I had a feeling this year was going to be rough when I started having some major car problems on New Years Day. I couldn't have predicted the roller-coaster this year has been. I've had a lot of major "downs" this year with family and health issues, which I tend to focus on. I also remind myself that I've had some pretty good "ups" as well, including getting engaged to a guy who has seen me at my best as well as at my complete worst and is there for me no matter what. I couldn't have made it through 2013 without him. And successfully recovering from two surgeries.
It will be interesting to see what 2014 may bring. It's pretty much a guarantee that there will be more highs and more lows, but I just ask for 3 things for myself and the people closest to me: Good Health; Happiness; Love
Today I was officially discharged from home care! Woo hoo! Although I loved my home care nurse I was definitely ready to be done. This was probably the easiest visit because I didn't have a picc line, so there was no dressing to change. We just did vitals and she looked at my incision to make sure it looked okay. She did notice that the swelling had gone down, skin was not red at all, and that my stitches were looser.... which means I'm healing pretty well. As I mentioned to her that after the 5th time my head is pretty used to it and knows what to do!
Later next week I have an appointment with my neurosurgeon to get my stitches removed. Which I am soooo ready for since they have started to itch a bit. Plus I really want my hair cut and highlight within the next couple of weeks, so can't have stitches for that!
Lastly I've been cleared by my surgeon to start working from home starting on Monday. Not that I really want to, but I could use the money since the medical bills are starting to roll in. *Lovely*
I just finished my first shower since surgery on Monday and it was glorious to say the least! I've been able to take baths, but not wash my hair since before the surgery. I don't know what the concoction they put on my head, but it was like trying to get out cement. Similar to last time I am only allowed to use baby shampoo because of the non-irritation factor. Although I do use conditioner on my ends to help with all the knots and loose hair that was shaved. It was pretty obvious that I had a lot less hair from the surgery in October. I do have a lot of hair in general, but I'll have to wait to see how it looks when it dries. Again....no heat (like blowdryers) on the head for awhile.
Attached are my post op head pictures from October (surgery #4) and the most recent December one (surgery #5). They put the plastic piece in my head which you can kind of slighty make out in the picture. The area is still swollen, but that should go down within the next week.
Monday night wasn't the greatest due to the pain and nausea. I think it was one of the worst from any of the surgeries I had before due to the fact it was done so late in the day. My body didn't have any energy and all I wanted to do was sleep. Which in the hospital isn't the easiest thing because you someone is always checking in on your vitals, medication, scans, case managers, neuro team, etc.
Okay....Back to to food! My stomach was able to tolerate some applesauce and apple juice at around 5am on Tuesday. And about 8am I was moved to a regular diet....woo hoo! I'm a pretty plain eater in general so I just had some wheat toast and strawberry yogurt. Even though I am not a yogurt fan I do recommend having at least one per day while on antbiotics to get the good bacteria back into your digestive tract. I usually take probiotics on a daily basis as well.
I had to keep my head wrapped for about 36 hours after surgery. I had some leakage on the bandage which was in the shape of a heart (see picture below). One of the nurse's pointed it out for me and took the picture. I know it might sound a little strange, but I believe it was a sign from above sending love and letting me know that everything was going to be okay. :-)
Bandage is now officially off and I'm resting at my mom's house. My pain has subsided a bit, so I'm down to pain meds every 8 hours now. I can definitely tell when I need them again because I get sharp, shooting jolts of pain in clusters. And I'm using a breathing device every other hour when I am awake to help my lung strength/capacity again. Sometimes too much of that can cause head pains.
I am also dealing with more nausea again, but luckily I have meds for that. I haven't had much of an appetite today, but I'm doing to try and eat a little more in the next few hours. Hopefully the nausea will stay away this time!
And the best news for last.....NO PICC LINE this time!!! :-)
I'm keeping this short since I'm having some nausea, but surgery went well.
I was admitted Sunday at 5pm, but didn't have surgery until 5pm on Monday. I was very thirsty and hungry to say the least. The total surgery time about about an hour an a half. I made it back to my hospital room around 7:45pm and felt like crap! I do remember being in recovery and the nurse asked me how my pain was and I responded "High...like I just got hit hard in the head with a baseball bat." Overall the pain meds didn't completely take away the pain, but the helped about 70%.
The day has finally come. Well, actually the day before surgery has finally come. I'm supposed to be at the hospital at 5pm today. Long story....but it's so I can get in first thing tomorrow morning. Not how I really wanted to spend the night before surgery, but gotta do what you gotta do. Am I nervous? A bit. I'm not really nervous for the actual surgery, but for all the prep. I dislike needles so getting the IV is a pain. Although they do numb you first it still isn't a pleasant experience. I don't know if they'll hook me up tonight or wait until tomorrow morning. I guess I'll find that out in a few hours. I'm also supposed to get another picc line. Ehhh. That is thing I am most dreading. Alright, a few more hours of freedom so I'm going to enjoy it! *Praying everything goes well*
After weeks of trying to get my surgery moved up it has been officially confirmed that my last surgery will be next Monday. Which is when it was originally scheduled for.....*sigh*. I had a feeling that would be the case. I'm still waiting on the time, but I assume since I had booked it weeks ago it will be early in the morning.
For this they will be putting in a plastic piece that was made to fit exactly the size of the hole in my skull. They had 2 made so I wonder if I can take the other one home....hey, I paid for it! At least I won't have to worry about any ridges with this piece unlike the bone cement and titanium mesh from before.
This recovery should be a lot easier since I will only have to be on IV antibiotics for one weeks after surgery instead of 6 to 7 weeks. I know my skin might take a little longer to heal this time because it is the 5th time it's been cut open.
I'm more anxious than nervous about the surgery. I'll be praying that everything goes well and I have an easy recovery.
About 48 hours after my picc line was removed I was able to do something I haven't done is over two months.....yoga! I was careful not to overexert myself, but really felt I needed some good stretching. And the bonus was I was able to put some body weight on my arms. I'm still following doctor's orders and not sweating either, although I did get warm. This morning I can already tell the jello-like feeling in my right arm has gone down a bit.
Another thing I've noticed is a few little sharp pains in my head where my incision was. I can't really tell if it's the nerves trying to reconnect or what. I know I am somewhat paranoid because I'm thinking "is it infected??" now that I'm off antibiotics. I'm sure I am fine, but the doctors get you so worked up about it. Anyhow, back the the sharp pains: It was pretty frequent last night, but has subsided. I'll see if it acts up again today.
My 7 week course of antibotics had come to a close, so I had my picc line removed last night by my home care nurse. It was a simple procedure, although I am not one to watch! I would say the hardest part of the whole thing was removing the adhesive bandages that go around it. After that was done she cleaned the area, told me to take a deep breath and then proceeded to pull out the line. Afterwards pressure had to be applied for a bit and then my arm was wrapped tightly with tape. I was able to remove that earlier this morning.
You need to be careful for the first 24 hours as your arm/vein heal. So basically it's the same precautions as when you have the picc line in.....no lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk and or rigorious movements.
The most exciting thing was I didn't have to shower with my arm sleeve on this morning!
My arm still feels like jello since I haven't used it much. I'm going to start to slowly build some strength in it by doing some yoga and light lifting. Unfortunately I'll be getting another picc line after my next surgery in a little over a week, so I'm going to enjoy this time as much as possible!