Thursday, October 16, 2014

Surgery was a kick in the head


Oh boy did I have this surgery pegged wrong.  I was thinking it was going to be short and easy-ish.  It was like a punch in the face.

I was under the impression that it was a day surgery and a couple of hours at best.  There was some serious miscommunication in the equation.

Monday afternoon (the day before surgery) I went to meet with the doctor for a pre-op appointment.  I started talking to her about the hysterectomy and she was like, "What? I didn't realize we were doing that".  As we discussed it, we realized that someone in her office dropped the ball communicating to her that I decided to have a hysterectomy.  A few weeks before when I met with her, she told me that I should really probably have a hysterectomy.  I left her with the impression that I wanted to think about it.  I was having a hard time pinpointing where my pains were coming from, and I didn't want to do something without thinking about it a bit.  I spent the next couple of days really trying to pay close attention to when/where I felt pain.  A few days later, I called her office to let them know that I wanted the hysterectomy done (in addition to the bladder fix), and the girl did not relay the message.  The doctor told me that she was fine doing the hysterectomy but they would have to scramble to get it all approved through insurance.  Then she told me that I would definitely be in the hospital at least one night, possibly two.  She told me that I should also stay another night at a nearby hotel in case there was a problem.  I called the insurance also to give them a heads up.  I was just another added stress to an already stressful situation.

John and I stayed Monday night at a nearby hotel.  I sat and read for hours.  I wanted to escape my thoughts about the surgery.  I'm a nervous Nelly when it comes to anything medical.  I read the book, "Heaven is Here" by Stephanie Nielson, for hours.  She was in an airplane crash a few years ago.  It was a great book.  Reading it made me feel peaceful. Like I could get through this hard trial that I had been going through for almost 6 months--piggy backing 9 months of cancer treatments.  A year and a half of pure torture.  Seriously, pure torture.  I felt like I related to a lot of things in the book.

Tuesday morning we left for the hospital.  I had some serious butterflies in my stomach.  I was praying over and over and over for a successful surgery that would get rid of the terrible symptoms I was feeling (i.e. tons of pressure like I was about to have a baby and killer pain when I went pee).  Ouch is an understatement.

I told my anesthesiologist that I wanted to be OUT COLD before entering the operating room.  She told me that I would not remember a thing.  Wrong.  When we entered the operating room I was awake and feeling panic.  The nurses talked to me to put my mind at ease.  I remember talking to them and moving from the bed to the operating table...thankfully, then I was out cold.

I woke up to OH SO MUCH PAIN.  I remember waving my arm around trying to get a nurses attention.  My legs/hips were absolutely killing me.  It ended up being almost a 5 hour surgery with my darn legs spread eagle in the stirrups.  I am no longer a limber lady and that position for that long was excruciating.  My hips were so sore and 16 days later they are still in bad shape.  I must have pinched some nerves.  The pain starts in my hips and shoots down to my knees.  I could hardly walk for several days.

Doctor N. started first with the hysterectomy.  I think everything went according to plan.  Then, she started working on the bladder.  The poor wounded bladder.  What she discovered was that in April when the bladder mesh was put in, it was done wrong.  She thought she was just taking the mesh out but it was much more complicated than that.  When the mesh was placed it was supposed to be put on the side walls.  But, instead the end of one side of the mesh was stabbed through the urethra and up into the bladder.  The end of the mesh apparently has a hard piece (I think it's plastic) that anchors it when it is placed.  Well, that part was IN my bladder.  Every time I emptied my bladder I just wanted to scream out in pain.  I'm sure when my bladder flattened it was just being torn up by the mesh and hard plastic end.  It made a nice large hole in my bladder.  When the doctor realized how bad of shape my bladder was in, she called two Urologists into the surgery with her.  After the surgery she told me that there is no way she would have done the hysterectomy at the same time if she would have known how bad of shape my bladder was in.  It was just too much.  In the surgery they removed all the mesh that they could and sewed up 3 different layers of the bladder.  Then Dr. N told me that I would be going home with a catheter for two weeks.  A lovely "yellow purse".  The goal was to baby the bladder.  She didn't want my bladder to stretch and work, hence the catheter.

Because of the miscommunication on how long I would be in the hospital, John had to head home late Tuesday night because he had patients the next day.  He was thinking about cancelling them all, but I told him to go.  My mom had offered to drive down to get her poor wounded girl.  I had a completely terrible night.  I think I dozed off ten minutes at a time and then woke up.

Wednesday my mom and brother Jared showed up at the hospital around 11:00.  They stopped and bought a whole bunch of food/snacks with them.  It was so nice to sit and visit and take my mind off things.  I was feeling very weepy.  Their visit was interrupted by 2 urologists.  They were there to take out the hospital catheter and put in a take home one.  Good grief that was painful.  I couldn't even help myself while they were putting it in.  I just kept yelling, "OUCH".  I felt like they were getting a running start to place it or maybe using a blow dart method.  I wanted to kick them both in the face with my feet.  Unfortunately my legs were completely useless from the pinched nerves in the hips.  They were lucky.

A couple hours later, my best friend Heidi (from Junior High/High School) showed up for a visit.  She brought soup, bread, and treats.  It was such a great, much needed visit.  She is completely wonderful.  I just love her.

They released me from the hospital early Wednesday evening.  My mom and I drove to a nearby hotel and went to bed early.  The car ride home the next day was not easy on the ol' rear end.

Fast forward two weeks of painful, humiliating, catheter hell.  Two days ago, my mom and drove the 6 hours round trip to see Dr. N.  I silently prayed all the way down that the results would be good.  They were possibly going to remove the catheter if they could determine that there were no leaks in the bladder.  My first appointment was to have several x-rays done.  They x-rayed the bladder first several times and then they filled it (as full as I could stand) with a solution.  Then they did more x-rays looking to see if anything was escaping.  An hour later I met with Dr. N and she felt confident that the bladder was holding and the catheter could come out!  BEST NEWS EVER!  Six MONTHS from the awful April surgery, the catheter was taken out.

The surgery was done 16 days ago, and I still feel like crap.  I'm quite certain it will take a few more weeks before I feel decent.  I can already tell that things are so much better though.  That killer stabbing bladder pain when I went pee is gone.  I just hope there are no lasting traumatic effects on the bladder.  I have to go back down to see Dr. N next month.  Then again in 6 months and then a year later.  As far as a future bladder repair, I'm not sure if I will even do it.  I had it done in April to prevent leaks when jogging, jumping, sneezing, etc.  At this point I'd rather deal with the leaks unless I just wet myself walking around.

I'm hoping this is the end of a very long road of awful health issues.  It has been a very bumpy road and at times, I honestly didn't know how much more I could take.  I have tried my best to patiently turn it over to the Lord.