Through Hell & Back Again- Part I

Good day everyone! And I do not say that lightly. A few days ago I would not have been able to put the words “good” and “day” in the same sentence but, praise God, I am now in a much better place! I know it has been a while since I have updated everyone but the title of this post was written in all seriousness. The past 2 weeks since I left Mayo have truly felt like a trip through hell and back again and I have had neither the time nor energy to update anyone. So, I will start this post with where we left off and walk you through exactly all that has happened between now and then as best as I can. Prepare yourself for one wild ride!

Last you heard from me I had just been discharged from the hospital in Rochester on March 20th and was headed back to the hotel for a few days of healing and check ups before we were to fly back home on Sunday the 24th. When I left the hospital, I was happy of course to get to be in a regular bed and to walk around more than just the hospital hallways but the healing process ended up not going as smoothly as I had hoped it would. It seemed that every rare and unusual complication that could happen during surgery was happening to me, and it was making things extremely difficult. Firstly, I received a lot of IV fluids after surgery, which is normal, but when you’ve had two blood clots like I have and the valves in your legs are broken, receiving a lot of fluid while laying in a hospital bed all day means the fluid just pools up all over your body and doesn’t get processed. So when I left the hospital at Mayo, I had 13 lbs of extra fluid in my legs, hips, and abdomen that made it impossible to walk much less to wear pants!… other than the baggiest pair of Bryan’s old sweatpants that I had to lounge around in. So I wore those for days because nothing else would fit! Then all through the days following my discharge, mom, dad, and Bryan would take turns rubbing up on my legs trying to squeeze the fluid up like toothpaste in a toothpaste bottle. They worked so hard for me but the relief would only last for a little while no matter how much they squeezed or how long I had my feet elevated. Incredibly frustrating.

Secondly, I developed a nasty case of thrush in my mouth which made it impossible to eat or drink. Thrush is an infection that causes your mouth and tongue to be coated in this nasty white stuff and bumps all over. It burns and bleeds and all I could do was keep swishing my mouth with this medicine that would numb it long enough to let me at least take a few bites of food and drink a few swallows. And seeing as I was fighting nausea, trying to recover from surgery, and taking a bunch of pills, not being able to eat and drink properly was greatly hindering my recovery!

Thirdly, I was also having trouble seeing because I somehow touched the nausea patch I had after surgery and then touched my eyes so my pupils became so dilated I could barely see! So basically, after I was discharged I was a pudgy, fluid filled, burnt mouth, puking, blind, sore all over, unable to walk, aching, weak, mess of a girl for a few days.

After we saw my surgeon and gastro for my post operation visit and got the all clear, we decided to leave on Sunday the 24th. Bryan took an earlier flight back than my parents and me so he could get home to Lexington and get back to school the next day. My plan was to take the flight with the shorter lay over time and then to take my time and rest at my parents for as long as I needed to before making the drive back to Lex. So Bryan left Sunday morning and my parents and I flew out later that afternoon.

The Rochester airport was amazingly understanding and didn’t even make me get out of my wheelchair to go through security! They then took me to a private room with a hospital bed where I could lay and prop my feet up until our plane arrived. We waited for about an hour and then boarded the plane first so I could get situated. Thank God no one sat next to me so I was able to put my feet up in the next seat and get semi comfortable for the flight since my legs were still ridiculously swollen and heavy with fluid. I was feeling ok when we first boarded but as soon as we took off, boom hits the nausea. I ended up throwing up all through both take off and landing and felt like I was going to explode through the whole flight with all the fluid build up and the changes in pressure. Lets just say it was a pretty horrific experience and I love to fly. But the worst part was I couldn’t even enjoy the fact that I didn’t have to worry about going to the bathrooms during the flight since my colon was now gone! And if I wasn’t able to enjoy that major change, compared to what I’m used to, then you know how miserable I had to have been!

We made our connecting flight in Minneapolis and once again, since dad had called ahead, the airport really took care of me. A skycab was waiting at the gait when we got off the plane and drove us across the entire airport to our connecting flight. The ride felt like it took 20 minutes even though it was probably more like 7, but when your back feels like someone is stabbing you all over, you can barely hold yourself up because of sutures in your abdomen, you have just puked 5 times in the last hour, you have 13 lbs of fluid all trying to pool in your ankles, and you know you still have a whole second flight ahead of you… time doesn’t exactly pass quickly. And it didn’t help that it felt like the entire airport was staring at the “girl with cancer, riding on the cart, and wearing whatever clothes she had that could actually fit around her swollen body.” It just seemed as though I had a spotlight above me and every person was watching as I rode by. At that point I was literally praying that God would just let me pass out and wake up at my parents house. I didn’t feel as though I could take another step.

But God had mercy on my body and I made it on to the next plane where the flight attendants were so sweet and asked people to move seats so I could once again prop my feet up in the seat next to me. Plus the plane was much more spacious and easier to get situated in. However, I still threw up taking off and landing on the second flight but the fact that were landing in Louisville helped me to hold on and finish out the journey. We got off the plane, I got in my wheelchair, and we made it to get all of our bags without complication. Praise God. My aunt picked us up and as we drove home, I could not have been more relieved to see my parents house. I immediately walked in, made it up the stairs with my dad practically carrying me, and went right to bed so I could prop up my now huge and aching legs. Mom and Kristen came to the rescue and went right to work trying to squeeze the fluid up while I laid there more exhausted than I have ever been in my life. But I was home, finally, and holding on to the fact that I was only going to get better from here… but I was SO wrong.

The next few days began what ended up being actually the worst part of the whole surgery experience and I had no idea what was going to hit me. But that’s all for now! I’m takin a break and I’ll finish the rest of the update later today! Stay tuned in for more… 🙂

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