waves. As I said, I do feel better and stronger each day, but part of me is unsure of how I'm supposed to feel to know if the procedure 'worked' or is working. I do feel like there is less pressure on my abdomen (I had several fibroids, the largest of which was 18x13 cm). I've had some bleeding/discharge each day and have not been able to be without wearing a pad or pantyliner yet. I am walking around with ease though I have yet to go to the gym for a workout - I plan to do a mild one tomorrow just to see how I feel. Overall I'm feeling alright though I do still get tired a bit easily.
Question 1: How long have you experienced cramping post-UFE?
Question 2: How different did you feel after UFE in terms of bloating, pressure, pain?
More detailed description of my UFE procedure:
In my appointment letter I was told to call the hospital at 10:30 am to make sure there would be a bed for me. Luckily, they called me at 9:30 and told me that they had a bed and that I was to arrive at 11:30. [Oh, I had a protein shake at 7:00 am and had nothing else to eat or drink after that.] I got to the hospital and went straight to the ward. I started being prepared around 12:30. I was given a hospital gown to change into and compression stockings to wear. I was given both an oral and a suppository pain killer. It only took a second and it wasn't painful. The difficult part for me (or rather the nurses) was getting the catheter in. I was dreading this anyway. It took them an hour and a total of 5 nurses, head nurses, and then finally a doctor to get the catheter in. This does not usually happen; it just happened to me how my organs were - part of it due to the fibroids pushing my bladder into a weird position. The nurses were sympathetic and careful and very apologetic. I just tried to stay calm and relaxed. After an hour of so many hands and faces 'down there' I was more than ready for the sedative.
I was taken down to the radiology room and an IV line was put into my arm for sedatives and saline and morphine. A local anesthetic was injected - probably the most painful part of the procedure, but it was just a sharp prick - and soon after the sedative set in and I gradually fell asleep. I was pretty much asleep for the whole procedure. I could occasionally hear some talking, but as for feeling anything - not at all.
The next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room in excruciating pain. It really was awful. It would come in massive surges and I would cry/scream out. At first I was hesitant to use the morphine pump but the nurses told me I shouldn't hesitate, so I didn't. They kept asking me to rank my pain. It was at a 10 for ages. After about an hour and half it dropped down to a 4 which is when they took me back to the ward.
I was given oral painkillers and I kept using the morphine pump throughout the night. I could barely stay awake enough to hold a conversation with my husband. The pain was not good and it really did feel like I wouldn't be able to take it -- but it did eventually subside. I had no appetite at all. I had a few mints as they were all I could stomach. I could take a few sips of water. I threw up several times - side effect of the morphine. During the night my oxygen levels had dropped quite a bit so they put attached a nasal oxygen tube to me. I had trouble relaxing and falling asleep. At the same time, I couldn't really keep my eyes open. I had a playlist with soothing music - I listened to that on repeat all night. It helped a lot.
By around 1:30 pm the day after the procedure, I started to feel a bit better. They removed the catheter and I got out of bed. I was able to use the bathroom, wash up, and change into my own clothes (I had brought loose yoga pants and a loose top that I could just slip on). I tried to eat, but I still had no appetite. I was still nauseous from the morphine. I was discharged from the hospital at 5:30 pm and was sent home with a presscription of codeine.
I was warned that the codeine would cause severe constipation. I had underestimated how bad that would feel. I stuck to the codeine for 3 days and then I had to stop it. I was constantly uncomfortable and annoyed that I couldn't go to the bathroom. Not eating much didn't help either. Stopping the the coedine and switching to regular ibuprofen plus having a few bowls of oatmeal had me feeling more 'regular' and was a relief! I was still in pain, but I was trying to cope. I started walking about a bit 2 days after the procedure, and by 1 week after the procedure I was definitely up and about more though still taking it easy as I was tiring very easily.
I hope sharing my experience was helpful. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. Plus, if you can share details of how you were feeling/improvement post-UFE I'd love to hear them.
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