Friday, June 22, 2007

End of June

I can't believe that it is already the end of June. Where the hell did this month go?

We have been at my parents' house for a few days now. Recovery continues to go well. Nothing too significant to note. I do feel pretty good, but I have noticed that evenings and nights tend to be a big harder. I think that after a day of doing what I feel capable of doing, I feel worn out. So, today I am just resting: reading, listening, searching and typing online.

For as still and slow as this month has been, it has been a pretty significant month in the story of us. So, I guess I'm a bit curious what is significant about your month. What happened, was accomplished, decided or whatever that was monumental to you and your life over the last three weeks? I know I'm not the only one with big things going on.

We'll be back home in a week and a few days and I am sure that things will look different. Hopefully, now that there has actually been some rain, that will include a beautiful lush garden. Jess was kind enough to take capture these from our home in the mountains. I thought I'd post a few.

Swiss chard and lettuce:

Our abundant day lillies:

Climbing clematis:


Unidentified plant (let me know if you have an idea!):

Monday, June 18, 2007

Manual lymphatic drainage

Today I had a manual lymphatic drainage massage. I first had this done following a surgery last November and found it to be very helpful in expelling the anesthesia from my body. After this surgery, I knew I would do it again. In addition to the anesthesia, I had a ton of air/gas bubbles all through my body from the laparoscopic procedure.

For those of you who are not familiar with laparoscopy, instead of a large incision, there are actually four small incisions (in my case at least) and they fill your abdominal cavity with a gas so that they can see to do the surgery. Although I don't really know for sure, I imagine that one incision is for the gas, another for a light, one for the tool (that Nick thinks is like an immersion blender--sorry for the graphic image) and one for the suction instrument that removes the offending organ. However, what remains after you are sewn back up is a body full of air bubbles. Seriously, when I pressed on my ribcage, it felt like I was popping an extremely small sheet of plastic bubble packing material. That was the fun part. The not so fun part was the pain in my shoulders, which is more pain than I've had so far in my belly.

So, all this to say, this is an amazing massage for anyone who's undergoing surgery. Remember it, because it is a good good thing and I highly recommend it for the recovery period following any procedure that includes anesthesia.

One other thing to note about Nick's perspective on this surgery is that he really wanted to see the fibroid-filled uterus. The doctor had apparently never received this request before and sort of stumbled around before he made some joke about not being able to bring it out into the waiting room and offered to take pictures for us. Unfortunately, they forgot to take the pictures while it was still intact, but they did get some after shots of it laying in a medical tray. It's interesting. I have two and may need to scan them in and play around with them at some point. Maybe I'll come up with some abstraction and post them someday...we'll see.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Day two

This is such a nice hospital. I have had my own quiet room the entire time. There hasn't even been much noise from the hallway. Everyone is friendly, helpful and pleasant. I have two large windows with great light and beautiful ginko tress right outside.

The best part is that Nick has been able to be here with me the whole time. They have a lounge chair the converts into a single bed. We both slept great. We've just been reading and using the computer mostly. Its been peaceful and restful. And maybe for the first time, I'm ready to leave when the discharge me instead of feeling like I'm not ready and being kicked out.

We will mostly likely head "home" (i.e. Brooke and Homer's home) late this morning or early this afternoon. We did take pictures of me before and after and some room shots. Maybe I'll share a few at some point.

Friday, June 15, 2007


We arrived this morning at the hospital at 5:45 for a 7:30am surgery. All went well. Surgery lasted almost 2.5 hours. My surgeon is apparently one of the top laporoscopic surgeons in the country. Anyway, thought I'd share an update. I am sleepy, but thankfully not in a lot of pain.

The hospital is nice and we have internet in the room. Which I love. More when I can more capably type.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Feeling Anxiety

Have you seen that commercial? "Where does depression hurt? Everywhere." I have thought of this commercial many times in the last several weeks. Not because I am depressed but because the anxiety and grief and I am experiencing hurts!

Historically, my anxiety has resulted in tension across my shoulders and neck resulting with a cluster of migraine headaches. Not this time. Yes, I have had two or three worse-than-normal headaches in the last couple of weeks, but this is a whole new thing. Chest pain. I have had weight, pressure, hot and cold sensations, pinching, pain, etc. I had an EKG, a chest x-ray and even saw a cardiologist. All is well with the heart! (Thank God.) Anxiety. My PCP explained that it is similar to muscle twitches, except this time I'm feeling them more deeply because of the level of my anxiety. Gotta love it.

I am reminded of my massage therapist in Pittsburgh commenting on how women tend to have a lot of tension in the pectoral muscles because they're constantly closing in their shoulders to hide their breasts. I have always thought of it as a protective instinct. As I feel tightness and tension there myself now, I imagine that subconsciously my body is curling in and down to protect my uterus. Even the insides of my shoulders often ache and feel tired as if I'm constantly pulling them inward.

The body is strange. I am amazed at what can happen in complete conflict with our intellectual mind. I have learned over many years that the body tells us when to stop. There is always a reason. For the last several weeks I have looked forward to this month in part because I would have the space and time to stop. I've done a lot more truck hunting that I would have hoped, but that's for another post. With only three days to go, I am excited to be finished with the anticipation.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Counting Down

Our trip to PA is a time for rest, relaxation, regrouping, and most importantly renewal.

In five days I am scheduled to have a laporoscopic hysterectomy. We made the decision about six weeks ago and feel like it is really a good step...a way to reclaim health, a way to let go, a way to move forward. It isn't something I've written about-all the details that got us to this point-but it has been a significant part of our last six months, not to mention the last four years.

At 29 years old, it doesn't make sense to most people. Most doctors have bulked at the idea until they look at my history and then agree that it is a good and reasonable decision. Many think that something must be possible and then realize that it is very unlikely. The overall perspective from our fertility doctor was that I have one of the most complicated cases that he has seen in his career-he is a nationally regarded fertility doctor in his sixties (we think). The chances of us ever conceiving are very slim and the concern would continue that my body could not sustain a healthy pregnancy. After two uterine surgeries, persistent fibroids in place (currently making my uterus the size of a 14-16 week pregnancy), and four years of ups and downs related to my reproductive health, we both just feel ready to move on.

So, what does this include? On the post-surgery end, it means one night in the hospital and about a 2-3 weeks recovery. On the coping end, I seem to have a lot of anxiety about the whole thing. It's hard to explain to people and I have found that the vast majority choose not to talk about it. It isn't something anyone I know can relate to, but I'm incredibly grateful to the friends who are comfortable with that and have been continually supportive.

I look forward to waking up sometime next Friday in that drugged haze that accompanies surgery. It is a nice feeling that will indicates that all is well and now it is just time to recover.

To accompany this time, I thought I'd also to make some changes to my blog layout. Not sure what I think and so I'll continue to play with it over the next couple of days. As I focus on rest and relaxation, it is the only goal I have this week.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Two more before we go...

Today we're headed to PA for a few weeks. It is hard to walk away from beds who continue to promise blooms that I know I will not get to see. This oriental poppy may be the only bloom on the plant this year and I have been waiting days and days for it to finally open. I am so happy that it happened before we left. I'll likely miss the day-lilies completely, and probably the yucca plant and tiger-lilies and maybe even the lacy plant that I have yet to identify. So it goes.

I'll try to update over the next couple of weeks while we're away.