Friday, December 04, 2015

adventures in medical thingamabobs...

So, I am now a week out of surgery, and I have to say, I feel so much better than after the surgeries I had last year! Granted, it's completely different, but still, I feel pretty good. 

You might be wondering, what happened now?

Yeah, it's a short story. After years of not getting checkups and generals done, I finally went and found out I had a rather large fibroid that had taken up residence without prior approval. It had to go. Eviction time, baby! Seriously, finding out I had this…thing... growing inside made sense of the symptoms that I'd brushed off figuring that was just how my body worked.

Well, yes, that is how the body reacts to having an unwanted visitor taking up space where other things are occupying space!! Like my bladder! My poor bladder. It was crowded and unhappy and tried to let me know something was wrong. It's so much happier now, without that thing trying to take over! And I've been putting up with super heavy periods for as long as I can remember. Hello anemia. Nice to see you again. I would usually eat a very iron rich diet around that time to try and alleviate problems.

Anyways, I learned a few things about these growths and dealing with them. In brief:

1. It happens to a lot of women.
2. Not everyone has symptoms. 
3. They come in many shapes and sizes and not all cause problems. Mine was big enough to cause problems. The doctor said it was the size of a large softball. 
4. Most of the time, they are non-cancerous, so if you ever get diagnosed with one, don't freak out. 
5. There are various ways to treat them, depending on the size and lifestyle choices. The treatment ranges from doing nothing, to hormones, to surgery or other procedures. Surgery choices vary also on how big the fibroid is. For example, many can be done laprascopically, in which they make a few incisions and go in with minimal scarring and problems. Mine was big enough that they couldn't do that. They had to cut me open, as if I were having a c-section. I had what is called a myomectomy. This leaves all your parts intact, although a bit scarred. Hysterectomy is usually the very last resort. Repeat, that is the last resort!!
6. If you feel uncomfortable with what the doctor is telling you or the options, find another doctor. Get another opinion. I did. The first doc I went to basically treated it like something I should be able to deal with…"well, if it's not affecting your quality of life, you can just let it be." Mmmhmmm. Yes, this is a viable option, but chances are pretty good that if you have something the size of large softball inside of you, it's creating some problem somewhere (like my poor bladder!). When I asked him about having it removed, he talked immediately of doing a hysterectomy. Remember what I said earlier? That this is the last resort? Yeah, for him it was the first. No thank you. I did not feel confident that this guy would do what was best for me. I found another doctor that went over all the options, and respected my choices. That's the kind of doc you want.

So, a week out of surgery and I am very curious to see what will happen to my body as I heal. Right now I am the same size as I was pre-surgery, but probably also swollen. So, in 3-4 weeks, I might actually see a difference in my appearance. That would be great because I'd been going to the gym faithfully 3-5 times per week and rather than seeing the weight go down, it was actually going up? WTF? Although I am the same size, I am actually down 10 lbs. (Holy crap!!) I didn't weigh myself immediately after coming home, but in the past 3 or 4 days when I have started to weigh myself, I've dropped about 3-4 lbs. My guess is that it must've been affecting my hormones in some way shape or form. I hope that this is the case and that I can continue this trend. I don't expect to keep dropping 10lbs a week, but based on what my diet and lifestyle, I really shouldn't be this big. Yeah, I'm not saying I should be stick thin, but something definitely felt off. We shall see.  In the meantime, I am healing, taking care of myself and moving on. I won't be able to work out for a while, 4-6 weeks, other than walking, but nothing strenuous. 

The nurse in  my pre-op meeting told me I would be so happy after this was done. It's only been a week, but so far, yes, she was 100% correct!

A la prochaine!

Saturday, August 01, 2015

You never know what you'll find

This morning started like most mornings, waking up, stretching, bathroom, etc etc.  One of my friends from Cali is visiting and we were scheduled to meet up with another friend of hers this morning, a nice Saturday brunch. So, I jumped in the shower seeing as I was up early and had the time for a nice shower even before breakfast…sometimes, you just need that! My friend popped her head out of her room and said plans had been cancelled.
"WHAT? Can't hear you! Wait till I'm out of shower!" I yelled back. I had some serious showering to do here…under the spray, washing my hair, letting the water run… oh, heavenly!
After I got out, she popped out of her room again to let me know brunch plans cancelled and we can do this or that, and she told me how tired she was. I told her she could go back to sleep, after all, she's on vacation! 
So, after she goes back to bed, I happen to look outside from my room, and….
there is a mattress. In my yard. Just propped up there. What the hell?!? Now, remember, I haven't had coffee yet, I just got out of the shower, and I haven't even put my glasses on yet. But, there is a mattress in my yard. 
It wasn't there last night. Why would someone put a mattress in my yard overnight?? And with all this rain that we've been getting? It'll be soaked! Ew gross!

A few thoughts ran through my head…
First I thought that maybe my friend that stayed here had put it there temporarily and then forgot to get it (she had taken the seats out of her SUV and had a mattress in the back for traveling.) I quickly dismissed that because although she came over to pick up a few items she'd forgotten at my house, she didn't take a mattress out of her SUV and leave it in my yard. And if she had, she would have told me about it. So, no, that's not it.
Then, today being garbage day, I thought maybe some neighbor or mine had wanted to throw it out, but the garbage doesn't take large items on Saturday, so instead of lugging it back home, they dumped it in my yard because it's so close to the curb. I didn't understand why they would do this and it seemed unlikely, but then again, I do live in Florida and people here are known to do strange things!
Then, I thought maybe another friend of mine left it in my yard as a joke. She's a total night bird…she and her hubby rarely get to bed before 5am, but they are in the process of moving, so maybe they had an extra mattress and brought it over during the night? Again, unlikely, because she usually asks if I want things ahead of time-it's not like her to just bring something over. hmmm...
So, I went out to look at it a bit, but not too close! I just opened the door and looked at it from about 15 feet away.  I was like the ape from 2001 circling the monolith, this strange contraption that just landed in my world. Don't get too close! What is that thing? Why is it here? I did see it was meant for a child though. Again, don't get close and go back inside, where it's safe! You never know what that baby mattress could do!!
Then, I thought that maybe it was for my niece's baby shower today, that maybe someone had this mattress for the shower and didn't want to lug it all over the place and so plopped it at my place because it's on the way to the shower? (yes, I realize how stupid that sounds, but again, I haven't even had coffee yet.)
I grabbed my phone and checked for any messages. Nothing. Hmmmm…you'd think if someone decided to borrow my yard as a temporary holding space, they would at least leave a message, no? No. So, I called my sister (it's her daughter having the baby), and asked if she dropped it off, or if she knows who dropped it off. No. And she was just as perplexed as I was, and stated very clearly that a baby mattress had not even been on the list of things needed. However, she had had her coffee, and asked, "Is there a note on it?" 
Oh, good thinking. Yesyes, let me go see if there is a note. Goodgood. As I got closer, I was relieved to see it wrapped in plastic and protected from the elements. Phew. It's brand new.  But no note. At this point,  I was a bit more confident about this strange mattress in my yard, and I (gasp!) even dared touch it to see a shipping label at the top. Where was it supposed to go? AHA!! I was right (well, sort of…)
It belonged to some neighbors! It had been mistakenly delivered to my place instead of theirs!! I walked over to their building, and went and knocked on the door, to let them know they had a mattress waiting for them at my place. 
This woman came out with the cutest little baby boy, and sure enough, the mattress was meant for him. I told her how I woke up with this mattress in my yard and was completely perplexed as to how it had arrived in my yard overnight and she said it was to be delivered today. AH! yes, that made sense! Delivery came early today! It wasn't put there overnight!! AHA!! Yes! Total sense! 

I need coffee.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Pet Peeve

Anyone that knows me knows that I am a sucker for animals. I love 'em. If I see someone with a dog, I will usually see if the dog is friendly and pet it if it is. I love that stuff. This applies for people that take their dogs into stores as well. I'll be walking and SURPRISE! Dog in a basket!  I always ask, I always make sure it's ok, because let's face it, not everyone wants people petting their dog. And that is ok.

However, if you have a yappy dog, that will start barking its head off at people, then do the dog and other people a favor and leave it at home!! SHEESH! Don't be an asshole and bring it with you to the store, where you know people will be around, and that the dog is going to start barking.

You're rude by doing this. Both to your dog, who is obviously stressed by the situation, and to others around you. So, don't be an asshole. Leave the dog at home.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Falling apart!

Man, I tell you what. Just when you think things are getting better, something hits you out of left field!
What? you may ask. Well, of course, the knee recovery has been slow but I've been making steady progress. I've been able to start riding my bike. Walking and standing still causes issues, but at least the biking has given me an outlet to exercise.

Then…. my ankle.  On the other leg. My good leg.

My ankle decides that now is a good time as any to just seize up on me and cause shooting pain. What the hell??? The other day it did it as I was getting out of the car, but then it went way pretty quickly. I didn't think much more about it. Until today.

I've been volunteering at a school, trying to pick up as much as I can. All was good. Class #1. Class #2. Planning period, then lunch. Everything ok. We came back from lunch, I sat through the initial class announcements, then turned the chair to get up and go make copies, and WHAM!!!

My ankle seized up on me again, much worse than the last time! If I tried to put weight on it, shooting pain. If I relaxed my foot, it diminished to a cramp-like feeling (every had a Charley-horse in your ankle?) Tried to flex my foot. Shooting pain again. Relax. Back to ankle Charley-horse. Foot down on ground? PAIN! I couldn't walk. I waited, seeing if it would relax on its own. Nope. I tried some alternative stretches. Nothing. How will I get to my car if I this continues???

So, I call my physical therapist.

"I know it's not related to my knee, it's not even the same leg, but I need help, I can't walk I can't put weight on it I'm here at school and I don't know what I'm going to do!"
"Can you come in right away and I'll take a look at it?"
"I can't walk! I can't put weight on it!"

And so he had me move it. It hurt. Keep moving it, just gently back and forth. It hurt a little bit less. Slowly, gently.
And finally…
Finally, the pain receded and I could put weight on it. I could walk again.


I left school and immediately drove to the PT office. He poked and prodded at my ankle:
"Does this hurt?"
"How about this?
"Thi-" AAAAH!!!

And then the question: Have you sprained your ankle?  OH YEAH. Plenty of times.
"When was the last time?" Well over a year ago, but I have a history of sprained ankles.  So, it seems that although the ankle appears to have been ok all this time, it's not 100% and it has decided to come back and bite me now. And, very importantly, my poor ankles could be a reason that my knee is having a hard time recovering because of the instability! (Hey, I can honestly say I'm unstable!!)

He had me do a number of ankle exercises, just small things like flexing my foot with a resistance band. I did it on both sides and OH! It was hard! The muscles in and around my ankles and up my shin were struggling! So, now I've got an appointment in a couple of days with the doctor so he can check up on my ankle. I will probably have to add ankle exercises in addition to the knee exercises.
So, looking for the silver lining, if my ankles are causing me problems, by strengthening them, it will lead to faster recover and less problems in the future with my knees! That's a relief.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Patience is a long time coming...

At the end of January, things seemed to be getting better with the knee. I was no longer on crutches, I could drive. And then…then something happened. I don't know what. I do know the pain in my leg woke me up in the middle of the night, and I had a hard time getting back to sleep. The next day, when I tried walking, my knee would buckle-it felt as if a nerve was getting pinched and I just couldn't support it properly. Back to crutches. Back to hobbling. It felt like a huge setback. I was scared because I didn't know what was happening-and then, the doubt about my recovery snuck in and I started wondering if I would ever be able to even walk normally again. 

I walked into physical therapy that week, on crutches, and just started bawling. (Incidentally, that was also the day the new physical therapist started, so I'm sure that was a great way for him to start a new job!) You know, physical therapists are amazing, because along with the physical stuff, they also have to deal with meltdowns like the one I had and my new therapist did a great job. He tested my leg, and reassured me that everything was just fine and this was just a setback but not to worry because it happens and it's ok, and I'm going to be ok, and we're going to get through this and so forth. 

Turns out, I have a lot of scar tissue in there and it needs to get broken up (which is not a pleasant process whatsoever-they massage the area, tissue massage, to break up the scarring, and it hurts like hell!! But when you can walk better afterward, it is so worth it!) And I have adhesions, which is basically what it sounds like, things sticking together that shouldn't be sticking together.  fun. And we've been working on it and I've steadily been improving.

One of the most difficult aspect of the recovery process is learning to accept that I cannot do things that I used to be able to do. I have to learn to be patient with myself. And be kind to myself. There are days I am so frustrated, thinking, "Damn! Why is it so difficult to just step. up. one. step??!" I can't walk for very long yet. Standing in one place is tolerable only for a bit before I need to sit. And don't even get me started on things like going out, which I now avoid going out because I just don't want to deal with standing, or trying to find a place to sit, or parking and then walking, and then dealing with the crowds, or weaving through people to find somewhere to sit. No. No. No. Just no. I can't handle that yet. 

And in one of my moments of frustration, I realized that while it's been 4 months since the last surgery, it's only just over a month since that little setback so I need to give myself some slack. I've made great progress since then. No more crutches. I'm starting to walk a bit better (it's a really weird feeling when it feels like your leg is flopping as you walk because the muscles just aren't there yet.) AAAANDDDD…

Today was great! I was actually able to swim. Like really swim! And kick. And not have it hurt! (I tried the other day and it was still too tender.) These little breakthroughs always seem to follow a bout of depression/frustration. Now, the key thing is to not charge full steam ahead. 

Patience, grasshopper. Take it slow and easy. Do just enough so you feel it and then let it go. Today, I swam a bit. Did some leg exercises in the pool. Stretched. Swam a little bit more. And then, that was it. I could have done more. I could have pushed it. But I didn't. I'm learning.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

And so another month...

My good intentions to blog on a regular basis have once again been derailed like a drunk trying to walk a straight line.

The new started peacefully enough, but then the flurry of activity started and I've been working on personal and volunteer projects all month. I went from the relative calm (and semi-boredom) of recovery into what feels like almost frenetic activity as I've had something to do every day, whether it's volunteering, physical therapy, trying to maintain some semblance of order in the house, or other things that crop up (you know, things like making sure I have food in the house...)

As for the knee?'s still giving me problems. I have been going to physical therapy on a regular basis but I seem to be stuck at this point. My knee does not want to bend past a certain point, and if I'm on it too much, it lets its tremendous displeasure be known by swelling up to pre-surgery dimensions and aching. Some days, it seems that it's just persnickety, and then I realize that the weather is changing (either rain or cold front moving through) and I sigh, knowing that there is not a damn thing I can do about that; my knee will let me know there's change even if I can look out the window and clearly see it. I can't walk for very long on it or I pay the price for days afterward.

I look forward to being better, even if it feels like it's taking forever. I am compiling a list of things to do when physical capabilities are improved. I won't make any promises about blogging regularly, so until next time...have a lovely February!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy 2015!

For the first time in many many years, I was in bed and sleeping by the time people were celebrating the beginning of the new year.  And it was marvelous! After two nights of being woken up in the middle of the night, and two days of go-go-go, I needed sleep.

So, the new year started with something different. Some might think it boring, but, quite frankly, my dears, I don't give a damn. Nope, not one smidge of a damn. I chose to take care of moi, and that is one of the best ways I can think of to start a new year. So, new year's resolutions? Hmmm…. haven't really made any new resolutions. I guess I will have to think about it. In the meantime, 

Happy New Year!