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Posts Tagged ‘Healing’

Two weeks ago I was sitting in a hotel room in Salt Lake City debating on a job offer and the counter offer my current company had given me. The job offer was a job back in Montana and the counter offer involved a transfer to Salt Lake City. Health concerns, job security and happiness and quality of life for me, the husband and the pup were all whirling through my head. And then I had a sudden lurch of panic — I found a lump in my left breast. Holy hell was I mad. I had a fibroadenoma when I was 19 in that same breast and now THIS. The damn thing felt like a square of gum, like the ones in those foil packets that became popular 10 or so years ago. Anyways, I had a monster panic at 11 pm and started google searching and calling my mom. I had my panic rant and then we got down to business — we currently live in Phoenix, which has a MONSTER Mayo Clinic campus. The Mayo Clinic is possibly one of the best places I could go for a diagnosis. Turns out that the Phoenix campus has one of three breast center’s in the country. The others are in Minneapolis and Florida. I filled out the online appointment request form and finally fell asleep. Three days later  when I was visiting with people my phone rang and I spent the next 24 hours trying to get through to the appointment people with the Mayo Clinic. It is apparently a 15-30 min wait to get to their schedulers. THANKFULLY I did get through to someone and made an appointment for that Friday. I wasn’t going to waste ANY time twiddling my thumbs.

One thing a friend told me that week was the goal of taking action. Everything is worse before you take action. The act of movement releases some of the tension and anxiety. You will never move forward and onward without taking action. I would not have slept that night at the hotel if I had not taken action. I would not have felt okay about myself and my health without taking action to call the appointment office back.

So, 8 days ago I went to the Mayo Clinic with my in-laws chauffeuring me and my husband with them too. Support system? Yeah, I have one. And it’s a pretty dang great one too. This isn’t to say my parents wouldn’t have been there, but the in-laws had already planned a vacation to come see us that weekend. Talk about timing. That Friday was a total wash for focusing on anything but this medical potential panic. I met with a great nurse practitioner who pretty much immediately said, “you’re going in for a mammogram and ultrasound.” Well, duh, I could have diagnosed that much, but glad to know we were on the same page. I went out to the schedulers and asked when the next available appointment was for a mammogram — in 1 hour. It was about 15 minutes to the other campus where I’d go for that and away we went. We got there 40 minutes before the appointment but I checked in anyways and was seen 10 minutes later.

I have never had a mammogram. It has been a horrendous fear that as I get older I will need to face the breast squishing agony that women have to go through. I am not well endowed and cleavage is something that is fairly minimal on me. To think that I have to put the little I have on a tray to be squished by a plastic plate is NOT a comforting thought. Well, now I’ve experienced it and I’ve got to say, there are several positions that are uncomfortable and the rest are a full out painful experience. Give me an ultrasound any day of the week, because YIKES.  Both technicians (for the mammogram and ultrasound) were amazing women and I am very grateful for their ease of conversation and attitude towards the procedure.

The end result of all of this is that I have a benign cyst. I’m NOT enthused about this, but I am no longer in full blown panic mode. I was able to have a great weekend at the Grand Canyon and relax. I am still worried that it will need to be drained, but that is a fairly minor procedure compared to what this could have been.

I think the left side of my body is just going to cause trouble . . . door slammed on ring finger when I was 5, left foot broken at 18, fibroadenoma at 19 and now a benign cyst. . . oh, and that endometrioma that had to be drained that I blogged about too.So, dear left side, I don’t know why you need cause so much trouble, but I’d appreciate it if you’d stop getting so dangerously creative. Thanks!

 

 

 

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The past few days haven’t been very exciting, and what’s the point of telling the world that belly button is doing this that or the other.

I had my 2 week post-op appointment on Wednesday and was given the all clear to work on removing my steri-strips and to continue with the betadine as needed. I have all of my strips off now except for the one over my drain scar. The nurse glued the wound and then put the steri-strip on, so it’s still pretty well glued on. it is loosening up a little bit, so hopefully I’ll have it off before too long.  My belly button is still unhappy, but it is leaking less and healing up as well as I suppose it can. I tape a piece of gauze over it so that my clothes don’t rub on it too much, but hopefully it will heal up a bit more so I can just let everything breathe.  It oozes a tiny bit, but it’s not so bad. I think the steri-strips were more of an irritant than an aid over the past few days.

So this is the end of my ‘recovery’ updates unless something really goes crazy. . . hopefully not!!

To celebrate this, I am watching White Christmas and working on the hat I am knitting for my dad. Fun times!!

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Recovery Day 10

Slow going today, no thanks to staying up late last night — couldn’t sleep/wasn’t tired.  Post shower with Press’n’Seal (this still cracks me up) led to cleaning up belly button oozes. There are very few things worse than messing with your belly button.  For me it is an almost nauseating experience.  Not because of what is going on with it right now, but because if I mess with it (clean out, etc) I feel mind boggingly unbalanced afterwards.  I know, ear fluid and hairs are your balancers, not the belly button. . . doesn’t matter.  Science can’t know everything.

Play with my belly button — I get dizzy. And then my belly button feels funky for a while.

Well, it’s been through 2 thorough cleanings today and it’s not happy, but the oozing has stopped.

I don’t know what is causing the ooze — jeans pulling on skin causing the wound to open up, sitting and standing causing skin pulling, heat and water from the shower doing something (the Press’n’Seal?) . . .

If there is one lesson to be learned from this, and it’s just general health stuff — DO NOT DOUBLE DIP THE Q-TIP.  You dabble it in there, clean up what you can and don’t put it back in a 2nd time.

This means I end up using about 3 Q-Tips per cleaning, but at least things are as sanitary as they can be.

*sigh*  Tonight is a night of reading books and possibly watching TV.  There needs to be a return to the violin lessons too as I’m not nearly as gimped as I was last week when I actually WENT to my violin lesson and had to sit down.

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There is something magically wonderful about trying to get into your ‘normal routine’ and then having a day off to reassess just how silly you were.  Monday was a day of pushing myself into realms I never should have ventured — like working for 6 hours.

Tuesday was a day of painful bellybutton healing (that dang thing really does get stretched out), attempts at being a lazy bum and feeling my abdominal muscles slowly return to something of a ‘I just worked out too hard’ rather than ‘someone was poking around inside of me scrambling everything.’  We started watching Firefly, the Joss Whedon series I never saw, stayed up late because we’re a sniffly family (Bacca has a drippy nose, the hubs had chills and sneezes and I felt kinda bleh and belly button sore).  None of us slept well, so that made going to work on Wednesday a bit of an evil task.

Wednesday morning, after tossing and turning and not able to sleep very well or comfortably, I called the doctor’s office to ask about my belly button leaking puss.  They said to clean it out with betadine several times a day and make sure it breathes. . . and that I take it easy.  We have a work deadline and it’s making me positively TWITCHY to not be there working on the project.  So I had my Chauffeur Hubby take me in to work a little after 11.  I sat in my chair (far less painful to get into it than it was on Monday), had soup for lunch (warmth is good) and worked until 4 pm.  After that we watched more Firefly while I practiced sitting on the couch with good posture to help alleviate any stress on the infamous belly button and finally we went to bed where, yet again, we had a horrible time falling asleep, BUT THEN… I learned that my muscles and wounds have healed enough that I can sleep on my side. Total zonkage. I haven’t slept that well without drugs for over a week! (HA!)  Also, periods ending and epic gas and who knows what else causes a lot of lancing pain that feels like a need stitching through you with a thread of agony behind it. It’s a horrible feeling. Ibuprofen, and sleeping on my side, and I woke up feeling a lot less painful.

Thursday morning involved lying in bed wondering why I was cold. The sheets were toasty, the furnace works, and yet I wasn’t warm. So snuggled down as I was, I read for a bit and finally decided that the chills had hit me too and my best move was just to stay in bed and call it a sick day.

I have done A LOT of reading and am definitely feeling a bit more like myself, rather than a wounded creature who needs to be waited on.

Too many things have sat by the side of the recovery road.  . . oil change in our one car and various other repairs in the other car. The dog isn’t getting as much exercise as he needs and our house isn’t anywhere near as clean as we can make it when two of us are working hard.  One of us is sick, the other recovering and possibly sick as well (thanks chills!).

Hopefully the road to recovery is on the up and up and we will be fully functional active people again in no time.  The gym is calling to me, but sadly it’s at the same time as all the New Years Resolution attendees, so that means very full classes and a horrific time parking.

Happy Post Christmas Time!!!

Now back to reading my book and possibly doing some more knitting as those are low key things that I like doing anyways. . . just not at the same time.

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Recovery Day 6

Today my boss sent me an email that made a lot of sense.  She said, “Your body has been wounded. It doesn’t care that it was done in a hospital.”

These words are all too true, and sadly I’m feeling a bit of the brunt of them today.  Today my belly button oozed a few droplets of blood and puss.  Ew right? Yeah. . . I thought so too. I have a piece of gauze taped over my belly button now, but no more leakages, so hopefully that was it.

Today should also be titled, “The Day Your Belly Button Won’t Let You Move Right.”  Stairs hurt, sitting hurts, standing hurts, lying down hurts. . . I’ve been sitting in this same position for quite a while and things are down to a low throb. I’d rather have this ache than the dizzying wobbles of Hydrocodone.  At least I KNOW what this pain is.

That being said, I did work for about 6 hours today and stood for 3 1/2 hours of those.  Sitting was very low on my list of things to do, so I’m very glad I have a standing desk.

I normally hate weeks that have a weird day off, but this time I’m really glad I had to work today, have tomorrow off and go back on Wednesday.  Thanks Christmas!!!

I don’t have much to blather on about today, but I will say the pain is different and very centrally located on my belly button. Nothing else hurts. . . except the related pain of my back starting to ache due to the my immobility for at least 30 minutes.

I shall just have to eat a few more Christmas Worms (family cookie tradition — they’re delicious) and feel miserable. At least the dog is curled up on the couch with me… I take up one cushion, he’s taking up 2…. soon he’ll stretch out to take over mine too.

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Recovery Day 5

I have learned quite  a bit since my last update.  Some of this is actually “Day 4” info, but I only want to edit these entries so much.

So, Day 4 continued:

I do not like Hydrocodone. Nope. It makes me dizzy, wobbly and in dire need of lying down. Yes it numbed by pain but gave me serious issues with wanting to do things I felt like doing.  I’m knitting a hat, and I could barely see straight. It felt like I was being pulled in 5 directions and each one was spinning out of control.  So… I took a nap. I did not feel better after getting up, and could barely eat.  The hubs and I did watch Highlander 2, and that made me smile. I love Christopher Lambert’s laugh, and you can’t go wrong with Sean Connery. Although why you have a Scotsman playing a Spaniard arrive in Scotland to be dressed in Scottish finery. . . is a bit weird. That whole movie is weird.

Day 4 ended with me going to bed without taking any hydrocodone. I didn’t have very pleasant dreams, but I haven’t been having happy ones this whole week.

Onto Day 5:

I really feel like some little kid broke into our house and colored my belly button puke-yellow/green.  It looks horrible. It’s one solid color too, which is even weirder. I can sit up without as much pain, although I still can’t sleep on my side. I MISS being able to move at night. I do not sleep like a log unless I’m really sick. My body just locks down and I don’t move.  If I am NOT sick, my body wants to shift positions and roll around. Forced stillness does not lead to sleeping well. I wake up frequently and I can’t move very much, reach behind my head to reposition my pillows (I have to sit up, move the covers, stand up, reposition the pillows, sit down so that when I like down I am in the ‘right place’ and then pull the sheets back up).  I only did the one rigamarole once, and honestly, it’s almost not worth trying to sleep again. . . so I just lie in some form of uncomfortable and try to fall back asleep.

I am REALLY good at staying in bed for a very long time, but I am starting to feel like ‘What’s the point.’ Yes I get sleep, but it’s fitful and I have really crazy dreams.

Today is also a great day to say “Thank you GLAD.”  The best advice I’ve gotten from the hospital in Kalispell is to use Glad Cling Wrap. That stuff is amazing. The first review on the Glad page says it only sticks to itself. Well, they obviously haven’t tried to wrap themselves in it. That stuff sticks to skin pretty well. Add a shower to that and yes, it sticks more to itself than you, but I definitely had to pull it off of ME too. I felt really strange wrapping myself in it, and I’m sure if I had help it would have looked a lot better and worked better too.  I did use a washcloth over the front of my torso so I didn’t have epic amounts of water pouring over my steri-strips.  Yes, water still got in, but I haven’t had to replace the cloth tape I put over the steri-strips yesterday to keep them down.  If that cloth tape gets soaked it stops working, so that alone proves to me that Glad Cling Wrap is a wonderful method of protecting my steri-strips a little longer.

My appetite is still a bit iffy, but I’m sure I’ll leap back to wanting ‘normal food’ in the next hour or so.

A shower is a marvelous way to feel better except when the water hits your wounds and you just want to fall over. Ow. Baths, saunas, hot tubs, etc are not allowed during the healing process and I can see why. . . but this recovery time is really putting my love of showers to the test. You can’t stay in them long, you can only stand in certain positions and you just want to leap back into your sweat pants and snuggle down with the ones you love. . . kind of. . .because you still can’t bend into a ‘cuddle’ position.

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Recovery Day 4

**UPDATE AT 3 PM MST

I know I’m feeling better because I was able to stay up rather late last night and sitting up wasn’t the huge abdominal scream it usually is. It’s still not very comfortable, but it was a lot less painful than yesterday.

I haven’t taken my pain pills today, as I’m just feeling a bit sore, but not in need of drugs that make me feel really funky.  Perhaps after a walk outside I will need something stronger than the internet to distract me from what’s going on.

Even though I am not able to do a lot of things, I am hoping to accomplish some cleaning, violin practice and general move-around-the-house-without-walking-into-walls.  I know I’m not doing well when a door frame seems really narrow and I walk into one side or the other.  So far I’ve been pretty good. I even managed to make myself a smoothie for breakfast. . . washing up afterwards is something I still need to tackle.

The steri-strip that is in my belly button has started to really irritate me. The strips on my left side are hardly noticeable on the sensitivity scale, but the belly button strips are really starting to irritate me. I don’t want to pick at anything so I’m doing my best to just.keep.typing.and.ignore.the.nasty.feeling.  The strips on my right side are okay. The ones that cover the hole where the drain was are really loose so I put some cloth tape over those to help keep them down.  They’ll probably be the first to fall off, which is okay, but I’m trying to keep that from happening as I don’t relish the idea of constantly replacing gauze over the hole.  I’m not squeamish about it, I just like the idea of having these strips do the work rather that me constantly worrying if the gauze has fallen off and I’m going to bleed all over my shirt.

I have some serious back pain going on and shoulder pain. I blame the inability to properly stretch these muscles out. I’ve tried to roll my shoulders and have good posture.  Those two things usually helps my shoulders, but the back pain is just from the inability to move those torso muscles the way I want.

** UPDATE:

We went to lunch at a place that does really good Mexican food (for Montana).  Their poblanos fritos are AMAZING. Anyways, happy times. No pain pills, not too sore, but I did have to wander around with my pants unbuttoned (TMI? Well, try having a sore belly and buttoning your jeans. . . trust me, it’s easier to just not bother).  Apparently this is a pregnancy thing too, so I guess I’m getting in the practice now. . .

Today’s pain can be best described as “working your abs so much it hurts to laugh, walk fast or cough.” There’s still the belly button irritation from the tape. About 30 minutes ago though, my pain escalated to a whole new level due to my period. (How’s THAT for Too Much Information?)  If I thought I was strong enough to last the day without pain pills, I was dead wrong.  So ladies, when your torso is healing up and your uterus decides to start contracting. . . trust me, you want those pain pills!! It’s a horrible burning sensation of muscles being used that really would rather relax and restore themselves.

My dog is very concerned as I pretty much went from conversational to whimpering. The poor thing just wants to play but I am in no shape to put shoes on and go outside and bend/squat to pick up a toy and then fling said toy.  Sometimes I sit back and realize just how much of my daily routine is just going to have to collect dust for a few more days or curl up on the couch and keep me company.

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