Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Other Side of Lortab

Oh, I miss you. What a good friend you've been these last few weeks. But all good things must come to an end. And frankly, I'm thrilled to get back to my pre-pill days.

It's been awhile.

When I last left you, I was headed into laparoscopic surgery to remove some persistent ovarian cysts. Since it was my first surgery, I had NO idea what to expect. I met with my doctor the day before and she explained the surgery would last about an hour, barring any complications. And then I made the mistake of asking what those complications could be. Let's just say the worst is death! I actually had to sign a paper saying I understood the risks of surgery and there's no guarantee that everything will go according to plan. 


My mom was able to take the day off from work, and as a R.N., I was happy to have her by my side for the day. We checked in around 10:30 a.m. (with a beeper, like at restaurants!) and things went very quickly from there. I changed into a gown, scrub bottoms, fuzzy socks and then the nurse came in to start my IV.

And it only took one stick! 
From there, I filled out lots of paper work, gave them a urine sample, and took note of the special date on the board:

That's kind of cool. Perhaps even lucky!
Around 11:30 a.m., they came to get me. And just like Grey's Anatomy, they put a shower cap over your head and wheel you down to the elevators. I quickly waved goodbye to my mom and up I went. The only thing that annoyed me is they left me sitting in my hospital bed for 30 minutes right outside the operating room. Doctors and nurses would come out of other surgeries, wash up, check their phones, and make small talk. All the while I'm just sitting there in my blue shower cap. The anesthesiologist finally came and introduced himself and asked if I had any weird reactions to anesthesia (to which I answered, "I guess we'll find out."). Then my doctor showed up and it was game time. My first reaction to the operating room? Crazy coldness. They transferred me to the operating table (which is very small, by the way) and covered me with a warm blanket. 

Then it was lights out.

The next thing I know, I'm waking up in a large recovery room. There's a clock across the room and it reads 3:00 p.m. Hmm...I must still be on drugs. They said it would only be an hour. Then I noticed a yellow bag near by bed and without warning a nurse removes a catheter from me. Hmm...didn't see that one coming. My doctor then comes in and says something with a sweet smile, but I'm too out of it to register. They wheel me back to a recovery room where my mom greets me with a kiss. Before they can even move me to the bed, I tell my mom I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM. She helps me shuffle down to the bathroom, but nothing happens. Hmm..that's weird. I swear I had to pee. 

I get back to the room and my mom explains that the surgery went well, but in addition to the cysts, they ended up finding lots of endometriosis, which needed to be removed, via laser. Because the surgery went longer than expected, my doctor gave me clearance to stay the night if I needed the good drugs. Funny enough, I was in a lot of pain, but it wasn't that much worse than my pre-surgery pain. Honestly, I was just relieved it wasn't all in my head and that I was able to give the residents a good show. 

I ended up going home mainly because I wanted to be in my bed and see this sweet girl:

She stayed by my side throughout my whole recovery.
The first few days post-op are not a lot of fun. The goal is to keep the pain under control, so you're popping pills every four hours. Oddly enough, my four small incisions didn't hurt much. I'm guessing the real pain was from all the lasering. My surgery was three weeks yesterday and today was the first day I wasn't alternating Tylenol and Advil around the clock. Hopefully I've turned a corner. Of course, all the lovely get well gifts have helped tremendously. I'm so lucky to have friends and family who dropped everything to make me meals, bring me flowers, movies, magazines, and CANDY!

Thanks to my Debbie-Time for these sweet treats!
I had my post-op appt with my doctor last week. She showed me some incredibly cool and very disturbing pictures they took during surgery. There's nothing like looking at your insides up close and personal. Because I have a severe case of endometriosis, we're going to have to aggressively treat it going forward. There's many hormone-suppressing treatments, but all carry some not-so-fun side effects (hot flashes, bone density loss, depression, weight gain, and possible permanent menopause). I've opted to go with the Depo-Provera shot because the side effects are less severe than others. We'll see if it's the miracle drug for me. 

Sadly, the recurrence rate of endometriosis is as high as 40% following surgery. But I'm learning to wrap my head around this diagnosis. It's my thing. But I'm also learning that sooner or later we all have a thing. Some have more than one thing. And we still lead happy, productive lives. I've also gained enormous empathy for those that deal with chronic pain on a daily basis. My brief tango with it has been memorable, but I can't wait to get back to normal. Or find a new normal. As long as it's Lortab-free, I'm game to try.


1 comment:

Jessica said...

Holy long recovery, girl! Here's to hoping your feeling 100% again!