Posts Tagged: surgery

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

 

Divider

A Year Ago vs. A Year Later

July 28, 2016 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

erA year ago today, I walked out after an appointment I had such high hopes for. I had been referred to an obgyn within the practice where my primary care doctor is. I read the reviews about him, and I was hesitant, but I went.

I went with the support of my girlfriend.

I went with the support of my friends.

I went with the support of my parents.

I went with the support of my sister.

I went to this appointment with hope.

About ten minutes into the appointment, every thread of hope I was holding onto was gone.

Every hope I held onto was torn into shreds.

The day before, I had been in the emergency room, trying to make it another twenty four hours. I just had to hold onto this hope. I had to hold on. I told myself I had to.

When it became all too clear that this doctor was not going to help me in any way, I felt all this hope slip away.

He mentioned hysterectomy, but then refused to do the surgery. I was desperate for any relief. He said “yeah, we can do a hysterectomy, but I won’t do it.” He told me that I was “too young” and that the full hysterectomy would make my life worse. He told me that my breasts would sag because a hysterectomy would put my body into menopause.

He gave me no long term options. He threw a new prescription at me.

I walked into the hallway after the appointment, shaking, ready to break and asked him:

“Will you even consider doing a laparoscopy to treat endometriosis?”

His reply? “No, not at all.”

I walked out of that building with my sister, trying so hard to hold on. I was breaking down from the inside out.

No one cared. No one wanted to help me.

I was already passing time until the next time I had to go to the ER.

I was waiting for the moment where I passed out from bleeding so heavily for so long.

I was waiting for the next moment where the pain was so severe I threw up.

This had become my life.

I had been fighting for so long, and I didn’t want to live this way anymore.

warrior

365 days later . . .

I am still fighting.

I am counting down the next two weeks until I go in for a laparoscopy.

I fought for an entire year to get to where I am now.

I’ve had to cancel plans. I’ve been in and out of the ER. I’ve had doctor after doctor tell me they can’t help me. I’ve had a doctor who called me fat, and basically put up roadblock after roadblock, making it clear she had no intention to give me a long term plan.

I’ve watched my entire quality of life slip away.

It’s gone.

With two weeks until surgery, it all still seems to surreal. It doesn’t seem like this is my life. It doesn’t seem like that I finally found a doctor who listened to me, who wants to help me live again. I sat on the exam table that morning, crying into a wad of tissue while she listened to me.

She gave me options.

She didn’t dismiss my pain and tell me that motrin and aleve would solve all the pain.

She listened. She cared.

With her and my surgical coordinator, I am getting ready for surgery.

I am exhausted. I’m in pain every single day. It has taken so much from me.

I’ve come an entire year with the support of my family, my friends. My girlfriend has been my number one support. She’s woken up to my texts when I can’t sleep because of the pain. She has seen me break down because of the pain. She has stood by my side when no one else was there.

She is the reason I am still standing tall today.

Without Molli, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

In two weeks, she will be be supporting me as I go into surgery. Something we have both been fighting for. When I couldn’t get up, she was there. On the nights I cried because of the pain, she was there. She even wrote a letter to my doctor, explaining how the disease has only gotten worse over the past year.

We are facing more than just surgery.

I am faced with over a month off. It wasn’t something we had expected. It wasn’t something we had planned. I know that I need this surgery, but I will admit that the thought of being off for that long is terrifying. I’m faced with the fact that I won’t be able to work. I’m faced with the fact that this will be a longer and harder recovery.

Yet, I found myself thinking today about what would have happened a year ago if someone had taken my pain seriously. I wonder about what kind of life I’d be living now. I wonder what my life would be like after having surgery before things got this bad.

I still need help. I still need support.

What may have happened a year ago may have changed things about where I am today.

I’ll never know.

In two weeks, I’ll wake up from surgery with a new outlook on life. I’ll wake up knowing that this surgery is happening. This surgery will help. I’ll walk through those hospital doors, knowing I fought long and hard for this day.

I’ll leave that hospital knowing I have a long, painful, exhausting and hard recovery ahead of me.

I still need your help. I still need your support. I am fighting daily.

Even if you cannot donate to the fund to help me get through being off work for so long, your support means the world to me. I can’t do this without you. Your love, support, encouragement helps. Even a dollar or five dollars helps. If you can’t donate, just knowing that I have your support is enough to keep me going for these next few weeks.

IMG_0020
Divider

I Need Your Help: Surgery Recovery

July 24, 2016 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

Some of you may know that I’m scheduled to undergo surgery on August 12 for Endometriosis. While it is going to be an outpatient procedure (unless they end up having to make a bigger incision), it is still going to require anywhere from 4-6 weeks off of work to recover.
 
This is not something I ever expected when I was given a choice of two August dates. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the situation. Not only that, but because of how poorly I am given the severity of the disease currently – it is going to be a longer and more difficult recovery than my first procedure in 2007.
I am the person who is always there for others. I have constantly and always put myself last. I drop everything to be there for others, even when I can barely take care of myself. I give, I love. I live to help, support and encourage others.
It is hard to even ask for help. It is not something I do often. Right now? I need your help. I really, really, need your help.
 
Within the last year, I have watched helplessly as this disease has stripped me of so many things.
 
I have had more and more days where I cannot get out of bed.
 

I can’t sleep.

I can’t eat when the pain is so severe.

I have missed countless days of work.

I have gotten behind on the school program I am in.

I have no social life.

I have no energy.
 
I have been in and out of the emergency room. I have been going to several doctors, and several appointments.
 
Even getting through a normal shift at work has become increasingly difficult.
 
I have no quality of life. None.
 
I have been fighting so hard, for so long. I have gotten to the point where I was ready to give up because I just kept getting worse, worse and worse. No one wanted to help me.
 
Instead, I am now going in for this surgery with a chance of having a brand new life where I can actually LIVE. It comes with a price of missing a month or more of work.
 
I need your help. support
 
I need your love. I need your support. I need your encouragement.
 
I’ve set up a gofundme page to help cover the unexpected costs of being off of work for a month or more. It will help make sure I can pay bills. It will help make sure I will have enough to eat. It will help make sure I can get whatever post op supplies I may end up needing that I don’t already have.
 
Even if you can’t donate, just sharing this and spreading the word will be a tremendous help. If you can’t donate, just knowing that you are here for me and support me is enough. I am so lucky to have you in my life and I am so thankful for anything you can do to help, financially or otherwise.
 
Divider