Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Shame On Me!

First day of school

What do you see when you look at this picture?  My guess is that you see a family who laughs easily.  A mother who adores her girls.  Two teenagers who might not think their mom is half bad.  Three, smiling, happy faces.  A picture of love and laughter.

Can you guess the first thing *I* saw when I looked at this picture?  I saw an overweight woman whose smile is too big, whose eyes are too squinty, whose double chin is quite noticeable and whose fingers look like sausage links.  THAT was my instant reaction.  And I cringed when I saw it.

Two years ago this picture would never have been taken.  I despised being in FRONT of the camera. I hated having all my imperfections recorded for all time.  Before two years ago, I avoided being on the lens side as much as possible. Then, a few things seemed to click. Won’t go into all the details here and now, but I decided that it would really suck for my kids if they did not have pictures with their mom. Or worse yet, it would really suck for ME if, God forbid, something happened to one of them and I didn’t have record of us together. At that point, I started allowing my husband to take more pictures of me. I would still cringe, but I allowed it. Still hating to have my picture taken but understanding of its importance.

Then a few months ago, I read a blog post that felt like the author was talking directly to me.  She addressed everything that I had been feeling. And although I had been getting better at allowing others to take my picture, I did not welcome or encourage it. 

 I want to share the segment that really struck me.  And I encourage you to read her whole post here:

“So here is the harsh truth y’all. Listen good. Our vanity is no longer enough of a reason to avoid the camera. Life doesn’t wait until you “get thin” enough to capture it. Life is happening . . . it is happening right now and the only moment we are guaranteed is the one we are living. I shudder at the thought of leaving behind no pictures of my life with ME in it.”

After reading this, I started doing something I’d never done before.  I began to actively ask my husband to take my picture.  My instant reaction is still to cringe and hide, but I don’t.  I want a record of my relationship with my children and my husband. I want them to look back and remember the laughter and silliness that runs so rampant in our family.  I want them to remember the love.

So, I closed my eyes, pushed back the critical voice in my head, took a deep breath, and when I looked at this picture a second time I saw how gorgeous my daughters are. I saw their sweet smiles and I could hear their wonderful laughter. I saw my love for those girls on my face.  I looked at my youngest and noticed that she has MY “squinty eyes and MY big smile”… and she is beautiful

Shame on me for looking at this photo and seeing anything less than the beauty of love and laughter that is so obviously present.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Crappy Recovery Day

Not sure what is going on.  There is nothing positive or happy about today.  My pain is under control. I am moving more freely.  My internal pipes are finally functioning. I SHOULD be feeling upbeat. I SHOULD be feeling that life is grand. But all I feel is depression and guilt and a bit of self-loathing.

Sitting back and thinking about it logically, I can see that this is perfectly normal.  My hormones are out of whack and need adjusting.  I just took my last dose of Percocet this morning and switched to another type of pain killer. I did this on purpose because quite frankly, Percocet made me feel a bit too “good” and I refuse to risk addiction.  I am still pretty darned uncomfortable but pain is managed.

My girls go back to school tomorrow. My son starts moving his stuff up to campus on Thursday.  My heart is breaking for my soon to be step sister who is going through her own physical ordeals and is far too young to have to deal with these issues. And this afternoon we found out that Farm Boy will be having his 3rd surgery of the summer…tomorrow. We knew it would happen, just figured it would be in another 2 weeks or so.

Feeling incredibly guilty and irritated that I have to ask the kids to help us. I feel this is a huge inconvenience to them. They have other things they could be doing. They should not need to hang out here to take care of me and their dad. I SHOULD be the one taking care of their dad. I should be the one taking him to surgery tomorrow. I should be the one holding his hand as I am driving him home. But I am in no condition to be driving, much less playing nurse maid. And that pisses me off to no end.  

All of these things lend themselves to a pretty good sized helping of self-pity. Which does me absolutely no good what so ever. I know this logically. But today I just can’t pull myself out of it.  So, I will just let it come in whatever form it comes.  If I have to cry it out, so be it. If I have to throw things…maybe the kids can find something non breakable.  If I have to yell, I’ll send the family outside for a short walk.

I am hoping tomorrow is better, but I am not banking on it. Girls will be at school. Hubby will be at doctors. It will be a bit rough.  On the other hand, I have handled rough before and have made through just fine. 

*RE: Farm Boy’s surgery. It is another out patient, Crohn’s related surgery. If there are no complications, he should be back to his training runs by THIS weekend.  This is more invasive than say, wisdom tooth extraction…but no open abdominal.  And he bounced back from his earlier two surgeries from this summer pretty quick. He’s a stubborn guy and is determined to keep his body moving for as long as he can.  And I am looking forward to seeing him get a post 40 personal best time in his 10K run at the Air Force Marathon this September. He MIGHT even get an all time PR.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"I Don't Believe in the No-Win Scenario."

Post op mile stone:

Last night, for the first time since surgery, I slept through the night.  I was asleep before midnight. And I woke up only because some inconsiderate jerk left the bathroom light on and it was shining in my eyes!  

Of course I felt a little foolish when I realized that, noooo, I was facing away from the bathroom and I was in fact turned toward the window.  

The SUN was shining in my face!  I had slept through until the sun was high enough to shine IN MY FACE!  That just does NOT happen. EVER!  Even pre-surgery!

Granted, I DID have the help of a full pain pill last night.  Took half at 9:00pm and the second half at 11:00pm. That is the most I have had in days. So it pretty well knocked me out. But I will take it. I know my body needs that sleep. 


Two steps forward…maybe (NOT) 2 steps back:

There is a chance I will experience a setback. And I won’t lie, I am a bit nervous. If I let myself dwell, I get scared.  I believe I am having issues from the nicked ureter and stent.  This has me worried.  Of course after realizing it was probably stent issues, I decided to look up information on the topic and discovered this:

Authors: Sandip P Vasavada, MD, Raymond Rackley, MD, Jeffrey B Garris, MD, Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Michel E Rivlin, MD, J Stuart Wolf Jr, MD, FACS , Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  

Ureteral injury is one of the most serious complications of gynecologic surgery. Less common than injuries to the bladder or rectum, ureteral injuries are far more serious and troublesome and are often associated with significant morbidity, the formation of ureterovaginal fistulas, and the potential loss of kidney function, especially when recognized postoperatively. For these reasons, injuries to the urinary tract, particularly the ureter, are the most common cause for legal action against gynecologic surgeons.
Despite the close anatomical association between the female reproductive organs and the ureter, injury to the ureter is relatively uncommon. Nevertheless, when a ureteral injury does occur, quick recognition of the problem and a working knowledge of its location and treatment are essential in providing patients with optimal medical care.”

This last little bit “quick recognition of the problem and a working knowledge of its location and treatment are essential in providing patients with optimal medical care” DOES make me very hopeful.  They knew RIGHT away when it happened and called the urologist in to stitch and stent me up.

The most serious cases come when they do not realize the ureter was damaged to begin with and the woman goes home…only to come back to the ER days later, septic and on the verge of losing a kidney.  This obviously is NOT my case. 

Right now my main concern is will I have to have a stent long term? (meaning months or years?) The stent is fairly uncomfortable and the ½ pain pill I take seems to be the only thing that really dulls that. To put it in perspective, it is nearly as uncomfortable as my bad cramping from the endo. Not a sharp pain. But constant, strong, dull pain/pressure.

 IF I do have to do this long term, will it affect getting back to running? I have plans to PR my 5K and 10K times in 2014.  Will it cause sex to be painful?  Will the constant discomfort of the stent cause my drive to go down?? I have plans to PR in that area, too! (I know, I know. At this point, I should not be concerned with this. I am not even supposed to think about sex for another four and half weeks.) My constant discomfort from the endo caused me to suffer academically last semester. I am VERY concerned about that. I have been looking forward to going back to school in January and kicking some GPA ass.  So the thought of THIS interfering with school is really starting to piss me off. 

I firmly believe that knowledge is power. So, I can’t just “let it go” and “not worry about it” until I see the doctor. But I also know, one can get carried away when reading “horror” stories about worst case scenarios.  I want to learn all I can about this and what *I* can do as the patient to turn this into a BEST case scenario. And not give myself nightmares thinking about all the “what ifs.” 

I discovered this site a bit ago and am finding it very helpful in explaining how things work, what I should look for, and what to expect while having the stent. 

I am trying to stay hopeful that after everything heals, this will be the end of it and no more issues will come up.  And trying to stay OUT of the mindset that I might have just traded one problem in for a different one. 

So, I leave you with this:  

 “I don’t believe in the no-win scenario.”

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ahhhh…there they are!

 I have been feeling SO good and SO positive the last few days.  Absolutely thrilled at the lack of the dreaded roller-coaster ride of emotions.  Very few moments of feeling down.  Somehow avoiding or dodging the post hysterectomy blues. 
Well, today I found them. Or, they found me.  In fact I am pretty sure they had been following at a distance this whole time, snuck up fast, and rear-ended me into the path of an oncoming truck. But it was one of those small, compact pickup trucks. Not an 18 wheeler.  And I was wearing my seatbelt. Things could have been a lot worse. 

My suspicion is that lack of sleep is playing a big part in my blueness. I am also pretty sure that going outside at 4:00 am in the pouring rain to chase off an adolescent raccoon that was terrorizing my mama hen and her chicks did not help.  And it probably made matters a little worse that I had to then waddle around the house…in said rain, to try and catch the feline escapee that took advantage of the fact that I left the back door wide open while being distracted by the raccoon.  I was not able to catch the irritating clump of fur and worried about her survival until she decided she wanted in 6 hours later. 

So now I am not feeling terribly positive or upbeat.  In fact I am feeling pretty darn negative.  I am hurting more than I have in days.  Body is bloated. Incision areas are tender. Insides are cramping. I am aware of the stent. And I just want to curl up in the fetal position and feel sorry for myself. But I can’t. Because curling up hurts too much. 

I know that this shall pass. I will be back to feeling better soon. It is all just part of the process.  Blah, blah, blah.  And to be completely honest, regardless of the above complaints, I am still feeling damn lucky.  I just think that I will have to leave the critter chasing to other members of the family for a while.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Feeling TOO good?

Feeling so POSITIVE right now…like anything will be possible once recovery is complete. Life is good. My family and friends are amazing and supportive. I am acutely aware of my blessings at this moment.

Not sure how long this will last. I AM sure a huge chunk of this is due to the hormones. And I am OK with that. I will enjoy the hell of this while it lasts. 

Heck, I have even forgiven my children for drinking my cranberry juice. 

Brain is sort of racing, but not with intrusive thoughts like usual. This time with good stuff.  Hopes and plans for the future. 

Hmmm...maybe I should be writing those down.