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Monthly Archives: May 2015

For the birds

***Anxiety attack trigger warning***

This is for the birds. FOR THE BIRDS.

My anxiety is ramped up at the moment. As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m mega-worried about a blood clot. I’ve got pain in my legs which I’m pretty sure are muscle pains, but still…

I’ve also got pains in my back, up behind the rib area. I’m afraid of what that is. It could be muscular as well…I suck at taking care of my back so I often have back pains and upper back/shoulder pains. I’m trying to keep it in check, but the more I’m sitting here (with these blasted PVCs), the more anxious I’m starting to feel. I’ve got a pain on that same side in my upper arm area (both of these are on the left side). I feel myself falling into the anxiety. The breathing is not easy…it’s tight and anxious. I wanted to shower but I can’t force myself to do it. I’m frozen in place, feeling the distress in my body. I’m rocking my upper body forward and back, which is a definite anxiety posture for me.

My arm hurts. My back hurts. My abdomen hurts. My legs (thighs AND calves) hurt. I can feel myself clenching my jaw so my head hurts. I have a closed feeling in my throat. The light is starting to bother my eyes. My PVCs are making me cough, which hurts my stomach. I feel warm on my face.

I feel like I’m crumbling apart.

There is no happy ending to this post. I’m not writing it to show how well I was able to handle this. I’m writing it because I’m hurting and I have nowhere else to turn. And it sucks.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2015 in anxiety, panic attacks, PVCs

 

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A three hour tour

That’s right, I said it, today I went on a three hour tour.

So, here I am doing my best to recover and not give in to my anxiety. I’m moving around, I’m TRYING to stay hydrated, and I’m trying to eat (I have no freaking appetite). My sleep is still disrupted, unfortunately, but at least I’m mostly able to get up and down from sitting without as much discomfort. My PVCs are really annoying me (especially today), but that’s not new territory for me, as we all know.

Then I start to realize that there’s a smell. TMI, I know, I’m sorry. But it’s coming from one of my incisions…the biggest of the FIVE incisions and the one in the worst place (in the “fold’ of my skin when I sit). I attempt to clean the area more carefully with baby wipes, without messing too much with the strip of tape over the incision. I hope for the best, but the next morning, the smell is still there. So I call the doctor’s office at 9:15 this morning (they supposedly open at 8:30) but the telephones are still turned off and I can’t even leave a voice mail. So I use my fancy schmancy portal system and leave a message for my doctor. Two hours later the nurse calls. And despite everyone saying things like “oh, they’ve heard it all!” the nurse seems completely perplexed. She’s never heard of this issue! A smell without pus, blood, heat, oozing, fever…just a….smell? She’s SO perplexed that she has to go find the doctor to see what he wants to do. She calls me back fifteen minutes later to say the doctor says to take the steri-strip (some sort of adhesive bandage?) off and make sure there’s no redness or pus. If not, he’s fine with me leaving the steri-strip off and just keeping the area clean…and keeping an eye on it. She suggests I go shower to make sure everything is clean before removing the strip of adhesive. Then she tells me “it’s going to hurt, taking that adhesive strip off of the incision…” and she has NO suggestions as to mitigate the pain. “Go slow” is all she can tell me.

I can’t really SEE this area because of the angle and the swelling from the surgery, so I have to have Hub do it. He SUCKS at this kind of stuff, generally speaking. But he does his best after washing thoroughly…and oddly the tape comes off without any issue. Any adhesive property is gone. He tells me the incision looks fine, but I ask for a mirror. I think it looks horrible and I can still smell the damn smell. And it’s making me queasy with fear. So although Hub had a meeting to go to in a few hours, I call the doctor’s office back and ask to see him. The kindly nurse fits me in, but our drive requires an hour with traffic. And there’s always traffic. Plus, storms’ a’comin’. Fun times.

Hub bows out of his meeting (his boss is really understanding) and we get on the road. The doctor’s office is busy again, and I am sure we’re going to have to wait over an hour. But twenty-five minutes later, the nurse takes me back. She asks what’s happening and I tell her. She starts to take notes, asks if I’m still taking the hydrocodone (vicodin!) and I say no, I only took it once in the hospital and it made me feel crappy. One eyebrow goes up. So she asks if I’m taking the ibuprofen and I told her I stopped that Monday. She seems taken aback. Then she tells me to hang tight and the doctor will be in.

Probably ten minutes later the doctor comes in and asks how I am. He takes a look at the incision and says it looks fine (Hub says I TOLD YOU) from his chair nearby. I tell him to shut up. The doctor thinks this is funny. Then I ask the doctor to talk to me a little more about blood clots. I tell him I have so much muscle pain (especially using my whole body to move around instead of my core…stuff hurts so much) that I’m afraid I won’t be able to decipher what is muscular and what is blood clot. He looks at me in a way that says he’s TRYING to understand, but doesn’t really get it. I tell him about my pre-existing condition and how it affects my muscles, and how anytime I stress them even mildly, they will hurt intensely. He tries to explain what to look for, but honestly it’s pretty much the same shpiel I got from the nurse originally. After that he sends us on our way with a prescription for anti-fungal cream because of the location of the incision and how it doesn’t get a lot of air time. He wants to avoid a yeast infection. Me, too.

We head back outside and it’s raining. We get back on the highway and head home. All in all it takes three hours almost on the dot. I’m exhausted and in some mild pain. My incision is clearly irritated and I’m doing my best to not just go lie down because I need to stay mobile (and if I go sleep now, I won’t sleep tonight).

Not the detour I had wanted, but I knew if I didn’t go I’d be worried. I’ve never had an incision like this before, or in this kind of weird spot before. I was too afraid not to go. Amusingly enough, when the nurse took my blood pressure before the doctor came in, it was really good. WTF. I was so uncomfortable sitting on the table because of my back and legs, but my BP was normal. I’m so fucked up.

 

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Don’t pity me

I’m doing that just fine all on my own. Bleh.

Seriously, this is the first day I’ve been able to concentrate even a little bit. Prior, I was feeling very foggy and dizzy, and like my eyes wouldn’t focus. It was pretty horrible. Thursday I was trying to be a good girl and eat protein, so we had some deli turkey in the house in preparation. Turns out there’s something on there in the gluten range (maybe the seasoning? we don’t think we’ve bought this meat before, it was fresh-made at the store) that was affecting me and I spent most of Thursday suffering from hot-face, which made me miserable. It wasn’t until after I’d had some for dinner that I realized it was probably the turkey and I had to just wait it out. I didn’t start feeling that going away until sometime Friday mid-morning. Meanwhile, my sleep has been close to nil. That has been kind of horrible because it aggravates anxiety big-time, as all us anxiety sufferers know. My PVCs remain annoying…

I’m in some mild pain, but taking ibuprofen twice a day, just to help speed healing, I hope. Friday the doctor’s office called to check on me and the nurses warned me to be very aware of blood clot symptoms, especially with the weekend coming. She told me to not wait and go to the ER if I felt I had symptoms. So now I’m spending the majority of my time worrying about a blood clot. Fan-fucking-tastic. And apparently this is an issue for MONTHS after a surgery. So my leg is bothering me and it’s kind of freaking me out, but I am trying to remind myself that it’s probably a muscle ache and maybe must my knee hurting (which is normal for me). I’m afraid…there’s so much going on in my body, I have no idea how to identify what is normal and what is not. My heartburn is pretty bad (with accompany nausea!…yay), even though I’ve gone back on my regular digestive enzymes and probiotics…they haven’t really taken over yet. So that means I’ve got pain in my chest which radiates to my arms and back. And I have to decipher that as being different from being short of breath and in pain which could be a clot my lung (versus in the leg, of course). This has not been a good experience for me…I’m sure T is thinking “Ooooh, exposure therapy” but I’m thinking OMG how am I going to get through this?

I feel very split up about all this…trying to realize I had major surgery and still feeling like I’m supposed to be active to help heal. They’re all telling me to listen to my body, but my body LIES to me. So how am I supposed to know how much to rest and how much to do? I had major surgery and yet they sent me home five hours after. Which is it? Major surgery and rest, or get up and move? I’m FINALLY able to stand up and sit down without groaning from the pain and stretch, but it’s still uncomfortable.

Eating is difficult because of the nausea and the heartburn. I have no appetite, but I know without food I won’t gain stamina or energy. I’m trying to drink but I’m NEVER a good drinker so I’m sucking with that, too. Which apparently could lead to more potential blood clot issues. So much fear in my body at the moment. I told T when I had my phone appointment on Friday (which I could only talk for half an hour, I was so out of it) that I feel like I’m in the midst of anxiety even though I didn’t feel ANXIOUS. She said it’s my body responding to the trauma of the surgery…and to just try to use my tools even though it’s not really “anxiety”.

My head feels full and pressured. I have a headache (while I’m taking 800mg of ibuprofen…wtf is up with that?) and I’m so tired all the time. I want to be past all this NOW.

On top of all that, Hub has a really bad cold that came on Tuesday night. I’m SO lucky that I haven’t gotten sick yet, even though he’s feeding me and getting me drinks. It’s really really sucky, though, because he’s not touching me. No hugging, no kisses, no rubbing my back or my hands or my arms. No comfort. It’s a really big loss for me… I want so much to be soothed and because we’re trying to keep me from getting the cold, I feel bereft and alone.

Like I said, I’m doing a find job of pitying myself. And now the eye floaters are back, so I’m done here.

 

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Post op

I’m here, home, and have survived relatively in-tact. With the exception of the uterus and fibroids, of course.

Sore throat, there’s a sore on the side of my tongue, incisions hurt, back hurts, and I’m exhausted. I didn’t sleep much last night even though I was at home in my own bed.

The surgery went smoothly, in at 10am, out around noon, and left the hospital at 5pm. The anesthesiologist was really really nice, and so was the OR nurse. I didn’t get to talk to my doctor after because he was called in for another patient, but he told Hub I did well and had very little blood loss. I think I had some issues in recovery because they kept me a little longer than anticipated.

I was really nauseated and dizzy in the bed areas, so I didn’t even move around much. And they gave me vicodin when I said I had pain (they didn’t even ask…I really did not have a good post-op nurse), but I think that messed me up worse. I finally drank a little juice and when I peed, they sent me home.

Getting in and out of bed at home was bad last night. I really struggled and it was totally embarrassing to do so in front of Hub. I felt so helpless and in so much pain. This morning it was easier. Now I’m in the recliner. We’ll see how it goes when I get up to go pee.

I’m tired and my face is SO HOT…but the thermometer I have says no fever. I’ve eaten a little turkey (last night and this morning), so at least I’ve had some protein.

My anxiety is manageable. At the moment anyway.

And now I have eye floaters that are bugging me, so I’m going to end this. With the exception of saying HUB IS SICK. He has a damn cold, which really came on Tuesday night. Ugh. So he’s going to go sleep later when my mom comes over to sit with me.

That’s my update. Thanks for thinking of me, ya’ll!

 

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They’re here

The nerves, they have arrived. They’re gaining ground. I’m trying really hard to avoid them, but they sit with me, and they taunt me.

I’ve been trying to stay busy, changing sheets, washing the second set so I don’t have to rely on Hub to do it at the last minute (which is when he’d wait to do it). I did all the laundry in the baskets and put it all away. I made fresh lemonade for my recovery. I made split pea soup in the crockpot in the hopes that it would help me keep from getting constipated (soooooo much fiber) after surgery. I cooked portabello mushrooms and made my ricotta cheese mixture to eat on top of the mushrooms for after surgery. I have sliced turkey for easy extra protein. I have laid in food and snack supplies, drinks, been to the library for two dozen books, been the craft store for five skeins of yarn. I have my bag basically packed, my advanced directive packed, my list for the anesthesiologist. I have gluten free snacks for the hospital. I have my stomach pillow for the car ride home. I have the pillows prepped for my bed to help support me if I want to sit there after surgery. The recliner is also ready for me. My parents are going to take our dogs, so we have to pack food and treats for them…tomorrow.

Hub will be home with me Thursday and Friday, as well as the weekend and the holiday on Monday. He usually works from home on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so if I need him around, he can be home those days next week, too. So I’ll have his help if I need it.

I’m as prepared as I can be. And I’m nervous as hell. I don’t feel panicky (though I had a few moments of it earlier today, which I shooed away by continuing to DO STUFF), but I do feel nervous. I feel like I’m “faking it til I make it” kind of thing. Like I’m just lying to myself about how I’m feeling. Am I masking anxiety? I don’t know. Does it matter if I’m faking it? I don’t know.

My aunt called to wish me luck tonight. It was a weird conversation. My primary care doctor wished me luck. My gyno wished me luck. I’m appreciative that people are thinking of me, but I’m not really DOING anything. I want to tell people to call the surgeon and wish HIM luck. Tell him how they want him to take care of me and do a good job and make sure the surgery goes well. He’s the one doing the work, yah? But I get it, and I’m thankful for people who care about me.

I keep thinking “this time next week it’ll be all over.” Tomorrow is bowel prep day. And it’s the day they’re going to call to tell me what time the surgery is scheduled for. I’m going to Mom’s radiation appointment with her (to sit in on the doctor’s appointment), then I get home and almost immediately start with the bowel prep. I’m going to have to have the house phone forwarded to my cell # so I don’t miss the scheduling call, if they haven’t called by the time I leave the house. All this is making it more real, and making me more nervous.

In case I don’t post tomorrow, thanks to everyone for being a part of my journey. The more we share about our worlds, the more we learn how alike we are, and the more we find we’re not so alone.

 

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Finding strength

My mom came home the other day and brought me this. The stone has a tiny little air plant in it. Something I can’t kill, supposedly. We’ll see about that…

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I spent the last couple of days looking for stones that I could use on the day of surgery. I told T in our last session that I was struggling with the habit of needing to write letters to Hub and my parents before my surgery (I used to write letters to Hub when my health anxiety told me I was dying). Not only was I wanting to say things that I might not feel they hear from me enough, but I also wanted them to have something to hold onto and to be able to reread words I had written just for them. I also started telling her I wanted my husband to not run away or close off from my family, because not only would they need him if something happened to me, but HE would need THEM. And T immediately caught me and reminded me that I was trying to control a situation that was not of my control. She handed me a black, shiny rock that she always has sitting on her table in her office (for people to fiddle with) and told me to look at it in my hand. I stared at it hard, but to me it was just a rock in my hand. Then T told me that it represented control, which is generally a false feeling. Then she told me to open my hand and let the rock fall to the ground. I was letting go of control. I got the idea.

So I wanted to get some stones that said “Trust” to give to the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, and the OR nurse, so I could watch myself giving my trust to those people. To reduce my anxiety and my need to control things. But none of the stores I went to had stones with ANY writing on them. I tried to explain to my mother what I wanted, but she didn’t quite understand. She brought me the little gift above, which does its own trick for me, even though I can’t take it with me to the hospital. Right now it’s sitting on the ledge next to my recliner, right in my view. I like it a lot.

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I went walking around my yard yesterday afternoon trying to find any stone I could clean and write on. I found a couple, but not exactly what I wanted. I’ll go trolling through Hub’s stuff later to see if I can find something that will work, as he often uses stones (usually glass, though) for some of his gaming.

The hospital called yesterday to interview me over the phone before surgery. You know, asking all the questions they need to know…allergies, medical history, etc. It was a little more real after that…and in fact I ended up crying last night at a rather inopportune time. I think it sort of all hit me and I was feeling overwhelmed. Today, when Mom and I went shopping and to the library, I felt okay. I feel mostly okay now, but starting to feel nervous. I suspect it’s the kind of nervous most anyone would have at the thought of an upcoming surgery. If I weren’t nervous at all, I’d be worrying that I was disassociating from everything. So I’m okay with how I’m feeling. Well, as okay as you can feel when being nervous and waiting for surgery day.

 

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Pre-op appointment completed

I had my pre-op appointment this afternoon. I spent more time with the nurse getting the EKG setup than I did with the doctor. I don’t love my primary but I don’t hate her. Today, unfortunately, she seemed really uninterested in my being her patient. She asked me one set of question twice because she “couldn’t remember if she had asked them already” and she’d be in the room less than five minutes. What the hell? But on the up-side, they were on time taking me back to the exam room, the majority of my wait-time was minimal, and I was done less than 20 minutes later–five of which were taken up by checking out and doing a survey of how my appointment went on an iPad. Also, good news, despite my white coat syndrome, my blood pressure wasn’t terrible. And no nurse chased me down the hall to tell me she was really worried for me and here was a flyer on a low salt diet (true story, this actually happened the last time I was at the primary’s office when I saw the nurse practitioner to see if I was dealing with allergies or a sinus infection…my bp was slightly elevated which I KNEW was because of WCS but the nurse chased me down the hall after my appointment yelling WAIT WAIT! and told me she was so worried for me and handed me the papers). I mean, good on her for caring, but my BP is pretty normal at home and I know (and tell them all) about my WCS so they don’t freak out and try to put me on BP meds.

After my appointment at the doctor’s, I had to drive to the lab to get my blood drawn (stupid insurance won’t let me do it in the doctor’s office but rather I have to go to an independent lab to do it). It actually went REALLY quickly where normally I have to wait an hour or so to get in. I was in and out in less than half an hour, with the longest part (almost) being walking to and from the parking lot to get to the lab. I was glad it was all over and now I have to hope that the blood work gets completed in time to get to the hospital an entire 24 hours before my surgery. This was the soonest the primary could fit me in and I couldn’t get the blood work done without seeing the primary and getting the order put in. Bleh. Not much I can do, but it still stinks.

I mowed the lawn again yesterday. It was actually a really nice day again, with just a little sun, a nice breeze, and cool temperatures. I was proud that I got the lawn done again, but last night when I was ready to go to sleep, I realized that my neck was really hurting. It gave me trouble all night (along with the dogs who woke us with furious crying and barking at 2:30am) and has plagued me today. It’s a muscle pull where you can’t turn your head in one direction? It’s very uncomfortable and I hope it goes away quickly. Not only is it giving me more trouble sleeping (like I don’t have enough issue with that), but it’s bothering me even when I’m just sitting.

My sleep still sucks. I feel like I’m up every hour or so. I’ve gone to sleep late the last two nights in the hopes that I could fall asleep more quickly at night and sleep later in the morning. It’s not a good habit to be in because I can easily get into the habit of staying up late and NOT being able to sleep in the morning. I’ve been yawning all afternoon. I am going to go back to my regular schedule, even though my pattern isn’t working too well in the mornings. Plus, my PVCs are bothering me at night, which keeps me from falling asleep in a short amount of time. That means every time I was up, I have trouble getting comfortable and getting back to sleep. I’m also having weird dreams and nightmares…still. What’s up with that?

That’s it for now. I gotta go put my heating pad on my neck.

 

 

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