I’ve reference my surgeries in several posts and thought I ought to give a little context for future references especially since I basically have PTSD from it. Apparently that isn’t uncommon, who knew? Even though I say 14, technically it was 13. To clarify, I had to go under complete general when I had a colonoscopy.
It started in January 2013. I was getting botox injections in my bladder to paralyze it. Normally you can be semi-awake but having a trauma backdrop I have to go under completely. A quick fun fact – there was a blizzard that day! I was simply terrified because I’d never been under general anesthetic and felt so helpless going into the surgical room.
two, three, four, five
The first round lasted more than 6 months and was amazing because it made life more normal again. I had to get it redone in the Fall 2013 though but that was to be expected. That however didn’t last so I was back in the Spring 2014, and again in the Fall 2014. That summer, I got the colonoscopy. I wasn’t able to clear everything from the horrible crap they make you drink but they did the procedure anyway. I probably should have told them I only stopped abusing laxatives the previous year. Normally you get those every 10 years but because of them doing it anyway, I have to go back in 3 years, meaning next year, ugh.
I guess I also put that procedure in with the surgeries because it had such catastrophic effects on my life. You see, it completely stripped my system and resulted in my no longer being able to eat anything more than white rice, tofu, gluten free oatmeal, and leaf lettuce. Also, it’s worth noting because it also contributed to my now over-reaction in surgical settings. I remember laying there and one of the interns clearly didn’t get the memo and started explaining I’d be awake, etc and I almost had a panic attack. From this response I don’t think I need to explain one of the traumas I experience, and yeah, one of well, more than one………. so anyway.
March 4, 2015, more botox injections but even though the doctor told them time and again to give me 200CCs, they gave me a 100.
March 16, Carpal Tunnel surgery on my right hand, along with trigger thumb. I’ve had carpal tunnel for over 15 years and they said that the surgery would simply stop the progression and not make it better. I was nearly disabled with my hands because of it. However, my carpal tunnel is completely gone! The trigger thumb surgery though left half my thumb permanently numb but it’s way better than the pain. It just makes things like opening bandaids really annoying.
To note, found out I’m allergic to hydrocodone the day after surgery, oh joy. That’s a 12 hour period I’d like to forget.
May 4, 2015, Carpal Tunnel on my left hand. Went beautifully since I didn’t even need pain meds for this. Also, I think I was beginning to go into shock from multiple visits to the surgical theater.
May 29th, ENT surgery. ENT stands for ear nose and throat. I was going in for a septiplasty for a deviated septum (couldn’t breath at night, etc). They didn’t bother with that but instead broke the turbinate bones (for anyone who is interested in that sort of thing) so they could grow back wider.
June 3rd, another round of botox injections, 200CCs this time.
Because my bladder was paralyzed I had to push to, you know, go. Well, my nose was utterly thrashed so when I pushed it caused a nose bleed. It wasn’t just any kind of nose bleeds, they were bad! After multiple trips to the ER, and multiple trips to the ENT people who did things like cauterize my nose, etc, which is maybe one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced. In between all that I was given codeine for pain and ended up calling 911 to take me to the ER because, yes, allergic. The ER doctor said I’d have to find a pain med eventually but sadly the only way was trial and error. Wow, at least he was honest.
So all that was for naught because eventually my nose wouldn’t stop bleeding. I waited for 45 minutes then figured I probably should drive myself in to the hospital before I died. I don’t know how I did that but I managed. I then collapsed and had to be rushed to the ER and had a wee bit of a hospital stay. I was .3 away from getting a blood transfusion. I wish I had one because it took months to crawl out of that level of anemia. During this time I lost 10 lbs. There was no food in the hospital that I could eat. Eventually a nurse went to the store and bought me food but the damage was done – major relapse started. I mean how seriously sick is that. I was very nearly dead but also so happy I lost weight, really?!
I had to go home with a foley catheter in. I was all alone, not one to help me. I had moved my cot to to my dining room so I didn’t have to crawl up and down the stairs. It was the first time in my life I felt the pangs of loneliness. I was alone and helpless and unable to take care of myself but I did, I had to. I remember the previous month (after the first carpal tunnel surgery) I was desperately trying to cook something and it all exploded all over my kitchen. I literally just fell down and wailed. I never wailed before; that word wasn’t even in my normal usage vocabulary. The thing is, once I stopped crying I had to clean it all up and start again. It was never ending.
You have to understand that this wasn’t just the Spring 2015 debacle but a continuation of what seemed like never ending medical disappointments. All of 2014 was spent in extreme pain trying injections and procedures and all sorts of things to relieve that pain all over my body, but mostly my back and neck. I endured all that alone too. Maybe it wouldn’t have felt so alone if all my neighbors hadn’t offered to help mea out and then never show up. Once again, I was a burden, and inconvenience… once again I needed to disappear but this time I was in so much pain there was no disappearing. It was in February of 2015 that the doctor finally said there was nothing that could be done. A month later started those 5 unforgettable surgeries.
By the end of July I managed to patch myself together enough to drive across the country to see my dad and then drive up north to see my brother. 7000 miles.
Zoom ahead to Fall 2015, really needed more botox injections but the doctor was out having a baby. At that time they mentioned the Interstim device so I had an appointment to see if I qualified and I did on all 3 criteria. Duhhhh. If it worked it would mean eliminating surgeries 2-3 times a year plus I had a pulled stomach muscle that never had a chance to heal (you know, from all the pushing).
Jan 2016, botox injections
March 2nd, have lumps in my abdomen so went into general surgery. Was awake which was unexpected. Turns out those lumps are just water. They came back after surgery but the surgeon said not to bother with them unless they get grapefruit size. He didn’t have to tell me twice, I was out of there.
Interstim implant, part one, March 23, 2016. I had NO idea what I was in for. I hope after my experience they explain to future people exactly what will happen. They said I had to be awake but that I wouldn’t remember anything. First off they put you face down and the position was SO triggering. Plus, the pain was extraordinary even though they probably were giving me something to decrease it, oh and I remember everything! They inserted the wire to my sacral nerve and had the wires come out to an external device for the testing period of a week. I’m not going to bother explaining what that week was like. Just imagine the worse case scenario and then multiply that by a 100. However, the device helped so I decided to have the permanent one installed.
March 30th, stage 2. By this time I was an utter mess. My surgeon though answered all my questions and was very kind. They said they’d put me out completely for this one before I even got on the table, just to decrease some of the trauma and wouldn’t wake me up till they moved me off the table. It went well, and then….
Remember how I said that week was the worst imaginable? I was wrong.
The device works amazingly well so i want to keep it. I had to get special cushions though because I now have painful scar tissue surrounding my already protruding tail bone. Okay, that took a while to figure out but I did. The device itself though is problematic because of the location so I am, yes, going back into surgery to have it moved closer to my hip so I can hold it in place better with a belt or whatever. I will be prepared this time so I should be able to manage it. Am I scared? Um yeah, like shitless. I have my pre-op appointments June 14th. They get harder and harder because they all know me and when I go through it, my body knows it is about to be traumatized again. I can’t seem to control the anxiety that comes with all that. Surgery is on June 27th.
So, that is only the surgeries and last couple of years. If I wrote all the crap I’ve been though it would have to be a book! Or maybe just a lot more posts…
Okay, time for bed.
And thanks. If you made it to this point you deserve a gold medal for managing to read all of it!