Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Update #2

Now, I had been glad for my surgery to be Monday, November 9th. The surgeon normally does surgery on Monday and Friday - and I had asked specifically not to be scheduled on Friday the 13th. I'm not a superstitious person by nature - faith doesn't have room for that - but I thought I might not tempt fate since it had already been such a hard year! Still not sure what I think about the whole Friday thing with the bleeding, except that I probably came as close to cardiac arrest as I've ever been and they sure made me believe it.

In the week after I came home, I had to see the cardiologist and the gyn docs again. I was doing ok considering the circumstances, but the cardiologist was not happy. He is a very soft spoken man, but he is Italian and God help the gyn team if they kill me!

When I saw the surgeon for a follow up visit - she informed me that she had not been able to ablate my entire uterus. It is much larger and flatter than they expected - did no one see that in the three ultrasounds I had BEFORE the surgery? So the area next to my right ovary wasn't scraped - hence I would continue to have some monthly cycle - although they don't expect it to be bad.

She also said that the surgery - normally less than 30 minutes - had taken close to 2 hours because of the size of my uterus. BUT, since I managed to survive that she is confident that once I have rebuilt blood and stamina, I will be able to survive a vaginal hysterectomy. We shall see - I'm not making any plans for that.

She also said the bleed was from my anti-coagulation therapy. Now, I'm normally on 5mg coumadin a day for the clotting disorder and the A-fib (irregular heartbeat). To prepare for the surgery, I came off the coumadin and went on Lovenox injections twice a day for 5 days before and twice a day for 9 days afterward.

That wasn't a really big deal for me - I'd been on Heparin thru both pregnancies and Lovenox at other times, giving myself a shot is just routine. However, I had questioned the dosage when I'd picked up the prescription. I've always done 1 ml twice a day - this time they've written it for 2ml twice a day. I called the pharmacy first to see if they'd filled it correctly, then onto the doctor's office and the coumadin clinic (who monitors my anticoagulation). Everyone says it's the right dose. So, I go about giving myself 4 shots a day instead of 2 - see where that got me? There is no official word from VUMC that I was overdosed on Lovenox, but I do think that's what happened.

I think I have recovered from that - I can tell that I've rebult blood - since I don't have to wear socks to bed nor sit with a blanket or afghan over me. On my last blood work, my hematocrit was up to 27 - cardiology wants me to get to a minimum of 36 - 40 would be better.

The best part is that they have all put me on a three month recheck - so I see them all again in March. Unless of course there is a problem. But, I am optimistic that there won't be and the worst is behind me.

Most of my friends here at Trevecca have said I am beginning to sound like my old self again - and I've been laughing. When we meet in the lobby to speak, I join the conversation instead of sitting there with my head down because I'm too tired to hold it up. I've been physically tired from overworking and too little sleep - especially when the kids were babies, etc. - but nothing compares to the tiredness and fatigue of anemia. There were days that fixing myself something to eat - and it would be something quick and easy - was more than I could physically do.

The first week I was home, besides being so tired, I got an upper respiratory infection. Most likely from sitting in the ER - but who knows? I had to go in for a check - in 5 days I had lost 14 pounds. That was not good weight loss - and I'm sure I put some of that back on in the yo-yo weeks afterward. I had simply not eaten for those days because I felt bad and I was so weak I didn't feel like fixing anything but toast. I have discovered too - that instant oatmeal and grits can be a girl's bestfriend when she's sick. Nourishment that is not bad for me and takes 60 seconds in the microwave!!

Although my total weight loss at this point is 194 pounds, I have not worked real hard at it since the surgery. I've actually tried to eat more meat, leafy greens, and dark colored veggies (beets and sweet potatoes) to help with the blood. I don't think I'm gaining but the losing has slowed - and has just been necessary.

Now that I'm feeling much better, I can get back on track. And the CSA will start May 1. That will be a good thing again!

I hope to update regularly from this point on about progress and share some recipes I created that were excellent food and healthy!

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