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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bouncing Back

Nine days post op and back to nearly 3 miles walked in one
time period. Determination showing on my face.

Nine days ago I had life changing surgery. I had a full hysterectomy. As many of you know I was officially diagnosed via first an ultra sound and later an MRI of having fibroids, the largest measuring approx. *cm and my uterus was very enlarged and swollen.  They took everything; my choice based on family history . No more "lady parts" as my daughters would say.  I ended up having the DiVinci Robotic assisted surgery. My journey began at 5:30 a.m. in the registration office of the hospital, and at 7:30 a.m. after a while spent in pre-op, I was wheeled into surgery. I only remember being asked to scoot over to the operating table and then waking up in recovery.  I awoke to some pain, which at the moment, was not nearly as bad as the nausea. I do not react well to anesthesia, even with the anti-nausea medication they gave me. I apparently spent some time in recovery before being wheeled into my room that I was to spend the night in. 

Waves of sleep and nausea came and went for several hours past being wheeled in, and even resulted in getting quite sick at one point, but that was not a bad thing, it was welcomed as with doing so, the nausea passed. I had a morphine drip and that was a lovely thing as it took the edge off. I shall not say pain free as that would be very much a lie. Tolerable, that is a good word.   My husband and middle daughter stood by for a few hours till I finally sent them home, wishing to dose on and off without witnesses. Sleep was never far off, but also never for long.

My hospital stay was a good one as far as hospital stays go. I can not say much for the food, I was on liquids till the morning, meal when I was finally allowed soft, but solid foods. I had passed all the tests, I had walked around my floor with the nurses help, after many hours of trying and nearly being put back on a catheter, I was able to empty my bladder, and then there was no stopping me as I was up each our or even sooner to do the same as fluids were being pumped in via IV as well as pitchers of water, cups of broth and juice. Towards the mid part of my stay I was able to get up and down on my own and even go through the process of taking off my leg cuffs ( devices that kept circulation going in my legs to prevent clots) and unplugging my IV and then reversing the process to get back into bed. I did not get much sleep, as I was checked on by both nurses and nursing aides pretty much every half to full hour. I was always either getting new pain meds pumped in or my vitals checked. Bright overhead lights and cheerful, and at times a bit to loud voices made sure I was awake. Five in the morning brought blood being drawn, and sometime after six brought in the doctor for her post op visit. Soon after food... which hurt to swallow ( due to a very raw throat that occurred with issues with inserting the breathing tube; I have a small throat opening apparently), but it was welcomed as my tummy was grumbling. Soon after I was check on and brought breakfast two more times by orderlies who had not known I had already been fed, a hospital manager to get my thoughts on my stay so far and eventually my husband who had been called and told he could come at any time. I was finally released just shy of the noon hour and home within minutes and glad to be so. 

The first few days were not easy, it was hard to move, it was hard to straiten upright when walking and bouts of nausea from the pain meds were quite a bother. Each day was better the first three days, then I would have a bad day, when apparently my body decided it was time to clear out all the waste and water retention from the previous days and I lost five pounds in one day! Four of which I have managed to keep off, even with less exercise and a normal diet. Day five saw me once again feeling better and I had already gotten out to walk twice with this day marking being able to walk just under a mile all on my own. I was getting in and out of bed just fine as well, though sleep was another story... there has not been a lot of that happening and when it does, it is fitful with odd dreams and even horrible nightmares, of which I have now learned is normal. Even when after day four I was able to "sleep" once again on my side, the odd sensation of all that remains of my insides sliding about and the knots under the incisions "hanging" like heavy pouches of sand within me stole comfort from me as each hour passed. 

Despite the ups and downs, I have made myself get dressed, do my hair, put on a bit of lipstick or gloss, and even dab cologne behind each ear. It was important to me and my emotional health to do this each day once I was able to shed the night gown and robe and tolerate pants. I even managed to go grocery shopping on day six and not feel completely exhausted.  When speaking to the follow up "Welcome Home Nurse" on the phone, she was very impressed by my progress, but warned as many have no to over due it and listen to my body, which I assured her I was... yesterday was an example, after a rough night the night before, I got up at nine in the morning and by eleven I knew I was going to nap the day away, and that is exactly what I did. My body told me what it needed and I listened. Today however is an "up" day, and I managed nearly three miles round trip and a couple of errands in the middle and though I feel a bit tired, it is nothing more than what I normally would feel when not sleeping well. I know that after I write this, it will be time for a nap. 

I am on a low dose of estrogen replacement pills, and with that comes a slew of side effects... all minor, and not as bad as if I was dealing with sudden, surgically induced menopause all on my own. I have had emotional highs and lows over the last nine days , both normal as the body adjusts after surgery, but also to the adjusting hormone levels. I have had hot flashes and night sweats, but nothing so bad that I feel I have to camp in front of the open freezer door or toss ice cubes down my top, but I do feel as if it all has me on a roller coaster of symptoms and will be glad when eventually it all levels out. I am in my own way embracing it however as it means no more monthlies from Hell, no more money spent on feminine products and gee, I can wear white pants and make plans without fear ! THANK GOD! 

I am far from 100% and I know that full recovery takes weeks, even months and I will take it day by day.  That is all any one can do. I will have good and bad days and some days may be both. It will take time to get my system balanced and to find my daily rhythm, but as each day passes I can feel myself bouncing back to where I was before surgery, at least with my exercise and strength/endurance and determination, and look forward to seeing and tackling whatever is ahead of me. It might bring somethings that I am not too pleased to have to deal with. I am sure my body will go through changes as I age that I am not expecting and some that I do, but I will face those when they come and hopefully with a positive attitude and education about what I can and can not control I will bounce back each time and be ready to tackle anything that comes my way.  That is all I can ask for of myself and of myself.  My next doctor's appointment will be at the end of May and I am hoping for only great reports when that time comes. 

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