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Category: Body Issues

So I Did A Thing…

So it seems like we’re back to updating this thing once a year or so. I don’t seem to have the need to write things out that I once did, or maybe it is just that I don’t have the time and focus to actually sit and type it out. I’m not sure how it felt like I had more time when the kids were babies than I do now, but somehow that’s where we are. Nevertheless, I still do feel the need to document now and then.

A week ago today, something monumental (monumental for me anyway) happened. I finally went in for surgery and had a total hysterectomy. This surgery has been a long time coming…and when I say long time, I mean it has been the inevitable conclusion to about 25 years of pain and suffering. That may sound a bit dramatic, but my first abdominal surgery to remove two large ovarian cysts (one larger than the surgeon’s outstretched hand) happened my freshman year of college. Since then I have had several more surgeries to remove ovarian cysts, an ovary, and to clean out endometriosis. Following the birth of my youngest, I also had my (remaining) tube tied to prevent any further surprises.

It has been 10 years since my last surgery, and while there have still been some uncomfortable issues over that time, the last year or so I have had a lot of health issues that seem to point all in one direction….my uterus and the surrounding area.

My general doc finally decided that we weren’t getting anywhere and referred me to an OB/GYN. My doctor that I went to through all of my pregnancies (and absolutely loved) had retired, so I ended up seeing another doc in her practice. After going over my previous records and some lengthy discussion about my options, we decided together that a hysterectomy was probably the best choice.

I was hoping to have surgery before the end of last year, but the earliest they could schedule it was the middle of January. Covid has affected everything these days, including how surgeries are scheduled. Non-essential surgeries have to be scheduled months in advance to get an operating room reserved. And then of course, prior to surgery, a Covid test is required.

As luck would have it, I ended up getting sick at the beginning of January. It came on with an excruciating sore throat so after a day or two I took myself to Urgent Care and got some antibiotics for Strep Throat. I got them in time to have that all cleared up before surgery. I was feeling much better a few days in and assumed the meds were working. I went to take my pre-surgery Covid test the Monday before surgery and then waited to get my results.

Over the weekend, Caleb had started getting sick, with the same symptoms I had. I took him in to the doctor to get checked and they did both a Strep and a Covid test. Within an hour I had his results back and he was positive for Covid. By that time Brian was also showing symptoms and by later that night Evie wasn’t feeling well. The oldest had been down and pretty much sleeping for 2 days at that point, so we assumed was probably sick as well.

Thursday morning I still had not received my Covid test results, so I was assuming surgery was still on. They said they would only call if it was positive. I took my antibacterial soap shower and had my bag all packed and ready when my phone rang. It was the hospital saying they had just received my Covid results and it was positive. Surgery was cancelled. I cannot even describe the disappointment I felt that day. Later that day we got Covid test results for Brian and Evie that were also positive.

Surgery was rescheduled, but the earliest they could re-schedule was April 21st. The thought of waiting another 3 months was depressing. I was ready to get the surgery done and start feeling better. A few days later, the nurse called me back and asked if I could be available on January 27th because they had another Covid cancellation. I was so happy and excited to be able to get in earlier than April that I would have done anything to re-arrange my schedule at that point.

The week before my re-scheduled surgery date, I got another call. With the surge of Covid cases, all surgeries had been cancelled for the next week. The hospital was short on staffing and beds because of so many Covid cases. My heart sank as we re-scheduled for the third time – back to April but a week later on the 28th.

The time between January and the end of April seemed to drag out forever. Fortunately, the kids managed to keep me plenty busy. The week before my surgery was scheduled, we had another Covid outbreak at church (which is also my workplace) and I had a slight panic. Determined not to get sick, I masked up at work and kept my office door closed as much as possible when I had to be at the office. I even sat in my office during church services and streamed it online to keep myself away from people.

The Monday before surgery, I found out that the Covid testing requirements had changed and I was no longer required to test before surgery. It was a bit of a relief, not only because it saved me time, but also because I was not in danger of getting cancelled again. When Thursday morning came and I still hadn’t received a cancellation call, it felt too good to be true. This was actually going to happen!

With every step closer to surgery I got, I was still waiting for the ball to drop. I don’t think I truly relaxed until they wheeled me into the operating room and were about to put me to sleep for surgery.

I chose to have my mom come to the hospital with me for surgery. I felt like it would be easier on the kids to have dad at home with them, especially since I was going to be there overnight. As it turned out, that was a good choice because my surgery ended up going super long – like several extra hours long. My mom was the last person in the waiting room and was pacing the floor when the doctor finally came out to talk to her.

Apparently the surgery had gone as expected, but as they were finishing up the final stitches, the tip of the needle broke off and was somewhere inside my body. It was a laparoscopic surgery, so they were working with tiny tools and tiny needles. So, while I was doing just fine, they had to use X-rays to find the tiny needle inside me so they could get it out before they could stitch me up the rest of the way. As it turned out, they had to actually undo some of the stitches and then re-stitch once they found the needle.

When I woke up in recovery, I was confused because people were talking to me and it seemed like they were in a rush to get me up to my hospital room. I was barely alert when they moved me up to my room. My mom got to the room a few minutes after I got up there and explained everything that had happened. They said that the doctor came in and talked to me in recovery, but I don’t remember it at all.

I was finally awake enough to glance at the clock and realized that it was already after 8:00 pm. My surgery was scheduled at 1:00 pm and started right on time. I was worried because I had promised Caleb I would call and talk to him before he went to bed (at 8:30) so I told my mom I needed to call home. Caleb had been a bit stressed about mom having surgery (and not being home) so I didn’t want him to go to bed without knowing that I was ok. I must not have been quite out of my drug-induced drowsiness because my kids thought I was pretty funny on FaceTime.

I’ll spare you the details of the rest of the night, but after I was able to get up and walk and prove that I could keep liquids down ok, I finally got my hands on a plain turkey sandwich. After over 24 hours without food, that turkey sandwich tasted pretty darn good! I slept pretty good through the night, even with nurses coming in to check vitals and all the other things they do every hour or so.

By morning, I was feeling pretty good. Pain was at a manageable level (with meds of course) and I was more than ready to get home. Fortunately, the hospital staff was in agreement and I got released and was home by about 11:00 am.

Since then I’ve spent a lot of time watching TV, crocheting, and doing a lot of nothing. I was feeling a bit restless by Sunday and spent probably a little too much time up on my feet. So I compensated the next day by doing absolutely nothing but sitting on the couch. Honestly the hardest part has been not doing anything and giving my body time to heal.

The entire week I’ve been waiting for the crash of emotions to happen. Although my doctor did give me a hormone supplement, putting your body into instant surgical menopause typically has some repercussions. Heck, any surgery can put your body in enough distress to cause an emotional crash even without messing around with hormones.

I was doing pretty great until Wednesday. I had to make a couple of phone calls to deal with some difficult kid stuff. Making phone calls in itself is a difficult task for me (IYKYK) but when I’m dreading the outcome, it is even more difficult. I managed to make it through that without breaking, but a little later I was watching a TV show with a bit of an emotional moment in it and before I knew it I was bawling like a baby. I also may have dropped a piece of pizza, yelled at my dog, and then sat and felt sorry for myself for a few minutes.

Other than that little incident, I’ve been fine so far. I’m feeling more tired today than I have the last few days, so I went back to bed after getting the kids off to school. I enjoyed a few more hours of sleep and didn’t wake up until almost noon, so apparently I needed it. Sleeping is definitely getting more comfortable. The first few nights I was only able to sleep on my back comfortably, but now I can shift around a bit. I’m mostly off of pain meds, only needing 1 dose of Ibuprofen about mid-day the last couple of days. I actually prefer to feel some pain so that I know when I may be over doing it and need to stop and rest.

It feels strange to be sitting around not working, though I have snuck in a few minutes here and there. I have another week off to go, but will probably try to do a little bit of work from home so I don’t get too far behind. The bonus is that I’m getting a lot of crochet time in because I can’t stand to just sit and do nothing.

I have five more weeks to go to return to my regular activity level. I’m anxious to get everything healed and feeling better. My incisions are itching like crazy, so I know they are healing. I’m just hoping that I do truly feel better once everything is healed and that the issues I was having are a thing of the past.

I guess there is at least one sure thing now that I no longer have a uterus – I can definitely never be pregnant again. 😉

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Well That Was Fun

So last week I posted I wasn’t feeling well. It started off slowly, just feeling tired and run down. Well, and needing to pee a little more frequently then normal. I didn’t think much of it – just blamed it on allergies wearing me down and maybe I was drinking more than usual.

Saturday I went to the store for some groceries and since things still weren’t feeling quite right I grabbed a bottle of cranberry juice thinking maybe I had the beginning of a UTI. I mean, I’ve never had one before that I can remember, but I’ve heard other people describe the symptoms and I thought that could possibly maybe sorta be what I’m experiencing. Maybe. I like cranberry juice anyway so I’ll enjoy it as a “treat” of sorts.

I started drinking the cranberry juice, mixed with a little sparkling water, and had finished off the bottle by Sunday evening. I was really wiped out that night. I was having some pain in my lower back and crashed on the couch for a couple of hours. I thought maybe it was just a sugar crash from the juice. After eating Keto for so long, flooding by body with sugar can have that effect. I love a good nap, but it is odd that I actually fall asleep in the evenings any more.

I made it through the next couple of days, forcing myself to drink as much water as possible and struggling through the things I had to get done. I thought about calling the doctor a few times, but I really hate going to the doctor and with the whole COVID-19 thing, the last thing I want is to be exposed to the virus because of a doctor’s visit.

By Wednesday, I was getting pretty uncomfortable. I was exhausted. My lower back was hurting. I was still experiencing some nausea and nearly every trip to the bathroom (like every five minutes) was getting more painful. After a text convo with my mom I finally gave in and called the doctor.

Luckily, my doctor was willing to see me via a telemedicine visit. I didn’t have to have to worry about exposure to all the nastiness out there, I could do it from my bedroom on my iPad. I got on the call and in less than five minutes of explaining what had been going on, she said she was prescribing me a strong antibiotic because she was sure I had a kidney infection. I didn’t even complain when she said she was giving me Cipro, even though I knew I’d be sick to my stomach for the next week until it was gone. And, as an added bonus, we talked about my anxiety over the last month or so that I’ve been home with kids and she agreed that I could use a little medicinal help with that as well. She instructed me to call Monday and leave a message to let her know how I was doing and that was that.

I was happy knowing that I was going to get some relief finally. What I didn’t know was that Wednesday night I was going to crash hard. I picked my meds up that afternoon but didn’t take the first dose until after dinner. I knew the Cipro wouldn’t settle nicely on an empty stomach. After I took my meds I settled down on the couch with my iPad, headphones, and my quarantine blanket crochet project. I knew I wasn’t going to accomplish much of anything else anyway. My stomach was already turning from the meds and I was so very tired.

Within probably 30 minutes I found myself shaking uncontrollably because I was so cold, yet my face felt like it was on fire. I decided I was better off just going to bed. I grabbed the thermometer on my way to the bedroom. I had been checking for fever, but hadn’t been more then a few tenths of a degree higher than normal. Over what seemed like a short time span (but really I have no idea how long it was) my temp suddenly shot up to 99, then 100, then 101, and finally settled around 102.7 for a bit. Fortunately, my mom had talked me into taking some Tylenol for the pain earlier and I’m guessing that helped the fever drop back down at some point. It was by far the worst I had felt since I started noticing symptoms nearly a week earlier.

Thursday morning I let myself sleep in a little. I got up feeling much better, got through all of the most important things I needed to do for work, helped Caleb with his school work, and by mid afternoon was on the couch dozing off and on. I spent the rest of the evening pretty much in that same spot.

Friday I woke up feeling SO. MUCH. BETTER. After a full day of work and school work, I was suddenly obsessed with cleaning up my office/family room/temporary school room. I spent the evening streaming Disney movies and cleaning, and even unpacked some boxes that have been sitting there since last June when we moved in. I didn’t quite finish, but woke up Saturday morning ready to go again and got it done. It looks so nice and organized now that I just want to sit and admire it.

I’m still fighting with my energy levels being low and the back pain when I’ve done a little too much, but overall I’m feeling so much better. My stomach is still a bit unhappy from the antibiotics, but I only have a few doses to go and that will be done. I’m anxious to get this whole thing behind me and get back to a somewhat normal routine.

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Movement

It is not shocking that my mood is better when I get more exercise. I spent years hating physical exercise and even though I could stick to a routine for a few weeks, or even months, it never really stuck. Somewhere along the way though, something changed and I started needing it, craving it even. There are still days when I really don’t want to get up and move, but I know if I make myself I will feel so much better.

I got a bit lazy over the winter. Oddly enough, my favorite exercise activity now is running with my dog. Running outside. In my neighborhood. On the sidewalk or streets. Even typing the words now feels strange. I have never been a runner and even when I tried to force it, it was always on a treadmill. Running outside is a newish thing for me and it pretty much just sucks in the winter. It turns out I’m not a fan of running in ice and snow and sleet. So I got lazy. We’d still get out on nice days, but more often than not I used the cold or the cruddy weather to just stay in.

Fortunately for me, Phoenix gets a bit crazy when he doesn’t get out for a run (or walk) every day. Since the weather has been nicer, he is D.O.N.E. staying in and so am I. We’ve been walking or running every day again and it has been good. I’m trying to alternate running/walking so I can get at least one of my kids (usually my daughter) out walking with me a couple days a week as well.

The bad thing about running is that it kills my knees. There’s a lot of family history of knee problems and sadly, it seems that is one of the blessings I have received as well. In order to protect my knees, my doctor has given me exercises to do that will help to better support my knees while running. And I haven’t done them, because there is never enough time of course. Well, guess what I have now? Time. A lot of it.

So, because I like to do things all the way, not just start out easy, I’ve been researching workouts for runners. Since summer is coming up and my eating habits have gone significantly downhill over the last few weeks, I’ve now added not one, but two workout routines to my day. In addition to running or walking every day, I’m doing a squat/lunge/plank challenge and an additional 20-30 minute strength workout. I’m not going crazy, but working with what I’ve got at home.

Apple Watch with movement ringsI’m now three days into the routine and feeling really good about it. I’m also feeling really sore in pretty much every muscle in my body, but it is a good sore. It feels great to push myself in this way. I may not fit all of it in every day, but I’m ok with that too. Today I skipped the walk/run, but our riding mower is down (again) so I push mowed the entire yard and I definitely got plenty of steps in. When I was done mowing, my daughter asked if I wanted to join her for her 30 minute PE class workout and I couldn’t tell her no, so we decided to do it on the trampoline and had so much fun together. I got a second dose of lunges and squats in as well as some arm and shoulder exercises and we did some jumping in between sets. For the record, it is even harder to keep your balance while doing lunges on a trampoline.

Today was definitely a good movement day. After taking my second shower of the day, I’m now sitting on the couch and don’t even want to think about moving again…well, maybe to my bed. Hopefully, that also means I will actually be able to sleep tonight.

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The Longest Short Month

Months

Well, that was the longest short month ever. I’m so happy that we’ve finally made it to March. It seems like my birthday was ages ago, when really, it has only been 3 weeks. I feel like I’ve gone through most of it in a daze. I spent nearly a week sleeping after my surgery, then spent the next week in a mad rush to get things caught up at work. Now that I finally feel like I can breathe again at work, my house is a mess and the laundry is piling up. Oh, how I miss my mother-in-law!

I had my 2-week check up today with my doctor and everything is looking good. I was a little concerned about one of my incisions, but she seems to think it looks okay and told me to put some neosporin on it a couple times a day. She said I can go back to normal activity as I feel up to it, as long as I don’t overdo it. I didn’t tell her I’ve been pushing myself to that point for over a week now. She obviously does not know my kids or how much energy they require.

And now, in order to rescue this extremely insightful post, here are cute photos of my kids that I took last week.

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54/365 - Mr. Attitude

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Back to Life, Back to Reality

Yesterday was one week post-op. Yesterday was also my first full day back at work. As much as I would like to lounge around the house and rest a few more days, I’m needed at the office. Sadly, the work just won’t do itself. It isn’t so bad being back, other than the fact that I have to sit up in a chair for eight hours straight and that isn’t very pleasant right now. I’m still pretty sore in the abdomen area and need to be able to lay flat every now and then to let that area rest. By the end of the day yesterday I was hurting quite a bit.

I woke up this morning feeling a little more energetic, despite tossing and turning most of the night. I’m hoping that I can keep my energy level up through the day as I still tend to tire pretty quickly. I’ve enjoyed the break, but I need to get back to my normal routines.

Hubby’s parents have been a tremendous help, as always. They came in and took over with the kids, the cooking, and laundry. They’ve been making the school/day care runs every day, helping with the kids’ baths, and even fixed a few things around the house that needed some work. I don’t know how we would have done it all without them. They pretty much took over all the “mom” duties and let me get the rest that I needed. I am so grateful to have in-laws that are willing and able to help us out from time-to-time. They are such a blessing. We’re going to be very sad to see them leave again.

One nice part of being forced to slow down is that I’ve done a lot of reading. Over the last week I’ve read one book and started another, which is a lot of reading for me.  I really am loving reading books on my Nook Color. I love the instant access to whatever book I might want to read, plus I’ve figured out how to download and transfer books from my local library so I can read many of the books I want for free. The only downside to the library ebooks is that most of the books I want to read have a hold list and you only have three days to check them out when they become available. I’ve had to skip a couple that I knew I wouldn’t have time to read, but I can always put them on hold again and catch them the next time around.

As my energy and ability to move around come back, I’m looking forward to getting back to my photography. I’ve (barely) kept up with my 365 project, but I’ve let the Joy of Love class slip. I’m hoping to get caught up on that before the end of the month as I was really enjoying it. There’s also a sweet little five week old baby (and his momma) here visiting that I’d love to get in front of my lens before he heads back home to Chicago next week. There’s nothing I love shooting more than itty bitty babies!

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Minus One

Yesterday morning I got up and headed to the hospital for my surgery. Since my Doctor didn’t know exactly what was going on in there, she did a diagnostic laproscopic surgery. We talked about and agreed to the possibility that she may have to remove one ovary, which apparently was the right choice.

Not only did I have more cysts, she also found Endometriosis, and a cyst growing inside the ovary. So, my doc made the decision to remove the right ovary.  She seems to think the other side will be ok for at least a couple more years, so I get to keep that one for now. I hope she’s right. I would prefer not to go through this again for a while.

I’m feeling pretty good, thanks to my friends, Percocet and Naproxen. I have three small cuts on my stomach that should heal up pretty quickly.  As long as I don’t move, I don’t hurt. So far, trying to roll over in my bed has been the most painful.

I’m taking it easy today, catching up on some shows, and hopefully getting  a little nap in this afternoon. It feels good to be able to just sit and not have to do anything for a change.



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