Monday, January 28, 2013

Surgery & Recovery Overview

I took pictures from the morning I left my house for surgery until a week later. I actually took pictures almost every day. I had said in a previous post I would let myself cry when I saw my scar and I wouldn't cry anymore. I actually didn't cry when I saw my incision. I was actually relieved to see the doctor cut much lower than she originally told me. Originally I was going to be cut in the middle of my neck, instead she cut me around the base of my neck. The incision is not that bad. It is healing very nicely. 

The morning of surgery before I left the house. Yes, I put on all my make up and did my hair. I was going to look good going into surgery. I woke up earlier than normal that day, but I got ready just like any other day minus the jewelry. 

Pre-op was probably my favorite part of course since there was no pain involved with this part. They gave me this gown with places they could insert a tube to blow hot air. The tube attacked to the gown around my thigh, I had a controller for how warm I wanted the air. This machine was used in pre-op and the OR. OMG it was HEAVEN!!! I seriously want one of those machines for at home. I had a fabulous nurse Gloria in pre-op. We joked around the entire hour before surgery. 

The doctor came to visit me and Art in pre-op to go over everything one last time. She had to write YES on my neck before I could go back to OR. I guess she has to mark where they are going to do the surgery or I can't leave pre-op. 

I kept my sense of humor all morning except when I had to kiss Art good bye that was the first time I felt scared. It was more I was scared for him because I knew the next 8-10 hours would be very hard. I had the easiest part, but the worst part was for the family. 

As we walked to the OR I asked the nurse how in the world she could work back there. It was FREEZING! Seriously it was like an ice box. I walked into the OR I said to my doctor "I am walking into this room and I will walk out right?" She said they would give me a break and take me out a little easier. The doctor assured me I would be just fine and recover great because I have the best attitude through the whole process. I met everyone in the OR, talked to them, joked with them, laid on the bed, started to get some drugs. The doctors do a overview of everything by reading patient name,  medical record #, procedure, and other stuff I can't remember anymore. It was honestly surreal to listen to them as I lay there. Even as I laid on the table I couldn't believe I was the one laying there for surgery. 

When I woke up from surgery I was PISSED!!!! Why in the world were they waking me up ALREADY! I had FINALLY started to get some great rest and these people were waking me up. I asked what time is it? They said 7pm in the evening. That was my cue everything was just fine and I didn't need to worry about surgery. If the surgery was shorter than 8-10 hours then I had lymphoma. I went back to sleep. I remember waking up on and off occasionally and the first memory I have is of my doctor sitting across the room from me at a desk. I guess that was while I was in ICU. I remember them taking blood, x-ray, moved me to a room and then BAM I was smacked in the face with PAIN. 

The pain for Friday night was HORRIFIC! Someone brought me a dinner with broth in a bowl with a spoon. Thinking back on this cracks me up. I couldn't even move, but I was suppose to eat broth from a bowl??? It didn't matter how much pain meds they gave me nothing helped. I remember laying in bed that night as I dozed on and off thinking I will never be able to move again. My shoulders, back and neck were SUPER sore. I couldn't move my shoulders at all. The nurse helped put a pillow behind my back. My overnight nurse was simply amazing! Her name was Sarah and she took the best care of me. She would come make sure I wasn't in pain, brought me pain meds when they were due instead of me asking for them, helped me drink some chicken broth. This woman even gave me a sponge bath one day. 

Saturday Art came to the hospital around 9:30am. It was the longest 12 hours without him. Some point on Saturday I realized I had on a different hospital gown. I pulled on my gown and said what a minute...someone saw me NAKED because I am changed. We just started laughing. My day time nurse Belinda came in and was amazing! She helped move me, so I had some relief. I was a little concerned I would get bed sores. lol I kept asking people to help me move. She helped me eat my liquid breakfast and made sure I was comfortable. I was able to get out of bed around lunch time to sit in a chair. I sat up while my friend Cindy visited. One of my first text on Saturday was to Cindy asking her to bring me a hair tie. I couldn't find mine and my hair was making me CRAZY. When she got there I asked her to put my hair up for me. I couldn't move my arms above my shoulders. After about an hour I crawled back into bed and slept. My pastor and his wife came to visit me. They were super sweet during this whole thing. My pastor came to the hospital the morning of surgery and sat with us for a little while. Then he prayed with us prior to surgery. 

Above I am writing in my journal. I listed all my nurses for the first couple days. I couldn't do much for longer than 10-15 minutes without feeling exhausted. I should have wrote a little each day about how I was feeling and things I remembered. I just didn't have the energy to do anything.

My first real meal! It was some type of stew, soup and peas. It wasn't that great, but I ate what I could. I had been living on broth and pudding almost 2 days. 
My evening nurse Roxy was super sweet! She was very attentive and caring. I really liked her!

Sunday morning Belinda is cleaning everything for me in the picture above. You can see the drains at the top and faintly my incision. Different people would come in to check on how I was doing. Every time a new person came in they commented on the fact I was wearing make up. I went one day without make up and that was enough. I needed to get back into the swing of things and I refused to look like I was sicker than I was. Sunday night was the best night of sleep I got in the hospital.

This picture cracks me up because I look higher than a kite!!!! Look at my eyes. LOL
This was shortly after they took out the right side drain. That one hurt like a mother. Cindy was with me all day Monday. She held my hand as I screamed. The doctor said part of it must have been wrapped around up inside my neck and that is why it hurt so bad. When he pulled it out stuff went flying on the bed, doctor face, his arms. lol He walked out of the room I told Cindy I can feel something wet, but I can't feel anything. All of a sudden we see a big clot of stuff that looked like a worm. I yelled OMG don't touch it....get the doctor. I was worried Cindy would be grossed out. Cindy found the doctor washing his face. lol He said part of it might have just been stuck inside. 

The doctor came back about 20-30 minutes later and said my doctor told him to remove the other drain. Oh lord I was scared. Cindy held my hand again as I braced for pain! There wasn't any. The drain just slid right now and it was no big deal. The doctor said that is normally how they should come out. 

Monday night I came home from the hospital. When I got home I was so exhausted. I just sat on the couch and couldn't move. Art ran to the store for pudding. I had been eating pudding with my pain pills and wanted pudding that night. When he came in the house I was just sitting there bawling. I was scared to me home because of the pain, super tired, I didn't like how swollen my neck was. I just felt awful. On and off the entire night I would just start crying. All of the emotions were finally hitting me like a train. I didn't sleep very well on Monday. 

Tuesday was my first full day home. The swelling started to go down a little and my neck was healing. 

Wednesday the swelling went down some more. Wednesday we met with the endocrinologist and went over a lot of information. Each time I would leave the doctor I feel I am on overload. I will meet with her again once the pathology report comes back and we know what the next steps will be. 

I took this picture Friday after my stitches were removed. Each day the swelling goes down more and more. The doctor said it will take a few weeks for it all to go away. 
My neck was so swollen at one point I looked like Fat Bastard from Austin Powers. When I would walk and talk my neck would jiggle. Ugh! The swollen neck has been the worst part for me. I knew I would have some swelling, but not the amount I have had. 

Prior to Saturday I have been able to cut my pain pills down a ton since I came home from the hospital. Some days I experience more pain than other days. Saturday was a really rough pain day. All the other days the pain has felt more like an ache. It would start off like a tooth ache and then spread all the way around my chest. Saturday the pain came on like a shooting sharp pain. In order to sleep the pain meds had to be increased for the night. 

I knew the recovery would be hard. I couldn't have imagined in 100 years how rough it was to wake up from surgery. I had morphine last year when I ended up in the ER and it was amazing. The morphine the first day did NOTHING. Luckily once I was able to get past the first night I was able to tolerate the pain better each day. I had to learn the difference between pain and just being sore. 


Pammy said...

You and your eyeliner :) lol Love you to pieces Beck! Glad you're ok!

Linda Josephson said...

You're such a trooper Becky! Thanks for posting this! For anyone that has been worried about you it is nice to get a feel for how you're really doing in! Keep it up fighter!!!

Maria said...

I winced and clinched the enitire time I read this ! Pretty sure I gritted a few cm off my teeth ! LOL I am soooo glad this is over for you :-( ! You are gonna be fine ! :-) and that scar will not be noticeable in a few weeks !

Gerrie said...

Love you friend!! It's looking really good! You are a trooper! There's nothing you can't handle.

Lindsay said...

You are amazing!! So glad that everything is OK!