March 2, 2019
Wow, today is a Saturday and I am 9 days post surgery already. This has been quite the whirlwind. 10 days ago I never would have imagined things are going as well as they are at this moment. Okay, let me slow down a bit and catch you up with some of the small details since surgery. Just in hopes it might help somebody in anticipation with surgery.
SURGERY DAY: Honestly this entire day is a bit of a blur. I was so nervous that I don’t even remember much about pre-surgery stuff. The last thing I remember in pre-op is saying bye to my hubby and then getting set up in a ‘chair’ almost like a massage chair while sitting on the stretcher so the anesthesiologist could place my epidural. She said “I’m going to start giving you medicine to relax you for this procedure” and then I don’t remember a thing. Apparently they put the epidural in and brought my hubby back to sit with me until the OR was ready. I was awake and talking like normal, but can’t recall any of it. Fast forward to the recovery room and I barely remember waking up a bit teary. My hubby was there which was amazing and he said I was a bit teary before surgery as well. It’s amazing what Versed does to your inhibitions. At this point I didn’t feel pain at all. I was very comfortable and had no nausea. It was everything I could have hoped for immediately post-op. The ride back to my room is a bit of a blur as was transferring back on to my hospital bed. Once there a long nap was in my immediate future. I wasn’t hungry, I wasn’t thirsty. I was comfortable and totally willing to rest. I had a foley but couldn’t really feel it. My history of lower than normal BP had a few people alarmed as it was even lower than my normal. So they did a bit of adjusting with the epidural which was totally fine with me. I really couldn’t care less as long as I was comfortable. The only complaint I had was shoulder pain and let me tell you it was painful. So I kept my heating pad on it which helped a bit. Other than moving and walking there’s not much you can do for the deferred shoulder pain.
POST-OP DAY 1: They had me up to the chair bright and early this day. Lots of incentive spirometer using and trying to ambulate at much as possible. Shoulder pain continued but got a bit better the more I was up and moving. Just did some walking within my room this day. And honestly still wasn’t hungry but my mouth was very dry. Ice chips and sips were helping greatly with that. Those ice chips are amazing!
POST-OP DAY 2: They let me start with clear liquids! I was on a fluid restriction of 200ml every 6 hours just to be sure everything for the operation was good to go. So I was sipping from a medicine cup most of the day to ensure I didn’t take in too much fluid. It felt so good to drink although I remember wishing I could just get some real good water to just drink down.
POST-OP DAY 3: I started on very slow full liquids today. My mouth continued to just be dry and yucky feeling. Full liquids were going down pretty well in the morning. I was feeling hopeful this was all going okay. Then, in the afternoon as I was sipping I started to feel a reflux feeling. It kind of felt like heartburn with a feeling everything was trying to make its way back up. I was not comfortable. So I reverted back to ice chips. This was quite a discouraging afternoon and wore me out.
POST-OP DAY 4: This same discomfort continued. This was Monday, so my attending surgeon was back to the hospital and described it very well. I was constipated at that point. Hadn’t pooped for at least 2 days prior to surgery. So he was explaining that if my transverse colon is backed up with poop its going to make it difficult for my liquids to pass down my intestines past that colon. This really helped me mentally that I just needed to pass some stool in order to feel better. So they started me on some stool softeners, laxative, and suppository. Which resulted in a small stool, but it really helped me feel better so I felt comfortable starting on full liquids again. And was able to sleep a bit more comfortably.
POST-OP DAY 5: I woke up this morning feeling descent. My mouth still feels so dry and I felt super drained of energy. I had some liquids first thing in the morning and then a couple hours later was able to actually eat some solid food. I had very small bites of cottage cheese, yogurt, and cream of wheat with peanut butter. That helped me a bit to increase my energy. So felt I was able to do even more walking this morning than the past couple of mornings. Well, afternoon came and the exact same reflux feeling came back. I felt more bloated than I had ever felt and knew I just needed to poop. Finally at 7 o’clock at night after several attempts of different laxatives and suppositories I convinced the Dr to give me an enema. Which gave me the most relief I had had in several days. It seemed like I had been walking and walking and walking all around the hospital and it just wasn’t working to get things moving.
POST-OP DAY 6: This day is a bit of a blur for some reason. I just remember feeling like I was making good progress considering but that I still didn’t feel quite right, Something wasn’t right. I felt I was forcing drinking throughout the day. I felt dehydrated. Just kind of thought this was a normal feeling and moved on with the day. Ate mac n cheese for the first time and ate a pretty good amount. Way more than I thought I’d be able to for sure.
POST-OP DAY 7: It was difficult getting up this morning (as it is most mornings for me, haha). But I got up, took a shower, drank some water and walked some laps around the unit. I ordered food and while I waited I walked some more laps. This really made my day start off well. At home before surgery I am so used to getting up and drinking lots of water before doing anything else and this morning I felt like I was actually able to do that. Drinking a lot of water took a good hour or so, but I was able to hydrate before anything else. And the rest of the day followed suit. Ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner in small amounts and was able to drink these protein drinks in between. I finally felt like I had figured out a little routine that worked for me and incorporated my ‘normal’ life. This was the first day I felt more myself since surgery and it felt amazing.
POST-OP DAY 8: Since yesterday went so well I felt it was time to venture out of hospital food and try out a restaurant. My surgeon’s partner recommended a place called Luke’s lobster. I’m not a huge lobster person, but I saw on their menu they have Lobster Grilled Cheese which looked amazing. So for lunch, hubby and I headed out of the hospital to Bethesda to try this place out. It was a cute little restaurant where you order your food at the counter and they bring it to you. Which was perfect for my first outing so I didn’t feel pressure to hurry up or anything. I ate a whole half of that Grilled Cheese! And I tried a couple of potato chips! Chewing tons of course. Never in a million years would I have imagined I would be eating this much a week out of surgery. I keep thinking it’s too good to be true. I’ve talked with my dietician and surgeon about it and they both say I’m doing great and doing everything I should be doing. There was a lot of walking involved with today so I was a bit nervous I was doing too much of that as well but they both confirm as long as I’m feeling good it’s fine and walking is a good thing. They did warn to not be alarmed if tomorrow or the day after I’m a bit tired. Which makes total sense.
POST-OP DAY 9: I’ve stayed in the lodge here on campus the past 2 nights which has been amazing. It’s quiet and the bed is much more comfortable than that hot hospital bed. Slept in a bit today so started my calorie/protein counting a bit later than I had hoped. But it felt amazing to sleeping in. Had breakfast in the kitchen here and then enjoyed a protein drink a couple hours later just while hanging out. Watched a movie and then took a nap which set me back a little too. But then I was ready to head out on the town for lunch (at 3pm in the afternoon, haha). Hubby and I walked about 1.5 miles to a mexican restaurant called Guapos. While on the walk we were passing a running going the other way and I said “good morning”. Matt looked at me and said “it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon” Haha. We had a good laugh about that. Anyway, I digress. At Guapo’s I ordered the steak quesadilla and ate 1/3 of it! It prob took me 45 mins to eat it, but I got it down. Then walked back to the lodge where I sit now. Being outside in the crisp air felt amazing.
I’m still amazed how much food I’m actually able to enjoy at this point in the game. I don’t know if the surgery is just becoming more perfected where patients are just doing much better post-op or what. But whatever it is, I am so grateful to be here to enjoy the beautiful weather, food, and people. I feel I have beat the odds for this nasty cancer just because now we know I will never had to worry about getting it and having to fight it like so many other people have. #fuckcancer