Tag Archives: surgery

How about you not sedate me?

So I finally got to get my IVC Filter out this week and I tried to do it with just lidocaine, but the powers to be had me under conscious sedation. Which means I was awake during the procedure, but I was giving some sedation medication. I really did try to convince the doctor that I didn’t need any sort of sedation, but he felt with with the fusion and medical history it would be better.

So most people are like GIVE ME THE DRUGS!!! I had several friends tell me I was crazy for not willingly accepting sedation and jumping at the chance to be sedated while they were doing this procedure. Well you see what had happened was…no seriously at this point I was so relaxed I was about falling asleep BEFORE they gave me the drugs which meant that once they gave me the drugs I was really falling asleep on them. The nurse had to keep me awake which I kept saying to her I’m awake..sort of..and she goes the drugs are working. I go I was half asleep before you gave them to me!

I also realized when the put me on the table that my shoulder was not going to be happy. I did not think about the fact that with my frozen shoulder that having to hold my arm in a certain position was going to be irritating. So we had to move it around until I found a less irritating hold and then that’s where we left my arm for the procedure. Thankfully removing the filter is a short procedure.

We talked before everything started that it should be an easy in and out. The only thing that would cause it to not be an easy in and out would be if there was a big blood clot in the filter and then he would have to leave it in because it would be dangerous to remove it. If the filter was tilted and he could not easily grab it, we might have to stop and try with a different approach or if the filter and the vein had attached to one another, which shouldn’t have happened because I had mine in for such a short period of time. All of these things I was well aware of because I had discussed it with my hematologist and his PA.

Having discussions with the doctors ahead of time and knowing what you are in for makes these procedures a lot easier. Being able to sign these consent forms that list death as a possible side affect because unfortunately any time you have a procedure like this death is always a possibility- it’s easier when it’s all been explained and you know what you are in for. The filter removal was simple and straightforward. We got it out and now I am oil filter free! (Inside joke) I do not need a new one. If I have another surgery it will be discussed again if another one should be placed.

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Black, blue and pale all over….

I don’t mind giving myself shots. Sure I would much rather to NOT have to give myself blood thinner shots, I mean I’m not no one readily signs up to give themselves shots..okay well there might be a small fraction of the population who want to, but I think it’s safe to say MOST don’t want to give themselves shots. The issue with the blood thinner shots is you have to give them on your stomach which means bruising and I’m so pale that it leaves a nice black and blue mark there.

Of course since we had my INR ratio at a nice even number my blood was nice and thin that means nice beautiful bruises. Since I am so pale that mean they look even more black and blue than I’m sure someone with a more tan coloring would look. This morning I announced very proudly how many I had given myself and how many I had left with a “but who’s counting” remark at the end of the statement. I mean I’m not trying to hurry this process at all..right?

I will be glad when these shots are over because that means two things a) the filter has been successfully removed and b) my INR has returned to a nice level again. If you had asked me 2 years ago if I would have this much medical knowledge I would have raised an eyebrow, then furrowed my brows and said no and then probably squinted at you. Now I shrug my shoulders and say c’est la vie which is French for such is life, shake my head and tell some quip or joke and move the conversation into a much more light hearted direction.

I have had a lot dumped in my lap, but I try not to let it weigh me down. I make jokes where I can, and brush the rest of it off. It’s not easy. There are times when I want to sit in the corner and cry and give up. I just have learned that I can’t give up. I have to shake it all off and keep moving. I can’t give in and humor has been my shield.

I have also learned that by telling my story I have helped others not repeat my mistakes. I have helped others get medical treatment when they needed it. I will be the first one to admit I am stubborn. I don’t particularly like doctors, doctor’s offices or hospitals. I will procrastinate going, but I am getting better about getting help faster. I have learned that you can’t always wait, it can be life or death. Waiting can kill. I am blessed that I have a good medical team who helps me make good decisions. Unfortunately there are times that there isn’t a great decision to be made. The other day we had a situation where there really isn’t anything that can be done besides just treat the symptoms for now.

I have learned to be a little more patient and be an advocate. I have also learned at the end of the day I know my body the best. I know what is going on the best and I have to speak up for myself. That has been the most challenging lesson of all. Learning how to speak up in the right ways.

SerenityPrayer

IVC Filter take Two

So we tried to remove my IVC filter in December and I then had a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst that left 2L (yes liters) of blood free floating in my abdomen. So emergency surgery paperwork signed between grunts and screams of pain (trust me I can deal with pain but that I don’t want to have to deal with AGAIN!) Whisked into the ER and then told I was very lucky that it was only a cyst that had ruptured (they were thinking my ovary had ruptured but there was so much fluid they could not get a clear picture…go figure!

So we figured that Lovonox was to blame in the scenario because I was on a bridge because I was supposed to get my IVC filter out the next day. Yeah talk about timing! So I make frantic calls to get that canceled! So now about 6 months later we are planning to try again. So I am on shots again..oh the joys..does anyone really enjoy giving themselves shots? And I’ll be glad when this is all behind me. This IVC filter was only supposed to be TEMPORARY! It has over stayed it’s welcome! Get it OUT OF ME! IVC filters are tricky things they used to be placed more commonly to help prevent blood clots in patients with histories of Pulmonary Embolisms. Then the filters started to break and there are lawsuits galore (you probably have seen the ads on TV) so doctors do not place them in patients like they used to. I am one of those lucky patients that the benefit of placement out weighs the risks, but we still do not want it long term because they can break. Plus they can change the shape of the vein they are placed in and other issues. So the grand plan was to place it and then take it out about 8 weeks after my surgery…and then stuff just kept happening.

So needless to say I am ready for it to come out, and I will suffer through giving myself the shots so I can have it taken out and move on. We are taking life one day at a time. One medical mystery at a time. My shoulder is still giving me fits. I am rather annoyed at that. They gave me an IV in the hospital and then it started locking back up…unfair! I think it was because I held it so still, so I know it was my fault, but I am going to try and be more conscious about moving it around and working it this week.

Sickthisoften

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!