Monday, April 26, 2010

27. 12 days post op photos

here are photos from today. i am 12 days post op. the last picture is of a mystery bruise on my waist/hip area. it looks more gruesome in person and i am wondering why i have it.

also here are a few lists:

things i could do immediately after surgery:
1. get in and out of bed
2. go to the bathroom on my own
3. wipe my own a$$ (thank you dear God!!!)
4. touch my head

things i could NOT do after surgery:
1. take a dump
2. put on a button/zipper sweater
3. lift anything more than a glass of water or wad of toilet paper. lol.
4. sleep on my side or stomach

things i can do now 12 days post op:
1. comb, wash, dry, and style my hair including blowdrying, straightening or putting it up in a ponytail.
2. open and close my windows
3. sleep on my sides (albeit i struggle to find that sweet spot of comfortableness)
4. light chores (cooking, cleaning out the litter box, dishes, disinfecting bathroom)

things i can NOT do 12 days post op:

1. open heavy doors
2. laundry :(
3. vacuuming
4. driving

now with out further

26. hot and bored. or bored and hot.

my internet was down for over a day and a half. i ended up having a 'weeds' marathon. i have watched season 1 and 2. i just started season 3 when my lovely internet came back.

now i shouldn't really complain because after all, i have been picking up on a signal in my building since november and don't pay for it.

as i start to feel better with each passing day, i find myself bored and itching to get out of the house. however, i have a bit of a problem...and i am not sure if it is related to the medication i am on for the c-diff.

i am experiencing a bit of agoraphobia. when i go out for walks i have mini panic attacks. not fun. my panic attacks cause me to look jerky and sketched out so if people are watching me i must look like i am on some freaky ass drugs.

i am hoping they are related to the c-diff meds...cuz a side affect is dizziness...but i am also wondering if it could be that my mind has been use to living in such a high state of anxiety and fear over the past 2 years...and now that it is gone, i think my brain is still possibly firing off shots of adrenaline out of habit.

either way, i fight it and get out of the house...but it really sucks.

another awful thing is i have been experiencing horrendous night sweats. they were so bad that while i was in the hospital the nurse would have to change my bedding and gown. they are really bad at home too and on friday night i had to change my undies 3 times!!! fortunately i have a queen size bed so i would switch sides and flip my duvet and pillows....and by the time the 3rd and 4th ones came around the drenched sides had dried.

things seemed to ease off a lot last i am hoping it is the end of them. having a decent nights rest really contributes to my well-being the next day.

aside from all the above suckiness, i am actually feeling really fantastic. i have been doing my stretches which have really loosened up my chest area and given me more mobility. i even made really good banana oatmeal muffins today.

look for a photo update tomorrow night...pending an internet connection. i want to post some new ones now that the drains are out and most of the bruising is gone.

Friday, April 23, 2010

25. snip, snip.

i wore a t-shirt today.

couldn't get it off... i cut it off.

bye bye t-shirt.

doesn't boobs will be too big for you soon enough.


24. what the c-diff is going on???

ok...well...sorry for the reprieve. i was back in hospital. i came down with c-diff. i'm not going to go into much detail right now cuz all i want to do is go outside and enjoy the day...especially after being in hospital for 3 more days.

Monday, April 19, 2010

23. both drains are out but i had a shitty night

i have both my drains out which was awesome.

i also had the epic dumpings of my bowels. however, my abdomen was still very sore and tender yesterday causing misery all day and into today. i haven`t been able to eat since-appetite is gone so i have been drinking water and meal replacements.

grandparents came today and i told them that i heard drinking too much water is not so great and asked if they could get me gatorade. they did and within and hour of drinking i started to feel good. my bowels are no longer feeling irritated either.

i think my system yesterday was just fed up with all the drugs too. i had such a general feeling of blah yesterday. fortunately with having both drains removed, i was able to discontinue the antibiotic i was on called cephalex. this stuff was absolutely horrible. it tasted and smelled like a cat litter box. i think it was mainly responsible for making me feel like shit too.

i have spent the entire day in bed since last night from 12am till today at 4pm. i finally got up when an officer showed up at my door to ask me about the drug bs that is going on around here. oh wait...i did have a bath and wash my own hair at around 1pm.

anyways, after the police visit i went for a walk around the block. it`s actually a pretty nice day out. tomorrow is suppose to be even better and warmer so i am looking forward to that. i have a friend visiting this evening to look forward too. just hope my appetite comes back soon.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

22. my mom - april 27, 1953 - april 18, 1992

my mom - april 27, 1953 - april 18, 1992
diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 35. she left behind 2 daughters and a son at the young age of 38.

my mother rocked a bikini!

she made most of her own clothes.

she was a fashionista!

she threw really cool birthday parties!

every birthday and christmas she made me a new dress. she even made me matching dresses for my cabbage patch dolls.

she had great breasts...then she only had one...

she had funny looking feet...this was because of all the stylish pointy high heeled shoes she use to wear.

she could draw cool pictures.

she was attentive.

she loved to dance.

she always had great skin and a golden tan.

she had long legs and turned heads where ever she went.

she was careful.

sometimes she didn't believe me.

she loved to camp.

she was self-conscious.

she was a great singer and sang in the church choir and cantatas.

she loved jesus.

she use to clean houses.

she liked to go for walks.

she loved summer.

she was loved by everyone.

she had a great laugh.

she had great hair.

she was a real estate agent.

sometimes when she held my hand she would walk to fast and i would have to run to keep up.

she read her bible.

she liked pork chops with applesauce.

she was my home.

she could be short tempered.

she adored her nieces and nephews.

she didn't like her teeth so she got braces.

she loved her teeth.

she went all out for christmas's and birthdays.

she could braid my hair so beautifully.

she felt alone.

she loved to plant marigolds and tomato plants.

she liked to eat cake batter and let us lick the bowl.

she made great dutch soup.

she was a beach babe.

she had a vibrant smile.

she was a cat person.

she loved her children.

she cried during sad movies.

she suffered greatly.

she fought bravely.

she died tragically.

she died too young.

i wish i had more memories...

21. let the photo diary begin

i've got the starting of photos. i will just start posting with captions.

it's been a crazy afternoon here...not related to has become apparent that my neighbors are trafficking drugs. i put a call into the police and they were quick to get an enforcement team out with under cover surveillance. they made 2 arrests on site at around 9pm. my little building of 8 apartments is in a bit of a flurry. it's nice that most of us tenants have banded together and are taking action and reporting everything.

let the photo diary begin:





CLOSE UP OF CHEST (LEFT) marking are where ps drew to define expander in case i needed a chest tube. he wanted to make sure the expander didn't get punctured. pink stuff is NOT a reaction. it is the colour of whatever they used to sterilize my chest.










so i was initially really freaked out when i first saw my chests. i was told and requested that my incisions be made in the inter-mammary fold. when i woke up, obviously i could tell that they did not make the incisions there. i made the nurse peel back my dressings because i was worried my nipples had been removed as well.

the ps made the call to change the incisions based on better nipple viability (less risk of rejection) and that i would have scars showing regardless of where they are. so something i still want to discuss during my follow up visit. i should have been told of the change pre-surgery or at least had the ps follow up with me shortly after surgery to let me know instead of having to find out myself.

either way, i am currently satisfied with the results thus far.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

20. a good day

having a really good day. i realized that the secret to reducing the thorax pain was to continually take deep breathes.

i was able to reduce my pain medication to half and still feel good.

went to the hair salon and got my hair washed today.

can not believe it, but i already got one drain removed today! i just had surgery on wednesday. i haven't even had a chance to develop a hate relationship with them yet and the other one will probably be out tomorrow as they were both draining the same. i have been drinking tonnes of water as was suggested and i think this has really made a difference...otherwise i am considering myself lucky.

just hoping for a bowel movement since i haven't had one since wednesday pre-surgery. i am on prescription stool softeners but also picked up some senokot. crossing my fingers that by tonight i will have gone.

Friday, April 16, 2010

19. copy and paste

here is a copy and paste status update from my facebook to quickly update you. i had major complications and am mostly resting and feeling too tired to update everyone. i am home though as of today and that is great.

Rachel says: so my "minor complication" during surgery was not so minor and actually quite major. i had a pneumonthorax which caused the collapse of my left lung. i am sure due to all the prayers of protection that went out i somehow avoided needing a chest tube.

recovery, however has been really difficult with many ups and downs. ... for the most part i feel spectacular but near the end of each 4 hour round of pain medication i am in excruciating pain until i can safely take the next ones. breathing becomes extremely painful and labored.

i know that in time this will get better. i am focusing on resting and getting my strength up by eating. i am sorry that many of you could not visit me while i was in hospital and i am sorry i needed to turn you away. it was just too difficult.

i am back home now and looking forward to connecting with friends and family here. please call ahead though as i do not wish to be overwhelmed with too many visitors at one time.

What is a pneumothorax?

A pneumothorax is a collection of free air in the chest outside the lung that causes the lung to collapse.

What are the types of pneumothorax?

A spontaneous pneumothorax, also referred to as a primary pneumothorax, occurs in the absence of a traumatic injury to the chest or a known lung disease. A secondary (also termed complicated) pneumothorax occurs as a result of an underlying condition.

What causes a pneumothorax?

Spontaneous pneumothorax is caused by a rupture of a cyst or a small sac (bleb) on the surface of the lung. Pneumothorax may also occur following an injury to the chest wall such as a fractured rib, any penetrating injury (gun shot or stabbing), surgical invasion of the chest, or may be deliberately induced in order to collapse the lung. A pneumothorax can also develop as a result of underlying lung diseases, including cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, asthma, and infections of the lungs.

click link to read more about pneumothorax:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

18. twas the night before surgery

well...less than 12 hours till surgery.

i have had a fantastic couple of days since i arrived in the city. very minimal stress and anxiety. i have mostly been having a fun time.

a few epic moments taking my bra off tonight before changing into my pajamas and wondering if i will ever need it again.

i am all organized and good to go. actually feeling sleepy so i think i will have a good nights rest.

i will post back as soon as i am able.

thanks for all the love, support, and comments that have been made over the past 2 months.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

17. for sure

april 14th is a go!

my pre-op is the day before on the 13th. i thought this was weird. anyways, going down to the city on monday and gonna stay with friends. my dad is also making the drive from up north - elliot lake to be with me.

my aunt is trying to switch her monday shift off so she can drive me to guelph to my grand-parents and then they will take me the rest of the way to hamilton.

as expected, i am having my low moments and high moments. i am overcome by all the love and support. i did not expect so much of it...but i stepped outside of my box and started asking for help.

everything seems to be falling in to place naturally. i am not overwhelmed with lists of things to do. i was last month when i thought my surgery was going to be in march. i am just taking it day by day. i have a bit of cleaning to do and will need to pack my bag at some point.

i am mostly taking it easy. i am having a bit of a freak out today. but that is to be expected. oh, and i am having trouble eating due to nerves so i picked up some meal replacement drinks cuz they help me keep the weight on.

6 days to go.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

16. rays of sunshine and dark thunder clouds

what an awesome day. the weather was yet again beautiful and today was the day my family got together to celebrate easter.

my grandparents revealed that they are moving back to "not disclosed for privacy" where i live so it will be great to spend more time with them--especially during recovery. oma brought a slew of photos and the whole family was in hysterics while we walked through memory lane. i especially enjoyed the photos that were of my mom. my heart broke for my sister though who was only 3 years old when mom died. she really appreciated seeing the pics.

my heart broke later today when my oma brought out a couple of newspaper articles that my mom was in when she was in remission for the first time. i was so absolutely devastated reading the article head line. i couldn't read the articles at the time because i was too upset so i tucked them away in my purse.

reading the articles at home i was even more devastated. the articles portrayed her positive outlook and wanting to give back to the community. i, on the other hand know full well the outcome. she would only live another year which involved an even more grueling and bitter battle ahead of her which entailed at the time an experimental stem cell/bone marrow transplant. that would lead to a second but short lived remission and then her death.

it was an emotional and bustling day and i barely had a chance to share with my oma and aunts about my surgery date. i was frustrated that i was only able to tell my oma as she was on her way out the door.

i told my 2 aunts about 15 minutes before my sis and i were to head home that surgery is in 11 days and they were sort of speechless. i could see the pain in their eyes and they just gave me big hugs. my tante (aunt in dutch) ali said she will come visit me. it's not like i dropped a bomb on them because they have known of my decision for some time but i think it seems surreal until you are actually at the stage where things are booked and you are doing the countdown.

i am so happy to have love and support. i didn't really know how much support i had until recently. it is great to have these revelations leading up to surgery. it makes things easier...but in a way it also makes things harder because i know this has become other peoples burden...something that affects them in a unique and sometimes painful way.

my hope is that i can stay positive like my mom and give back...but sorry mom...i don't want to follow in your footsteps.

Friday, April 2, 2010

15. dare i say it

in light of last months surgery bump i am hesitant to write that my new surgery date is april 14th. not even 2 weeks notice. i suppose this is a good thing. i will have less time to stress about it.

on another note...i was completely stressed yesterday because the children i babysit came down with the chicken pox and i was definitely exposed with in the incubation period.

i have never had the chicken pox so naturally i freaked out because i am worried it will push my surgery or i will present with an outbreak shortly thereafter when i am recovering. my brother also had the chicken pox a few years ago (in his 30's thus verifying the fact that i knew i never got them) and it turned out to be an awful time for him and our family resulting in a pretty major depression for him. i think this scare brings up some emotions from that time.

anyways, i did a bit of research online and found out there is a immunity shot i can get to either prevent an outbreak all together or at least minimize it. it is called the varicella zoster immune globulin. i was in contact with my emergency department last night and they were able to get the shot for me (despite it being a long weekend) and i had the shot administered today. so one less stress.

i am coping quite well...i am not actively preparing like i did last month. not yet anyways. fortunately mostly everything is already in place. i will do a thorough clean sometime next week...prepare some meals in a linen cleaning and make sure my room is as sterile as possible. other than that, i will just need to pack my bags and maintain my sanity.

the weather has been amazing so i spent the better portion of the day outside. it is also easter weekend and there is a family dinner tomorrow that i am looking forward too. i will tell my family about the surgery date too. hope everyone else is enjoying the long weekend.