Tuesday, March 31, 2015
The day has finally arrived for the complete hysterectomy. My daughter and 10 year old twins came the night before, and my other daughter arrived about 45 minutes before we had to leave for the hospital.
The man at the admitting desk had lived in the same town I had lived in for awhile. And the gal that took my insurance cards and other admitting detail used to work in my local hospital several years ago. Do you find that no matter where you go or how far from home you are, there are always people you have some connection to?
A volunteer came with a wheelchair and wheeled me to the pre-op area and I got the 'lovely' paper surgery gown on, then had a line of several people come in to prep me. Would you believe we all had a hilarious time? We did! My daughter's were in with me, and one is a medical assistant and had the same procedure done that I was going to have, so she asked questions. We all joked around a bit with each person that came in and several said we made their day!
One especially funny incident was when a nurse was listening to my heart and all of a sudden this loud, weird voice said something like, "Help. I am stuck in your pocket and can't get out." and it kept repeating. It was my daughter's cell phone letting her know someone had texted her. It set us all to laughing and the nurse said she thought my heart was speaking to her, which has never happened before. More laughter! We definitely made her day!
When my surgeon came in to see me before surgery, he went to sit down on the rolling stool, his feet slipped out and he fell onto the seat, making it go down to a lower level. More laughter. He said he was always afraid he would slip one day, so he got that out of the way. I am sure glad that happened before surgery! I told him now that we got the jitters out of the way, we should be all set to go.
Soon I was rolled down the halls to OR, asleep soon after, and then woke up in the recovery room. After some time I was taken to my room and all but the healing was finished. I was there overnight and left to go home by 2:30 or so the next day. I don't remember the exact time as I was more than ready to get home.
I am fortunate that I did not have much pain the day after the surgery, or since getting home. I was issued some narcotic pain med but only took the prescription ibuprofen, and that was more for my knees and other aches and pains than anything else. I told my daughter I was a little disappointed that I never took a narcotic and was tempted to take one a few days after surgery, just to see how it felt. But she said NO.
Since I had what is called the da vinci surgery, which is a robotic assist laperoscopic surgery, my recovery was very quick. There were only a few small, 1" incisions instead of one large scar. I highly recommend it if you ever need a hysterectomy, and any laperoscopic surgery for any other kind of surgery. If you wonder what the da vinci surgery is like, you can find information online by searching.
I must tell you that through this whole ordeal, I have had a sense of peace. I am not sure if I was in denial, or the anti-depressant I always take, but I prefer (and believe) that it is a peace only God can give. I don't really think I was in denial. God has blessed me in so many ways for years, and I know I can count on Him.
Monday, March 30, 2015
Back to my saga. My surgery was scheduled for March 19 in Sioux Falls. BUT. . . before then, the day before in fact, I had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon! This was on the day that I had to be on clear liquid diet only - all day.
My appointment had been moved up from 1:30 to 11:30, and they want you to be there 20 minutes early. I arrived shortly after 11 and checked in, then waited, and waited, and waited. There were people waiting that had appointments ahead of mine and still waiting. Finally at 12:30 a nurse came to the waiting area and said the doctor was in surgery and not sure how much longer. She hoped to start taking people back at 1:00! So everyone waited some more, and a few went to the cafeteria for lunch. Shortly after 1:00 she finally started calling people back and I got in the exam room at 1:30, my original appointment time!!
The nurse took the usual information and said the doctor would be in shortly, and I waited . . . . and waited . . . . and waited. Around 2:10 the doctor opened the door but did not come in. He said he was called back to surgery but it would only take a few minutes, so I waited some more. He finally came in at 2:30.
He did say he would do a knee replacement but I am a high risk patient with greater risk of infection in a long scar, prone to blood clots, harder recovery and rehab. And no guarantee that the glue would set properly. Not encouraging at all, but I expected something like that. Then I had to drop the bomb and tell him that I had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was having surgery the following day, so I would not be able to schedule knee surgery for awhile. He said he wouldn't do it for at least 6 months after this surgery, which brings us close to my granddaughter's wedding and I am not doing knee surgery just before that, so it might be a year from now. At least that gives me more time to try to lose more weight and not be such a high risk patient.
I got all my questions answered, and finally got home at 3:00. What an exhausting day of doing nothing but sit and wait for hours.
Part 4 coming up. . .
Thursday, March 26, 2015
The following Monday, March 2, I went back to see the surgeon to get the results of the biopsies taken during the hysteroscopy. Not good news. I had endometrial cancer, grade 1. The doctor did sound encouraging, and from things I read online, this cancer is usually contained and does not metastasize, and that sounded good.
This surgeon referred me to a gynecologic/oncologist (try to say that fast 10 times) in a bigger city 60 miles away, and that appointment was the next Monday, March 9. Are we hating Mondays yet?
This specialist said a total hysterectomy needed to be done, but he was also encouraging as he said that this cancer usually doesn't spread if caught early and I would probably not need radiation or chemo, but if I did need something it would be radiation. We set up the surgery date.
Once I told my church family, I started getting many phone calls and several wanted to come for a visit. I turned down the visits as I did not want to get exposed to the cold, flu and other bugs that are currently floating around. I encouraged them to visit after surgery. After I started telling people this, I found on hystersisters.com that this was exactly what I should do!
After my diagnosis I kept busy going through old medical papers/bills and such that no longer had to be kept, and I started shredding. I almost got through my whole filing cabinet again and got rid of a lot, including 3 stuffed kitchen garbage bags of shredded paper. It still needs more work, sorting, filing, tossing and organizing, but I do have quite a bit more room in those drawers.
I discovered a forgotten shoe box in the back of one of those drawers, and I was surprised to find several more letters written to my mom from her brothers while they were in the service during WWII and after DDay, but still occupying in Europe for awhile. There are a couple of small photo books and some other important genealogy items. I hope to share these things with you in the near future, but I have other things to do first.
End of chapter 2.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
I sat down here at the computer two hours ago to check email and write some more blog posts. But. . . . I just spent most of that time on Facebook! I have spent very little time there the past while, so it was rather fun to check out several posts there. And I just barely touched the surface!
Now it is 12:30 and my tummy is telling me it is time to fill it again and have a cup of hot coffee. It is downright chilly in here. Outside it is only in the mid 30's and a strong 28 mph northwest wind with 39 mph gusts. I guess spring was too chicken to stick around any longer (grumble, grumble).
The calendar says spring and we did have some really nice, almost summer, days recently. But today is dark, 32 degrees, and wet. I did notice that my tulips are up about 2" today so there is a good sign of spring even if it is dreary and cold.
It has been a long time since I last checked in, and that is because a lot has been going on here. It will take a book to tell you all so I will break it down in small portions day by day, as often as I feel up to writing.
I have been making rounds with more than one doctor and hospital to keep me busy and on my toes. Starting on Monday, February 16 I saw two different doctors and a hospital visit through March 9. Saw another doctor on March 18, had major surgery the following day, went home the day after that, and my two daughters and 10 year old twin grandchildren were here to help me for a few days. Whew! What a whirlwind!
I will begin this saga with that first Monday - February 16. I had a consult with the local surgeon about my ultrasound that was done January 29. He told me I needed a hysteroscopy with D&C. And since it was time for my regular 10-year colonoscopy, they could both be done at the same time. Those two procedures were done as outpatient surgery on February 23, another one of those Mondays.
I kept the road warm between home and the hospital 10 miles away.
More to come in the next chapter. . . . . .
Monday, March 2, 2015
I have developed arthritis at the base of my right thumb and it was becoming increasingly harder to use a regular can opener, even though I had bought a more expensive and better can opener not long ago. Before, I just had one of those really cheap ones and never had a problem. I think those little 'teeth' on the wheel had gotten so smooth that it wouldn't grip to go around the edge of the can anymore. That new one worked great. . . . at first. It seems there are some cans that are just plain difficult to open, no matter what, while others present no problem.
As the arthritis became worse and hands weaker I was to the point I could not get a can open at all and was getting very frustrated. I began to really appreciate the cans that have the pull tabs that don't need an opener! But not everything comes with that type of lid.
I had an electric can opener many decades ago and really didn't care much for it, so never thought I would own one again, but I was getting desperate. And I don't even use that many canned good when cooking. I use mostly frozen or jarred, if and when I cook. Sometimes we have to eat our words, don't we.
So far, this can opener works very well. It even takes tall cans, but I need to remember to hold it steady or it can tip with a heavy can. I also like that a magnet holds the lid after opening.
At least now I don't have to cry with frustration because I can't get the blankety-blank can open.