The Highlight Reel

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I have to have another surgery. I am scared.

Girlfriend and I had Issues. Things are looking up now.

I started a temp job.

My laundry is really backed up right now, and I’m trying to catch up before I have limited mobility again.

I’m kind of tired of crazy things being wrong with me, but at the same time, I’m very very grateful for the outstanding care.

It turns out my forehead reacts to soda. Of course it does… /Sarcasm/

I’ve been drinking more coffee than ever, partly because I couldn’t for so long. This may change back again…

I mentioned before that I can now drink milk, and I have been, almost every day.

I gained SO MUCH WEIGHT, you guys… I didn’t even know this was possible. I am delighted that I can eat things I couldn’t digest easily before, but something is up with the way I am digesting my food. It scares me not knowing if this will change from good to bad or not.

 

Tales from Surgery…

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And now for something completely different… Here’s a list of completely random things about the hospital & surgery & life afterwards that I’ve been meaning to share:

You get the stupids. I’ve had the stupids off and on since surgery, which was now, (counts on fingers), about 6 months ago. In the beginning, it was the pain pills, but now, it’s just organically stupid. Some say it’s a menopause thing.

Extra-bonus complicated surgery means that some of the sh…tuff I went through, you will not go through. So, please don’t get scared off!

All in all, I’m glad I did it. But, yes, there were moments when I questioned it… Not really about the kid thing at the time, because honestly, as it turns out, that would’ve been pretty near impossible, but more about the amount of pain involved. Surgery hurts. A lot. Especially when you’re talking about completely opening the abdomen up and taking out a ton of stuff that doesn’t belong there.

The sad-no-kid feelings did/do come, but I kept/keep reminding myself about the above. It would have been far worse if I’d tried…

Walking was awful for a while there. There’s a reason they call it the “hysterectomy shuffle”, but the pillow against abdomen thing totally helped.

Hospital food kinda sucks. Except I really wasn’t allowed to eat much of it during the first visit. Also, because my hospital doesn’t clarify the difference between an allergy and an intolerance to their food staff, I basically was allowed to only eat about 1 or 2 items off of a 6 item menu. Good times. During the second visit, it took a minor miracle for me just to get a sandwich.

Oh, so many of my food issues cleared up once I healed from the surgery. Thank goodness! It was a tough road for awhile, there.

I don’t want to be in a shared room with a woman with her husband staying over 24/7. No one asked.

The physical therapists were so understanding. I loved them.

I don’t drink much (the gallbladder put the kebosh on that), and I don’t take medicines unless I’m in a ton of pain, so the pain medicine they gave me made me goofy. …Which at least was better than what my mood would’ve been without.

I don’t like shots in the tummy.

The first day home was so, so hard. I took three steps and needed to rest a good 15 minutes before even attempting to go any further.

Nurses are awesome.

Throat after surgery. So not right. Apparently, that was all I could talk about until they got me some throat spray. I barely remember this, but I do remember being happy I had that, since I wasn’t allowed to eat for days.

I gained all my weight back and then some. I was really enjoying being 20 pounds lighter, you guys!

I am pretty sure it was the menopause fairy that told me to eat a trayful of brownies a couple of months ago.

Hot flashes suck. It is everything you’d think it would be and more. Who knew tshirts conducted heat???

I probably should’ve stayed on my post-surgery health kick. I started eating a lot of junk food once I was able to. Lack of gallbladder problems, meet menopause. I’m sure you two will have lots of fun together.

I can’t tell you about lesexytime, (even if you wanted to know), because it hasn’t happened yet. I really don’t care that much. I think letting it happen naturally is best, and I wasn’t exactly mojo-ready. I’m not a good baseline anyway, because of technical surgery things in that region.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, so there might be another one of these later! 🙂

More This & That

1 You’re gonna do WHAT with that?

I need a colonoscopy… and it’s coming up soon. I am mostly ok with it- not looking forward to it, but it will be nice to have the results.

 

2 MMM cookies!

I got “fat”. Please, let me call it what it is. Everyone irl has been sparing my feelings, which is nice, but a weight gain of about 15 lbs makes me feel fat. After everything I’ve been through, I’ve earned the right to just blurt it out, I think.

And why did I get fat? Well, I can now eat things I couldn’t eat before, and that is awesome. At least, that *may* be part of it. The other part is me trying to figure out the ins and outs of surgical menopause, which isn’t easy.

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One of many exasperating, but not painful, symptoms.

But on the bright side, there’s this:

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Yes, I am referencing actual dairy-based ice cream! I can eat it now! It turns out, the problems I experienced were due to my malfunctioning gallbladder! That’s pretty much all I’ve tried, but I’m looking forward to trying other former problem foods.

 

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Yay! No more periods!

Boo! Surgical menopause is almost exactly like PMS (for me), but without the pain.

I’ve been cooking and eating, so there will be more of those types of posts on the way. But, I might not get to it until after the exam, for obvious reasons.

 

Take care! 🙂

Stuff and Nonsense

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It’s Week 17 since the surgery, and a few weeks out from the surprise stay. I’ve been trying to think of inspirational and/or funny posts, but the truth is, I’m not always all that inspired or funny.

Things are going fine in the grand scheme of things. I’ve been able to eat things I really shouldn’t be eating. I’ve been drinking soda again since about a month after the surgery. I’m not proud of this, but there are far worse habits out there. My plan is to get back on the water train, but I will finish what’s already around first.

I’ve been able to do a little somethin’-somethin’ with my beauty regimen. I no longer have to stick to unscented, un-anything types of products. So, since the incision healed, I’ve been using a lavender body wash/shampoo combo, which has been appropriate for the chill mood I’ve been trying to work.

Truth be told, I’ve been getting some flack for not getting my act together faster, and it’s affected my mood. Some people get motivated by that sort of criticism. I don’t. Especially when I was just starting to get back on my feet and feel good again. This isn’t a rant blog, but this has been a part of my life since I wrote last, and if you want the facts, I feel like I must include it. I’m sure everyone has their own versions of this on the road to surgery recovery- that well-meaning friend or relative who thinks you can leap large buildings in a single bound, while you would just be happy to walk to one.

I kayaked with Girlfriend, which confused everyone but her. I should say: “She helped me into the boat, pushed me off, then pulled me back in when I was finished”, but that takes too long. She also found delightful little spots for us to take breaks and sat there and played floaty with her boat so I’d stop and rest. So, um, technically, I kayaked, but mostly I took pictures of nature and put my feet and hands in the water.

I actually did walk around with a sports bra and shorts while we were at the cabin. She’d gotten me these scar patch things that I used to protect my scars from the sun. But, while we were out boating, I felt a little too shy and a little too worried about exposing them like that. It just felt better to have a bathing suit on over them.

The scar itself is still huge, long, and purple. I don’t think I have average feelings about it, compared to what I see elsewhere. Mostly, I feel proud that I survived. I never had the courage to get a tattoo, and this is kind of like one. Though, at the same time, I also hope it fades. It will take at least a year before I will know for sure. I am lucky that Girlfriend is not squeamish- she has seen the scar since I started taking pictures of it, and heard me talking about it since Day 1. So, I don’t feel like I have to hide it from her, which is very nice. I can’t imagine what those feelings must be like, on top of actually experiencing surgery.

…Just a little of this and that.

Everything is Different the Second Time Around…

Let me be super-duper mega clear: Being in the hospital is not the same as being in prison. But, when you’re upset and feeling poorly and can’t leave until they say you can, there is comfort in a theme song from a television show.

 

This time was different. This time, I didn’t expect it. I’d come back from having a minor procedure, and already had started to feel unwell. But, I pushed, because it seemed sensible at the time that procedure= pain= stop whining, you wimp.

But, it wasn’t that…

I’d developed some sort of random problem that very few people get, but is one of the possibilities you sign on for. It took me a few days to realize it though. By that time, I barely could move. It wasn’t pretty. It doesn’t make for good blogging. But, there it is.

This time is not so much a story about triumph, as it is about survival.

When you are in extreme pain, and you can’t even get out of bed, let alone do things, do you find a way to get yourself treatment that’s an hour away? Or do you lay there, waiting for it to get worse?

The ER is in a nationally-recognized “bad neighborhood”, but that’s where your Dr. works. You probably should see that Dr. because this is probably related to the other day. You can’t get pushed through quickly, in spite of this, and end up waiting in the ER for hours, while random people are ranting to themselves in a kind of frightening way, and you didn’t eat breakfast, but there are candy machines, but there is a sign saying not to eat until a Dr. sees you, but you have no idea when that will be.

Finally, a few hours into it, you end up in a wheelchair and wait some more.

Eventually, you end up in a gurney in a hallway for the remainder of the night. Then, blissfully, a kind nurse gets you into a room for a few hours so you can get some sleep. It is the next day. You are eventually transferred to a shared room with a woman and her husband. You walk by them, trying to hold your gown closed whenever you have to pee. There is food trash all over their side, and you are still not allowed to eat. They watch terrible TV all the time. But, you feel so crappy, and you know you just have to deal with it.

But, how do I tell this story… when I wasn’t able to even do this much for so many years? Because this sort of thing is a very fraught issue in the States and I know how very, very fortunate and lucky, and you could even say, blessed, I am to even have this. How dare I say that it was hard for me?

I cried, I chewed my lips, I moped, and sometimes I smiled. But it wasn’t the same.

 

 

Warrior Princess/Laundress/Cook

I’ve been trying to re-acclimate as best I can. I’m not fully cleared yet, but at least, I can do a few things now.

Laundry: happened this week mostly unassisted. It’s comical at this stage- it is taking me at least 5x as long, but whatever, it’s good exercise. I cannot carry the basket. I also cannot carry anything that weighs more than a milk jug. This means I’m doing it in relatively small armfuls, and I’m only doing about a load a day at this point. Small steps…

Vanity: All along, I’ve told both myself and others that I really didn’t care too much about what it looked like afterwards, I really just wanted to be healthy. Well, I lied. It turns out I care. I’m cleared for Neosporin, so I’m using that. But, no, a bikini isn’t happening this season for both health and vanity reasons. (Scars sunburn easily- I didn’t know that. It’s too soon to expose it like that, if I’m striving for optimum healing).

Weight/Body Shape:  I don’t know what made me think that my body shape would change. I guess it was the fact that I had extra stuff in there that wasn’t supposed to be there. I also thought I’d lose a substantial amount of weight. I did. Then, I went right back to my original weight once I was able to eat properly.

Walking/Movement: Not great/not awful. I mostly look normal until I start pushing too hard. Then, it’s off to the nearest chair.

Pain: My pain was not so bad this week. I’m mostly off of the pain pills now, but every once in a while, I need them. It’s mostly the abdomen that’s sore, although sneezing and yawning will bring out pain elsewhere, too.

I should probably state the obvious here, just for those reading this and wondering how their surgery will go: Please remember, everyone is different. My doctor basically thinks I’m a Warrior Princess for handling as much pain as I have been. Moral of the story: what is low-level pain to me could be agony to you.

Cooking: I baked a box cake. It kicked my booty. I haven’t cooked a meal yet, but I might try this week.

Eating: I’ve really been very lucky all long, but the coffee I made this morning has been refluxing all day. All in all, I really can’t complain, though.

I guess, in summation, things are looking up, it’s just the invisible stuff that has been getting me. You don’t really know how much makes you tired until the day you overdo it.

 

Finding my groove again

That thing where you wake up energized and wanting to workout, but then realize you should probably try for making the bed first.

I’m on Week 7 post-surgery, for anyone who’s counting. This means I can’t actually “workout” per se, but I can do a few things around the house now. This is good, because stuff is accumulating.

I started with wiping off the craft table that’s been doubling as an eating surface. At the moment, I have snacks squished in between the arts and crafts. As far as actual crafting goes, I’ve really been taking it in bite-sized sittings. Any more than that, and I tire out.

I did make the bed solo, and I’m out of breath… so, there’s that.

I made a couple of things on the indoor grill- a hot dog and a grilled cheese sandwich, but it’s a start. The grill and its plates are still a little heavier than I’d like.

I keep thinking about yoga, which I guess is a good thing. I am trying to stretch my arms and legs without bothering my abdomen too much. So, ok, that’s not technically yoga, but it’s something. Actual yoga won’t be ok for a while, and even then, I still have to be nice to my stomach.

I would like to bike ride eventually. Think Kermit rather than Lance. Even to just sit upright and twiddle around would be great. I don’t know how my endurance will change, or if it even will, but I’d like to try.

Kayak season is here. I still have to check with the Dr. to see when it would be ok to try, but because it can get strenuous, I have to play it safe. This is so tough because kayaking is my ultimate summer activity. I usually take pictures while I’m out, so at least that can happen, as long as I don’t overdo the walking.

Medically, I still have another procedure. Whether or not this is a big deal will be figured out on the spot. I’m hoping everything’s fine. It has me a little spooked. I’ve been feeling pretty good, but it will mean being sore all over again… but I will hopefully be healthy, which is so much more important.

🙂

Surgery Snippets: Recovery

Last month I ended up having a pretty complex surgery. Most of my abdominal parts were affected. But, I’m happy to report so far, so good on the recovery front! While I’m recovering, I figured I’d start off with a few random observations I’ve accumulated so far:

Surgery= from adult to Muppet Baby faster than you can say “Meep”.

 

Getting out of bed: The first thing I had to re-learn was getting out of bed. You’d think, as an adult, you’ve mastered the fine art of getting into and out of a bed. Well, ha ha, no. Not so much. For the first little while, I basically could not get out of bed by myself. Then, I had to follow a specific set of directions. Now, I mostly rely on elbow and arm power.

Walking: Then came walking. Really, all I had to learn here was to take it very, very slowly, and remember to keep my head at eye level. At first, I used a pillow to hold against my stomach. I don’t know why this works, but it does. Walking was very, very hard for a while, but now, I can compete with the best toddlers!

Stairs: You cannot walk up and down stairs like an adult. Ok, at least I couldn’t. I had to re-learn the kid’s way of taking stairs- arm on rail, one foot, keep it there, second foot. It takes twice as long, and now that I’m doing better, it’s enormously frustrating. But, you heal better when things don’t pull, and this method helps with that.

Patience: See above. Once I started feeling a little better, I became impatient. Yet, I am still in pain, and still in danger of messing things up if I go too fast. Also, naps happen. You may not want them to, but they do, and often after things you would not think would tire you out. So, taking it slowly is really key.

Food: For the first few weeks, I was living on jello, water ice, juice, cream of wheat, water, broth, and eventually protein drinks. Obviously, I lost weight, and not in the good way. But, once I got to the protein drinks, at least that leveled off some. Sure, many women wouldn’t be unhappy with a loss of a few pounds, but when I lose, I prefer to do so the healthy way. Once I was allowed solid foods, I concentrated on protein-filled choices, like hummus. This worked out well for both healing and digestion, as smaller meals are better for now, anyway. Any time I’ve overdone it, I’ve known. But, boy it’s great to be able to eat again!

 

…And now, it’s time to take a nap. See you soon! 🙂