Sunday, February 21, 2010

Set Backs Can Push You Forward

So my recovery process has had its fair share of ups and downs, which are to be expected. I briefly wrote about the Monday post op trip to the hospital and how it actually pushed me forward to feel better....

Well how was I supposed to know it was going to happen again? My stitches finally came out on Thursday and I was elated. The doctor told me I was healing great and should only have a few more weeks of taking it easy but I HAD to take it easy. My steroids were to end Sunday (today) and there was possibility that swelling and leak would come back. Well all I knew was Thursday night I slept through the night for the first time since my surgery and I felt like a whole new person. I spent the day with my dad, and yes in the process finally went to get my name changed, only 5 months later....

So Friday I was pretty beat so Ryan and I took it easy for the most part ... you see there is this pesky shelf in our downstairs bathroom that really wasn't hanging on the hinges right. I reached up grab some TP and the whole thing came falling down right toward me, natural instinct is to reach out and catch it.....well 3 weeks post brain surgery that instinct probably wasn't one I should have done and I did. So Ryan came rushing home like I broke myself in half, I was so mad at him....I was fine. I get upset that everything thinks I'm going to break. Well anyway we took it easy the rest of the night.

Saturday morning we got up and went to get breakfast at this amazing new diner here in Cranberry and then headed to the homefront to visit with the parentals. On the way out there I felt something wet on the back of my head and just brushed it off thinking the ever melting icicles got me. Well we were sitting at his parents house and I noticed that my head was getting more wet so I pointed it out to Ryan, we just decided to keep our eye on it. I really wasn't feeling well but didn't say anything because I was happy to be out of the house!! Well the leak kept happening and I figured it was just because my stitches came out, I knew to expect some fluid.

When we were sitting at my mom and dads I felt a sharp pain shoot up my head so I figured at the point we should go home. We stopped to pick Sugar up at his parents and guess what, I freaking slip on ice and throw my body into the wall so I don't fall. OUCH........

When we get home my leak is getting worse so we start googling and decide to call Dr. Beijanni. He wanted me to wait the night out and if it got worse head back to the hospital. I finally fell into a drug induced coma at about 1am and at about 6am rolled over on the couch and realized I was soaked. Yup looked like just got out of the shower but I didn' down to the hospital we went. 5 more stitches later and some antibiotics with one more steroid to take I sit here wondering why is it when I take 2 steps forward it feels as though I pushed 4 steps back....I'm on watch for the next 48 hours to make sure the stitches hold and the meningitis doesn't come back....

So what I have learned is that I am not superwoman no matter how much I want to be. It is OK for me to admit defeat from time to time and take it easy. I'm never going to heal if I keep pushing myself to do things I'm not ready to do. And the whole 2 steps forward to get pushed back 4 thing, that is life, and I of all people know that. Its these instances that make us stronger...these are the incidents we should welcome because they help shape us into the people that we want to be. I can't get discouraged about my situation especially when there are so many others out there that are going through so much more and carry themselves with such grace and integrity that makes you want to be better. So the lesson learned here today is use these setbacks as stepping stones to improve your future and strengthen your heart, mind and soul, for it is through these setbacks that we discover our true potential and become the amazing people that God wants us to be.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cabin Fever

Here I am, three weeks post op and two weeks post leak. I can't believe how fast time is going! Yesterday was my first big outing since the surgery. Ryan took me out to lunch and to the mall, I walked around myself for about a half hour but got pretty weak so he stuck me in the wheelchair. The excitement of my trip was that I got a new pair of tennis shoes and two new pairs of glasses!!

The hardest thing for me to do is relax, anyone that knows me, knows that relaxing isn't in my vocabulary. My mind is constantly running with everything I should be doing, want to be doing, would rather be doing....the list goes on and on. So sitting here pretty confined has been killing me. I had a very hard adjustment at first because there isn't ANYTHING I am allowed to do, this is only the third time I have looked at a computer screen. Going to see Beijjanni every Thursday to be told that my stitches need to stay in and I'm' overdoing it has been the worst part.

But I understand that I did kind of just have brain surgery, so I do have to take it easier. So, instead of sitting here and being defeated I am doing things with my life. I am reading an amazing book right now, its called "Never Give Up" by Joyce Meyer, I recommend this reading to ANYONE who has ever faced ANY adversity in their lives, meaning EVERYONE. The words and meaning behind her writing are so unbelievably powerful. Instead of sitting here feeling sorry for myself I'm setting up my life for everything I couldn't do before. The power of her message has truly touched my heart and soul and I hope and pray that someday someone will tell me I have impacted them in the positive way she has impacted me.

Just because I'm stuck at home doesn't mean I can't do anything, there is so much more I can do, and every morning I open my eyes and realize that I did it, I survived the scariest decision of my life and I am making something of it, Gosh that is such reason for me to want to do something wonderful. So what do you say, who wants to make big things happen with me? I'm hear to listen and hopefully help you make a decision that will positively impact your life, the way that my surgery has impacted mine so far.

Don't get me wrong, I still have a LONG way to go, I still have some pains and weakness but I am ready to live the life I deserve, and I think you, the person reading this, should be ready to live the life they deserve as well. So don't forget how special you are, whether you have cabin fever or not!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I'm back!!

Hey Everyone!!

I know its been a lot longer than I had expected but I didnt realize how hard it was going to be to look at a computer! So, I am going to update over the next few days to keep everyone back up to speed with how everything went down.

So let me start at the very beginning...

January 25th, 2010....the first day of the rest of my life.
The only way I could describe the emotions running through my body that morning were like a mixture of feeling like Christmas day but at the same time feeling like you were walking into a firing squad of uncertainity. 3am came very early as I had to get up to get a shower and get my stuff ready to roll. Ryan and I headed for Shadyside hand and hand. We were pretty quiet on the ride in, not really sure what to say or how to act. I got into the check in room and saw that Beijanni had 6 other surgeries scheduled, holy crap. They gave me an id number and instructions for Ryan to watch the board for updates on my condition. At about 5:30 am they called the first round of troops up to the floor. There were about 8 of us being escorted to pre-op, it was almost like a cattle call of sorts. I got situated in my room and within 5 minutes they were sticking me with needles. The nurse went to get Ryan to come up to sit with me, which was nice. At about 7 they came in to give me my transfusion, told me they had to wait about an hour or so and if all went well they'd be taking me back. In that process mom, dad, sally and my in laws had shown up. It was nice having them in there with me. I watched them take patients back and forth as I was being transfused, it was slightly nerve racking but what can ya do when your blood is too thin? Dr. Beijjanni stopped in on his way to his frist surgery and marked my head up, that was fun. At about 9am they came in and said that my transfusion had work and they were going to administer one more before they took me. So they started loaded me up again. The nurse came in and said I'd be going into surgery around 10 or so, so everyone left me alone to rest. 15 minutes later they were in the room ready to take me!! I about freaked out but thankfully everyone got upstairs to see me in time. I was fine until they wanted me to say goodbye to everyone, I guess that is when it hit me...I'm really doing this.

Thankfully my new best friend the nurse started putting some nice drugs into me so my tears were short felt....the last thing I remember is them taking me into the room and telling me I was in the best hands and was on my way to being pain free. I closed my eyes on that note.....pain free.

From what I have been told I was in surgery for 2 hours. Had a halo and everything...can you believe it? I mean you see it on TV but for it to really be on you is kind of crazy. When everything was said and done he had removed my C1, did the dura plasty and inserted the plate. Apparently I was an excellent patient, like we had any doubt. I remember waking up in recovery not being able to move my head and being a little on the freaked out hurt pretty bad, that I remember. Dr. Younes (my hemotologist) came in to give me a hug and tell me that he was there the whole time with me. They wheeled me into ICU and I got very sick....I saw my mom and called out to her...I found out later that my reactions were the same as my uncle Jim when they took him into the Neuro ICU after his stroke, pretty weird, right? Everyone was there, I remember I couldnt see Ryan and I was yelling at Cody because my blood pressure cuff was too tight. It pays having friends in nursing because he made sure I had the best care that night! I dont remember much of the whole hospital stay, I was pretty out of it until Wednesday....

They sent me home Wednesday night and I think I slept for the next 5 days. Again I dont remember much, I know I was in pain but it was a different pain. The first thing I remember noticing Tuesday morning after surgery was when I opened my eyes colors were actually brighter. Can you believe it? I could see clearly, my arms didnt hurt and my neck pain was gone (well minus the giant incision n the back of my head).

Everything was going great until the following Monday. I suffered the set back everyone had feared. I woke up extremely incoherent and vomited about 10 times in two hours. Ryan and my dad rushed me to the ER where the doped me up pretty good and did a CT. My brain was severely swollen and there was a leak in my patch causing a meningitis. So, on stereoids I went. But for as awful as it was, it was the turning point, because come Tuesday morning I felt like myself again....

The recovery itself has been very different. The stereoids make me very emotional....and hungry!! It is very hard to take it easy, I can't even pour a glass of water. So this is still a trip and I still have a long way to go.

But I wanted to let all of you know that I have made it, and I am still fighting. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers through all of this. I am so lucky and blessed, its touched me in a way that I dont think anyone can understand.

So now that I"m back I'll update more often with how things have been going for me, its the beginning of the rest of my life...and I can successfuly say I have been 'pain free' for 2 and half weeks!