Well today it’s been exactly 1 week since my LPAO surgery. The past week has been about as expected I guess. I can say I am definitely in better shape today than I was last Friday:) The last few days home have been increasingly better. Each day I see small improvements, not so much in my pain levels but more in ways such as my energy levels and mobility.
I forgot to mention in my last post that I needed a second blood transfusion on Sunday (2 days after surgery) because my hemoglobin was low and my energy levels were almost non-existent. I was lucky enough to have my brother Bill pre-donate a unit of blood that I could use (in addition to the one unit of my own I pre-donated and received back during the surgery) so I didn’t have to use the blood bank. That made a difference in energy levels that day and I think my hemoglobin levels must have climbed even more since hospital discharge because although I am sleeping until 9-10am, I am taking a small or no nap in the afternoon and am not falling asleep until 11-midnight. Considering 3 days ago I couldn’t stay awake more than 1-2 hours at a time at all during the day I think this is a big improvement!
Some more positives from this week are being able to take 2 showers so far, oh how I missed those while in the hospital! I also have mastered hopping up and down 15 stairs (with close supervision) on one leg once a day to be able to spend the afternoons/evenings downstairs with the kids and my in-laws. I am independent to use the walker to go to/from and use the bathroom now which is wonderful. I’m down to only 2 pain pills every 4 hours and my blood thinning injections once a day. I must say the decrease in pain meds is more due to them tearing up my stomach and the nausea that came with them more than it is due to not needing them. I am still in a good amount of pain, but could not handle feeling sick all day and night on the 3-4 pills I was getting every 4 hours. I also was able to sit in a chair for 1/2 hour last night to join the family for dinner for the first time since surgery. Sitting is the least comfortable position right now as it puts pressure on the hip and causes pain throughout the whole pelvis from the groin to the sacral area so I avoid it as much as I can at the moment. The swelling is also down significantly from laying down a lot and keeping the leg elevated. There is a large area that is sensitive, not really numb, not really very painful, just very sensitive and strange feeling on the front part of the operated upper thigh. I read this is normal and can take up to 2 years to return to normal, as it is from nerve damage during surgery, so we’ll see how long it lasts on me. I also received a giant fruit, muffin, candy basket from our church and a giant edible arrangements fruit/goodie basket from my parents (we love fruit here!), as well as many sweet texts, calls, and messages from friends and family members.
It is not all great though so I will throw in some reality of the not so good things from this week. First is the continued pain that never leaves (although is tolerable when laying on my back not moving with my feet propped up, especially with the ice machine on non-stop) which is how I spend most of my days. Along with the deep throbbing pain, which at times is also sharp, I also have very tight muscles all around the hip, as well as a sore/tight back from lying down on it so much. Also having to be dependent on everyone for almost everything is rough. I keep telling myself this is temporary and I try not be a burden as much as possible. The hardest thing is that I can get up from a laying down position, but cannot get my leg back up onto the couch or bed by myself when going from sitting to laying down. It’s like the leg is dead above the knee, none of the muscles want to work. I don’t mind the help from Yago to get dressed or from his mom with cooking and cleaning, but hate having to bother people every time I get up and need to lay back down, especially at night when I have to wake Yago at 2 in the morning. He’s such a good spirit about it all, but I know he loves his sleep so I still feel bad.
I do know that things will get better, trying to just take things day by day and not focus on the bad, but more on the good that comes from each day. We found out yesterday that Yago’s oldest sister and nephew are coming to visit for 2 1/2 weeks after Yago’s parents leave in July to help us out and spend time with us and the kids. We are super excited for the news! We are so blessed to be surrounded by loving family, friends, as well as an incredible church.
I used to focus so much on things I wanted, things I didn’t have, and/or just on the future instead of the present (which could be a whole lot of things right now if I were to allow myself to continue with that thought process) but this whole journey of chronic pain and these 2 surgeries have taught me to really appreciate the little things day by day, appreciate the relationships I have, to focus my energy on being more positive and loving people, and I mean all people (even the ones that cut me off in the car or are not very nice at the supermarket). I used to sweat the small stuff and over react to everything, but oh how I am changing through this process. My relationship with God has brought me through this far and taught me all of these things along the way, and I know I have so much more to learn. Right now I need to focus on the now and present and what I do have instead of looking back to the past at what I used to be able to do, which is a bad place I found myself in for well over 1 1/2 years at the beginning of this journey. I also can’t be unrealistic looking to the future thinking I will ever physically be the same person I used to be and make unattainable goals for myself that I will never reach. I will continue to make small goals and take pride in each step forward that God allows me to take and know that with Him, my loving family and friends I will have a good life regardless of any long-term limitations I may or may not have. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, or what next month holds, or next year but I am no longer worried about it, just trying to walk by faith instead of by sight.