Thursday, December 1, 2016

Surgical update....

Here is an update on my Surgery yesterday, Wednesday.  We had to be at the hospital by 7:45 am.  We left shortly after 6 just so we didn’t have to get into the rush hour traffic. I think the thing I dreaded most was getting an IV started.  I only had one arm they could use, so I was praying greatly as the nurse began!  She got right in, into the middle of my arm!  I learned later that she had only graduated from nursing school this past May.  She used a little numbing medicine, so it was not all that painful.  I told her I was praying for her, and she said, “Well, it was answered!”  The other thing I dreaded was gagging on that plastic airway while waking.  I remember that last time.  Thankfully, I was not aware of that this time.   BUT, the worst part was the pain after the surgery while in recovery.  With the other two surgeries, I don’t remember being in much pain in the recovery room.  This time it was quite excruciating!  I don’t know how many times she gave me IV Fentanyl.  I remember the last surgery getting a large enough dose of it that I was having trouble breathing.  That’s what I kept being concerned about every time she said, “I’m giving you some more Fentanyl.”  I didn’t have trouble breathing, but it didn’t really help the pain.  She gave me 2 Percocet by mouth, but that was going to take a while. She called the resident doctor over, and he OK’d some IV Toradol.  That helped just a tiny bit, but not nearly enough.  The doctor finally OK’d IV Dilaudid.  FINALLY – I got some sweet relief!!!  But then I just wanted to sleep, and they just wanted me to get dressed and go home.  I guess I was about to run out of “outpatient time.”  At one point, before they gave me the Dilaudid, they talked about keeping me over night.  I finally decided I was going to have to get dressed.  They practically dragged me out of the bed, wheeled me to the bathroom, and help me dress while Guy went after the car.  But at least my pain had eased to about a “1”.  We left for home about 2:00 pm.

I guess the top of your head is more tender than all the other areas.  With the other two surgeries, my head never hardly hurt at all.  Of course, most all the areas of the other incisions are numb.  I assure you, this one is NOT!!  There is an inch to 1½" incision with 8 stitches (and more hair shaved! But that's all right since I'll probably lose it all anyway).  He did not have to do a skin graft (so thankful for that!) – just pulled it together with the incision going from front to back.  It is quite tight!  If I make any movement of my face – raise my eyebrows, frown, laugh – it hurts.  It’s funny, I can smile, and it doesn’t hurt.  It is amazing how all the muscles of your whole head are connected.  I decided I was going to take that Percocet every 4 hours to stay on top of the pain.  I took one at 3:15, 7:45, and one at 11:45 before going to bed.  I took Tylenol every 6 hours.  I was amazed that I slept through the night hardly moving and not getting up to take any pain med.  I think that is actually the best night’s sleep I’ve had for some time.  I got hardly ANY sleep the night before the surgery.  My wheels just kept turning and turning from the visit with Dr. Powers that day – chemo, PET scan, chemo, chemo.  ARGH!  I tried so hard to focus on the positive part, but you know how it goes sometimes at night – everything looms larger than life.  I had told Guy I was looking forward to the anesthesia just to get some sleep! I think he only slept about an hour, too – he has a bad cold now. ARGH!

Anyway, I got up about 9 this morning, even though I woke up about 8.  I decided to only take Tylenol today, but this afternoon, I had to break over and take a oxycodone, and that helped immensely.  I’m a little dizzy if I move my head too fast, but I suppose that is a little hang over from the anesthesia.

The OT lady came today to check on my left hand usage.  She was amazed at how much use had returned.  It is weak yet, but I can move it well.  The only issue is my thumb.  It is better than it was when I was having the stabbing pains last week.  I’m sure it probably has something to do with some nerve damage from my wrist.  I’ve had a good bit of muscle-wasting at the base of my thumb.  I just can’t bend my wrist as normal yet, but I’m not really supposed to do a lot of that yet anyway.  She talked about massaging the scar once it is healed to help loosen the skin from the underlying tissues.  That will take a good bit of massaging! I can tell you that!  It is very tight – just skin nailed to the muscle.  That continues to heal well.  While I was in the pre-op room, my plastic surgeon came by (since I was supposed to see him in his office that day anyway).  He took a look at my arm and my leg and said that both were doing great.  My arm has dissolving stitches in it.  That’s great because I had told Dr. Mammen it would be great if Dr. Przylecki could come by while I was out during the surgery and take out my arm stitches!  Sure glad I don’t have to go through that now!  Dr. Przylecki said to see him again in 2 weeks.  I’ll see him on that Wednesday, then Dr. Mammen and Dr. Powers on the day following.  Hopefully, after that time we can head back to Little River!

I called Dr. Powers nurse today to say that my preferred site for the chemo was Hutchinson, then Wichita, then McPherson – whichever one of those he would be most comfortable with.  I look for that to start after the 1st of the year.  I suppose it could be before Christmas, but I hope not.  In the meantime, I’ll just keep checking my head – hoping for no new bumps!

Someone did the sweetest thing – today I got a box in the mail.  

It was a little Christmas tree!  Ornaments also came, but I need to find some wires to hang the ornaments.  I’ll get those at the store the next time we go.  The tree is pre-lit, and the colors change.  It is so pretty and colorful. Now I have a little Christmas spirit in my life – sitting by my chair, right by the fireplace.  Many thanks to whoever sent it.  (It’s one of two people, I’m pretty sure!)

Tomorrow the home health nurse comes, and as far as I know, she is the only commitment I have next week.  That will be nice, especially since there is a chance of snow flurries Wednesday.  Now if I can just get my hair washed over the next day or two and get this nasty saline-stiffness-that-make-it-feel-like-a-broom out of it, I’ll be a happy camper.

Thanks once more for all the prayers and sweet thoughts.  “Thanks” seems like such a small word to use, but I really do mean it!!

As always, I’m in His hands…..

OK – STOP scrolling of you don’t want to see the picture.

It really looks worse than it is - it's all goopy with Bacitracin. My face is to the left.

1 comment:

  1. If you come to Hutch for your chemo, I hope your experience is as good as mine was (if chemo can have a good side). The nurses were great,there are good anti-nausea drugs in the IV's, and I always looked forward to a nap because of the Benadryl in the IV. The summer of 2015 I had 4 rounds of chemo, one day every 3 weeks, prior to bilateral mastectomy because tumor on left side was 9 cm x 5 cm x 6 cm! Surgeon would not do surgery until chemo shrunk that tumor, which it did (down to microscopic size!) I was on the chemo Taxotere and monoclonal antibodies Perjeta & Herceptin. Surgery was end of Aug 2015 and then I continued the Herceptin IV for 8 more months every 3 weeks. So, the chemo room became a 2nd home for a year. I'll come visit you there if our school has a day off at a time you get chemo,or if you get it late in the day. I'm a para at Nickerson Elementary.

    I understand how you felt when you first had to see an oncologist - it is sooo surreal, and what am I doing in this place anyway! Also, waiting to hear news after a CT, PET or bone scan can be so nerve wracking. The unknown is sometimes worse than the known. Praying your surgeries and chemo will be very effective.
    Melanie Hawthorne