Alive and Recovering

For those of you dear readers who have been with me since the doctors found a mass in my uterus, I thank you for your prayers, thoughts and encouraging remarks.  For those of you who are new to my blog, it’s been a roller coaster of a ride since Easter Sunday. The good news is, I’ve had my surgery, and I’m home recovering. Preliminary test results say I do not have cancer, I do have a fibroid mass that is larger than a grapefruit and smaller than a bread basket, plus my endometrial cells are presently mutating into a precancerous state thus requiring a hysterectomy. They took everything but my ovaries.

The surgery was more difficult than my doctor anticipated, The mass was so big they named my uterus “Fergus” (I’m not kidding, doctors crack me up) Even though it was a bit on the tricky side according to my surgeon, they were able to get everything. They did everything laproscopically as well so that my recovery time would be shortened.

The pain coming out of surgery was worse than I’d experienced after my gallbladder surgery and ACL repair combined. I vaguely recall getting into it with a post op nurse over pain meds at one moment and seeing my surgeon standing between us the next.  It took most of Friday to get my pain under control. I’m not sure why it was so high, but it was. I’m usually much more tolerant of pain.

I have since learned that I lost a good deal of blood, my BP was really low (80 over 43 low), and my oxygen levels were also below 90% – they had more serious issues to deal with before leveling out my pain. I just didn’t realize it at the time.  I’m sure there is a spiritual lesson in there somewhere.

I’ve been anemic for months and the blood loss during surgery has made it worse. What the doctors told me is I’ve become accustomed to operating on not enough fuel. Once my hemoglobin and oxygen levels return to where they are supposed to be, I am going to be a completely different woman.

I’m on a two-week rest order. My DH thought he took the time off to take care of me, and what he’s discovered is he took the time off to keep me out of trouble. I’m feeling better, I want to work now and can’t. Rest is not optional, it’s required.

I have my pile of books that I’ve been meaning to get around to reading. Photos I’ve been wanting to get around to sorting. And files that need to be organized along with videos I’ve been meaning to watch.

I’m also learning how to let other people “bless us” by offering help, bringing meals and what not. Something this caretaker is decidedly NOT good at.

Ready for the snap

Take one Fever

Add a mild anxiety attack

and you have no surgery.

Calling off the surgery was a good call. I went home and slept for three days. Turns out, I was one sick puppy. Once I came to, I discovered that my lungs could no longer tolerate smoke and I am reluctantly happy to report that I am smoke free. I say reluctantly because while I cannot tolerate smoke, it doesn’t mean I don’t crave them. Color me with nicotine patches and I’m tolerable to be around.

Smoking did not go down without a fight. I tried to smoke – it didn’t work. I couldn’t inhale and that frustrated me. So for two or three days, I played with cigarettes, watched them burn, watched the smoke, remembered my Father in Law and my Grandparents, and kinda grieved. Okay – it’s pathetically wierd and I know it. But cut me some slack here okay?

My grandparents smoked and neither of them died from it. My father-in-law and I were very close buds and he did die from it. My emotional tie to cigarettes has everything to do with my emotional ties to these people who are no longer in my life. Letting go of my own cigarettes is another step in letting go of them.

I visited Dr B’s office yesterday and my lungs sound fine.  We talked about music (he likes U2 as much as we do) and surgery and we are ready to rock and roll on Friday. literally – he listens to U2 while he operates. That just totally cracks me up.

I did catch something funny that he does. When he’s talking to me, he stands next to me and holds my right hand with his right hand and he places his left hand on my wrist.  All this time I thought it was a nurturing and centering tactic, which it is. I also figured out that it allows him to feel my pulse while he’s talking to me to check my anxiety. Laugh out Loud. Jeff and I figured that out last night.

I can lie through my teeth, but I can’t lie through my veins. This whole mass-in-the-uterus-in-you-need-a hysterectomy thing has me a little on the scared side.

Out-smarted by a surgeon. Go figure!

So later gators. I have salt water to drink – don’t ask and an operation to get ready for.

I’ll post again later next week. Have a wonderful weekend.

Icing the Kicker: Surgery Postponed due to Fever.

I am alway amazed at how quickly I can pick up a covering of shame and embarrassment. Or how quickly I can get discouraged and question my own judgement. It doesn’t take much really.

We arrived to the hospital Friday morning bright and early. 5:30 am early, the sun wasn’t even up for heaven’s sake. By 6, I was in my prep room, wearing the funkiest multi-layered purple surgical gown I’ve ever seen in my life and waiting for my nurse to install the IV. I felt horrible. I’ve felt horrible for days and attributed it all to my new-found female issues and could not wait for the surgery to correct everything.

I was prepared for my hysterectomy. I was at that moment emotionally, mentally, and physically psyched. I was also scared, but don’t tell anyone.  Fortunately for me my new surgeon had given me vallum for the night before so that I could sleep.

I even spent the day before drinking that colon cleanser stuff that tastes like salt water and makes you do things that, well… should never be spoken of in polite company, that’s all I have to say about that.

Then it happened, the sweetest most cheerful nurse I’ve met in a while came in and started taking my stats and getting me ready. She stuck some thermometer thing in my ear and read the readout — “Oh my! You have a fever!” she exclaimed and stuck the digital readout in my face to show me. It read 37.5 – which of course elevated my heart rate because didn’t realize it was in celsius. I’m thinking at 37.5, I don’t have a fever, I should be a corpse.

Nurse Pam went and got a different thermometer and it read 100.2. Yep I had a fever.

Pam listened to my lungs (I’d been telling her that with all this rain I was having some trouble taking deep breaths) and they sounded clear. So she paged my surgeon, took some blood work and we waited.

And we waited.

20 minutes later my surgeon is at the door and my heart sank. I know what that means – “no surgery for you.”

I wasn’t disappointed to see him, I was relieved, and I was embarrassed about being too sick to operate.

Dr B. spoke in soft tones and tried to reassure me and find out what was going on.. He listened to my lungs and yes, they sounded clear, but then he did something. He had me say the letter “e” while he listened, and then he had me say “EEEEEE” while he listened again. The “e” sounded like an “a” when he listened again. YEP, I have  bronchitis in my lower left lung. Not bad, just enough to cause fever and trouble breathing. No surgery for me.

Then he rather quietly stated that “I told you, smoking brings its own complications. I was afraid of something like this. If we operate now, you could get pneumonia. We need to wait.” He was being compassionate and logical.

He didn’t shame me.  Didn’t need to. He was just stating facts.

If I could have pulled my purple gown over my head I would have.

I had already spoken to him about my smoking and what I can do to help cut down on complications and he’d told me to either quit or at least cut back as much as I could. I cut back to less than half, but it wasn’t enough. Quitting is the only thing left.

He wrote scripts for a Z-Pak and an inhaler. I go back to see him Wed and he’ll listen to my lungs to see if they’ve cleared up. Gosh I hope so.

I had a brief anxiety moment later that day and told my DH that maybe we didn’t need to do the surgery, maybe I didn’t look hard enough at the other options. He just smiled, sat back and asked about football.

“You know how in football one team will be getting ready to kick a field goal, usually for a tie or win? And how right before they snap the ball the other team calls a time out? Well that’s called icing the kicker. They do it so that the kicker has to spend more time thinking about the kick and sometimes he over thinks it and misses. That is what’s happening to you right now. You are over thinking things.”

Maybe so.  I’m over thinking why I didn’t just totally quit when he told me to and how I’ve never had a male GYN before, and how I messed up his schedule by getting sick, and how.. okay I’ll call it… can I just crawl into a hole and NOT go back to his office, even if they are the best doctor’s office I’ve seen in years?

But, none of that is going to help. And even though I know why I started smoking in the first place back in the 80’s, and I know why I still smoke today (I do it when I’m overwhelmed and want to separate myself from people), I also know that the time has come where I need to be important enough to myself to want to stop once and for all.

I saw this on someone’s Facebook today and I’m thankful for the reminder. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” Ephesians 2:10.

Regardless of how much I over think things, or how abusive my own thoughts can be toward’s myself, God reminds me through his word, that I am His masterpiece. I need to believe that more, and believe myself, less.  Here’s hoping the no smoking, and meds work well enough by Wednesday so that he’ll operate on Friday.

My question to you guys and gals: I know too many bible teachers who fall into the same trap of self condemnation, what verses or what things do you focus on during those times that help you pull out? Talk to me.

Poetry: Redeem the Days of Silence

Redeeming the hour
Of words unspoken
Gospels denied
Deeds undone and
Needs overlooked
Would take a life time of wishes.
If you were a simple soul that is.
Confessions made
To cold-hearted clerics
Who hold the words of absolution
Your medicine
Your lifeblood
In the palm of their hands
And choose to say nothing
Rip the very fabric of your being;
Causing you to question the heart of God himself.
And yet a stronger soul
Emerges from the ashes of wasted words
And needless silence.
Like the phoenix
You rise
And are reborn.
Carrying with you
A heart for the unredeemed hours
Of your life.
You see the hearts
Of the lost and the hurting.
You speak the truths
you were once denied
To others whose needs are no more
Or no less than your own.
In place of the devils behind
Who left their teeth in your hide
You become the god with skin on
For those who need his touch.
You listen
You pray
You touch
You feel
You tell the only truth
Anyone needs to hear.
God sings over you
Your sins are forgiven
Rest in that knowledge
And forgive those whose own scars
Rendered them silent on your behalf.
You are more than a simple soul
Living on wishes and lies of others.
You are a phoenix
More valuable than silver or gold.
Bought at a price
Redeem the day.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemtion’s Heart. All rights reserved. May 1,2010