Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Just when you *think* you're in the clear... SURGERY!

So here I am 3.5 months post-partum, doing great, feeling great, excited about getting back to running and about all the adventure that awaits Joe and Jonas and me... when out of nowhere I start noticing some pain on the left side of my abdomen. The location of the pain (left side) ruled out some of the more serious problems: appendix, spleen, etc. And frankly when I first noticed it, I chalked it up to a temporary little digestive issue. I had just eaten a massive quantity of lentils, and while the dish was quite tasty, perhaps it was not so wise to eat a half pound of lentils. Oh well, this will pass, I thought. But it didn't.

I had eaten the lentils on Monday, by Wednesday and Thursday I was having a lot of pain and was quite bloated. I resolved to change my eating habits through the weekend--no legumes, just fruits, veggies, a little protein and lots of water. If I still feel bad, I'll go to the internist on Monday I told myself. By Saturday, I wishing the weekend away for Monday so that I could see the doctor. From there everything happened in a whirlwind.

I got in with the internist on Monday. Had an ultrasound on Tuesday, followed by a CT scan on Wednesday and met with a surgeon on Thursday to discuss fix up the diagnosed abdominal hernia. The CT scan report indicated that a small portion of my colon was coming out through the abdominal wall. Terrific. Argh!!! Just as I was feeling so much better having a challenging birth, and had just returned to work, and now I'm going to be laid up again. Surgery was scheduled for Tuesday (yesterday). Well, what can you do? Honestly, if this is the worst of my health problems, I'm blessed to have something so easily remedied. Still, I was pretty scared. I've never had surgery.

I was so fortunate to get in with the Chief of Surgery at Albany Medical Center. I had my surgery yesterday. I was really apprehensive about the anesthesia, but they gave me several options: local (no way in hell!), local with iv sedation, a spinal (no thanks) or general. I opted for the iv sedation. I have tiny veins, I'm told, which makes any iv or blood draw a real joy ride. They started with my wrist and had to move to my middle arm. I only remember drifting off in the OR and woke up near the end of the procedure when they were bandaging me up, I think. All I know is that when I came to, I felt like people were poking and prodding a very sore abdomen.

When I came to, Joe and Mom told me that it turned out it was not a hernia after all. Apparently, I had some kind of growth on my intestine, which one (small intestine or colon) I'm not sure. They removed the growth and sent it to pathology, where it was confirmed that it wasn't cancerous. Thank God. Aside from that we don't know much. We're expecting a full report from pathology in a few days. Even though I didn't have a hernia, the close up process was the same as if I had had one. I had the mesh inserted and was closed up with stitching. No staples for me. All in all, though, the surgeon reported to Joe and Mom that everything went very well and that I'm going to recover nicely. Whew. :-)

This was an outpatient procedure, which initially gave me some peace of mind. But, wow, I learned that outpatient has a very drawbacks too. They kick you to the curb pretty quickly! I don't think I was in recovery for more than 2 hours, if that. I really wasn't ready to go yet. I just wanted to rest a little longer because I was pretty groggy, in a good deal of pain and nauseous. But as soon as they urged me to the bathroom, when I came back my bed was gone! Now I just had a reclining chair. Is that a clue you've on the way out, or what?? Probably ten minutes later I was being wheeled to the car with spitoon in hand.

I'm 24 hours post-op and am feeling better than yesterday. I just took TWO painkillers this morning for the first time and that was REALLY nice. No pain!! It's very challenging to move around with a cut in your abdomen. And, I didn't sleep that well because my poor little Jonas had a rough night. I think he knew something was up. He had virtually no contact with his mama all evening. He cried and cried most of the night. It's heartbreaking to hear him cry and not be able to snuggle with him or comfort him. It's just not the same only being able to grab a hand or foot with someone else holding him. I'm hoping in a few days that I might be able to feed him again. We'll see... he's pretty squirmy these days throwing his heft around (17 lbs) with ease. That could be dangerous for my very tender and swollen abdomen.

I have lots of updates to give on Jonas along with lots of new photos. Hope to get those up in the next day or two in between naps. More soon...


Anonymous said...

Lizzy: My thoughts are with you each day, will see you soon. Take care and rest, rest, rest, All will heal soon. Love M

Judy MSM said...

Lizzy...Our thoughts and prayers are with you...All our love and, yes, REST! Life is full of so many little surprises...fortunately you are surrounded by a lot of love. Take Care. Judy -- Jack -- and Andy!