Updated: Sep 26, 2021
3 weeks, 5 days post surgery. I have not had the attention span, the focus, or the clarity of mind to post anything. Surgery was Monday, August 30. Thursday, September 2nd, I was sent home. It was my surgeon's greatest desire to get me in a less Covid infested environment as quickly as possible. It took 3 days to get pain meds balanced to manage the pain - and I have a HIGH tolerance for pain! I was worried about feeling alone, HAH! Doctors, nurses, CNA's, ARNP's, and people I don't even know their titles were in and out of my room. 4am blood draws, yep. 6am visits from Ian (not sure his title, but he works in my surgeon's office), then he'd go back to the team, then 30-45 minutes later the "team" would all come and assess me together - EVERY day! Meals 8am, 12-1pm, 5pm. I really didn't have time to feel lonely. Then they sent me home.
Another balance of figuring things out, spent way more time alone, watched a ton of Netflix, then 8 days later, pain became uncontrollable. Being off the oxy, I thought my body was adjusting, by Friday (day 10) I could not handle the pain. Meghan and Jen had brought breakfast and coffee. Jen (an ER nurse) noticed I wasn't doing that great and so I called Vivian who told me to go to the ER at UM immediately. Well, I wound up in the hospital until the following Tuesday night. Infection! I fell in love with some of my people that were kind, supportive, and made me feel good about feeling so yucky! Canes, Jaima, Ian, Vivian, Amparo (although she drove me CRAZY: "Do you want your window screen open?" me, "no, thank you." repeat. Go for endoscopic surgery, return to room, window screen UP.
#1 Came home with a drain, which was removed September 22. Everything was a little bit more complicated, and my pants sat right on that spot, lots of nightgowns and dresses!
#2 Thought the meds were no longer effective, so took myself off them the day I had the drain removed. BIG mistake. As Dyanne so eloquently reminded me, there was a time for them, and the time was now.
#3 There are good days, and bad days, but every day is a bit better.
#4 My bed is too firm, and there is a lot of internal pressure. My daughter's mattress is soft, therefore, much more supportive, and since she moved out, it's a huge benefit to me.
#5 I get very winded. Taking my time and being intentional with my breathing is a thing.
#6 Sneezing, yawning, and deep breaths must be taken while standing, otherwise there is a lot of pain.
#7 I am a tough cookie. I started doing laps around my driveway, I walk all over the house, because sitting in one place too long bothers me, and my eating is now also very intentional.
#8 My husband has filled in great in the dad/mom/grocery shopper/cook/animal caretaker role. Sometimes you have to let others step up, and the results will surprise you. (thanks Jeneen!)
#9 I am a doer. There is only so much Netflix I can watch. Seriously, couch potato will never be my title. Maybe for a period of time to reset, but stagnancy is NOT my thing.
#10 Our kids are tough, helpful, compassionate, and loving - I'm so blessed.
Last, but not least, my God is AWESOME. I have always known that, but seeing His hands every step of the way through this journey, while in the hospital, when there was an infection, and in all the little things. His timing is always perfect. His love for us is unconditional. The messages I received at the EXACT moment I needed them - that was God sending those people to me at the perfect time. The most memorable one I will share. My veins went into hiding, my IV popped out, my nurse tried at least 8 times to get a needle in many different places. I was in pain, bruised, and waiting to go into the OR for my endoscopic surgery to remove fluid from the balloon tangled in my spleen. The nurse got up to go get a colleague with more experience (thank God),
I got up to look at my phone and this message was there from a friend I had not spoken to since June: "Hey. You hang in there. This isn't easy stuff. You are a black belt for a reason. Remember that. You are stronger than most. Stay positive and keep your mind busy." The sender was my friend who has been battling prostate cancer for 10 years. He is a man of faith. I dried my eyes, the next nurse came in, I mentioned having a text, he suggested it was one of the fluffy thinking of you, I said, "nope. my friend reminded me that I'm tough, I'm a black belt, these hands have broken concrete, and this isn't easy, but I can deal with it." The pain was rough, he tried 3 different veins, but finally got it into one. He gave me some pain meds, and off I went.
God is good - all the time. If you don't see it in your life, you need to look harder. I am a grateful, thankful woman, and the daughter of the King, and I won't forget it!
My post cancer, survivor mode is in full gear. The cancer is out, and I'm on the other side. I'm plotting and planning mini trips and the big one next summer, so stay tuned, the next chapter is right around the corner!