Tag Archives: surgery

Surprise Surgery

So in the last 3 weeks I’ve been in the ER 3 times. The first time I was diagnosed with cellulitis in my leg, was put on antibiotics and it cleared up. Then I was on a Lovonox bridge (blood thinner shots) so I could have my IVC filter removed. I started having stomach pains and spasms. So I go to the ER, the doctor does an x-ray, does an ultrasound and tells me I’m fine. They tell me to take some over the counter medication and send me home.

I take the over the counter medication and in 12 hours I am weak and no better. So we go back to the ER. They run my blood tests again and my iron and blood counts have dropped dramatically in the 12 hours since I was last there. So they run more tests. They then tell me that I have abdominal bleeding. So I’ve gone from you’re fine you are wasting my time to you could be bleeding to death….yes that is my life.

So they start to scramble to figure out where the bleeding is coming from. They do another ultrasound and figure out that I have a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst. So now they are asking if I will accept a blood transfer, and are prepping me for emergency surgery. Apparently because I was on the Lovonox bridge the cyst ruptured and never stopped bleeding.

So we went into surgery and I came out like a champ! I lost a LOT of blood. I am really bruised due to the blood loss, but I am on the mend now. My message in all this is- you know your body. I knew after 12 hours that I was worse, I knew I needed to go back. If I hadn’t gone back I could have bled to death.

I am really happy that I knew to go back, that I went back and they found the real problem. I wish I didn’t have to have another surgery this year, but I am feeling better. I am taking life slow right now, making sure to rest. When you need to slow down life has a way of making sure you get the message!

 

When your whole life revolves around illness

So wifey and I were discussing that we use all my major medical events (surgeries, saddle pulmonary embolism, major tests, etc) as a timeline for our life. We then remember everything else have done around those events. I looked at her with squinted eyes and said that’s sort of sad….I mean it is what it is, but to think how much of our lives revolve around illness and surgeries is depressing!

I am optimistic that the future will not be like this. I cannot go back and change the past, it is what it is, but the future I am hopeful will not be like this. However I also know that I have several chronic conditions and the future may also entail some more surgeries (I am hoping some space between them and not so back to back), and some more medical procedures, but it’s the attitude you take with life that predicts the outcome.

We try really hard to be happy, joyous and free. That is not an easy task around here at times. I get grumpy, I am often sore and in pain from the time I wake to the time I go to bed. Everything hurts, sitting hurts, standing hurts, lying down hurts. I have headaches, backaches, my hip hurts, etc. I can only do so much for the pain, but I am trying. I try to remember each day to be grateful and I think of five things that I am grateful for even if they might be small, but five things. Put myself in a more positive mind set and start my day in the right mind frame and things seem to go better.

I also sometimes in the middle of the day will do the same thing because I’m stressed out because of this or that and I need to re-focus my day. I might look up silly pictures, or jokes or stories to help because I know it’s okay that I hurt but I don’t want to get stuck in that grumpy mood. I don’t want to get stuck in the everything sucks attitude. I try really hard to take a deep breath and focus on the positive which some days is definitely easier than others.

As my neck has been healing the headaches are starting to come back which is highly annoying, but I have been taking a deep breath and massaging the base of my skull to release some of the pressure. I have gotten some new physical therapy exercises to do at home to release some of the tension in my neck and shoulders which seems to be helping as well. I am glad to be getting more home exercises so I have more to choose from, I have been switching between the back, knees and neck. I really feel like I need to make up a song similar to “Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes” for my exercises…it might happen.

I just keep reminding myself that 10 years from now I will look back and this will feel like a short time in my life, a small blip on the radar, right now it feels like forever, but when you look back it won’t. So often when we are going through something it feels like a lifetime because we don’t know when it will end, but then we get to the end and we realize it wasn’t as bad as we thought it was going to be. Well in my case I almost died and outside of dying I don’t think you can get any worse..but you get my drift! So the moral of the story is when you are going through a rough time try to look for the positives, they are in there, somewhere. They might be hidden, they might be small, but they are in there. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to get depressed, but don’t get stuck. Realize that there is an end and you will get through it. Even if the condition is a chronic illness you will learn how to manage it, you will be stronger and better equipped to manage it, and you will be a warrior.

 

Same ole same ole

Same ole story my back STILL hasn’t fused and no one knows why! I am going to have a CT scan done at the end of the month to figure out how much bone has grown, but for a fusion that should have completed in 6 months and it’s been 24 months (almost 25 months) to say I’m disappointed would be a little bit of an understatement. I think the best part now is that we have to watch for metal fatigue…yes that means we have to watch to make sure the metal that was implanted last year doesn’t break. Oh joy! As if I don’t have enough on my plate let me worry about if they are going to need a soldering iron too….

I will be seeing the hematologist soon and two things will happen at that appointment a) we will discuss removal of the IVC filter because everyone is pretty confident I am not going to have some massive deadly blood clot and b) genetic testing to see which genetic clotting disorder I possibly have. Which I am almost coming up to my 1 year anniversary of my first massive deadly all the doctors told me I should be 6 feet in the ground date so the fact that I’m still walking and talking is a HUGE plus! I mean I rather enjoy being a pain in everyone’s BUTT! I said that to one of my doctor’s recently and all he could do was laugh and shake his head. No other response but laughter….I think that’s a good sign…right?

Everyone is happy I survived especially me! Last night someone called me by my deceased sister’s name and I corrected them. They looked at me and apologized and I was teasing them about that if I was her we would really have a problem because I know it’s getting close to Halloween…but we’re not THAT close yet! Then I said if they wanted to go pay her a visit she has a lovely view of the river! The person laughed and said it was good to know I hadn’t lost my sense of humor (they had not seen me recently, and knew I had been having some serious medical issues).

I still think we need to start a betting pool on if my neck is going to fuse before my back! I mean the back has a 2 year lead on my neck, but at the rate it is going, my neck might actually fuse first! We could do a 50/50 split and the other 50 could go towards my medical bills! (I am of course just kidding!) It will be interesting to see which heals first my neck or my back, in some ways I think my neck will heal first because I am skinnier, and I think my overall health is better right now. Sure I am on the blood thinners, but I think the difference in the weight will make a huge difference in the outcome (as much as I hate to say it).

Which speaking of weight yesterday I put on a women’s XL shirt for the first time in years, and I was super excited. I am really working hard at taking off the excess pounds slowly and healthy. I am seeing the improvements, and I also know from doing all the physical therapy that I am also building up the muscle mass as well so I am not just losing the weight I am also building up muscle which will be important for the long term!

Emotions, Post Surgery and Restlessness

Last year I had my low back fused, and then 1 month to the day I had a saddle pulmonary embolism that according to the doctors should have killed me. So this year when I had my neck fused I’ll be honest the first 30 days I was holding my breath some. We did the blood thinner shots right after surgery, we did the IVC filter and I am back on blood thinners until the filter comes out probably in October. All that being said, I still held by breath until we hit that 30 day mark and I finally felt like I could breath again.

This post surgery recovery seems to be going more smoothly, and I don’t know if its because it’s so much higher that it has not limited my mobility in the same way that the low back did, or if it’s because this is my 4th major surgery in 2 years so I’m just so used to it that I’m a pro now. In all honesty…it’s probably a combination of the two. I never thought I would become a pro at having major surgeries and it’s not resume material, but you roll with the punches, and keep a good sense of humor about life! I know I haven’t posted in almost two weeks which is unusual for me, and I think I wrote six draft posts and trashed all of them.

I just have been nervous the closer we got to that thirty day mark, a bit restless because we were getting to that thirty day mark and no matter how much you tell yourself this time will be different there is always that small voice in the back of your head to remind you of last time. Every morning I would pass the box of empty shots and think to myself this time WAS different. We learned a very valuable lesson and you ARE fine.

It’s hard when you have had that kind of experience and then you have to turn around and in less than a year put yourself in almost the same circumstances that you were in when you had medical professionals tell you that you should be dead. I am the first one to tell you I am very glad to be alive. I know I am blessed beyond words to be alive. The more people that hear my story the more I realize how blessed I am, we have met several people over this last year who have lost loved ones to saddle pulmonary embolisms. They are no joke. I thank God everyday that I am alive.

I am coming up to the 1 year mark for my 2nd and 3rd surgeries (they were done on the same day) and I think that is why I am so restless. I know that was the event that started the dominoes falling. I know a lot more now then I knew then and we learned from everything that happened. I have a really weird body!

Hopefully with more testing we’ll get some answers on what is going on and why stuff keeps happening. I think we’re headed in the right direction and then maybe I won’t think my body is so weird, it will just be my personality!

NAPS!

Okay fess up who doesn’t like a good NAP? I mean I really think the Spanish have it right with siestas in the afternoon! Take a nap go back to work, you feel refreshed! As a child I stopped napping at 6 months which my poor Mom had to put up with, as an adult I take a nap about everyday now…I think I am making up for lost time…sorry Mom! My Mom really is a saint! She takes me to my appointments, helps with taking me to do odd errands like going to the bank, post office etc. When she jokes about that I am her full time job she’s not kidding!

I am really grateful for my Mom and how much help she has been these last couple of years with getting me to these appointments. I don’t know where I would be without her. It’s been nice to spend some extra time with her. Of course when we spend all this extra time it doesn’t feel like quality time because its always around medical appointments. I am seeing this doctor or that doctor, I’m getting this or that test run. So every once in awhile she and I will pick a day and just go out. We’ll spend some quality time together that is not around some medical appointment or procedure.

I know that my whole life is not going to be based around doctor visits and medical testing but right now that’s what it feels like and it’s exhausting! I have all these pills to take, all these blood draws and tests plus physical therapy. I’m always at this doctor or that’s office for some sort of check up. I have this test or that test coming up. My calendar is already filling up for December and we haven’t even hit September yet… life of anyone with a chronic illness!

Gratitude

When was the last time you stopped and made a list of 5 things you were grateful for? So often in the hustle and bustle of our day we forget about all our blessings we have, we are surrounded by gifts from God. I know especially on bad days we can get distracted from our attitude of gratitude really easily and focus on all the negative but those are the days we need to really stop and think of 5 things we are grateful for the most!

I know that with my surgery I have been really pre-occupied with everything surgery for the last couple of months and my wifey has definitely felt my stress. I knew my surgery was going to go well, I had no doubts about that part of it, but I was still stressed over the details. I am a very detail oriented person and I like to have all the ducks in a row and when one duck is not in that row I get out of sorts.

So I challenge everyone to try this week and take a few minutes to list 5 things you are grateful for everyday. Keep that attitude of gratitude alive and remember that life is short and you are too blessed to be stressed!

Tooblessed

Spoiled kitty!

Creme (the cat) is spoiled rotten. We all know this, we all accept this, we all accept that we have played a role in her becoming this way. This morning I was in the bathroom giving myself a blood thinner shot in front of the bathroom mirror and she decided that she wanted fresh water from the sink.

CremeSink

Well I was using the mirror so I was not so happy when she jumped up on the sink and then tried to nuzzle the hand that was busy giving myself the blood thinner shot! NO KITTY! GET DOWN CREME! MOMMY IS BUSY!! She was not happy that I was upset because a) all she wanted was some love b) all she wanted was some fresh water from the sink c) she did nothing wrong. So she hopped down with a disgruntled meow and laid in the kitchen floor glaring at me as I finished my shot. She wanted to make sure that I knew of her displeasure at being kicked out of the bathroom.

I realize that she doesn’t understand that I had a sharp object in my hand and her nuzzling my hand was not good for me, but sometimes you just gotta do what is good for you. She’ll get fresh water later. The Earth does not revolve around her, much to her dismay. I now know why the Egyptians worshiped cats, I mean any cat owner I think understands when they glare at you…you know they mean business!

Creme will be 9 this year so she is starting to get up there in age, but she is a happy cat with quite the personality. She definitely makes her presence known to us! She also makes sure that I am well taken care of in my recovery period after surgery. Creme who is not normally a lap cat becomes more of a lap cat right after I’ve had surgery and you can often find her curled up beside me on the couch. She definitely enjoys my company whether she will admit that or not I can’t say, but she definitely does enjoy being around me.