A Brand New Day!

I was thinking of several things to write about over the last hour while the house has been blissfully asleep, but none of those subjects seemed to just flow from my mind or fingertips this morning. First, I will tell you, I’m feeling much better and, at long last, I’m on the road to recovery, barring any other small setbacks. For now though, I’m free! Pablo, my trusty drain, was removed Monday. Although it was certainly uncomfortable coming out due to it’s location, it was a heck of a lot better than going in! Now, at long last, nearly 7 weeks after my surgery, I can start to get stronger and get moving without reatrictioms! Hallelujah!

In other news, well, summer is already half over and it is time for us to look forward to the new school year. Can you believe it? Stores have school supplies and school lists out. I, for one, am not ready to think of summer ending and school starting just yet. Don’t get me wrong, I love the routine of the school year, but I love the lazy days of summer just as much. This year, having been robbed of my summer this far, I’m ready to enjoy my summer at long last. Today is my brand new day! It’s the day I say, “carpe diem”! I have to get stronger, which is my new daily endeavor. I’ve discovered some days I’m still very tired, and other days I’m filled with energy. Today is a sleepy day, unfortunately, but I’ve been busy all week so far. I suppose every third day to rest at this point isn’t bad. One day at a time. I will heal and gain my strength back, one day at a time. 

Feeling Better 

At last I have some answers. I’ve been dealing with this for so long but the corner has finally been turned and now I can truly begin to heal, or so I surely hope I can!

My initial surgery was over a month ago and I’ve been so terribly ill since then. Many trips back and forth to the hospital as well as Pablo, the drain placed 26 days ago. Pablo was initially working well, but started malfunctioning. I began flushing him a bit more frequently. I continued having fevers and feeling terribly lightheaded and detached from the world. I tried my best to eat and not I felt the same.hing had flavor. I had 3 antibiotics.  My labs still looked the same and still showed the abscess was much smaller but remained. From a 7 cm to a 3 cm abscessed area which is an improvement for sure, but finding out that I can help this to go away faster?  What a golden opportunity to be proactive in my healthcare.

I have never in my life felt so sick.  I have never felt like I would never get my energy back or be able to once again go for a walk without passing out.  I have made one walk since my surgery.  It was a the only day I felt good.  I walked 4 houses up the street and back again.  It was to my dad’s house.  He didn’t answer the door either.  Hubs and I didn’t have our mobile phones either to give him a call, so we walked back down.  The next day, I felt just as terrible as I had previously and remained that way until yesterday.  I do listen and I do everything I’m told to do.  I’m a very good patient.  I know what I have to do and I do it.

After being in the nursing field for 29 years, I should know a thing or two about how to get better, but this has been the absolute lowest point of my existence.  Honestly, I was ready to seek healthcare elsewhere if it weren’t for Dr. Burke finally giving me the answers I was seeking on Thursday.  Hubs took me to my sinogram, where dye is placed into the drain and then x-rayed for drain placement and to see how much fluid is still present.  It’s really very cool.  What we were shown is that although my abscess is much smaller, the abscess is made up of pancreatic enzymes which is trying to eat my body instead of processing food because of where it has leaked to.  There is a small pathway which has formed which we need to help seal up.  We can do this by flushing and creating the proper pressure in there, a neutral pressure, allowing the nasty, thick drainage from the pancreas to drain.  If I gavage it with the saline 5 or 6 times a day, it will allow the thick drainage to flow more freely and therefore, it will be released more easily.

Guess what!  It’s been working great!  No more fevers, and I feel much improved.  I sure won’t be running any marathons.  In fact, I’ll have to work up to walking any great length again, but I’m getting there.  And I’m planning on more writing.  I’m able to focus a little more clearly already.  Just think, maybe, just maybe, I might get a little bit of my summer after all! Wouldn’t that just be awesome!  I know the Hubs, the kids and I would be so thrilled.  Thank you for all the prayers and good wishes.  Keep them coming.  You have no idea how much they mean to me.  Your kind thoughts are so wonderful.  They truly mean so much to me.  I can’t thank you enough for caring about little old me!

Carpe Diem! Well, I’ll Be Sleeping

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While you all are working away today, I’ll be sleeping and drugged. No worries, I promise it’s totally fine and within the law. I’ll be under anesthesia then drugged for pain relief! Woo-hoo! Go me, for my strange anatomical anomalies!

Yes, for those who have been keeping up on my posts and my pancreas, the day is here. It’s surgery day at last! Yippee-kai-yay! I am, at last, going to have the great big surgery to relieve the pain from my nearly 4 cm pancreatic cyst.

With the removal of said cyst, they must remove half of the pancreas and all of my spleen as well. This is my biggest abdominal surgery to date. It is also the most complex which will land me in the hospital for 3-7 days depending on how they perform the surgery. Can I get a hoorah!

I’ve had all of the emotions this week that one would expect going into such a large and complex surgery. I’ve been mostly peaceful but have also experienced some grieving emotions as well. Why? Well, although I know I will, or should live a normal and healthy life afterwards, I will be more prone to infection due to lack of my spleen, and it’s such a big surgery. It’s scary going under the knife once again. And hey, I am losing body bits. They aren’t exactly the bits I’d care to lose, either, like fat!

I’ve been waiting patiently and not so patiently to have this taken care of, yet now, it’s here. My Hubs, and greatest supporter, will have to continue to care for me but eventually I will be better. I look forward to having the energy and wherewithal to function like a normal human again! I’m sure the Fam would like that too!

So here I am, waiting and awake while I should be sleeping in my bed, but sleep won’t come just yet. This will be my 8th abdominal surgery. They need to simply pop in some zippers instead of seeing me shut! Oh well, carry on surgeons. Carry on! And out with the ickiness!

Blessings of Purpose

I wish I could tell you I was in a great place right now.  I wish I could say that I was in my usual happy place, but I just really can’t get there tonight.  I’m preparing for my surgery tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow is the day I will have part of my pancreas and all of my spleen removed thanks to my nemesis, the pancreatic cyst with atypical cells.  Bloody stupid cyst.

My husband, being the fabulous man that he is, is trying his best to put the smile back on my face.  He’s doing a good job, but in the back of my mind, I am anticipating the surgery.  How do you really get something that big out of your head? Well, the answer is, you don’t.

My husband’s purpose tonight and always, seems to be to take my mind off something or another.  Tonight, however, it is all about the surgery.  What is he doing? He and I are watching and listening to stand up comics.  The good ones!  You know the ones that actually can tell a joke without the use of foul language and crassness? Right now, it’s Ellen DeGeneres.  I adore Ellen.  She is so awesome.  Her topic for this one is procrastination.  Hilarious and not one bit of foul language.  My 9 year old could watch it.

What is the purpose of all this?  Don’t we ask ourselves that one all the time!  For me, my purpose is to keep calm and to get ready.  For Hubs, it’s to keep me calm and happy while helping me get everything ready.  For the kids?  Well, their purpose is to stay happy and carry on.   We all have a purpose in this world.  Right now, this is my purpose and my family’s purpose.

 

The Countdown Begins

What a beautiful day today is. The sun is shining and warm on my skin. The air is just the right temperature and my coffee tastes perfect this morning. I am blessed.

I am blessed also that the physicians found the cyst on my pancreas when they did. It is pre-cancerous, as it has many atypical cells. It could turn into cancer anytime it wants to, but it won’t.

It won’t because it is being removed in Friday along with the tail of my pancreas and my spleen. It’s a very big surgery and I will be out for a while afterwards. I owe it to you, my readers, to let you know why you won’t be reading anything from me Friday. I know I have the best surgeon. He specializes in pancreatic problems. He’s amazing.

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Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers on Friday. It really is a very big procedure and I’ll be in hospital for a few days. It’s a painful surgery to boot. That I’m trying not to focus on. I’m just wanting it to be over so I can get in with my life and move ahead. 

Thank you for you loyalty and friendship. I love hearing from each of you. Just keep me in those thoughts and prayers and I’ll be okay. And so my countdown begins. T minus 5 days as they say till my biggest surgery ever, and I’m no slouch in the abdominal surgery department. This is the 8th one!  Wish me luck boys and girls!

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Trials and Tribulations and Anxiety

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Tomorrow and Tuesday are very big days for me.  I have to say they are rather like milestones of their own kind.  Tomorrow I will put away my mom uniform of leggings and cute shirts to replace them with scrubs for the first time in over 6 months.  So much has happened in the last 6 months and I have truly changed since I last hung up those scrubs which used to identify me.  They identified all of who I was really.  Now, they simply represent what I do for a living.  Tomorrow I will begin afresh.  I have a new job which is exciting, yet daunting all at the same time.

I’m very anxious about starting a new job.  I haven’t started a new job in over 10 years and that was because I moved.  When I moved, I was starting a job that was just like the job I was already doing, just in a new city, which happened to be my home town.  No problem, just new people and a few new things to learn.  This time, I’m going to be learning a job that is very different from what I’ve been doing for 15 years.  Now what?  So here I sit, knowing I need sleep, knowing I’ll be alright, but being scared and anxious about something I’m actually really excited for.  It makes me want to scream and cry and just jump up and down all at the same time, but it also makes me want to hide under my covers and never come out again.  That’s what my Monday looks like.

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Then, there’s my Tuesday.  I start my new job on Monday and then have Tuesday and Wednesday off because of my pancreas  Yes, I realize that’s one hell of a way to start a new job.  Thankfully, my new supervisor is wonderful and my new job is very flexible.  That’s why I took it.  My pancreas, however, is not so flexible.  It has a cystic area that has to be checked into further, hence my Tuesday and Wednesday off. I just want to be fully well again.  I’m tired of being sick and in pain.

I am having an endoscopic ultrasound and biopsy of my pancreas on Tuesday morning.  Basically, my gastroenterologist, Dr. Choppra, will go through my mouth with the big pipe, have a look all the way down with his camera and then take that scope out, put a new scope down and when he is in my stomach, hopefully, he will be able to biopsy the pancreas through the wall of the stomach to see if the cyst that is causing me pain has any cancerous or pre-cancerous cells in it.  Fun times.  My dad had something similar, strange, but true, because he had a pancreatic abscess but no cancer.  He was healed with simple antibiotics.  Yippee!  He was very ill after the biopsy, so I’m praying that i won’t be.  I will go back to work on Thursday.

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So that’s what I have to look forward to the next two days.  I have faith that God knows what is best for me and for my family.  I’m doing my very best to stay positive throughout all this pancreas stuff, but it sounds like I will be heading towards surgery soon to remove this annoying cyst that causes me pain.  All I know is that I want it out, gone, removed, to be an ex-cyst.

This too shall pass and greener pastures lie ahead.  That I am sure.  It’s just getting through the anxiety of the next two days.  I’m not even anxious about the procedure because I have complete faith in my doctor.  He is awesome.  It’s the job that has me more anxious.  I just want to fit in and do a good job. My anxiety is through the roof about tomorrow, but hey, I am back to being a nurse again.  It’s a step in the right direction, I think.

It’s Great to be Alive!

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As I sit here eating gummy bears and reading some great blogs, I am reminded that it is truly wonderful to be alive.  Not only am I blessed to have a computer to read all these wonderful blogs, but I have the opportunity to like and comment on so many as well!  If I haven’t gotten to yours yet, don’t worry, I have a lot to get to yet.  I’m getting through them and it’s been a long, long day!  It’s been a day of gratefulness though.

I went to see the lovely Dr. Choppra today about my pancreas.  What a great man he is.  He instantly put me at ease and said he is very doubtful that this cystic area is cancer.  I could have kissed him for that but opted not to.  I’m sure he would be glad for that if he was aware of it! He set me up for an endoscopy with endoscopic ultrasound and biopsy for next Tuesday.  He doesn’t waste time.  Thank God for that man. Finally getting somewhere and not standing still.  Wow, does that feel good.

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Dr. Choppra also said that I will more than likely have to have that area of my pancreas removed regardless of what the biopsy shows because it’s causing me pain.  I like that man more and more.  Let’s get rid of this bad thing! No, I’m not a fan of abdominal surgery.  I’ve in fact, had more than my share and my belly shows the scars.  I’ve had 4 c/sections and 2 umbilical hernia repairs as well as a hysterectomy.  Yes, I have a very unattractive tummy, but bring it on!  I want this bad boy out so I can get on with living my life! I don’t do patient very well.

I also got my grubby little paws on my notes from Florida.  Apparently, there is another mass area on my liver.  It looks like a hemangioma which is like a mass of blood vessels all rolled together.  Don’t know what that’s all about but that is going to have to wait until we get problem number one taken care of.  Dr. Choppra said so and I completely concur.

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So, in light of all this crazy news, I’m elated!  Dr.  Choppra doesn’t think I have cancer and said he would be very, very surprised if it was based on the fact that it is cystic in nature.  I have a date with him to put nasty tubes down my throat and slice a bit of said cyst thingy out to test it.  I still have the best husband in the world who got me taco salad tonight for dinner, even though I couldn’t eat very much of it.  And to top it all off, I got to go to my son’s hockey game tonight where he made a goal on the goalie who just covered the net, like completely covered the net with his entire body.  My boy was the only one who made a goal on our side!  Yay Liam!!!! Overall, great freaking day!

Now it’s time to go back to reading some more blogs and making likes and comments.  I hope to actually get some sleep tonight for a change though.  Mornings just come too soon! Pleasant dreams everyone!

Good Morning

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Duncan and Ellie (aka Eleanor Rigby)

Good morning and greetings on this crisp, sunny Spring morning.  I’ve just finished my very boring breakfast of a half slice of sourdough toast with the assistance of the fur babies, of course.  How does anyone say no to those liquid brown, or black eyes, looking up at you saying, “Mom, please, just a wee bit of the toast, please.  I promise I’ll be a good puppy”. Well, They got the crust since I’m not a big fan of that particular crust.  Now, if I’d been eating my favorite yogurt, they would have a difficult time convincing me for that bite.  I just wish I had room for my cup of coffee or tea this morning, but apparently that will have to wait for a little bit.

I’m up and dressed and ready for my day, well, as ready as I can be at the moment.  I have to wait for my doctor’s appointment to get here.  That’s the hard part.  The waiting.  I hate waiting like everyone else.  I’m hoping to take a little siesta before I leave, since my appointment isn’t until afternoon. I am finally going to see the GI specialist about my pancreas.  Just to recap, I have had abdominal pain that caused me to go the ER twice.  What was found out at the first ER visit? I have good labs.  Nothing else was really done.  They decided I had some gastritis and a UTI.  I saw my labs and I’m a nurse.  If that’s a UTI, I’m Martha Washington.  That could have been a contaminated specimen, but I took the antibiotics like a good little patient and the pain was okay for a few days.

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I left town and headed to Florida on my vacation, 1250 miles from home.  Guess what!  The pain came back and I headed to the ER in Naples, Florida.  I have to say, the care I received was terrific.  I actually got something for my pain and tests to find out what was going on.  I’m sure I won’t like my bill when it comes, but to have someone actually tell me, “Yes, you do have something on the head of your pancreas and that’s what is causing your pain” was worth it.  The doctor told me it could be one of three things.  Obviously, I’m rooting for the least problematic, a cyst.  Many people get cysts and never even know it.  So that’s one probability.  The next is a pseudocyst, a little more sinister or the last, but least expected, the big C word, pancreatic cancer.  I highly doubt that it is cancer, but all I can say is that at least this thing is on the head of my pancreas and I had pain.  I could have been that I wouldn’t have had any symptoms at all.

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Best Hubs ever

And now I wait. My labs at both ER’s were good.  No fevers, no pancreatitis, nothing else out of the ordinary.  Just me not being able to eat very much since all this started.  I’m full on very little food.  It’s very strange.  You would think I’d lose weight too, but I haven’t.  I think I look terrible because I’m very tired and that’s not good because I’m supposed to start a new job next week.  But like my husband says, “we have to take care of you first honey.  The job will wait but your health can not.” See, I told you the Hubby was golden.

Stupid pancreas anyway.  So, now you know what’s been going on in my world.  Squirrel rehabbing, hamster raising, children raising, pancreas babysitting, sleeping, me! Now, if only the dogs had thumbs and could cook.  I’d have it made.  They never leave my side. Granted, they’re usually begging for my yogurt. If only they could get it for me though. Ah, just the thought of a well trained dog, but that’s a thought for another day. Have a wonderful day.  And until next time, I bid you joy and peace.