I’m Not Ok, and That Needs to Be OK.

So yesterday I posted to my Facebook that recovery is hard. In all reality this should not be a surprise to anyone. Surgery is invasive, foreign, and hard on a body. I did not however expect it to be so hard on me.
I think of myself as a strong and independent person. Capable of just about anything I set my mind to. Right now I am struggling to make it through my commute to work, followed by the 8.5 hours at work, then the commute home which is grueling, then eating and passing out. Lather rinse repeat.
Remember when I worked 10 hour days, stayed up for so many hours at a time with no sleep, worked out at the gym for 2-4 hours a day… now I am getting winded from walking up the three flights of stairs.
I think this galbladder surgery has killed me. I hate having to rely on others to do things like carry my groceries, or lift something. I am under lifting restrictions not just normal ones but extended ones because of my EDS. I worry that this hard spot on my side is a hernia already since I cant seem to remember just how little 5lbs is.
My husband says he doesnt mind helping out, but I dont like to burden anyone with asking for things or help.

I am feeling a full range of emotions at any time. I can only explain it to myself as Trauma. In the span of a moment I can feel everything from sadness to anger to happiness and fear. The pain, comes and goes, in weird ways… not anything like what I experienced before they took my galbladder out but stabbling pains, and aches I assume are related to my Fibro and EDS and lack of movement.
I feel my progress slipping away. I feel the depression creeping in as part of my recovery and I cling to the thought that this won’t last forever.
The reality is though, my recovery has it’s own timeline. There is no magical date when I will be able to put my jeans back on and feel normal again. There is no knowing when I will start to feel human again. It will end, but there is no end date for me to circle on the calender.
Right now I am looking at FitBloggin to be my reprieve. That is right at the end of my expected full recovery window and what a reason to celebrate with my friends and family right?
But the darkness looms here… and I am fighting… but I am not okay… this is hard… and I am fighting. Fighting to get up, fighting to get through the day, and fighting to get back to healthy again. ❤

When Life Becomes Real

So for those of you that are friends with me on Facebook or Instagram, or follow along on Twitter you have probably seen the fallout of what has been my last week of trauma with the drama-lama.
For the last month or so I have been dealing with some glabladder issues. I had an ultrasound to confirm there were infact stones, and they adivsed that not everyone that has stones needs to have surgery. I was in the process of exploring the medicinal options, and vetting surgeons that dealt with larger patients along side of having everyone telling me just to do flushes… which I’m sorry I’m just not intereted in. Friday at work I noticed a change in the color of my “output” and knew something was up with my liver. The color was wrong. First I thought it was simply dehydration, as I had no appetite after throwing up the night before. I did my best to push fluids, but I wasn’t hunigry or thirsty. This continued thru Saturday, no real pain, but no appetite, and no thirst. Sunday morning(April 19th) when I woke up I was having THE worst pain in my life.
I turned to my husband who was soon to go to bed and told him we might need to go to the ER. I waited around for a while, twisting, turning, trying to find a good position in the bed. Nothing was helping. I got up, got into the shower, cleaned up and told my hubby it was time to go. Off to the Emergency room we went. He was such a good sport the whole day having not slept.
Once at the ER thankfully we didn’t have a very long wait, maybe 15 mins before I has been triaged and put into a room. They got the first IV in me and I was drugged, and that took the edge off, I still couldn’t get comfortable but it was enough to make the tears stop. Initial tests in the ER showed by liver panel basically like I was headed into liver failure. My levels were off the charts high. I was taken for another ultrasound, nothing was ruptured, but there were not more stones and my liver had likely been compromised. I was going to be transferred to another hospital via ambulance for surgery ASAP.
More pain killers, and even more now that they could see what was going on, an ambulance ride to another hospital with the possibility of surgery Sunday night on the horizon.
My ride was, nice… I was drugged, and chatty. I talked a lot about my husband and how wonderful he was for staying awake with me. The guy riding with me asked how we met and they thought it was pretty awesome.
Sunday at I’m not sure what time, maybe 5 or 6 I sent my hubby home, I knew it wasnt going to happen. he team came in and told me surgery would be the following day as early as 0930 I was being added on. About 10 PM I got a roommate (who was super sweet, but snored louder than a buzzsaw with a microphone attached) Shortly after she arrived they did a glucose on me since I was about to go NPO and I had been having a headache for hours. I chugged 5 juices, ate PB and crackers and still I was dropping. They did a D50 push of sugar through my IV and that bumped me to a “safe” level. About two hours later my original IV from the ER infiltrated and they had to call to have a new line put in.
Monday was a long day, lots of waiting. They came to get me and after about 3 hours in pre-op my surgery was scratched. I tried to keep my best attitude knowing that someone in the OR was having a much worse day than I was. My surgeon, and the nurses, and other staff appreciated my understanding. I didnt mind being pushed off the books because i had a scheduled time the next day… If we couldn’t get an OR time the next day we were going to just do it at the end of the night… with a tired doctor… and staff… and risk it. Monday night I was in bed, and my arm started feeling swollen, sure enough IV two had infiltrated. The team was called to put in IV #3. I asked for a larger IV this time since it was indicated they needed a larger one for surgery anyway.
Tuesday went much better, there was a little bit of transport issues or pre-op but when I got there (with my St Kate’s student who was going to observe my surgery in tow) everyone remembered me. All Hail Kris! It was pretty cool that everyone was like hey we remember you! Guess I am pretty memorable.
I guess the sedatives they put me in a little time warp. I remember going into the OR, and getting onto the table. I remember my surgeon coming in and talking with her briefly, where she told me what an awesome patient I am for my understanding. I remember the oxygen mask, and them saying, we’re going to start the drugs to put you to sleep, and I breathed a few more times and I was gone.
So I had a Cholecystectomy– or glabladder removal. I had the laparoscopic version of this surgery, which I am SO thankful for. My surgical team did a great job. My incisions look great. There is fear over potential infection in my bellybutton, but I am using Interdry to help fight that.
After they got my inflamed galbladder out they started the next procedure is called an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography or (ERCP). They went full on with the dye injection and there was a stone blocking the duct 100%. The dye did not move or flow past the stone. No wonder there was so much pain. They had to cut the stones loose. This procedure led to me developing pancreatitis due to the dye floing into my pancrease from the procedure.
I remember vaguely being horribly bitchy in recovery when they told me that my support team had left. I gave Robb’s phone number and said try again, and low and behold who was there. He wasn’t there when I went into surgery, but he got there right after I went under and was in the same spot didnt even move for a snack. I guess anesthesia makes me bitchy like a child, becuase my grumpiness continued for several hours. I did notice that I had IV #3 still in, but capped off, and IV#4 flowing. My right hand however where I was yet to get an IV was covered in SIX stick marks and bruises.
I just wanted a drink, and I couldn’t have one. No one would tell me why. I slept a lot coming out of surgery, comforted by the fact that my husband was by my bed. They allowed me 1 cup of ice chips every 8-12 hours is what they were telling me. NOT OK. During the night a doctor came in and I asked what happened during surgery and got all the details finally about the surgery, but not about why I hadnt been started on post-op clear liquids. I knew something was wrong. During the night I went low again and they pushed D50 through my IV again. It burned, I cried, like major pain. I come to find out you arent supposed to feel that going in.
Finally when I saw doctors in the light of day they explained that I had pancreatic enzyme levels that were off the charts. They had bumped my IV fluids back up to a higher level of sugar. I paged my nurse… IV#4 was clearly infiltrated, they hooked back up to IV # 3. The docs said I could have clear liquids and I was on the phone in a snap. In a matter of a few hours IV # 3 had infiltrated as well.
My awesome nurse was fighting for me to not need an IV at this point. She saw the bruises beind left, and documented the event that happened from the D50 that went throught he vein into the tissue. (which is still lumpy and bothering me). Sadly the team was called to put in IV #5. I requested the ultrasound IV team come to find a good vein since we had been busting every site. They found a site for me, placed the IV.
I was so tired of being poked. I just wanted to go home. my Pancreas was still too messed up to go home. I still needed to stay longer but the caveat was I could try solid food! I had been up and walking the floors of the hospital several times and making great progress.
Thursday I was walking more upright, eating solid food and ready to go home. The last IV #5 had finally infiltrated despite it being unhooked the nurse could tell it had started before we stopped it the night before. I ate my breakast and hung out with a different St Kates University student. I encouraged her to ask all the questions she had and let her do all the things she needed to do. It was nice.
I went home Thursday, and I’ve been working on my recovery since. It is a long slow road. I didn’t think it would be this hard. I have something going on with my shoulder, they aren’t sure what it is. They scared my yesterday with talk about pneumonia, or a pneumothorax but we’re guessing the culprit is trapped CO2 from the procedure.

So I’m here… recovering. slowly.

Mopey and Dopey?

So what do you do when you lose your job and you have a wedding a little more than a month away? Well, Since my dress already doesn’t fit, (it’s too big! which is a better problem to have right? because you can’t add material to it!) I have two options.
I can stuff myself full of chips, cupcakes, and Chipotle, and “fit” into my dress… undoing all the hard work that I have fought tooth and nail for being Mopey and Dopey about things.

or

I can keep going out trying to score interviews, putting my “game face” on putting the best me out there, and in my down time work on me. I think this option is the better one.

What does working on Kris mean? Well, this is things like, meal planning, sending time doing a personal inventory of what I want from life, getting any loose ends tied up that I can for the wedding (though the final head count is not in yet). It is also things like continuing to make sure I am as active as possible.

This morning I was all set to go for a walk around Lake Como. I wanted to get out before the heat emerged, and before the sun got too high. I pulled up to the Lake and saw the rack of Nice Ride bikes sitting there calling my name and I started to think…
MN Nice Ride Green Bikes at Lake Como

The other day I sent out a tweet that said…

“Excuses are the ties that bind us to our comfort zone.”

What was my excuse for not hopping on a bike, any bike? For years post hip fracture I was unable to ride a bike. I lost the internal rotation of my hip after they had cut through the muscle three times. It wasn’t so much the cutting as the lack of physical therapy post-surgery that caused the issues. Now struggling with what we know is tibial torsion on top of things I often feel like I am a mess!

So… Can you guess what happened next? I bet you can, because I am the kind of girl that goes after what she wants when she sets her mind to it.

Nice Ride, behind the handlebars

At first I wasn’t sure this was actually such a good idea. I was unsteady and couldn’t keep my balance for more than a few feet. A woman came and asked me a few questions about the Nice Ride system, and I joked with her that I was learning to ride all over again. It’s true though. I ride the stationary bike at the gym but out in the real world it is very different. There are hills, and bumps, and gravel, and well, terrain! She encouraged me just a bit to go around the lake, after I made her laugh of course, and… well…. I didn’t die!
Lake Como Selfie, Mn Nice Ride bikes at Lake Como

I survived my trip around the lake! I didn’t run anyone over, I stayed on the bike path, despite there being quite a number of pedestrians on it I did audibly call to them when I was going to pass them… which just seemed odd to me… like I felt rude for doing it, but I know it is part of what needs to be done so someone doesn’t body-check me to the ground.

So yeah, I am keeping my head held high while I search for the next great thing for myself. Keeping my positive mental attitude, and taking the best care of me is all I think I can do at this point.