Thursday, October 27, 2011

Warning, Graphic Photos Below!

Okay, you have been warned!

This is where I'm going to do a little "show & tell" about my recent surgery, 'cause I know you're just dying to see what the inside of me looks like (mostly because I want to share what fascinates me), I am adding photos taken of my innards.  If I could figure out how to share the videos, I'd do that too...but since I can't, for now I'll just describe them.

First, let's start with the pretty flowers my Aunt sent me!  Everyone likes flowers right?  (This is your opportunity to see a pretty picture while you decide if you really want to see exactly what my Liver, Uterus, and Ovaries look like...if you are squeamish, don't go past the pretty flowers!)  Sadly, as of today, they all need to be thrown out, but for about 5 days, I have enjoyed this lovely bouquet sitting next to my monitor on my desk in my office.  Now that I actually own a vase...I may buy myself flowers from time to time, since no one else does, lol.

Also in the photo...see that corner of computer screen?  That's a recent gift from my other half, he bought me a second monitor, which I am now completely in love with!  I spent a total of 18 hours over 2 days fishing in Dalaran (World of Warcraft city for all you non-WoW players) in an attempt to finally fish up my Giant Sewer Rat pet (1 in 1000 drop rate, I have cast my line well over 5000 times since the pet was released, still no pet for me).  In that time, someone popped in, sat next to me for about 20 minutes and fished up my pet dab-nabbit!  I have also watched all 2.5 seasons of Seaquest DSV (2032 for that last half season), the entire series of Earth 2 (another TV show that only lasted part of a season, but I realy liked it then and now), and the first 45 or so minutes of Meet Joe Black...all streaming through Netflix to that second screen.  Still no freaking pet, but I got a lot of really old TV watched in the process, lol.

The 'Pass the Pigs' game is there...still unplayed, but someday we'll get to it.  And down there in the very bottom of the photo...Sims3 Pets!  My other half (better half this past week or so, since I have been barely functional) went out and got it for me while I was in the hospital, he's so sweet (even if it wasn't flowers)!  I am now completely re-addicted to playing The favorite activity at the moment in that game is "anything to do with the horses"!  I'm in the middle of building a horse breeding/rescue lot...but back to what I'm supposed to be writing about!

So, the surgery...we arrived at Sacred Heart bright and early (before the sun woke up) at 6:20am, earlier than the 6:30am check-in which the check-in nurse felt the need to point out to me.  I was banded with the first in a series of plastic/paper wristbands, handed a plastic folder with paperwork in it and told they were "full downstairs, so go sit in the waiting room up here, but don't pee and don't leave"...cause I guess they thought I looked like I'd run away and hide in the potty?  About 5 minutes later, the entire group of us (my Honey and I along with  two sisters and their elderly Mother) were told to go ahead and headed downstairs...apparently we were supposed to know that meant to walk over to the elevator and go to level "L1R", not that anyone had told us that...we got told to "go" and that we should already know where we were "going" to!  That plastic folder I was handed?  It was labeled "L1R", but that hadn't been pointed out when I was told to go wait on the bench.

Once down in "L1R", we walked down a short hallway to another nurse's station, better to call this a "check-in desk", since I don't think the gal in scrubs sitting behind the desk was an actual nurse...  After checking in (for a second time in under 10 minutes), I was sent to wait in yet another chair.  Soon after my "pre-op" nurse came to get me and we were whisked away into a little room with a giant glass wall, the pre-op room where we would wait, I would get naked, and they'd do everything they needed to do in the next 2.5 hours before my surgery.  Blood Pressure first, it was high (imagine that!).  Then, I was led to a bathroom and told to pee in a cup, since I'm under 52 years old, I run the "risk" of being pregnant (even though the fibroid was keeping that from happening along with the fact that "Aunt Flo" was here for a visit).  Not that I mind peeing in a cup...but what I do mind is the inevitable "peeing on my hand"!  It would be so much easier if they just had me pee in a "pee hat" (actual name for the plastic bucket looking thing they can put under the seat to collect everything in.  Funny story here...when I was 16, I participated in a drug trial for IGF-1, a drug that would have been awesome, if it didn't also speed up Diabetic Retinopathy.  I had appointments every 4-6 weeks and for 24 hours prior, I had to pack around a pee hat and a jug to collect all my urine in...not only could I fill the 1-gallon jug in under 8 hours, but I routinely overfilled the pee hat!  I have a very healthy bladder system...the second visit, they gave me 2 jugs, assuming I couldn't possibly fill 2-gallons over a 24-hour period...they were wrong by the way, so they went back to one jug and just had me collect first thing in the morning and once or twice more throughout the day...I still filled the jug for them.)  Back in the glass room, I got my "uniform" for my visit...a backless "dress", a pair of what they called "underwear", and blankets straight out of the oven.  The underwear are not a normal part of the "uniform", but I needed something to put a pad on...  Then it was all blood draws, IV lines, and waiting for everyone else to be ready.

I have deep and rolling veins, what this equates to is lots of needle sticks when someone wants blood from me, or in this case, access to my bloodstream for drugs.  I warn them now, it usually means fewer sticks in the end.  The nurse thought she found one, numbed the area (ie the vein itself) to try and make it "hold still", and lost it...a few minutes of digging around and then she gave up and moved on to my other arm where she finally got a vein to hold still long enough to get the IV the back of my hand, those are very painful by the way!  See all that tape in the photo?  I still have tape residue on that hand, as well as on every other bit of skin they decided to tape or bandage in some way...

I'm not sure if you caught it (or can see it now), but the red/white striped band around my wrist is there because I'm allergic to Hydrogen Peroxide.  It is one of those "weird things about me" that is very uniquely weird to does very, very bad things to my body!  Sure, it cleans wounds and such...but it also has a chemical reaction with my body that actually eats away the skin!  First, it hurts like a S.O.B., then the entire area turns bright yellow (I'm talking bright yellow, not a little jaundiced looking), after that, any skin the Peroxide hits turns white and dies (I use a Peroxide based contact cleaner...if I'm not extremely careful with it, and I get some on my fingers, I lose a few layers of skin off where it hits...the Peroxide there gets neutralized overnight and makes it safe for me to use though).  So, I try to stay as far away from it as possible...also, I didn't want to get a bath of it thinking they were cleaning my wounds...they could have done a lot of damage thinking they were helping.  I ended up with 3 wristbands for my stay...the red/white allergy band, the plastic and paper one I first got when I got there (this one had my bar code on it so they could pull me up on the computer and make sure I was getting the meds I needed to be getting and not the ones meant for my roommate or someone down the hall.  The last one, I really have no idea what it was for...It was hand-written with my name, the date, and some numbers that I believe are the code for the hospital (there are several hospitals all tightly packed into one area here).  When they were originally put on, they were put on very tight...the anesthesiologist, maybe it was the surgery nurse, told me they would be removing them during surgery and would make sure to put them on looser when they were done.

While waiting for everyone to get ready, they started me on an IV bag of "Electrolytes"...I think this is just a fancy cover-up for having something going in you so when they add they "knock you outs" you don't notice it right away.  When the anesthesiologist came in to give me a once over, he declared me to have a Heart Murmur...this is something I need to talk to my "regular" doctor about, but I haven't called her yet to make an appointment...yes, I'm procrastinating.  Sometime after 8:40, the last time I can remember looking at the clock, he came back in, put a syringe full of something in my IV, and that is the last thing I remember until I was waking up in recovery at 3:25pm (I asked what time it was and got an amazingly accurate answer back).  Apparently though, I was chatting away as they wheeled my bed out of the room on the way to surgery, for all I know, I got myself onto the operating table after "meeting" the robot!

Post surgery, there are a few things I remember with vivid recollection.  First, my "magic button"...the transport dude called it that...this was the button that fed me my pain killing Narcotics!  It was like Morphine, but apparently much safer to use.  The nurse in recovery asked me what my pain was on a card with smiley to not-so-smiley faces on it and then reminded my to push the button..."what button?" I asked, evidently, she had handed it to me and I kept dropping it.  Before leaving recovery, the "dude" (I don't remember seeing his face, I remember his face being where I could see it, but I have no idea what he looked like...his partner was an older guy though) made sure I got to push my button one last time before he unplugged it and they started wheeling me through the hospital to my room for the night.  Once there, he plugged me back in and tied the "magic button" to the bed rail for me...I had dropped it several times while he waited for his partner to arrive to take me.  Though, I assume the tying the button to the bed thing is "SOP" for his job, I really appreciated it!  The second thing that I was in absolute love with (the first being that magic button) was the "knee-high intermittent compression device" other words, a leg massager!  If only they hadn't been plastic...I had been sweating up a storm since walking into the hospital that morning, so the plastic against my skin wasn't all that great once the "knock me outs" really started wearing off.  The nurse I had once my other half left though decided the noise was annoying her and so she turned them off!  Luckily, she wasn't my nurse for very long, and when the overnight nurse came on and I told her they hadn't done anything for a while, she turned them back on for me, they really made my legs feel better!  They also are there to help prevent blood clots from forming in someone who has spent hours not moving her legs...yup, I really didn't like that nurse, but more on her later....

As far as managing my blood sugars go...the hospital SUCKED at it!  I understand wanting me to run a little high during surgery, but I was told they'd be managing it by keeping me right around 200, which in all honesty, isn't that high.  However, the first test I can remember after that was 280!  The lowest I ever was throughout the evening, overnight, and into the next morning was 263...  The nurse I was talking about before that turned off my leg machine?  Here she is again...she walked into my room, shoved a needle in my arm, and turned to leave.  Before she got too far I asked her what she had just put in me (my right to know before it went in dammit)...Novalog (woot!  Insulin!), "how much?"...3 units!  I told her that was going to do nothing for the blood sugars, I need 1 unit to bring me down 10 "points"!  The answer I got as she left the room was "well, we'll see." (I'm going to cuss here) Bitch.  But, let's fast forward to my savor in nurse's clothing who came on duty somewhere between 8 and midnight...when I asked her for insulin because my blood sugars were still very high and it was making it harder for me to breathe (not an easy task due to the pain I was in anyway), she tried calling my Endo to get an order to increase my insulin (because apparently, I am not able to decide that on my own), except, my surgeon wrote down the wrong they kept telling the hospital staff "no one here by that name" and hanging up on them!  Hours later, she finally came and told me that they were trying to find someone in the field that knew me because they didn't have the right office...I gave them the right name, they called back and got put through to the partner that was on-call that night...not my doctor.  Unfortunately he was a tool...he claimed to have never heard of me (well, duh, I'm not your patient nimrod!) and therefore was not  going to even suggest they veer away from the standard procedure that the hospital has in place for all diabetics (types 1 and 2) when it comes to insulin.  The nurse did "bump me up" to the next level of care, which doubled the amount of insulin she could give me (I got another 6 units somewhere around 12am), but still did nothing for bringing me down.  At this point, they were refusing to give me any Lantus too because I wasn't eating's the kicker though...the kitchen is only open 8am to 8pm!  Want something to eat between there?  Tough!  I finally begged a sugar free jello out of the fridge the nurses keep snacks in...everything else was full of sugar, what a great thing to give someone who already has high blood sugars and is on a low-carb diet!  Apparently though, Jell-o didn't count as actual food...  In the morning, the surgeon finally made it around to see me about 7am, he okayed a dose of Lantus for 35 units (I was asking for my full 54 that I normally reasoning was that (duh) my Lantus is what helps regulate my blood is a 24 hour, long acting insulin and it imperative to not interrupt it!), but I had to eat my breakfast before they'd give me any insulin...someone really needs to educate the hospital on Diabetes Care!

Some time after 9am, a Type 1 Diabetes advocate showed up at my bed...the hospital has an oversight group that specifically watches over the care of the type 1's all over the hospital...sadly, this is a 9 to 5 group.  Because my sugars had not been below 260 all night, I was near the top of the stack of patients who needed help that morning.  I was given another scale to rate what level of care I thought I got was...with 10 being "I'm calling a lawyer when I get out of this place", I gave them a 9...besides the one nurse who couldn't do anything without a doctor's approval, the rest had really not given a flying flip about my diabetes and what I was saying needed to be done about it.  The advocate got me a little more insulin, but since I was "checking out" at Noon, she was a little late in getting there.

Because of this surgery, if we ever do get pregnant, I'll need a C-section to deliver...which means another stay in the hospital.  Next time though, they will not be managing my Diabetes beyond the operating room...I'll get my other half taught how to manage it (he really should know this anyway for if/when I get sick...) and he will be doing it for me until I can manage it myself again.  I played nice this time around, even though I had my meter and insulin sitting right there by my bed all night, concealed in my little black suitcase looking box...they thought my toothbrush was in there.  Next time, I'll be giving myself insulin whether they like it or not!  I was miserable all night...granted I probably would have been anyway, but I could have at least been miserable and been able to breath better!  It is really hard for a non-diabetic to understand the weight you feel on your chest (specifically on your lungs) when sugar levels get too high...but stack an entire set of encyclopedias right on top of your chest, up high so they're crushing your ribs against your breath in....that's kind of what it feels like, but not really...I think that would be easier to do.

Last, but not least on my rant of things I do remember from my surgery...the food!  Yes, I realize it was hospital food and it really isn't supposed to taste "good", but come on, at least get the diet right!  First, remember how I said I "came to" around 3:30?  At 5:30 they brought me dinner!  I promptly sent it away, not only was I not hungry, there wasn't one damned thing on the plate I could eat on my low-carb diet!  Chicken, noodle casserole of some sort, corn, dinner roll (or something), fruit cup, skim milk, a few other odds and ends...all loaded with carbs.  The first nurse on duty even tried to force feed me Cranberry Juice mixed with 7-Up!  I did except her offer of a Diet Lemon-Lime soda took me all night to drink the 8 ounce can, my preferred beverage was ice the gallon! I drank 4 or more of those 32-ounce pitchers throughout the course of the night.  When they finally brought my breakfast (which I could not special order because I couldn't find the freaking phone to call them from), it was scrambled eggs (1/3 cup, so I'm assuming it was actually some sort of "fake" eggs or egg beaters type)..they were worse than chewing on cardboard...even with the little packet of salt and pepper I was allowed, along with another pile of items I could not eat on my diet!  God forbid they put a little meat on the scone, bowl of Cheerios, another fruit cup, more skim milk...that's what they sent me!  The saving grace of the while plate was the little 6 ounce cup of coffee they also sent...however, the sweetener was an off-brand blue packet (which they gave me 2 of)...and if I wanted to put anything other than that nasty skim milk which I had already told them I couldn't drink, the nurse could "slip" me some powdered creamer!  Why not just give me a mini moo or two???  Yes, there are 10 calories in one, but 0 carbs!  The entire "menu" is centered around carb counts these days...a packet of powdered creamer has 5 grams of carbs (no joke!), but that was my option?  Needless to say, I drank my coffee black with 1/2 a packet of "Sweet Thing" in it...I am still craving a giant mug of something from Starbucks...
 Take a look a the carb counts for this single meal at the hospital...this is what they consider "healthy" in the kitchen!  Oh, I forgot about the OJ completely...  That's a meal with 86 grams of carbs!  That is more than 4 days worth of carbs for me!  And on any given day, I eat a heck of a lot more food than that!  I choked down the eggs and drank my coffee (which wasn't even hot by the way) and called it got me the much needed insulin at any rate!  Check out the carb count on the scone Ipod touch is bigger than that thing was...if you cut it diagonally though and laid the two halves together, that's about the size of that "pastry"...  Even with refusing to eat what they called food...I gained about 6 pounds from my overnight stay.  Somewhere along the line someone admitted that the electrolyte solution they were using had added glucose to it!  I had Google'd the specific electrolyte solution prior to going in for surgery...there should not have been any sugars in it!  As of today though, I am back to what I weighed the morning of my surgery.

The parts I don't remember but have been told about...vaguely:

Here's where the squeamish should really stop...

So here is what my tummy looked like within hours of surgery...four cuts, plus one hidden in my belly button, along with the "anchor" wounds from the kickstands that hold the robotic arms in the holes cut into me.  What's missing here are the bruises that formed after the it looks all pretty and "nice".  The other thing "missing" is the small scratches all over my tummy and chest that I gave myself throughout the night that followed surgery.  The pain meds made me itch terribly!  I actually took a chunk of skin off with a fingernail on my's healing along with everything else but ouch!  The pain meds also made me nauseous and I actually vomited a little overnight.  The nurse (the one I liked) gave me something that made the nausea go away, but it gave me gas and hiccups!  Both of which really hurt...  Technically the med didn't do either, they were both a side effect of being blown up like a balloon for the operation, the gases have to get out somehow!

A few days later and I'm black and blue all over...  As a side note, I have all my bits covered, it just doesn't look like I do..  That deep purple bruise doesn't actually hurt (the bruise doesn't anyway), but just under the edge of my ribcage on that side has been the source of 90% of my pain since Tuesday afternoon last week!  I'm guessing that that is the side the had the majority of the fibroid listing into it, as well as the side that my Ovary was actually attached to my Uterus via some Endometriosis.  Yup, lotta "fun" going on in there...  There is loads of dissolving sutures (stitches) and Super Glue holding me together still!  Though, the gobs of superglue have fallen out of my belly button and all that remains there is a bright red line were they cut into me.

My innards:

I have no idea why, but the surgeon provided us with a photograph of my "beautiful" Liver...yes, it looks to be nearly encased in fat, but imagine what it must have looked like a year ago when I had nearly 40 extra pounds of the stuff floating around in there!

He couldn't get my entire Fibroid in one photo...but remember, he did say this was the size of a volleyball!  That big round thing the robotic arm is resting on is the fibroid, totally encased within the wall of my uterus!  It was between layers of the wall, to the inner wall but not through it, so that meant he was able to leave the interior wall intact, bettering the chances for successful pregnancy once everything has healed back up.

In this last photo, the stuff that looks like snot is the Endometriosis, it's Uterine lining growing outside of the Uterus.  This is something I have been "checked" for twice in the last 4 years and been told I didn't have!  Not only did I indeed have it, but it was so thick on one side that my Ovary had become attached to the outer wall of my Uterus!  The Fibroid didn't help anything either, on that same side, the fibroid had smashed my Fallopian tube flat and was smashing that Ovary too.  I have a few more weeks of healing before I get my period again, but here's hoping for something closer to what I'm told is a "normal" period this time!  The whiter glob is the Ovary here, the pink floppy looking thing is my Fallopian tube and the red (bloody) stuff on the white is the tissue growing where it doesn't is gone now.

I believe I have mentioned that I have video clips of the surgery as well...I still can't watch more than a few seconds of any of them without getting ooked out myself...but they are very interesting!  They range from the first incision into my Uterus clear through to the vacuuming out of the Fibroid!  Which is gross and cool all at the same time...imagine a round version of a "Flow-bee"...kind of like a vacuum tube that got it on with a blender...this would be their love child.  They basically twirl the fibroid around in circles while this tube cuts it into a giant ribbon  to be pulled out of the body through that "tiny" slice in the center of my belly.  However, in watching the 4 minute video..."I" clogged the vacuum!  It was like watching a cat vomit up a super long hairball...they had to stop the suction of the vacuum/blender love child, and pull the ribbon back out and start again!  It was very gross...but if I can get it figured out, I'll share it with anyone interested in watching!

But, here I am, a little over a week since my  surgery and feeling "better" every day!  Last night, I even spent the night back in my own bed!  This, I am sure, peeved Baby off to no end.  Since Frappy made her way upstairs to join the family (she spent months refusing to come upstairs when we first brought her home), she has replaced Baby on the bed at night.  When both my boyfriend and I are in bed, Baby and Frappy won't share the bed...although, when the boyfriend isn't there, the cats share the bed with me just fine.  At any rate, my not being there and having my office door open (and therefore access to the spare bed available), Baby has spent the last week in the spare bed with me.  Some days he didn't get out of bed until 4pm!  The spare bed is rather comfy though, I really can't blame him.  He was a very good kitty too, he only tried to step on my belly once in the whole week!  He spent the first few nights at the foot of the bed while I was using a giant mountain of pillows to elevate my head and keep me in more of an upright position...once I was laying flatter, he took over the unused pillow pile!

I'm still in the process of healing (as well as taking Advil and Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen), but am getting there.  Pants are still an issue for me...they hurt to wear so I am still basically "stuck" in dresses, unfortunately, I own a whopping 3 dresses that aren't "fancy dance" type dresses (which I own 2 of, one that now fits me and one that is still too small).  Of those three, one is way too big and the other two don't fit right (or look very good on).  I do have plans for leaving the house this evening...we tried it a few nights ago, but the pain of the pants I was wearing coupled with a bout of digestive issues made the evening very painful...also the bouncing around in the car due to our sucky roads put me near tears before we got to the restaurant.  I'm going to attempt another pair of loose fitting slacks again tonight...besides not really wanting to cook (again), I have a cooking and craft bug going pretty bad and it is really hard if not impossible to talk the other half into going to buy me 3 or 4 skeins of yarn and a vegetable that he hates with a passion...  It also gives me a chance to test and see how much "better" I really am feeling!  I am going to have to drive myself to the 2-week post-op appointment on the 2nd of November (Can you believe next week it'll be November?)...and I really need to be weened off the narcotics by then...they really make my head fuzzy!

As far as the Diabetes management is feeling much "lower" now.  As soon as I got home (I took a pain killer as soon as we got them from the pharmacy...the nurse who took me out to the car hit every bump in the hallway she could, I was crying because of the pain she inflicted on the way out of the hospital...they stopped feeding me pain killers at 9:30am and it was 1pm before I got to leave the hospital, I was already in a lot of pain) I took a large dose of Humalog to bring my blood sugars took 2 doses of 20 units to bring me under 200.  Since then though, it's like the Fibroid was requiring it's own insulin supply...I have had to cut my bedtime Lantus dose from 26 units to 15 units to prevent middle of the night low blood sugars.  I may have to adjust this down even more as I was awoken at 5am this morning by yet another low blood sugar!  However, we had a bit of an issue last night with the needle on my Humalog pen, so I may have double dosed and not been aware of it.  We shall see what tonight/tomorrow brings blood sugar wise.

I will eventually get my "regular" doctor called about the murmur the anesthesiologist heard, but it won't be this month, mostly because there are only 4 days left in the month.  However, November and December are very busy months this year!  I have the post-op appointment on the 2nd, sometime between the 10th or so and Thanksgiving (early December if my sister had things her way) the latest baby is due, then I have another post-op on the 30th of November.  Then we get into the December mess...I have dentist appointments on the 5th and 7th to have some cavities fixed.  Mid-month we leave to go visit both sides of the family that live on Oregon, only to be home by Christmas morning.  Home for a few weeks and then in mid-January, we fly to Las Vegas on vacation!  This will be our second "real" vacation that we have ever taken together...I don't count going to visit family as a vacation...there is usually work and/or stress involved there!  Take our trip in December...the week before Christmas...I have to worry about packing foods that we can eat while staying with the other half's brother and his family...that means buying a box of Mini Moo's at Cash & Carry (no refrigeration needed), baking snacks we can have, preparing a recipe list of sides I can easily make us without dirtying every pan in their kitchen (no cook options are best), making sure there is still room in the SUV for the presents for everyone, and room for the dog, because she is going to spend a few days with "Grandma" while we visit them (she'll stay in the hotel with us while visiting my side of the family).  Eating at "my side of the family" will be less Mother is now following the Atkins diet as well and my sister plans to start after the baby is born.  So, most if not all things edible there will be things we can eat without worrying too much about it.  For the Vegas trip, we are worrying less about taking food and such...mostly because we are flying, but also because we do plan on "cheating" a bit while we're there.  Meals aren't so much of an issue, we can always eat the guts out of a burger or sandwich...but I don't see them offering too many low-carb drink mixer options!  And, we do plan on doing a bit of drinking while there.

I mentioned farther up that I gained 6 or so pounds...tomorrow morning is my "official" weigh-in for the week, but this morning's reading was 258.2, right where I was "unofficially" the morning of my surgery.  That is a step in the right direction anyway.

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