Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Oh, there you are.....

Tonight was laundry night.  Nothing exciting.  My mom was scheduled to have her 3rd chemo treatment today.  I was really nervous, as the last time she ended up in the hospital for a week.  I tried to call her after work, but didn't get an answer.

So as I was folding clothes, my phone rang.  The caller id said it was my moms house.  Expecting it to be my step-dad, calling to give me a chemo update, I answered with my usual "hey-low".  My moms voice, on the other end, replied with "what are you doing?"  Even as I typed that, I could hear my moms voice in my head.  I lost my breath for a moment.

Back in January, my mom started losing her voice.  It was her first "outside" symptom.  The first one I noticed.  You don't realize how comforting someones voice is, until it isn't there.  I've blogged before about how I would give anything to hear her voice just one more time.  You can read that entry here: You will never get it...

I've been thinking a lot lately, about things my mom has said to me over the years, that I would give my right arm to hear again, in her voice.  Her calling me "toots".  Her saying orange, only pronouncing it "oinge".  Her saying "Hi, this is Jackie.  Greg and I aren't home right now.  If you want to leave a message....do it now".

And today, when she said "what are you doing?", I got a little glimpse of that.  I know she needs to rest.  I know she hasn't had a voice in a LONG time, and it probably exhausted her to speak even a little, so I couldn't bring myself to ask her to say all of the things I wanted to hear her say just one more time.  But you can be assured, I DID tell her to hurry up and re-record that answering machine greeting!

And just as a quick treatment update, they didn't do chemo today.  They instead chose to drain the fluid out of her lung.  She said they got about 2 mason jars full of fluid out.  Unfortunately, the woman that did it was NOT very nice, and caused my mom a LOT of pain.  But the rest of her day went very well, and she sounded AMAZING!

Mom, if you happen to be reading this, I'm serious....fix the damn answering machine!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

You will never get it...

My brother, Cameron, and I, have had several conversations over the past few months about our moms cancer diagnosis.  We've come to the conclusion that, to be quite frank, it just fucking pisses us off.  We seem to be stuck in the "anger" stage of this diagnosis, and I guess that is sort of a mixed blessing.  Yes, it makes us lash out at innocent people, but it also keeps us from walking around in tears all day.  Now we are only in tears half of the day.

We don't know how much time we will get to have with mom.  Will it be 8 months, 2 years, 5 years?  We just don't know.  But the truth of it is, even if it were 60 more years, it wouldn't be enough.  We are selfish.  We want our mom to be there for our phone calls every day for the rest of our lives.  And she won't be.  And that is a sad reality of not just this diagnosis, but with aging in general.

And then there is the anger over words from those just trying to be supportive.  I've been on the other end of this situation, when someone I care about has a loved one diagnosed.  I know that you just don't know what to say.  And that is where it becomes very important to choose your words very carefully.  I've gotten everything from "My dad had that same exact diagnosis.  Dead in 6 months.  Get ready now" to "I know exactly what you are going through".

I'm not even going to touch the first one. She doesn't deserve anymore room in this blog than she has already taken.  The second one, that is a touchy one.  Because, to be honest, you don't.  Ok, your mom was diagnosed with cancer.  I get that, and I am SO sorry that you had to experience that.  But...YOUR mom wasn't MY mom!  YOUR relationship with YOUR mom wasn't anything like MY relationship with MY mom.  Yes, you hurt.  I hurt.  Many people have been hurt by a cancer diagnosis.  But you really don't understand. Just like I won't ever understand just what it was that you went through. Please, just don't say this to us anymore, because, while we know you mean well, it just makes us more sad, more angry, and it makes us feel more alone in all of this.  Please just simply say that you are sorry, if you are.

A few months back, towards the beginning of the year, I began to have a feeling that there was something seriously wrong, medically, with my mom.  At that point, I don't know that she had even been to a doctor yet.  I was having a bad day, and just wanted to call my mom.  I knew she wasn't home, but one of the first symptoms I noticed with my mom was that she lost her voice. And I was beginning to forget what my moms voice actually sounded like.  I just wanted to hear her voice on the answering machine.  My moms answering machine has had the same message on it for as long as I can remember.  Probably 15 years, at least.  My mom, in her chipper voice, saying "Hi, this is Jackie.  Greg and I aren't home right now.  If you want to leave a message....do it now".  And I can always remember thinking to myself, "I really need to have them change that, so she isn't telling people she isn't home."

And the machine picked up, and it wasn't my mom.  It was my step-dad, in a newly recorded message.
And I cried.  I'd give anything to have that greeting back.  To hear my mom telling me, dangerously, that she isn't home, and the whole world is now welcome to come rob them blind.  And she will probably never have her voice back the way it was, and I will probably never get that chance to hear that message again.  And even something little like that, pisses me off.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Things I've learned since "the diagnosis".

This past May, my mother was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma.  They found a growth on her lung.  It was "paralyzing" her vocal chord, which led to her not having a voice.  She was having trouble breathing.  She was tired.  While going through "pre-radiation" testing, they found that it had spread to her collar bone and several locations in her brain.

She has since completed 3 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week.  She has lost her hair.  She is "wobbly".  She is still tired.  She now gets a few weeks of rest before she begins chemo.

I've learned a lot of things about myself, and the things that are surrounding me, since my mothers diagnosis.

It is possible to have 25 emotions all at once.  I have cried.  A lot.  I have been angry.  A lot. I've hated God, I've hated life, I've hated her doctors for not catching this sooner and fixing her while there was still more time.  I've hated everyone, and every thing.  I have felt sorry for myself.  A lot. I have attacked those around me, and complete strangers.  I have emotions, and I don't know how to deal with them.  But I'm told this is "normal" post-diagnosis.

I've learned that people, and their drama, and their lies, are not going to be a part of my life anymore.  I don't want it.

I've learned that there are people in my life that pull me down.  People that no longer need to be a part of my life.  And I've learned that since letting them go, I don't miss them.  I feel a sense of relief.

I've learned that no matter how bad you think you have it, there is always someone with itty bitty problems that are going to try and compare to you, just so they can feel like they need more attention.  It's not worth it.

I've learned that no matter how bad you think you have it, be thankful, because there actually ARE people who have it much worse than you do.

I've learned to cherish every single moment, of every single day, with your loved ones, even if it's just over the phone....because you don't know when it will be the last time.  As cliche' as it is, it's the truth.

I've learned that I don't know how I will go through this life without my mother, and I don't think I should have to.  I've become bitter at people that have perfectly healthy mothers, because it's not fair that they get theirs, and I don't get mine.

I've learned that there are things I will never understand.  Why is my mother, a woman who has not done anything wrong, now given a death sentence, when so many people that don't deserve to be here live on, healthy and carefree?

I've learned that there are people in my life who care.  Friends, family, and even an occasional stranger.  I've learned that the people who deserve to be in my life have stood by me through this bizarre wave of emotions and reactions, and not judged, but simply just held me, in person, or over the phone.

I've learned that I am the luckiest person in the world, because I have the worlds most amazing mother.  She is the strongest person I have ever met.  Through all of this diagnosis, treatment, illness, vomiting, exhaustion, breathing trouble, hair loss....she has kept positive and fought on.

And I have learned that I am not the person I want my mom to know me as when her day comes.  There are many things that I wanted to accomplish in my life, and they haven't been done yet.  I don't know how much time I will have to make those things happen, to make my mom proud.  But I do know that when something like this happens in your life, it is a giant wake up call. You learn a lot of things about yourself very quickly.  The things you thought were important in your life, no longer are.  You have an entirely new set of priorities, needs and desires.

And you learn what true love is.  You learn what true compassion is. You learn what life, family and true friendship is, and you cherish it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ok, that will be enough now....

When is enough, enough?  I'm pretty convinced that I don't want to know the answer to that.  Or, perhaps, I've found it already.

What a stressful few weeks we've had in this family.  I'm not even brave enough for the "what else can happen?" question, because life has gotten pretty good at showing you that it can, indeed, put you in your place.

 We have had some pretty nasty issues with Kensie at school, leading to her being depressed, due to bullying.  A classmate recently committed suicide for the same reason.  I won't dwell on that, just know that it is a horrible thing, and these parents REALLY should be held accountable.  If you are a parent, even if you don't think they are involved in such behavior, PLEASE talk to your children about the affects of bullying.

I haven't mentioned this yet, but recently my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer.  She has a tumor about the size of the end of a finger, and it has caused one of her lungs to "fold over" on itself.  It's cutting off her breathing, and pushing up against her vocal cords, causing her to not be able to breathe or talk.  While I suspected it was a diagnoses that was coming, it still was a shock.  She was supposed to start radiation treatment last Friday.  She went in for her testing and prep on Thursday.  When she arrived Friday, they informed her they had found more cancer.  There is one spot on her collar bone, and 4 (Or 5, I don't remember which) in her brain.





Mom says the doctors are confident that they can treat it with the radiation.  Followed by chemo.  I wasn't prepared for this.  Then again, is anyone ever prepared for this?  We just have to take one day at a time, pray and hope for the best, and be confident that she is in very good hands.  We have never been through something like this, I have no idea what to expect....so I pray for the best.

 Right now, most things are just a haze, and I can't even imagine what is going through my mothers mind.  I was lucky to spend most of the day with her, my step-father, and brother, yesterday, just hanging out.
Today, Jei left town for 3 weeks of work training. :( My best friend is on vacation for the next week. :( She has done an awesome job of checking up on us.  I miss her like crazy, but being that we live 1.5 hours apart, I miss her like crazy every day.

The next few months will be difficult, I am sure, but I am surrounded by people who are a great support system, and I am blessed in that.

Please keep my mom in your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


This past winter, we bought new kayaks.  I LOVE to kayak about as much as I love to geocache, or camp. We have been itching to get out on the water, but weather and work schedule have prevented it.  Yesterday both of those aligned, and we were able to get the yaks wet for the first time ever.

It was a perfect day.  It was SO good to be out on the water again, enjoying nature, and the company.  It was so completely relaxing.  It was the exact thing I needed....to clear my head for awhile.

There has been a LOT going on in my personal life here lately.  My mother has been pretty sick, and that has been very scary for me.  I don't like seeing her this way.  She isn't mom when she is sick.  I just keep praying she gets better soon, and that the oncologist has the answer.

I've also been dealing with my youngest daughter being severely bullied at school, and her depression from it.  It saddens me just how mean and hurtful some people can be, just because it brings them pleasure.  I can't imagine being a child in school these days.  It's hard enough to deal with bullying as an adult, but these poor kids. Just yesterday, a 13 year old one town over shot him self outside of his old school.  A classmate of my daughters over-dosed 2 weeks ago.  It seems every day another child is taking their life because of bullying.  It angers me, greatly, and I really feel like it's time the schools and parents were held accountable for not protecting these victims.  I know I personally have talked to the school several times about my daughters situation, and it seems nothing is being done, because it still continues.  My saving grace, there. are only 6 days of school left.

Aside from work, and the stuff mentioned, there isn't really a whole lot going on, other than I've been going to the gym with my friend, Sabrina.  I've really been enjoying that.  I also had my first camping trip of the year, last weekend, and it was AWESOME!  Some friends of mine recently bought property along a river, and it was the perfect place for many of us to gather for the extended weekend.  It was SO nice to not have any agenda, and just enjoy the time together.

Hope everyone is well....

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ain't no sunshine....oh but there is!

I'm over winter.  I've been over winter since 3 seconds after the first snowfall of the season.

But the last 2 days we have had some beautiful weather.  It's been mildly warm, and the sun is out.  And I love it.  I've also seen the first of the red-winged black birds and sandhill cranes of the year, and that means spring is near.  It also means it's almost camping season!

I love the out-of-doors.  So being holed up in the winter really puts me in a funk.  I guess it worked out well that I had to spend a month of it recovering from my surgery.  I'd rather do that when it's cold outside, than when it's warm and I want to be out camping, or kayaking, or hiking, or geocaching, or photographing, or.....

In recovery news, I feel fantastic.  I'm slowly introducing "pre-surgery" foods back into my diet, and have even successfully eaten red meat 3 times.  Oh how I love red meat.  And it occurred to me yesterday that I haven't even had to take Tums since surgery.  I used to have up to 6 a night.  I really just feel fantastic!

I have also decided to go back into training for the 5K.  I need to see a doctor about my knee, as it still causes pain, and I don't want to further injure it.  In the meantime, I will just take things slow and easy.  But I'm ready to get back into shape.  I'm also debating going to the Y and signing up the family.  I think the kids would really enjoy it.  But I've been off of my feet for 6 months, and I no longer have my running buddy to motivate me, so this is going to be VERY hard.  Please wish me luck!

All in all, things are going great.  I have some small stressors, but things are really starting to look up.  I've had a couple interviews in the last few weeks, and they went really well.  One is a job that I just didn't feel would work well for me, but if they offer me the job, I will take it.  The other, which I've interviewed twice for, is something I feel pretty great about.  The employees all have great attitudes, and the manager was just a very nice, caring woman.  I think it would be a wonderful fit for me.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and will hopefully hear something the beginning of the week.

I hope the few of you that read this are doing well.  I'm off to prepare for a kid-free weekend of enjoyment.  Heading out tomorrow for some geocaching therapy.  Yesterday was my 8 year Cache-a-versary and I love it still today as much as I did 8 years ago!

Happy Spring, everyone!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Fear? Yeah, I know what that is.

The last few months have been a whirlwind of emotions for me.  A whirlwind of emotions that I didn't know how to handle, and still don't.  I've had a few ups, I've had a lot of downs, and I've even had some WAY downs.  I've been afraid.  I've been scared.  I've been terrified.

It's no secret, to this blog, or anyone who knows me, for that matter, that I've had gall bladder issues for some years now.  I know pain, trust me, I know pain.  But for the last 3-4 months or so, something has just been different.  The pain had become more what I would classify as "chronic", and I was just SO tired and weak all the time.  I just didn't feel like myself, and it made me sad, depressed, and just not sure of life itself. I've had a few people, who really know me well, tell me that I just haven't been myself lately, and I knew it was true...but I didn't know why.  I'd dealt with the gall bladder pain for so long, that I never even thought to associate my depression with it.

And so January comes, and I land back in the hospital emergency room with another "gall bladder" attack.  This finally set into motion the planning stages for removal.  I was SO thankful to finally have insurance and was very excited to know things were moving forward.  But something still just didn't feel right.  Surgery scheduled for February 20th.  My countdown began.

And then the night I've already blogged about happened, and I landed BACK in the ER, 8 days before my scheduled surgery date.  Sitting in the waiting room alone, it hit me.  I was terrified.  Knowing something didn't feel right, I was flat out terrified.

After meeting with my doctor today, here is a quick summary of what had happened:

In the ER in January, they did blood work on me.  At that time, my bilirubin was .6.  Anything below 1 is normal.  So they never thought twice about it.  They assumed I was under another "attack", gave me pain meds, referred me to a surgeon, and sent me on my way.

And on February 12th, when I landed in the hospital, my bilirubin was .9.  Still in the "normal" range, but higher than what it was in January, and this made a red-flag for my surgeon.  That is why she decided to admit me, and do surgery right away.  Upon surgery, they found the blocked common duct, and she thought perhaps that was why my liver was reacting more than normal.  She thinks the block had been there for at least a few months, and that is why I was feeling differently.  My bilirubin was .2 after surgery.  So while the .9 was still considered "normal",  it was almost 5 times what is normal for me.  As she said, I was a "very sick lady".

The weeks following surgery were NOTHING like what I thought they would be like.  I expected to be back to pre-attack condition in just a few days, and that didn't happen.  A combination of Norco, and surgery, and complications there-in, caused serious side effects, and I just hurt.  I hurt so bad I was once again depressed.  I was frustrated because I didn't have any way to explain what I was feeling, both emotionally and physically.  I was mad because things weren't going the way I expected.  I was terrified because I feared the worst.

I've now had to wait 10 days for the results of my liver biopsy.  I didn't know what to expect.  I've never really had a lot of medical problems.  Aside from weight issues, I've been a pretty healthy person.  This was all new to me.  I was experiencing emotions I didn't know one could have.  I began to research different reasons that my liver enzymes could be elevated, and so many things began crossing my mind.  If something did happen to me, who would take care of my kids.  Did they know how much I loved them?  The most extreme thoughts were running through my head.  I was having one hell of a wake up call.

I finally got in to see the surgeon today, and I was sick to my stomach with worry.  I tried to read everyone's faces at the office, for some sort of hint that they knew my bad news.  And the doctor came in smiling, and the first thing she said was "you look SO much better than the last time I saw you.  You look absolutely incredible".  I could just see something in her face that meant good news.  And it was.

I was diagnosed with hypertension in the hospital.  Today, my blood pressure was "almost normal".  I'd lost 20lbs since pre-surgery.  And best of all, my liver biopsy was negative.

And like a feather in the breeze, every ounce of fear was gone. I could breathe. After holding my breath in fear for 4 months, I could breathe.

I know there are people that go through MUCH larger scares than mine.  But this whole situation, the last 4 years, and especially the last 4 months, has been an incredible wake up call to me. My life will change, and I welcome that.  I'm ready to try this again, a little more "health aware" this time around.

There are some personal things going on in my life right now that are going to throw me some severe curve-balls.  Small chapters in my life will be closing, and that saddens me.  And so I'm closing this blog post with a short little reminder note to myself:

Amber, it's okay to be afraid, really afraid, sometimes.  Those who truly love you, will understand, and stand beside you until the very end...because they love you....not just because it's the "right thing to do".

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fireplace Therapy. Who knew?

I can't even believe I'm about to say this, but here goes.

I FEEL FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally!  After 10 days of suffering, I feel fantastic!  I managed to tag along to the laundry mat, put my clothes away, and took off to visit my friend Tim for awhile, with the spawn.  (mid-winter break = day off school)

I've been working to restore Tim and Samantha's 100 year old fireplace mantle, but got so sick that I couldn't get over there to do it.  Tim decided to spoil me today, with a heat gun.  He informed me of this on my way out the door, and knowing I have no self control when it comes to the mantel, I grabbed a grungy shirt before leaving.  It wasn't long after my arrival that we decided to just "try it out".  Sure enough, within minutes, I was changing my shirt and diving in.  He made sure I had a chair to sit in, so I didn't over-do myself.  I didn't spend a whole lot of time on it, but it felt awesome just to be back at it.  I've really missed that project, and look forward to getting better so I can work on it even more.

And then we went to dinner, and they treated the kids and I.  It was hard to figure out what I was "brave" enough to eat, but after some texting to my personal chef, I figured it out.  A nice, yummy, chicken dish.  And I ate almost all of it, with healthy, low fat sides.  And here it is, 8 hours later and NO TUMMY ACHES!

We spent some time walking around Sams club, Megabev, and even Walmart.  I am exhausted, but most importantly, I'm not hurting.

I really do think that mantel was just the therapy I needed!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I just want to feel better....

So, I'm sitting here waiting for the doctor to call back.  I finally broke down and called them today.  It's been a few hours short of one week since my surgery, and I just don't feel any better.  As I type this, I honestly feel like I did the day I went in to the emergency room.

And it's frustrating.  Because I hear all these stories of how quickly people recover, and how soon they were back to doing normal every day things, and I can barely get out of bed to dry heave over the toilet for a few minutes.  I don't want to feel this way, I'm tired of feeling this way.  I thought that having this surgery was going to be life-changing for me, and it has...but it hasn't been in a good way.

Pre-surgery, when I'd have a gall bladder attack, they would eventually go away.  I'd have a few days, a few weeks, even sometimes a few months, of pain free living.  I always knew they could and would come back, but I got some sort of break.  I have been in constant pain since I checked into the hospital 8 days ago...surgery 7 days ago.  I'm miserable.  The people around me are miserable, because I can't even get out of bed to socialize, feed my kids, check their homework, take them to school...just care for them.  I have a million things I could and should be doing, and not an ounce of strength to do even one.

I just don't want to hurt anymore.  I'm terrified of what this could be a sign of.  Why are things still not "right"?  Why am I still hurting?  Why can't I eat?  Why don't I have any strength?  I just feel like there is more wrong, something isn't right, and I'm worried about what that could be.

And probably the most frustrating is that I don't know how to express what exactly it is that is wrong.  I just have this constant cramping, aching feeling, in my tummy.  All over.  I haven't been taking the pain killer, for fear of constipation and other side effects.  I know that long term use can cause liver issues, and they are already concerned about my liver.  And so I didn't know if my pain was caused from a need to have a BM or not.  So, I took the laxative they suggested, and waited.  And things happened, and then....still felt horrible.

And I'm frustrated because I feel like people are starting to not believe me that I'm not feeling better.  I'm tired of having to answer the "how ya feeling today" question with "terrible"...but that is the only way to explain it.  I'm frustrated because people want answers from me, and I don't have them.  I'm frustrated, because I want answers, and I can't get them.  I'm just frustrated.  I'm just hurting.  I'm just sick.  I'm just tired.  I just want this over.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Road to Recovery...

So I've been home about 2 days now.  Shortly after getting home, the kids left for their dads for the weekend.  I've pretty much been alone since then, and that really sucks.  I know I've needed time to rest and recover, but  knowing there is nobody else in the house to even get me a glass of water if I don't have the strength to, or just make sure I get to the bathroom without getting light headed again....yeah, that part totally sucks.

I still hurt.  Far badly than I thought I would.  The gall bladder pain is completely gone, obviously.  This is a totally different kind of pain.  Each incision hurts a little more than the last, my muscles ache.  Even standing up is a challenge, because I've been laying down since Tuesday, and my body just isn't used to moving at all anymore.  Getting out of bed scares me more than anything, being afraid my legs will give out, or that I will get dizzy and pass out.

Going into this, everyone kept talking about how "easy" the procedure was, and how I'd be back to myself by the second day.  I really didn't intend to be down this long with the recovery, because "nobody else took that long". I think I was fooling myself, I think others were fooled, not realizing just how sick I was.  The fatigue I was feeling before admission to the hospital is one of the main side-effects that I am now realizing.  I thought I just had no motivation, and I didn't, but there was a medical reason why.  There still is.  I'm just so exhausted, even keeping my eyes open is a major challenge anymore.  The fact that a simple in and out 1 hour surgery turned into a 4.5 hour surgery should be all the proof I need that things aren't "normal" with my procedure.

I've always been a pretty good person at tolerating pain.  I may get whiney at times, but when it comes right down to it, when the pain has been at it's worst, I just find a way to get through it.  And I still continue to do that, I just need to vent about it a little.

And I'm frustrated.  I'm tired of being stuck in the house.  I know it's for my own good, but I need fresh air.  I need to get out and walk around, get some sun on my face, see people.

I need to be better.  I need to see some light at the end of this tunnel.  I need people to understand that not everyone heals the same, not everyones procedure was the same.  It's "ok" that I still hurt, and need a little more time to heal than "so and so that I knew....".

I need a happy pill.  A giant happy pill and some sleep.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A little earlier than planned...

I'm posting today from the hospital.  I've told my story a dozen times, and while I don't mind, I just thought maybe it would be easier to write it all here so people can read it themselves.

So we've known for 4 years that I've needed my gall bladder out.  We know that lack of insurance prevented that.  Finally getting insurance, my surgery was scheduled for February 20, 2013.

Monday of this week, I ate a spaghetti dinner, around 7pm.  Sometime around midnight, I started having another gall bladder attack.  I took 2 Norco and went to bed, "meditating" my way through the pain.  I was up and down all night in pain.  I finally fell asleep around 5am.  When I woke up at 6am, I felt pretty good.  I had a bowl of cereal, still fine.  Around 6:45am, I tried to take a sip of coffee and instantly got nauseous.  I took the kids to school, and had to pull over twice on the short drive home to vomit, and again in the driveway.  I spent pretty much the entire day vomiting  dry heaving, or being ridiculously nauseous.  I couldn't even stop long enough to hold down my anti-nausea medications or pain pills.  I finally broke down and called the surgeon.  At around 3pm, she instructed me to go to the ER, for fear of an "obstruction".

I arrived at the ER around 3:45.  My blood pressure was 170/110.  I was very yellow, so tired I couldn't keep my eyes open, and just overall felt like crap.  3 hours later, they were finally doing an ultrasound.  When they did my blood work, they noticed that my liver enzymes were extremely elevated, beyond that which you would expect to see from "gall bladder issues".  They made the decision to admit me and take my gall bladder out in the morning, sighting concerns with my blood work and liver.  They also thought it best to do a liver biopsy while in there.

Wednesday.  Surgery day.  Surgery time kept getting pushed back until finally 4pm seemed to be set in stone.  I spent most of the day with extreme nausea, and eventually, me throwing up green stomach bile, and blood.  I was sick.  Very sick, and I wasn't happy about it.  I was fortunate enough to have my parents and my friend Tim come sit with me until they took me back for surgery, so I didn't have to be alone.  I know I wasn't very good company, but just having them in the room with me was so very comforting for me.  I didn't feel good, and familiar faces eased my misery a bit.

I'm not sure what time I actually went back for surgery.  It was somewhere around 4:30.  I remember them having me move beds, not an easy task when you are in that much pain, in that many blankets, on that many monitors.  I remember them putting my arms out on boards, and then putting an oxygen mask on me, saying it would help me breathe.  I remember very distinctly thinking that the oxygen mask was going to suffocate me, because it was very heavy, and every time I breathed in, it suctioned onto my face.  I was terrified.

And then I remember waking up to the woman next to me crying for her mom.  Her mom had left, thinking she would be back before this woman got out of surgery, and she didn't.  The woman was SO upset.  I felt really bad for her, but I was thankful I was awake enough to comprehend things going on around me.  But it also meant I overheard her ask what time it was, and the nurse responded with "9PM".  What??  My surgery was only supposed to be an hour, hour and a half tops. Now I was worried.

Soon they brought my parents and Jei back to visit with me.  I was still pretty groggy, and my throat was on fire from the breathing tube.  My stomach HURT.  Turns out I gave them quite a few problems.  While running dye through me, they discovered a large stone blocking my bowel, and it was stuck.  They really had to dig around in there to get it.  They finally used a balloon to inflate the area and get it out.  A few got "lost" in my stomach, but she assured me that they would dissolve and while I'd have some pain, there would be no long term effects from them.  They also did the liver biopsy.

And so this morning, I look like I got stabbed 5 times in the stomach.  I hurt like all get out.  In the doctors words, she isn't surprised I hurt so bad, because there was nothing "normal" about my surgery.  They have decided to keep me until Friday, because of my liver enzymes.  I've been on oxygen overnight, because my pulse ox was very low.  They took that off, but now have me doing breathing treatments to prevent pneumonia. I managed to keep jello down last night, and oatmeal and yogurt down this morning.  So, I'm graduating to a low-fat lunch.  I haven't really eaten anything since Monday, so I'm kind of scared, but I know I need to eat to heal.

And so my saga continues.....at least one more night in the hospital.  Jei agreed to bring the kids up later so I could give them their Valentines stuff.  I miss them, and am excited to see them.  I'm looking forward to a few other visitors as well.

So if anything else "comes up",  I will update the blog.  Until then, I'm off to sleep....again.

Bionic Legs!  I've heard people talk about how horrible these are, but I LOVE them!
Incision in my belly button.

2 of 5 incisions.  Super glued shut, so no stitches, and I can shower today!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Cut it out!

Who has 2 thumbs, a gall bladder and FINALLY has a surgery date?  This chick!  As of February 20th, I'll not be able to answer that with myself, as I'll only have the 2 thumbs, but not a gall bladder.  After 4 years of pain and suffering, I'm finally having my surgery.  I am beyond excited to have this almost over with.  I feel like making a gall bladder advent calendar, just to help me celebrate the upcoming day!  Instead of candy in each pocket, I'll put Norco, Zofran and Protonix.  When they are gone.... so is my gall bladder!!!

So, I've been itching to cross-stitch.  But all of my supplies are locked away in storage, in Indiana.  So I finally went out and got me enough stuff to get by.  I really like stitching snowmen, and since we are blanketed in snow right now, I decided to stick with the theme and picked up a Lavender Wings pattern called "If I Could Be A Snowman...".  I kitted it all up, and at the end of this blog posting, will be getting it ready for the first stitch.  Here is a picture of the completed design:

If you can't read it, the saying goes: "If I could be a snowman, I don't know which I'd be....all bundled up to fight the chill, or cold and fancy free!" 

I think it's just adorable, and am looking forward to getting started on it.  Maybe I'll feel up to stitching it while I'm laid up after surgery.

I'll leave you with a picture I took this morning.  We had several inches of snowfall overnight, but zero wind. This meant that the snow remained on all of the tree branches, and being outside felt like you were walking through a snow-globe.  It was just incredible.  After taking the kids to school, I actually drove around a little bit and just looked at all the beautiful trees.  I don't normally like anything about winter, but days like today just can't help but steal your breath away.  Enjoy!

Our front yard.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Still got the gall bladder....

Finally met with the surgeon today.  Verdict: yup....I still need my gall bladder out.  Ugh.  I was REALLY hoping that I would have a surgery date when I walked out of there, so I would have something to look forward to, and a countdown I could begin.  Unfortunately, all they said was that they would call me after it was scheduled with the hospital.

And the moment I walked into the door at home after my appointment, I got another attack.  Seriously?  *must remember this will all be over soon*

Good news....????  I have a job interview on Wednesday.  I'm REALLY hoping I get offered the position, because I REALLY need this job!

wish me luck blog buddies!

Friday, January 25, 2013

A light at the end of the tunnel?

By golly, it just might be!

ONE of the advantages to moving back to Michigan (and there haven't been many), is that I qualified for Medicaid.  For some reason, I qualify here, but not in Indiana.  Whatever.  So my first order of business was going to be to schedule an appointment with a family practitioner, who could refer me to a surgeon, who would schedule an appointment, a ton of tests, and then...maybe....surgery.

I landed in the E.R. before that could happen.  I was in so much pain, I couldn't hardly breathe.  I hate when it gets like this.  I've been battling gall stones for almost 4 years now, and I shiver every time I think of the pain, as it's something I've experienced far more than any human being should have to.

It turns out, landing in the E.R. is probably the best thing that could have happened for me.  They gave me a few doses of morphine, and ran an ultrasound, along with many other tests.  When I got there, my blood pressure was 180/140.  I'm guessing from the pain.  By the time I left, it was back down, and I had prescriptions for pain at home.  I also left with a referral for a surgeon.  Totally cut out my middle man, and tests already done.

So I called the surgeon and made an appointment for February 4th.  I'm hoping that it will be a quick visit, and I will walk out with a date for surgery.  I'm nervous, but I am SOOOOO excited this is FINALLY happening.  I won't have to deal with that pain ever again!

So, yes, despite all the other "stuff" going on, I have this thing to look forward to.  It's removal can't happen soon enough.

Wonder if they will let me keep a stone....just because.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A case of the yuckies....

I’m sick.  I’m knockdown, drag out sick.  I’m good with pain.  While I don’t welcome it, I can usually meditate my way through the worst of it, only seeking medical attention after days and days of suffering.  But you mess with my sinuses and I’m a like 2 year old not wanting to take a nap.  I cry, I whine, I beg for sympathy.  I do NOT like the feeling of not being able to breathe.  Even someone jokingly putting something over my face makes me freak out.  I’m not even a fan of Halloween masks.  I just don’t like it. 
And so I've been bed ridden for 3 days.  Today I finally got a tiny bit of relief, as my nose is no longer running; now it’s congested.  But at least I’m not blowing it every 3 seconds.  The tender flesh around it can now begin its painful healing process.  I feel things beginning to build in my chest.  Tomorrow should be quite the adventure, as I’m sure it will bring forth the coughing.  But at least my nose isn't running.  Must remember to stay grateful for that.
I took this most pathetic picture of myself last night.  It’s not staged, I didn't pose, I didn't use make up to make things seem worse that they are.  I’m not sure you could even fake how pathetic I look.  It was bad.  But I find such humor in just how pathetic I look, that I am sharing it with all of you, in hopes that you, too, can get a laugh out of it. 

I’m tired of being locked in the house, and I need to get back to job searching A.S.A.P., so I hope this ends soon.  And if anyone else is suffering through this, you have sympathy from me, because I am all too aware of just how bad this sucks!