The Only Way is Up

A week ago I was in the Critical Care Unit. It doesn’t get much lower than that. I have nowhere to go except up.

Fortunately, I only spent about a day in the CCU. The day before, I had surgery to repair a paraesophageal hernia, including a fundoplication. It’s a procedure commonly known as GERD surgery. I would have come through with flying colors except that I had the most common complication – a pneumothorax. After the surgery, I woke up with a catheter, NG tube, and a chest tube. They were removed a day later and I went home the day after that. Since then, I’ve been resting and recovering.

The biggest challenge in my recover isn’t recovering from the operation, but recovering from the year preceding it. I spent the last year with a severe case of GERD. Between the vomiting, nausea, pain, and discomfort from the GERD, and the general lack of nutrition and exercise that resulted, I’m in pretty pathetic shape. I don’t just have to get my body back to pre-surgery shape, I NEED to get my health back.

It won’t be an immediate thing. There are no quick cures. It will take hard work and dedication. I’m ready for the challenge. I’m ready to start living again.

Teach Your Children

This latest bout of surgery has granted me a fresh new set of scars – six from the laparoscopy (was supposed to be five – was there a bonus round?) and one from the chest tube they had to insert after my lung had issues. That brings my grand total to, um, no clue. I don’t exactly keep track. A few from the appendectomy, a few more from the cholecystectomy, one really big one from the hysterectomy, a smaller one from the catheter I had for that, and now the newest additions. A lot of scars. It makes me wonder what kind of picture I could make if I played connect-the-dots on my torso. I should find that out some day.

Having all of these scars made me think of one thing – wearing a bikini is a part of my past. It seems a logical conclusion. Even if I get my body back to where I want it to be – which I intend to do – I have so many scars that my body is not something I should want to show off. Right?

Silly me. I’ve been spending years telling the kids that they should be proud of their bodies, scars and all. Apparently the lecture has penetrated their brains and not mine. When I mentioned the other day that my time in a bikini was done, the HTR looked at me and said “So what if you have a few scars?”

Right. That. Exactly what I would tell them if our places were traded.

Guess I have a goal for next summer.

Bionic Woman

Disclaimer: If you’re easily squicked, you probably shouldn’t read this post. Then again, if you’re easily squicked, you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog.

Yes, kids – it’s surgery time again. The running joke in our house is that I’m trying to become the world’s most optimized woman. If I don’t need a body part to survive, out it goes. So far, I’ve done away with my appendix, uterus, cervix, gallbladder, the plica in my right knee, and several kidney stones. That’s all in the last decade, by the way. I’ve also optimized my bladder and other girl parts. Having three kids sometimes leads to such things.

This time, my digestive system is on the menu (so to speak). I’m going in for a paraesophageal hernia repair and fundoplication. Why? Because for the past year I’ve been suffering from a severe case of GERD, which has lead to gastroparesis, among other things. In unscientific terms, I’ve spent the past 12+ months vomiting. A lot of food doesn’t digest at all. Not fun. Medication hasn’t helped significantly. After tons of tests, my gastroenterogist sent me to a thoracic surgeon to get fixed. The surgeon explained the procedures to me and remarked that patients usually only stay one night in the hospital, but “with cases as bad as yours, they usually require two nights.”

Kind of weird to hear someone else acknowledge that I really am as sick as I’ve been feeling. Not too many people know that things have been this bad. I’ve been keeping to myself a lot. It’s easier than constantly ducking out of social obligations because I’m feeling sick. I’ve been a stranger in my own life. I’m looking forward to feeling better and changing all that.

Wish me luck!