Saturday, April 15, 2017

Three Months Post-Op!

I am almost three months post-op for my ostomy surgery, and I am doing incredibly well.  I am so grateful.  I am not as strong as I would like to be physically, but full recovery will take a while so I must be patient.  I have been released by my doctor to run, to ride my bike, and to do yoga.  I am also in physical therapy to strengthen my core as I now am at life-long risk for a hernia.  My biggest struggles right now are recovering from a nasty respiratory flu bug that has lingered, getting enough sleep, and managing work and school.

My amazing surgeon, who is also a Christian, has stood along side me medically and spiritually.  I am so thankful for her, her staff, and the ostomy nurses.  The nurses lead a monthly support group at the hospital that I have been participating in.  I also found an amazing on-line support group, The Ostomy Network, with new-found friends whom I dearly love.

Heather has been my rock, and she has walked me through some tough moments.  There were skin issues, appliance issues, etc., and I often became overwhelmed during my one-month medical leave.  She helped me through every single second, assisted me in figuring out what supplies to use and order, and cheered me on tirelessly. 

My brother-in-law came for the Monday early a.m. surgery as he and my sister-in-law are my living will representatives, but Heather literally ran the show!  She missed school to be at the hospital, and patiently waited in the surgery recovery area for me.  The best miracle of all is that the doctor was able to do the entire surgery robotically when she fully expected to have to do an open abdominal incision. 

The doctor came out of surgery and told Heather and my brother-in-law the good news and that she planned to have me go home that Thursday.  Heather firmly told the doctor that she knew I would overdo it the first day and should probably not go home until Friday.  The surgeon got a good laugh at Heather's insistence, and told Heather she would do what she could to keep me longer as needed.  Heather was right...I did overdo it the first day and wore myself out a bit.  Then I ran a fever and had a low red blood count, so the doctor did keep me until Friday to make sure I didn't have an underlying infection and to give me iron transfusions.  My doctor laughed and said, "Besides, if I sent you home like this, Heather will kill me!" 

My precious beloved girl has had her struggles throughout the last year on top of all that I am dealing with.  She has a non-cancerous cyst on her back that will likely need to be removed at some point, so we had to see a specialist for that.  She was also possibly misdiagnosed with narcolepsy, and we now think one of her fibromyalgia medications is causing her extreme fatigue...we saw two specialists and had a sleep study done for that. 

She was on a narcolepsy medication for a time, and she started having extremely high heart rates and chest pain while on it.  We ended up the in the ER, and she wore a heart monitor for two weeks.  Her heart has settled down, but we are still waiting for the heart monitor result and will be seeing a pediatric cardiologist.  We are following up with our family doctor to determine the best way to manage her fibromyalgia while weaning off one medication and starting another.

Two weeks after the ER visit for chest pains, we ended up back in the ER when she had a stomach bug.  Her situation as a diabetic can become very serious if she is not able to eat and keep food down.  Two weeks later, the stomach bug lingered, and we were back in the ER with a dangerously low blood sugar level as she could not keep food down.  We had to use her emergency glucagon/glucose shot, which we have never done before.  We spent that night in the ER, and we were both so exhausted when we got home in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Through all of this we both have a 3.9 GPA at school, and she has actively participated in our school's robotics club.  They have competed all over the state and have done very well.  The Saturday afternoon of our last ER visit, she felt well enough to go to the state competition in a nearby town.  She amazed me!  The team almost qualified for national competition, and they were very happy with their performance.  She is also taking a very aggressive course load, and is prepping for four AP tests and finals.

As for me, my work schedule has been very hectic.  When I returned to work after surgery I was informed that final layoff move would be October instead of December.  This past week the company announced that the layoff is now back to December and possibly later.  Every single day is a non-stop schedule with many fires to put out.  The good news is that this will enable me to pay off every single medical bill from this year if I stay employed through year end!  I am on payment plans for two large bills and fortunately have met my deductible and my out-of-pocket max.

I also somehow stupidly lost one of my hearing aids while trying on some clothes at a local store.  Even through it was near midnight when I realized it, Heather insisted on driving me to the store to look.  The store staff was very kind and did all they could to help.  Heather and I looked at home, at my office, and in my car.  I was devastated as I thought it would cost me almost $2000 to replace it.  My audiologist office shared the good news that I had purchased a warranty for loss/damage/replacement with a mere $250 deductible.  A friend from church who knew how upset I was about the loss provided the $250 to me as a gift.  Many other people came forward and offered financial help as needed as well.  I was stunned at God's provision.  Apparently I am a slow learner, I needed to be reminded that God can handle something as small as a hearing aid!

Needless to say Heather and I are weary, so this weekend we went to a nearby state park for two days.  It was  my spring break from school, so we stayed at the park inn, slept in, hiked, enjoyed the outdoors, went swimming, and enjoyed the sauna. 

We respected each others' space for quiet...she did homework, and I did some in-depth Bible study and journaling.  We love to go camping, so we also scouted out the perfect site for Memorial Day camping while hiking this weekend.

Life has a way of continuing on through our ups and downs.  Stephen and his fiancĂ© are happily planning their summer wedding, and Amy is making plans to return to summer crew work at Cedar Campus.  We will be heading to the camp for a few days prior to Stephen's wedding.  Heather is planning to take summer gym and an online class.  I will continue to juggle work and school while looking forward to my December 2017 graduation for my MBA in public health administration. 

Thank you all for your continued love and prayers, get-well cards, phone calls, and encouragement.  I am so grateful for each and everyone of you!