Here’s the Latest Happenings

With the end near of 2018, so many thoughts and memories come to mind. Despite not feeling well from Spring to October 18th, I really did have an awesome year. I started volunteering at an awesome bookstore. I even attempted to tutor but it didn’t work out. I met new friends and I joined a Murderino podcast/meet up group in February.

I also happened to drop 74 pounds in 2018. And got healthier and happier than I had been in years. I really did love my life in 2018.

In regards to my life-saving surgery on Oct. 23rd: Everything outwardly has closed up nicely. It appears that the healing has ended its course minus the edema is still in my legs (10 lbs left to shed). Between now through Feb. 12th, I am to allow my body on the inside to now heal and to not try to lose any weight until after 2/12/19. Mentally and emotionally, I have not processed ANY of this. My short-term memory is still splotchy and I was told, I may not ever recover anything from 2-months ago.

The photo on the right is from Friday, December 21st. As you can see, I still have fluid in my legs, making them a lot thicker than normal but overall, I was feeling good that day when the photo was taken.

I am still trying to figure out this new stomach of mine too. Unlike what I was trained to have — the lap band from 2012 to Oct. 23rd of this year … I knew what I could and could NOT eat. I thought I had a routine and I thought it was somewhat working for the best for me, especially since December 2017.

With only having 15% of my stomach now… I can surprisingly eat foods I couldn’t eat for the past 6 years. My new stomach also tells me extremely quickly when I need to stop eating and that I am full. I can eat up to 6 small meals per day. I always always always eat breakfast now. I never knew how important eating right away in the morning was until I had my surgery two months ago. I tend to eat my lunches not quite at my former times around 11:30AM… I tend to eat it later after the norm.

Also prior to this new stomach, eating oranges or any type of citrus fruits really upset my stomach. New stomach, I eat a lot of oranges. In fact, HyVee, here in Sioux Falls, currently has 4-pounds of oranges for a cheap price of $1.77 per bag this week. I bought three bags. And lately, I’ve been cutting up 4 oranges at a time and eat them as a healthy snack.

The photo to the left, is my healed up incision that is located below my breasts but above my belly button.

Today, December 27th, I have been alive 65 days.

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My New Anthem Songs

Happy to be alive Day 58 😘 Found two songs that definitely define the new me: 🎢🎹 THIS IS ME by Kesha & FIGHT SONG by Rachel Platten. 🎸🎼❀

I am wearing a size LARGE dress from Old Navy for $2.88 on clearance with a LARGE cardigan I bought at the Bargain Shoppe in Tyndall (SD) for $3.00. The fleece-lined footless tights, also bought on clearance, 2 years ago (never worn or brave enough till today!!!!) for $9.00 from Lane Bryant.

Enjoy your Thursday my friends.

Today: 6 Weeks Post-Op

6 weeks ago was my surgery. Today at 3:45pm, I return to my surgeon’s office to get my drain taken out, and to receive new instructions going forward. Please keep me in mind. My Mom is coming for the finale.

Oh The Trauma…

My doctor visit didn’t go well. I’ve gained 30 pounds of fluids. 21 pounds of fluids since Nov. 20. I barely can move my legs and it’s difficult to get into my car.

It’s not just fluid retention but sharp pain in my legs, lower stomach and now my face. I got more blood work done at the visit. My doctor said with the intensity of the trauma my body has gone through this is why it’s retaining so much fluid.

The other option is far worse she said, which is death. I said I will take walking in quicksand for now.

She put me on a high dose of a pee pill. My legs need to be elevated a lot higher now and absolutely no salt. I also had to buy a scale [see photo to the left] I am to call her on Monday with my daily weight totals.

Let the pee games begin!

Doomsday: October 23, 2018

Many hours after my emergency surgery.

 

Full look of my incision.

 

Getting bandaged up by two nurses in my hospital room.

 

The RNs are trying to get my drainage tube adjusted correctly into the side of my stomach.

 

All bandaged up.

 

Exhausted, cold and super thirsty but got ice chips instead.

Remembering on Day 41

Earlier this afternoon, I went on to my Avera Portal and looked up everything I could find about the two ER visits I had on Oct 19th and Oct 23rd. As well as, the visit to Dr. Strand to get my lap band emptied and then the actual emergency life saving surgery also on the 23rd. What I read stunned me. S T U N N E D. Shocked. Mystified. And then I had to go lay down because the magnitude of what I just read and after looking up all the meanings of the 8 different diagnoses almost put me over the edge.

I saw my RN friend was online so I immediately bombarded her with my stunned numbness. And I sent numerous texts to my mom too. While my mom was literally present during the whole nightmare, I either blocked it all out or I just haven’t fully processed it all but I think I’ve mentioned it before but I know what happened on October 18th, October 19th and the night of October 22nd. I recall not wearing my winter coat on a very frigid morning of October 23rd when my mom pulled up her car to the door of my complex to pick me up and take me to the standing ER on 26th and Marion Road.

I remember falling off the gurney in the ER that morning… and I remember being told that an ambulance was on its way to pick me up. I remember my mom saying she was going to walk over to HyVee next door to get some breakfast. I remember calling her on her cell phone telling her I was on my way to Avera McKennan Hospital via ambulance and to come back quickly. Next I remember three EMTs showing up, getting me into the squashed teal and green ambulance. I remember the ride to the hospital as very very uncomfortable and I thought the driver had hit all the potholes on his merry way, when in reality, I know he was driving fast to get across the city. And somewhere along the drive, my mom was tailing right behind in her car. She told me much later that she got there at the same time as the ambulance.

I remember the lady EMT was at my feet pushing the gurney and the blonde hair guy EMT was at the front of the gurney. My last memory was mega blurry and I remember barely being able to see and someone helping me into a hospital gown. I remember nothing else until a long long long time later when I weirdly remember suddenly being awake in Room 1-205 on the Med-Surg Wing 1 at McKennan Hospital.Β  There were two nurses in my room talking quietly. I do not recall seeing my mom right away. I remember being in a foggy state of mind. And I clearly remember the horrific pain in the middle of my stomach.

In and out of sleep, I clearly remember my very first visitor. Mavis (Odens) Amundson. What a wonderful and beautiful surprise. Then several others came to see me…. I remember every visitor but I don’t know how coherent I was with any of them. Or if I was “actually all there.” I do remember each nurse and nurse tech who came in. I tried to get to know each person who helped treat me. I thought it was important to understand how they were treating me. But what my mom and I came to learn was none of them had any idea what kind of surgery I just survived or the seriousness of what I just went through.

So back to today and reading the 8 diagnoses on my Portal Chart through Avera.

  • Gastric Necrosis
  • Acute Blood Loss Anemia
  • Acute Abdomen
  • Hypertriglycerdemia
  • Sepsis
  • Leukocytosis
  • Dysmenorrhea (related to my other issue dealing with peri-menopause)
  • MenorrhagiaΒ (related to my other issue dealing with peri-menopause)

I read all of the findings from each doctor or PA-C. I read their notes. I read the diagnoses on the Portal and then I Googled all of them. I contacted my friend who is a RN too just for some clarification… and then I sent them all to my mom via text. Not to upset her but to simply ask if she was told any of these while she was waiting for me to get out of surgery or anytime afterwards. No, she said. While Dr. Person’s did come out and speak to her, none of these crazy words were discussed.

It’s all good. I am alive on Day 41. I’ve been living life so much differently now that I haven’t been sick like I was prior to surgery. I have been vomit-free for 41 days. I have been acting differently. I have been talking differently. I have been feeling differently. I have been thanking my mom daily for saving my life for the second time in six years. And with that, how will I ever repay her?!

How do I tell my own mother thank you for literally saving my life? Yes, Dr. Person and the other team of surgeon’s and the OR staff truly saved my life on the operating table… but had my mom not kept urging me to get dressed and let’s get in the car to the ER …. or had she NOT been at my apartment spending the night… I know I would have never taken myself to the ER by myself. And I would be dead.

My mom was my saving grace. Literally. And I literally healed at my childhood home for 32 days.

And now we have majority of the answers to our long long long year of unanswered questions of what was wrong with me and why I was always in pain.

Happy to be alive on Day 41. Happy to be back at work — part-time status for now, but happy I am still employed. I am happy with the friends who have truly stepped up and showed me their true faithful selves to me and my wonderful mother. I am happy just to be happy that I am healing physically, mentally and emotionally.

As Dr. Strand said to me, “Don’t dwell on the past, let’s just keep moving forward.”Β 

Here’s to remembering but not dwelling on anything but the future.

 

 

Edema, How I Hate You!

Today is Day 38. Hallelujah!

Since last being seen at my surgeon’s office for a clinic visit on November 20th, with his amazing PA-C, Gwen, edema has set in and causing me to retain 13 pounds of fluid in my lower belly, my thighs, calves and feet. Yikes. My entire left leg/foot is far worse than my right. And it’s mega difficult getting it into my car. Sleeping hasn’t been easy either as I am always flexing my ankles and moving my legs around to make them less crampy-like.

And Gwen said no to taking Lasik, the drug that would relieve most of the edema but not wise with the type of surgery I have had.

Two weeks ago I bought some compression socks from Dr. Comfort at the Bon Homme Family Clinic’s Pharmacy in Tyndall, South Dakota. Jeremiah, one of the Pharmacists, measured my calves and found me the perfect “designer style” of Dr. Comfort’s compression socks to sport. I thought they were going to be horrible to wear but I find them doing what they are supposed to be doing. So I bought another pair.

Recently I’ve been dinking around on Pinterest, looking up different ways to relieve the discomfort of having so much fluid on my lower half of my body. I found this cool site:Β DIY Health Site

The photo to the right is a photo of me, taken today, while pampering my edema legs and feet. A fancier nail salon in Sioux Falls was offering a special yesterday and today only and I opted to get one at a discounted price. This salon was my second time going, the last was in 2016. It’s a lot classier than the regular joint I frequent but well worth the ah-mazing pampering experience the ladies there give you.

It’s frustrating to be recovering for me because prior to this emergency surgery on October 23rd, I used to shower in the morning before work and then before bed, I’d take a cozy bath. Well as you probably have guessed, no cozy baths since before October 18th when this nightmare came alive. And still nothing but showers until my incision is fully healed up with no open pockets. But once again, I am just HAPPY TO BE ALIVE than ashes sitting somewhere in my mom’s house.

Did you hear me????

I AM HAPPY TO BE ALIVE!!!!