Sunday, November 15, 2015

surgery recovery 2.0

 So I had my second endo surgery on Wednesday, and I'm still in the exciting throes of recovery...although as you can see, unlike last time, I'm not committed (or awake, more accurately) enough to post thrilling daily recovery updates. I really can't believe it's already been five days, actually. I figured I'd better write stuff down soon before I forget it all.

Requisite pre-surgery selfie
 My surgery was at noon on Wednesday, something that should be considered cruel and unusual punishment for someone who likes to eat and drink as much as I do. So. Many. Long. Waterless. Hours. Luckily, this time I did not have to "cleanse" the day before surgery. I'm not sure why, and I didn't question it. When someone hands you a gift like that, you accept it and move on, lest they change their minds. I did NOT want to do a cleanse again, and I'm thrilled I didn't have to!

But waiting til noon for surgery was still awful. I spent most of the time pepping/freaking myself out by thinking about the weird 'missing time' phenomena I was about to go through. Like, when they wheeled me back to the operating room...I would close my eyes and then be put under, and when I opened my would be like no time had passed. Surgery could take 10 minutes or 10 days and I would have no concept of it as soon as I opened my eyes. Matt, on the other hand, would have to wait out every single boring minute in the waiting room. It's just really weird to me, so I couldn't stop thinking or talking about it. My apologies to Matt and anyone else forced to listen to me expound on my deep thinking (lookin at you, nice nurses).

As it turned out, surgery took about two hours. It took me about two more hours to come out of the anesthesia. Apparently I took it pretty hard. It's weird because I can sort of remember it, the coming awake part? But it's also really fuzzy. But I remember thrashing around a lot and the nurses holding me still so that my IVs wouldn't come out. And then I was shaking a lot, and they gave me morphine until I stopped. They didn't let Matt come back to see me for a long time. 

Anyway, I was eventually awake enough to be dumped in the car and sent on my merry, delirious, nauseous way. As last time, surgery was in Atlanta, so a long, trafficky drive home was next on the agenda. And I think that last time I was mostly asleep for the drive home, but this time I was awake enough to be completely aware of how insanely nauseous I was the whole time. It was delightful, really. 

We made it home without me puking all over the car, which felt like an enormous accomplishment. I proceeded to take All the Medicine (Percocet & Zofran) and pass out on the couch for the next five days.

Millie's been spending about half of her days at my in-laws' house and half of her time here at home with Matt and Worthless Mommy. She's not remotely impressed with the various ways Matt has configured the living room to keep her away from The Prize: Mommy.

I will get you, Mommy! Fear not! No cage can contain me!
Are you bored? You look bored. You keep falling asleep. Here, have a horse.

Oh wait, I actually want that horse now. And also, if I think really skinny thoughts, maybe I can squeeeeeze...okay, no.
Recovery has been similar but surprisingly different than last time. I felt SO sick from the anesthesia for the first two or three days. Like just constantly dizzy and lightheaded and nauseous and really disoriented. I don't remember that at all from last time. I also lost my voice and had a really scratchy throat from the tube they stuck down my throat during surgery. I kind of felt like I had strep or something. Fun! But both the sore throat and nausea/dizziness finally wore off on Friday night or so, and I feel more like "me," just with some (expected, not too terrible) abdominal pain. 

Then on Friday night my incisions really started itching. I have three incisions this time (one less than last time), and up until Friday, they hadn't bothered me in the least. No pain or burning or tightness like last time. But they started itching.

And the itching got worse.

And worse.

And never stopped, even when I was sleeping, even when I was knocked out on painkillers and sleeping.

THE ITCHING!!!!!!!!!!!


So by yesterday evening, each incision was surrounded by bright red welts, bumps, and HERE I AM GOING TO NOT LIST SOME OF THE MORE REVOLTING SYMPTOMS, INCLUDING VARIOUS DESCRIPTIONS OF DISCHARGES I MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN SEEING, SO THANK ME LATER. After thoroughly scouring all of my post-op instructions and Googling things like "incisions itching after surgery," Matt and I finally decided it probably was not just a normal amount of itching, so we called the doctor's office first thing this morning.

My doctor agreed that most likely I am having a localized allergic reaction to either the Steri-strips (tape that is on top of the stitches) or the stitches themselves. It's much more common to be allergic to the Steri-strips, so for now they wanted me to go ahead and remove all the tape (which was NOT FUN because it's not loosened up enough this was like pulling off Bandaids that REALLY did not want to come off) (but ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN THE ITCHING) and take Benadryl and hopefully the itching should subside and the hives will go away. If they don't, then...I don't know. Maybe it wasn't the Steri-strips and maybe it's something else? I can't even think about that yet.

So the tape has been off for a few hours, and seeing what everything looks like under the tape is like a horror movie. DISGUSTING. I took pictures (because I'll need to know whether things are getting better or not), but I am consumed with the fear that I'll forget to delete the pictures and that next year they'll show up on my Time Hop and I'll just die instantly because of the gross-out shock. 

In conclusion...I hope that you never develop a Steri-strip allergy after you have surgery and Steri-strips are holding your abdomen closed, because it is possibly the nastiest and most uncomfortable thing ever.

Let's cleanse the palate with a picture of Millie playing in the leaves while her mommy suffers, shall we?
So aannnnnyway...hopefully the incision situation is heading in the right direction now and soon I will be a human again. No one is hoping for Human Erika's comeback right now like Millie is. Well, maybe Matt. He's been a champ, singlehandedly doing EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD while I beckon deliriously from the couch for crackers, waters, and a very specific baked potato from a restaurant in Athens (because cravings).

Mommy, when are we going to play games that are more fun than me stealing your socks and tickling your feet?
As for how the surgery really went, I honestly don't know much. I was too out of it immediately after surgery to really understand what the doctor was saying. He told Matt, but...I think a lot of details got lost somewhere along the way. I have a stack of pictures from surgery, but he didn't label them like he did last time, so they're fairly useless to me. I suppose I will find out what all happened when I go to my post-op appointment in a few weeks. Basically, from what Matt and I recall, he said that once he got "in there," things looked almost exactly like they did last time. Similar cysts, similar adhesions. He said he was able to clean it up almost like last time, but with one notable exception (that I don't really understand, because...I was extremely out of it). Like last time, both of my ovaries were fused to [something, whatever is behind them] with adhesions. Apparently in a perfect/normal world, your ovaries are kinda free-hanging, just floating and wiggling around in your abdomen. Mine were glued tight to [something]. Last time he was able to cut them free. This time, he was not. So all of the details are missing, but both Matt and I caught that bottom line. Hopefully I'll get more understanding about this in a few weeks.

So that's pretty much the surgery update. Unfortunately, all of my Netflix marathoning goals were way too lofty. I have really been too out of it to concentrate on anything besides not barfing (because barfing REALLY hurts my stomach). I didn't do anything but sleep for about two days, and now that I'm able to stay conscious for a few hours at a time, I do watch TV some, but I can't really focus. So I've just been watching odd episodes of House Hunters and other HGTV shows that don't really matter if you doze off for 20 minutes in the middle of the ep. 

During my most awake/bored times, I have watched a few eps of Jane the Virgin, though, and it's pretty entertaining. Matt would HAAAATE it, so I'm watching it while he's not around, but it is pretty hilarious. And also so nonsensical that it doesn't really matter if I'm 100% cognitively there or not, ha!

Thanks so much for your emails and texts checking on my well-being! I really appreciate your prayers and thoughts and random bits of entertainment and distraction! I look forward to rejoining everyone in the Land of the Living very soon! (Unless I end up self-amputating my stomach due to the Steri-strip debacle. Which was something I gave serious consideration to for about six hours during the middle of the night...) (But seriously. Watching a lot of DIY shows + painkillers + delirious itching = bad ideas)


  1. Kissing Ovaries! That is what they are called, My Mom had the same thing when we found out she had endo. Crazy! We're both allergic to the adhesives in band aids, like crazy allergic. Earlier this year I had a spot on my face taken off, and developed an infection, and then had an allergic reaction to the band aid on my face. Meaning-I FEEL YOUR ITCHY, PAINFUL, ITCHY, ITCHY,GROSS SELF!!!!

  2. Sorry about the steri strip situation. I have an adhesive reaction often just from a bandaid. Make sure you clean where the strip once was to remove the adhesive. You can use baby oil on a q-tip and gently wipe over the area. If the adhesive isn't removed your skin may not fully recover.
    Each day you should start to feel more like Erica. Hope you have this week to take it easy and can start entertaining Miss Millie!

  3. Ugh, so sorry you were out (and so itchy) for that long! I am curious to hear how your post-op appointment goes! Hope you feel a lot better this week!

    PS I don't even recognize you in that first pic!

  4. Heal quickly! Thinking of you while you recover!

  5. While I said in advance I would be jealous of your down time, this post makes me less jealous :( I'm glad you were feeling upbeat enough to write a blog post and keep us updated on your status! Here's hoping you feel 100% better in time to eat all the food for Thanksgiving SOON!

  6. Man, this does not sound fun and I'm sorry you are having to endure it... again! I have only been legitimately sick one time since the twins were born (how is that possible?!) and it was aggravating for all 4 of us, so I can imagine this must be tough for you, Millie, and Matt! Here's to hoping you're feeling back to normal ASAP for everyone's sake! Praying for your continued recovery!!

  7. umm...I'm a bad friend! I somehow missed you had surgery. None of that sounds very pleasant or easy. I hope you recovery quickly for lots of reasons, including Millie being able to climb all over you, like she obviously wants to do in the photos.

  8. I am so sorry about all the issues with recovery!! I am thankful you have your in laws and Matt to help out until you are back to normal. I cannot imagine the itching!! Sounds awful. Praying for you, friend!

  9. I hope your terrible reaction goes away and you start to feel better this week! Also hoping your foggy mind clears up so that you can get to those netflix lists! :)

  10. How did I miss you were having surgery. Hope the rest of your recovery goes smoothly. Same thing happen to me when I had my second hysteroscopy my recovery was a lot harder than the first.

  11. Oh my!! Mrs. Erika i hope you feel better soon, this recovery . . . ugh. You are in my prayers that with each day you can feel more and more like healthy you.

  12. Get well soon! Praying for your recovery of surgery. IVF Centre in India is supporting you.

  13. What a miserable experience! I too had a noon surgery and then they said I had to pass gas before I could eat real food. I have never been so excited to pass gas :) I hope you are feeling better and Millie able to play with you again!

  14. Love Millie's attempts to entertain/get to you. Hope your recovery is going a bit more smoothly this week and you are finally able to enjoy all the binge-watching you most definitely deserve!

  15. I had the same surgery done in August and the recovery was WAY more difficult than I expected. The doctor made it seem like id be back to normal in 3 days...I was pretty much in bed binging on Netflix and saltines for 2 weeks. And the nausea...oh the nausea! :( I feel you on that one! Hope you feel better soon!

  16. Urg. I'm so sorry you are experiencing such an awful recovery. I hope the itching has gone away. I had an allergic reaction six years ago and I've been reminded of it again as it shows up on my TimeHop this week. It wasn't fun then and it's not fun to relive those memories now. All this to say is that I have (not) fond memories of AWFUL itching and I really hope yours has gone away. Gah.

    So my hope for you (besides a lack of itching) is that you will soon feel better enough to marathon Netflix all the shows and enjoy Millie's attempts to reach you.

  17. You poor thing! Hope you make a full recovery very soon. Oh and not many people can make a surgery/recovery sound so hilarious. You have a gift! ;)

  18. Praying for a quick recovery- and no more itching!!


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