Two Years and Counting

I only thought I was home free…
September 29, 2008, 8:38 am
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Last week my recovery went steadily uphill every day–I guess that’s the right thing too say—it was the opposite of it going downhill, but saying it went “uphill” sounds kind of funny. At any rate, each day, the soreness and tiredness got better and I was feeling ok about it all. Until Friday. Towards the end of the work day Friday, I noticed my stomach was feeling itchy, but not around my belly button, which is where it had been itching (itching around the incision = healing, which is good.) Then after work when I changed clothes, I noticed a strange red rash on my upper stomach, right under my br.a line, and extending down a couple of inches. I knew that was out of the ordinary, as I never get any kind of skin irritations like that. M and I looked at it for a bit, agreed that it was strange, and I called my dad (an internist) to get his opinion. We figured it may be an allergic reaction to the antibiotic they gave me to take after my surgery, even though I’d stopped taking it two days earlier. Strange, but possible.

By the time I went to bed Friday night had gotten redder and more angry looking, had spread down my stomach, and was itching like crazy. I took some benadryl when I went to sleep thinking it might help the itching, but it didn’t help at all. Saturday morning it was worse—much redder and incredibly itchy. I called the on call nurse at the clinic, who told me to take more benadryl and try some cortisone cream. I did both, and neither helped. By late Saturday, I changed my mind and decided it must have been something they put on my skin during the surgery, probably the betadine they washed me with, because it was isolated only to my stomach, and also directly around both incisions. There was a line down both of my sides that the redness didn’t extend past. So basically, the redness was in a square—and it made sense that prior to the surgery, they would have washed my skin just in those areas. If it were a reaction to the antibiotic, I probably would have been red and itchy in more places—like my back, chest, etc. My dad agreed that it was probably the betadine, since it was such clearly delineated area, but he was clueless as to why the reaction was so delayed.

Fast forward to Sunday morning and I was almost in tears. It’s hard to put into words just how bad it itched. I called the on call nurse again and said I had to come in. They took me right away, which was a miracle. The doctor on call was stumped as well. We went through the whole game of “Did you change detergents, did you eat anything unusual, etc.” He admitted that dermatology isn’t his strong point, and that he’d never seen a reaction like this that came on a full week after the betadine was used. Finally he prescribed me a med.rol dose pack, a 6 day regimen of prednisone, which is what my dad suggested as well. He also gave me a stronger antihistimine to help with the itching and to help me sleep since the benadryl didn’t help.

It took a few hours after the first doses, but slowly yesterday, the itching lessened some. It never went away completely, but it was better. During church, the itching started to come back, making me realize I need to take the anti-itching antihistimine more often. Kind of like right now I’m sitting here at my office and it’s starting to come back, making me think I should have taken it again about 2 hours ago instead of 20 minutes ago. I need to nail down my dosage times for that, but the prednisone has definite dosage times laid out for you. It makes my stomach hurt, which is a common side effect, but it’s better than the itching. The fact that I’m sitting here feeling ok and not ready to literally pull my hair out is a definite improvement over yesterday!

I just cruised through last week with minimal problems, then everything just fell apart this weekend! At least I know I’m allergic to betadine. Like the doctor said yesterday, “Hopefully you won’t ever have to have surgery again, but if you do, don’t let them come after you with the betadine!” 


Lap Update
September 23, 2008, 1:44 pm
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I seem to be repeating myself here when I say “work is so busy” but I’ll use that excuse yet again! Sorry I haven’t updated about the lap. It was on Friday. Things went as well as surgery can, I suppose, except for the over 3 hour wait! We arrived at 6:15 expecting the surgery to be around 8ish, but it didn’t start til about 10. That was kind of a bummer, but not the worst thing in the world. At least I had a tv in the room I was in. (However, I did spend that time in a lovely 12-sizes-too-big hospital gown “open in the back please!”) 

Anyway, I’ll skip to the recovery, since that’s what came next for me after they wheeled me down the hall and pumped me full of anesthesia. Anesthesia doesn’t agree with me very well, which is pretty much what I expected. As soon as I woke up, I was pretty nauseated. The nurses kept coming over to me saying things like, “Oh honey, you look like you don’t feel very well.” I was like—gee thanks, give me something for the nausea! Except I wasn’t much up for talking. Everything I did, including talking and moving my head the slightest bit, made me feel like I was going to throw up. After 15 minutes or so, they wheeled me back down to the private recovery room and M came in and thankfully handed me my glasses so I could see everyone. (No contacts allowed in surgery, obviously.) I stayed in there for maybe 30 minutes before deciding I wanted to go home, even though I still felt really sick. Somehow, they got me into a wheelchair and into the car, and the car ride home was pretty rough. Combine nausea from anesthesia + typical motion sickness, and you get one unhappy girl. But as soon as I got home and in my own bed, at least I was in better spirits. M took wonderful care of me the whole time. He was very doting!

I spent most of Friday in my bed, except for a couple of unfortunate trips to the bathroom, in which I got sick from the actual act of moving. But by that evening, I felt much better, as far as the nausea goes. I still had some pain medicine in me, so my stomach wasn’t hurting much. The incision sites were both covered up by bandaids, so I just left them as is.
I spent Saturday on the couch, which was actually kind of nice. I was really thankful for M being there, because I needed help moving around, including sitting up—you don’t realize how much you use your stomach muscles until you can’t use them! The nausea was gone by then and my appetite was back, which was great. Sunday was better than Saturday, even though it still hurt to walk too much, and I was still pretty zonked. I fell asleep Sunday afternoon at my in-laws, then fell asleep on the couch at about 8:30!

Yesterday was a rough day at work. It was incredibly busy, and I already wasn’t feeling great. The day before the surgery I started to feel like I was getting a tickle in my throat and a tightness in my chest, so I figured I was getting a little bit of a cold. It didn’t really affect me until Sunday night, when I was up coughing a lot of the night, which hurt my stomach really bad. I think I was more sore yesterday from the coughing, and plus the act of getting up and dressed and to work just exhausted me. I went home after work and stayed on the couch pretty much the whole evening. I had a small pity party for myself last night too. I think I must have been hormonal yesterday in addition to feeling bad, because it was just one of those days where everything felt wrong and bad. I wasn’t feeling much hope about actually getting pregnant after the surgery, but I know that’s a silly thing to worry about 4 days post surgery.

Today has been better. I’m still tiring easily—sort of like after you’ve been sick and small things tire you easily. And I’m feeling a touch dizzy, which I suppose may be a remainder from the anesthesia. But other than that, the only real affect from the surgery that I can tell is a very sore belly button. It’s so tender it even hurts a bit when my shirt touches it. And I’m still planning on taking it easy today after work. I hate feeling puny, but I have to keep reminding myself that I just had surgery four days ago, and I need to take it easy.

So, all in all, not too bad. The surgery was not near as big a deal as the anesthesia for me. I can handle the pain from the surgery—it’s really not too bad.

And after me explaining all that, probably all you wanted to know about were the results! Dr H told M they found “mild to moderate” endo, some slight scar tissue from the endo, and 2 cysts. They removed it all. She told him that basically we won’t know if this was our problem until we try and see what happens. I go back for my post op appt next week. Not sure if she’ll have any additional info for me then, but I’ll be interested in hearing her take on the surgery, since I didn’t see her after I woke up.

I have a gazillion posts to catch up on, so hopefully I’ll be able to catch up on your blogs soon! 

September 18, 2008, 8:22 am
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Seriously, this new job is kicking my rear end! I’ve hardly had time to do anything at work that I used to have time to take care of–paying an occasional bill online, making updates here, taking a little time to check headlines during the day…I guess I’m where people usually are who have busy 9-5 jobs! 

Anyway, my surgery is tomorrow. It’s not that it’s sneaked (snuck?) up on me–I’ve been aware that it’s coming, but I’ve had so much going on that I haven’t had a chance to really put much thought into it. With all the stuff with my grandfather, this job, and some other family stuff going on, the surgery has been the last thing on my midnd. I guess that’s a good thing considering I’m the kind of person who tends to worry a lot, and this is the kind of thing I probably would have worried about had I had time to do so. 

As of now, I’m supposed to be at the hospital at 6:15 tomorrow. The nurse said not to get too attached to that time though, and she’d call me today with a definite time. I’m assuming the surgery would be at 8, since they say you need to be there 2 hours before, and I’m hoping to be out by noon. That may be too optimistic though–I don’t know how long they keep you in recovery after these things. Anyone have any tips that I need to know going in?

I guess that’s about it. Just wanted to give a quick update. Hope everyone has a good weekend! I anticipate being on the couch for most of it, with a stack of Gar.den and Gun magazines next to me! (For the record, the magazine is much, much better than the name. It’s a fantastic new magazine about the South–very literary and intelligent, gorgeous photos, great topics, impressive list of contributing writers, including Wins.ton Gr.oom, Jimm.y Buffe.t, and The “Gun” part comes in because it covers topics that Southerners tend to be interested in, like hunting, fishing, etc. I feel like I need to explain this magazine a bit, so no one things I hang out toting guns! If you live in the South (or just like the South) and enjoy really great writing, check it out!)

When it rains…
September 9, 2008, 8:04 am
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Just a little update on where I’ve been and what’s going on. Things have gotten incredibly busy and emotional, to tell you the truth. In the midst of scheduling the laparoscopy, starting a new job at work, and working on 2 freelance writing jobs that I really want to do well on, my grandfather is dying. He probably won’t make it through the week…but then again, we all thought he wouldn’t make it through last weekend. He’s defying the odds and baffling his home hospice nurses. He’s “asleep” and unresponsive, but his heart just won’t stop beating! Which is great on one hand, but on the other hand, it’s agonizing for his wife (my grandmother), his daughters (my mom and aunt) and the rest of the family to watch him fading away. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago, and this year has been a terribly rapid decline, especially in the last few months…then the last two weeks we’ve all just been waiting on the phone call. I went home to be with my family over the weekend because everyone thought his passing was imminent, but he stayed with us. I had to come back here on Monday because I just have so much going on with work and life that I couldn’t just wait around to see what would happen. So M and I, and my brother, will travel back down whenever we get the phone call. We take much comfort in the fact that Papa is about to meet Jesus. Like M said, Papa has lived his whole life in expectation of this greatest reward, and he’s about to get it.

In the meantime, one of the things I needed to come back up here for was my pre-op appt yesterday at the hospital. They took some blood and a nurse talked to me to tell me what to expect on the day of the surgery. I’m a little nervous about the anesthesia, just because I don’t know how I’ll react to it, but I’m not concerned about the surgery itself. I’m just very anxious to know what they find. 

My work has gotten exponentially busier over the last two weeks. Basically, a girl in another department is leaving the company and I’m taking over her job…as well as retaining the normal responsibilites of my own job. Should be an interesting few months until I really get my feet wet in the new job and figure out how to balance both. 

So if I’m not commenting much on your blogs, all this is why! But I should be back soon…