I get my staples out on Friday, all 36 of them. Then, mom is taking me home. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed visiting my parents, but I'm ready to sleep in my own bed. This has been a long and trying process and, in total, I've spent 5 weeks with mom. For the most part, I've been able to drastically reduce the amount of pain medication I take every day, but I still tucker out so easily. Just walking to the kitchen without the rollator makes me want to take a nap.
I choose to believe that everything happens for a reason and that someday, I will get my strength back. I just keep taking it one day at a time. For now, I really miss my husband. It's been very hard being away from him so long (and my fur babies). He came up with the dogs last weekend and was gone too soon. I'm ready to be with my family again. I hope that returning to a familiar environment will help me recover faster or, at the very least, bolster my resolve and boost morale.
I'm going to ask the doctor on Friday when I will be released to look for employment again. I know the answer will be at least 6-8 weeks (hoping it's not 12). That means it will be another 4-6 weeks before I can get back in the saddle. Honestly, I'm most sad that I'm missing pool season. I love swimming and I really love floating down the lazy river in a inner tube. Sadly, I will not be pool approved until August or September after the pool has closed. I can, however, stand in the sprinkler in my yard. We are getting that spigot fixed and I'm buying a sprinkler. Summer swimming is happening for me one way or another!
They did give me medicine for my anxiety the day of surgery, and they got me in almost ahead of schedule so those were both pluses. Also the whole thing took less than 3 hours and they were able to avoid my bowels by and large. Since I had my gallbladder out last year, they decided to open from the top and work their way down. I've got at least 36 staples and one massive incision line running from just under my breast plate to my groin. They found evidence of extensive scarring from both endometriosis and previous surgeries. In addition to a cyst the size of a large egg on my right side, they also discovered that at some point my right ovary had been rearranged to sit much higher up than my left ovary. They successfully removed everything. No more cyst, ovaries, uterus, or cervix.
The only thing they couldn't do was an appendectomy. After searching unsuccessfully with an ultrasound, they gave up and said it wasn't worth cutting me apart for an organ that may or may not still be there. Leave it to me to have at least one glaring anomaly. Ladies and gentleman, they can neither confirm nor deny an appendix.
I'm calling on Monday to make an appointment to have these staples removed and from here on out, I just work on recovery. As you can imagine, simple things aren't so simple when you can't use our stomach to assist you. I have managed to get in and out of bed mostly by myself (thanks to some bedrails mom picked up at a garage sale). I also have my grandma's rollator which helps me get around and, most importantly, sit down suddenly if the need arises. Because of the size and scope of this incision, I will be on restriction for most activities for 6-8 weeks, and a further 12 weeks for others.
Right now, I am most thankful for all the wonderful and supportive people in my life. I am also thankful for Poptarts, compression belts, and ice packs. If you'll pardon me, I'm off to take nap number 27 of the day and some of those sweet pain killers.
This is it. The final countdown. Most of you will now have that song in your head for the rest of the day. You're welcome. I've had to stop looking at Pinterest because they keep showing me recipes for decadent desserts. Seeing as I haven't had anything except clear liquids since I woke up this morning, I don't find this amusing any longer. There aren't a whole lot of entertainment options as I must stay within five feet of a toilet at all times. Hey, at least this is keeping me distracted and hopefully I'll sleep through the night since I haven't been able to nap with all the...interruptions.
I check in to the hospital at 11 a.m. tomorrow for some blood work and the run down. Hopefully, they are willing to give me something for anxiety or this will be a truly unique experience (I have never had an operation without a sedative before hand). At 1 p.m., the operation is scheduled to commence. It could be really long or really short depending on what they find. We're all just praying that this time around it all works out. I will obviously be out of communication for a while and have handed control of my Facebook account over to Mom and Ian from tomorrow on. They will do their best to keep everyone posted. Vaya con dios to me. I'll catch you all on the flip side.
As we creep ever closer to the deadline, I find myself needing a life jacket to wade through all my emotions. I think the thing that makes me most apprehensive is the unknown. There are so many things the doctors just can't tell me because they won't know until they've opened me up and given it the old college try. I'll go to sleep knowing life one way and wake up to whatever has happened and that will be that. I can't tell them that I've changed my mind or that I want something to be done differently. It will be done and I will have to learn to accept my life whatever way that is.
I've always had health problems, but it's been a really rough last couple of years. Honestly, I hit the ground running and have gone face first into a bunch of glass doors. Historically speaking, I've gone for pretty long intervals between operations. I had my first surgery at 3 months old and my second around 2 years. Both were corrective surgeries for the birth defect of my right kidney. I had a failed laparoscopy in December of 2001 and my right kidney was removed in June 2002. Yes, I've been to the doctor since then for various issues, but it seems like it's been one thing after another for a while now.
In January 2017, I had my gallbladder successfully removed. They had to fight through a lot of adhesions, used 6 ports instead of four, and tore a small piece of my liver (which I'm told is fairly typical for this procedure), but they got it out and I was only in the hospital for one night. Then in October of 2017 they attempted to do a hysterectomy and failed. The adhesions were insurmountable. In December of 2017 they did an endometrial ablation which my doctor assured me would be a walk in the park and that I "probably wouldn't even notice they did anything". This was definitely NOT the case. It took me over a week to recover. Now here I am in June of 2018 missing my Oregon Trail (trip of a lifetime) to have a total hysterectomy and appendectomy.
I brought coloring books and lots of house dresses and I'm really looking forward to the great bowel purge of 2018 which will take place from noon on tomorrow (if you've ever prepped for a colonoscopy, then you understand how much fun this will be). I'm trying to imagine my spirit animal, the manatee. She's just floating in the water, sleeping and grazing, in the lull of the great wide sea. The Manadee knows that she can weather the storm, I just have to trust her instincts.
Last day at home for a while. Ian is taking me to Salina tomorrow to meet mom and I'll be in Mulvane until the surgery. The doctor had previously said to expect a week in the hospital, and since Ian has to work, I'll probably stay with mom for a week after I get out just to make sure there are no surprises. It's hard being apart, but we had a lot of practice during the 3 years that I lived in Oberlin. I just keep praying that everything goes well and that my surgeons are really as good as people say they are. I've had way to much time to overthink all of this and, late at night especially, my brain likes to keep me awake telling me stories from all the articles I have ever read and every medical drama I have ever watched.
My friends keep sending me sweet videos of puppies and kittens which really helps to keep the endorphins flowing. I just wish I weren't missing most of pool season. I was really looking forward to floating down the lazy river in an inner-tube. Whatever happens, I can do this (even if there might be days I don't want to). At some point, I will be released into the wild and I can start over again at the gym (third times the charm right). I'm off to finish what I started and pack the car so we will be ready to leave in the morning.
It's been a busy week and it's only Tuesday. So far, we've been to a lawyer to have them draw up durable power of attorney papers, a will, and a living will. We also took the dogs to the vet to get their shots, ran a few errands, and washed laundry. I took a two hour nap earlier in the day but still find myself ready for bed and it's only 7:24. Might as well rest up I guess (we still have to get an oil change on both cars, take the dogs to the groomer, and finish laundry so I can pack my bag).
The doctor sent a lovely full color brochure from the hospital complete with instructions, phone numbers, and a map of the parking garage and hospital. I've completed my registration online and I think that's all they need from me. It's crazy how much of this stuff is digital now. Practically every medical facility has its own digital patient portal where you can view your records and talk to the nurses. Part of me appreciates the convenience, but part of me misses the human contact. I've only met with my doctors/surgeons one time. I'm not even sure if they remember what I look like. A wise friend told me "Remember, most surgeons are surgeons because they want to help people, but have a pretty poor bedside manner. They prefer their patients unconscious." This both amuses and soothes me. I imagine them walking into the operating room, looking around apprehensively, and upon seeing me passed out on the table, breathing an audible sigh of relief.
I suppose I ought to put on my pajamas and feed the cat before she loses her mind. I'm going to bed early and that's all there is to that! Night folks.
It's easy for most people to understand why people get excited about Christmas, or their birthday, or even a wedding. A surgery, on the other hand, seems like something scary to be avoided. For me, there is a healthy amount of worry, but an even bigger desire for it to be over. Yes, things could go wrong. Yes, recovery will most likely suck - a lot. But if the surgery succeeds it also means that I get to start my life again. It means that there is a chance I will be better or at least improved (Manadee 2.0).
As I wait for the days to pass, I'm making myself dwell on the positive (my anxiety is like a verbal jackhammer and this is the only way to drown it out). Ian is on vacation this week and our 4 year anniversary is on Thursday. Although we can't take a trip this year, we do get to be together and that makes my heart happy. Also, we are working together this week to prepare the house for post surgery. I have to take frequent rest breaks, but we're still making progress. The more we do together now, the less Ian will have to do by himself when I'm gone and, when I get home, it will be to fresh, clean sheets in the guest room and a closet full of clean muumuus (my favorite post surgery attire). Now, if you'll please excuse me, I'm off to seize the day.
The surgery has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 13 at 1:00 p.m.. I have to be at the hospital by 11 which works out well because we will be driving from Mom's house and it means that I don't have to get up as early. As I type, I just had the most marvelous idea! I'm going to decorate my cane. I had to get it after my gallbladder surgery (because that one didn't go according to plan either). It's going to be a happy cane! I also have a mascot. I made her at Build a Bear, her name is Sassy, and she's going to help me be brave. Seeing as I will most likely be in the hospital for a week, I can use all the sunshine and unicorn giggles I can muster. Stay tuned for cane pictures. It's arts and crafts time.
I'm a blogger and educator breaking through stigmas and helping women find their voice.