Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Falling Apart at 34

Most summers I get on here and get caught up on blog post I have been meaning to write. Then I write some more blog post about all the wonderfully beautiful things I have been doing with my family. Well guess what? This blog post isn't going to be one of them.

Let's face it, life isn't always full of beautiful flowers. Sometimes it is just really hard and you just have to deal with it. I have said it before, but I think as women we are so caught up on trying to measure up to everyone else that we don't ever let anyone in to see the messy side of our life. Well here it goes.

By now you all know about the 83 day migraine that ended up with me being admitted to UAMS in Little Rock last December. Finally, in January I started getting some relief from the migraines and felt like I was at least on the right path for treating them. However, by early February this plan had me weighing quite a bit more than I am use to. Going from constant migraines to about 17 a month, I was able to start running again. That was until my bladder decided to not cooperate. I had no idea what was going on. The first couple times I just thought maybe I didn't empty my bladder, maybe I had an infection, I didn't know. However, it kept getting worse and worse. Like I was peeing all over myself. Not just a little, like everywhere. I tried to run wearing a pad. That didn't even work. So I pretty much decided I couldn't stand to continue peeing on myself. No exercising it was. At 34 years old wearing a diaper was not an option I was choosing to make. Giving up eating was also not an option I was choosing to make. Soooo weighing an extra 15 pounds was the option I went with.

Now, I realized this wasn't a permanent solution. I did go to the doctor about this. I mean I am completely embarrassed that this was happening to me, but it wasn't like it was something I did to myself or something I could have prevented. Apparently I was born with a tilted cervix. I know cool, right. Any way because of this, my other girl parts, are really close to my bladder. Therefore, when I had those two precious babies, they put a lot of pressure on my bladder and it decided it was only going to work properly for 34 years. I am sure working in a classroom and not be allowed to go to the bathroom when you need to for the last 13 years, probably hasn't helped any.

Because of the 83 day migraine, and the days I needed the previous school year, to be with my parents, I had no more sick days. This is something that leaves me with a panicked feeling as is. I scheduled my bladder surgery for June 15th. Five days after my last contract day and one day before my 14th Wedding Anniversary.

Surgery was only going to be a one hour thing. I was however pretty nervous. I hadn't realized I would be getting three incisions. Yikes! Plus, even though I had, had 10 IV's in the last nine months, I am still super scared of them. I was also kind of freaked out when I found out my anesthesiologist was one of my students dad's. I mean really, do you want a dad seeing you naked? Embarrassing!

Surgery went well and I was released to go home by early afternoon. I had three days of bed rest, a week off "work" and six weeks of no exertion, lake or swimming pool water. I don't care if you judge me or not, that surgery was some painful stuff. Wow! The only way I know how to tell you what it felt like is to explain it like this: imagine taking a boat anchor and tying it to a string and attaching it to your organs. Every time I moved, that's what it felt like, pulling. Really heavy, pulling.

Despite taking it super easy, I still had some set backs. When I went to the doctor a week after surgery, he wasn't happy with some of the bleeding I was experiencing. So I had to really watch it and make sure I was allowing my body to heal.

Did you also catch that part about no swimming. Ok yep. I am a lucky lucky duck. I live in an amazing subdivision with amazing friends. My kids have the best time swimming with our amazing friends, but no swimming for me. It was ok, though I made the best of it and still had fun laying out and getting my feet wet.






The day we were set to leave for vacation was my scheduled post op appointment. It was just shy of four weeks after surgery. I thought everything would be great and I could leave for vacation good to go. Well it didn't really go that way. My incisions still were not completely healed, therefore I was still on the no swimming rule. Blah! Beach vacation bummer.


So fast forward with me now to exactly six weeks post surgery. Yay! Official release date! I can pick up Jaxton, I can swim, I can do whatever I want. Perfect! This is the week I also got to school to set up my classroom. I always like to set up my room two weeks before I officially go back on contract. That way I have one week to get it all done and then one last week to enjoy.

8:00 a.m. Monday morning I am in my brand new to me First Grade class room. What some of you may not realize is that teachers have to pack up everything over the summer. They shampoo the carpet and wax the floors, so everything has to go up on top of the cabinets. I am a pretty stubborn little girl and even though it is no easy task I move filing cabinets, book shelfs, easels, mini fridges, desk, etc. by myself. I got all of that set up Monday, did some school shopping on Tuesday and still need one more day to finish up.


Wednesday morning I wake up around 5:00 a.m. with a stomach ache. I do not feel good. Ugh! Around 8:00 I round myself around and tell myself to suck it up and go to school. I don't feel good, but I really want to get my classroom done. I am determined to have my "one last week to enjoy". My mom calls and ask if I want to go to lunch with her. At the time I thought she was going to The Wooden Spoon. Y'all I was feeling so bad I turned down a chance to eat at The Wooden Spoon. That's bad! My pain starts going lower and down to my right side. The more I move the worse it feels. I keep pushing myself to work. Finish Andrea. Just get this Finished. My mom gets back with my kids from lunch and she starts telling me that we can work on this another time. I know she can tell how bad I feel. She finally talks me into leaving.
Later that night I tell Marshal that I am pretty sure my appendix is having some issues. I don't really want to go to the ER so I opt for calling the doctor in the morning.

I, of course, can't get in with my doctor, but at 10:45 the Nurse can see me. Within just a few minutes she is pretty sure it is my appendix as well. Off to labs and then to the hospital for a CT scan I go. The CT scan confirmed that my appendix did indeed need to be removed. After some confusion and a little parading around showing everyone how lovely I look in a hospital gown, I finally got admitted into the hospital. At 8:00 p.m. I had my second surgery in a matter of six and a half weeks. I really cannot even believe it. My stomach now has three more incisions, not to mention it looks like some kind of pitiful helium balloon that is half way deflated and I am starting over on my six weeks of no swimming, no exertion, blah blah stuff.

I know you are thinking ok how does this story continue to get worse? So I thought the bladder surgery was bad, this appendix business seemed to be taking forever to heal from. In fact, I woke up one morning with a fist sized lump in one of my incisions. Ummm, I am not thinking this is suppose to happen. Back to the surgeon's office I go. That lump was causing some major pain. She sent me over for yet another CT scan. They felt like it was just tearing of my stomach lining and fluid was building up around it causing the lump. Told me I needed to lay flat on my back as much as possible and keep an ice pack on it. Ha! I am sorry, let me explain teacher in-service week to you.

And now we are to my favorite part of this story. I am sitting in Dr. Issa's office for my regularly scheduled migraine checkup when I get a phone call from The General Surgery Center. The nurse is like, hey so they were looking at your CT scan and just happened to realize that you also have gallstones. I am sorry, what! "Yes, Dr. Buonagura would like to see you in a couple of weeks to schedule surgery. " I mean y'all I wanted to curl up in the fetal position under my chair. My pulse and blood pressure was so high they didn't even want me to leave the clinic.

When I called to schedule my appointment, the lady that answered the phone said "oh hey Andrea it's Carol, you know Carol, I just saw you at Dr. Issa's office. How are you today Hun?" I hung up and felt truly strange about being best friends with the Mercy appointment scheduler. Then at the appointment Dr. Buonagura gave me a business card. Wow! Thanks, I think....


My third surgery was scheduled for almost six weeks to the day from the appendix surgery. This surgery was a little more complicated because of some damage done during the other two. My belly button had developed a hernia that needed repaired and she went in to make sure the stomach lining tears were healing correctly without needing stitches. The surgery went well and I truly think Dr. Buonagura is the best. Now I have a total of ten incisions in our around my stomach region and am starting over my six weeks of recovery- again. This time I really have to watch it with the hernia repair. It extremely important that I not lift anything heavy or pull my stomach muscles in any way. They all stressed this to me over and over again. If you see me out and about, help me to remember I have the body of a 90 year old. It is ridiculous, but I have to take it easy or I will end up back in the hospital. I am pretty sure none of us can handle that again.

I turn 35 in 13 more days. I am convinced it's going to be a much healthier year for me!






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