Monthly Archives:: October 2016

I Will Still Rise: Surgery, Complications and Recovery

October 12, 2016 Katie A personal: health, personal: that spoonie life 1 Comment

endoTwo months ago today, I went into the operating room for a surgery I had been trying to get for a year.

At that point in time, my health had continued to decline, and it was declining faster and faster as time went on.I saw an amazing nurse practitioner who listened as I cried, explaining at a 7am appointment about how miserable I was. I had been in the ER the night before due to the pain. She told me that I had gone through more than anyone else should ever have to endure, and that while she couldn’t do much for me as a nurse, she could refer me to a doctor and start me on the path to surgery.

The doctor I ended up seeing after two rounds of blood work, two ultrasounds and a month of anxiously waiting while dealing with the daily pain from endometriosis made it very clear at that appointment that she had no interest or plan in even helping me have somewhat of a normal life.

She told me:

I was fat.

That OTC pain killers would cure all the pain (yeah, okay).

She told me to come back in three months, and if then I had “lost weight”, she would “consider” surgery.

I walked out, got into my car and sobbed. I had such high hopes for this appointment and wanted to feel better. I wanted to feel like a medical professional understood me, cared about me, wanted to help me as I had only been getting worse, and worse, and worse.

Instead, I was pushed out and told to make a follow up appointment in three months if things didn’t get better. They didn’t. They got worse. My girlfriend saw me start to wither away because I was exhausted. I couldn’t sleep. I continued to be in and out of the ER due to pain and heavy bleeding. I was only getting worse… and no one cared. emdo2

Three months later, I anxiously made my follow up call.

I spoke up, saying this doctor really was not the right fit for me and asked to see someone else.

The next doctor I saw changed my life entirely.

At that same appointment, the first time I met Dr. Hastings – she agreed surgery was what we needed to do. She sat and listened and watched as I cried, telling her about how no one wanted to help me, how my health was going downhill. I had been in and out of the ER several times in the past year because of endometriosis.

She told me as I left that she was going to help me get the relief I needed, the relief I deserved. That same day, she carried my file into the surgery coordinators office. I was told to call back if I hadn’t heard back in about a week. I walked out of the appointment stunned.

Time and time again, I had gotten my hopes up and had them crushed.

Time and time again, I was left to only get worse, worse, worse.

fight-songThree weeks later, when I got the phone call with my surgery date – I sat at my desk with “Fight Song” playing and cried. This was going to happen. I had a surgery date. I was on the road to recovery. I was on the road, waiting anxiously until my surgery date.


On August 12, 2016 – I walked into the outpatient surgery center, registered and sat anxiously to be called back to be be prepped for surgery. I had hardly slept the night before. I was anxious. I was worried. At the same time, I knew that I was in good hands. I had a doctor who cared about me and who wanted the best for me.

Oddly enough, I had found out just two days prior that my doctor would be having a collegue assist in the surgery. At first I was pissed when I found out who it was, but Dr. Hastings assured me that she would be doing most of the work and the assisting surgeon would be there only if needed. Who was this doctor? Yup. You guessed it. The one who called me fat and made it clear she didn’t want to treat me.

Going into it, I knew that there was a very real chance that I could end up with a larger incision. It was one of those things where we planned for it to be a last resort, but I also knew because of how sick I was – that it was a very real chance it would happen.

My mom came in and we took some pictures before they wheeled me back into the operating room.

The last thing I remember were the jellyfish floating around on the operating room, moving onto the operating table and the anesthesiologist telling me he was giving me some medication in my IV to calm me down before surgery started. I don’t remember anything after that.


20160812_104032 When I woke in recovery, I really had no idea what the fuck was going on. I don’t remember much, even two months later. My mom said I was in a lot of paint, but I don’t remember it.

I remember feeling gross. I vaguely remember my doctor coming in and giving me an overview of the surgery. I remember trying to focus on her and what she was saying but the only thing I could absorb was this:

“We had to do the larger incision, we got in there, and we realized we needed to open you up all the way. It was the best option and we were able to excise a lot of the disease, adhesions and scar tissue.”

What I didn’t know and understand at that point in time was just how sick I was.

I later learned that I was unable to be weaned off of the oxygen, and even with the oxygen, I was wheezing. My heart rate was sky high and eventually that started to come down as we found a pain medication to help… it didn’t last long once they had me up and moving.

img_0230They had gotten me stable enough they thought I could go home and removed the catheter. The nurses helped me into a wheelchair and took me into the bathroom to make sure I could urinate on my own. I remember clutching one of those barf bags in my hand, remembering how I threw up post op nine years ago with my first surgery.

The moment they got me up and started to get me back into the wheelchair, I nearly passed out and threw up.

It wasn’t too much later that they decided to admit me for the night for observation. I was still too sick, too unstable. I was upset, but I knew that this was the best option for me. I hated it. I wanted to go home. I wanted to be in my own bed. I knew I had to stay.

I surprised my nurses over the night 18 hours at how well I was up and moving on my own and how well I had begun to recover. I was still shaky, exhausted and sore. My blood sugar was high but my breathing and heart rate had finally stabilized. I blew those nurses away.

I proved to them, and myself, that I am a fighter. img_0059


It’s been two months now.

In a way, it seems like it was forever ago. What turned into what was supposed to be four one inch incisions, turned into a six inch incision and two months off of work while I recovered.

I had staples. I had a minor infection.

I sunk into a deep post op depression.

When I look back today, I don’t really think I grasped how this surgery was going to impact my life. I knew it would change a lot of things. I knew I would start to feel better as I got further and further into recovery, but I never really fully understand how different things would be.

img_0499I celebrated the day I had my staples removed (that entire experience had me terrified and on the edge of a panic attack, but it was over before I knew it with minimal pain. I felt so much better once those damn things were out).

I celebrated my first shower (thank god for shower chairs).

I celebrated as each steri strip began to fall off.

I took daily incision photos. img_0196

Every day, I started to notice a difference. Some days I slept more than others, I bled heavily for the first week post op. The day to day pain I remember before surgery wasn’t entirely gone… but the surgery had helped so much that I have only had two, maybe three days, where I’ve had to take the prescription strength pain meds.

It’s been a long two months. It feels like it’s been forever.

meI just went back to work last week (surprised my work kids – they had no idea I was even picking them up, much less coming back that day). It’s getting into a new routine. It’s learning that I still need to be gentle on my body. I’m still healing. I had major surgery with major complications. img_0115

It’s a period I shouldn’t be having and the endometriosis pain that comes along with it. Even with surgery, I knew I would still have pain. Remember, there is no cure for endometriosis. It is a daily battle, even with surgery making such a huge difference in my life already.

20160812_143019It’s learning that I still need to rest when my body is telling me to rest.

It’s learning that my body is still regaining the strength and energy I once had.

It’s pushing through the last of school and walking the stage for the local graduation ceremony – one month and three days after surgery. I walked across the stage and become a high school graduate.

It’s been healing – and it hasn’t been easy. It’s exhausting. It’s painful. There are days where I have to stay in bed and just listen my body and take care of myself.

A lot has changed in two months… I’ve come so far, and there’s even more to come as time passes.

Overall, it’s learning that my entire life has changed.20160915_191242

 

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An Untold Story Never Heals: Surviving, Learning to Heal, Learning it’s Not My Fault

October 10, 2016 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

post4

trigger warning: this post will have discussion about sexual assault〉

The news coming out over the past couple of days has been overwhelming. It’s been triggering, it’s been overwhelming. It’s made me hurt, it’s made me angry and it’s made me think about experiences I’ve had over the years.

It isn’t something I ever talk about publicly. It’s terrifying to think about putting this out into the world. It’s scary to open up like this. I’ve seen hundreds of women sharing their stories.

It’s my turn to speak up.

It’s my turn to share.

It’s my turn to share these stories, hoping they will reach someone to needs to hear the words:

It is not your fault.

You are not alone.


I’m a kid, sitting in my front yard almost daily. I have a circle of neighborhood friends with me. We are outside playing games, playing with Barbies, or just hanging out. It’s been this way for years – ever since my parents would let me play outside on my own, and even before then – when they’d sit on the porch or do yard work. It’s a routine, especially on the weekends.

I crave this time with my friends.

The neighbor next door is standing against his truck, beer in hand. He’s there every day I’m outside with my friends, the majority of us all girls my age. I’m constantly aware of this eyes on me – locked on me. I’m constantly aware that he’s watching me, beer in hand, shirt off most of the time.

Deep down inside of me, even at a young age, I know what he’s thinking of. I know what he wants.

In middle school, I was out running around with my friends when he called me over to talk to him.

He told me he had something he wanted to show me.

I felt that instinct, the dread, the fear rise up inside of me and I told him no. I told him no twice. He kept pushing the subject, his front door was wide open, his wife was gone to work. He was standing in the doorway basically begging and luring me to come inside.

In a moment of panic, I told him no again, that I could hear a family member calling for me and I ran. I ran as fast as I can, and as far as I could.

I didn’t tell my parents about it for years.


I was in middle school and decided to take the 10-15 minute walk to Taco Bell with one of my best friends. She had lived across the street from me for her entire life and both of our parents were divorced. She was struggling, but I was always there for her. She was staying over and my dad had left me some extra money, so we decided to walk and get ourselves something to eat and bring it home.

On our way home, a group of older high school boys decided to follow us. A couple of them wouldn’t stop talking to us, asking if we would come to their house to party. They’d ask us repeatedly. They likely ask questions I don’t even remember. They were desperate, and desperate for two young girls.

They were too close to us, pressuring us, trying to intimidate us. I gave minimal information, didn’t talk much and neither did my friend. We were together, and I knew and had learned that it was always better to be with someone than on your own.

One of the guys eventually told the others to shut the fuck up and leave us alone.

They still pushed and prodded, but after what seemed like hours – we were finally closer to home and managed to slip away.

We both knew what awaited us had we gone with them.


In high school, I repeatedly had a guy grope me after school.

He kissed me when I didn’t want it. He grabbed my breasts. He stuck his hands up my shirt.

He ran his hands down the outside of his pants, I knew what he wanted.

He was a large part of my friendship circle of that time – and after that, I felt alone.

Almost everyone saw it happen.

No one did anything.

No one said anything.

After that, no one in the circle would talk to me, much less look at me. They were mad I wouldn’t get this asshole get what he wanted. They didn’t have to say it. I knew it.


I came out my sophomore year of high school.

A few years later, a family member began to make advances on me.

I didn’t realize it at first – we were spending more time together, more errands, and I needed that. I needed that support from my family.

It got worse.

He started to make advances and one night, he closed the door to my bedroom and sat on my bed.

That same sickening feeling came back.

The next day, he hugged me in the kitchen and I stood still, tense and flat out freaked out. He told me that I didn’t know what I wanted, he told me that I didn’t know who I was. He told me that I should “experiment” before making up my mind.

He completely disregarded who I was, and not just as family.

He wanted me in ways that I never thought would happen. He wanted me in ways that were never ever okay. He wanted me in ways that still to this day make me feel like throwing up.

My entire life broke at that moment and I locked myself in my bedroom, frantically asking a friend to come get me as I packed up my essentials.

It’s been sever years since then… but it’s left its scars. It’s left me feeling dirty. It’s left me feeling unwanted. It’s left me feeling like it was my fault. It’s left me doubting myself when it happened. It’s left a level of terror inside of me and that won’t go away.

My entire life that I knew shattered that day.


post3It takes a lot to stand up and talk about these stories. It takes a lot of strength. It takes a lot of bravery. It means confronting memories so many of us have tried to block out for years. It takes confronting emotions and feelings that bring us right back to when it happened.

I will admit that I am honestly terrified about sharing this with the world. I don’t talk about it. It’s something I try to forget as often as I can even though it’s still there, in the back of my mind.

I also know that by sharing my story, I can help women. I can show them that they aren’t alone. I can show them that they are loved and cared about.

I can show them that there are thousands and thousands of women who stand with each of us, knowing the pain and the fear we’ve endured.

Most off all, I want you to know: it is not your fault.

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Dare Me (A Nocte Novella) is Here!

October 3, 2016 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

When you find out one of your favorite authors is releasing a novella featuring of your favorite characters? You flail. And when she asks you to help spread the word, you say YES. Let me just tell you from the teasers I have seen, I cannot wait to read this!

If you haven’t read the NOCTE trilogy, read it! You’ll get a lot of Dare and Calla… and you’ll likely fall for them as much as I did. Promise.

Dare Me

 

Did you love Dare DuBray from the Nocte Trilogy? Did you love love love the story, but you wished there was some more steamy scenes?

Well, guess what?

Dare is back in Dare Me, a novella featuring he and Calla… and some steaminess to be had. 🙂

I hope you like it. No, I hope you love it. 🙂

It’s available exclusively on Amazon, and even better, if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read it for free. If not, no worries- Dare Me is only $.99 pennies. (And even if you don’t usually use Amazon for books, you can download the Kindle for PC, iPad or your phone for FREE to read!)

The hotshot novellas are the perfect length for a lunch hour or bedtime.

You can buy on Amazon here.

***

They say she’s crazy.

She’s not.

They don’t know the truth.

She does. The problem is, she doesn’t always remember it.

But I do.

My name is Dare DuBray.

I’m in love with a girl who is is erratic and beautiful, and a little bit mad.

But that’s ok.

We’re all a little mad, aren’t we?

Love couple

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