February 2nd, I went in for my hiatal hernia repair and my Linx procedure. Due to COVID restrictions, I had to go through this without Ricky by my side. I was so worried about my anxiety (talk about an infinite loop) but God gave me a supernatural peace. As I have talked about in the past, anxiety has been an issue in my life long before cancer or COVID or this latest hurdle. Having to go to all my post-cancer appointments alone this past year has not been easy and I have often needed to take something for my anxiety before these check ups. I was counting on needing to do that before my surgery, as well. But I didn't!
I arrived at the hospital at 5:45 am for a scheduled surgery time of 7:30 am. I saw my surgeon briefly and we discussed a few things, one of them being post operative pain. I again expressed my concern with taking anything stronger than Tylenol or ibuprofen (because of my stomach issues). I mentioned one non-narcotic I had been prescribed after my lumpectomy and that I wasn't sure if I had ever taken it. He responded "This will be a lot more painful than your lumpectomy." I smiled and assured him that I knew that, but in the back of my mind I was thinking "Not what I want to hear right before surgery!"
Next my anesthesiologist came over to discuss my concerns. He was so incredibly nice and already had my history. He confirmed what I had experienced with an "anti-nausea" patch after my lumpectomy and even described it better than I could (it made me very dizzy but he said his wife said it produced a feeling of doom, and wow, that was exactly what I felt! After my lumpectomy, which was an out-patient procedure, I didn't want to leave the hospital because I felt something was wrong).
After having two IVs put into my right hand, I was rolled off to surgery. I remember entering the room, being introduced to some people and seeing what I assumed was the huge robot (I didn't have my glasses at this point) that would be inside of me! Then it was time for a long nap.
The next time I woke up I was in the anesthesia recovery room and a woman was being wheeled in next to me. She was a little loopy and had very big feelings about what she wanted. Thankfully, a nurse looked at me and said "let's see if we can get you out of here." When relaying this story to my family, my mom thought I was the one making tons of crazy requests. I told her I was quiet as a mouse and didn't do anything wild to which she replied, "that you know of!" Mom, keeping it real since 1986.
I did end up staying overnight. I was able to doze on and off until my glasses and phone were given to me and then I FaceTimed Ricky and my parents. They told me Dr. R had called and said surgery went well.
The next 24 hours consisted of sleep, trying to eat and lots of meds. The morning after surgery, Dr. R informed me they kept my Linx on the looser side, due to my very weak esophagus. They did this in the hopes of avoiding the need for a dilation in a month or two.
They discharged me Wednesday afternoon and I returned to my parents' house. The pain was pretty intense those first few days but God gave me the grace I needed and the Tylenol, ibuprofen and heating pad got my through.
Going into surgery, I was fully aware that I would have five incisions made in my abdomen but I was not prepared for just how uncomfortable and painful these incisions would be as they healed. It has been a process!
Eating has been interesting ... I have not experienced any choking or "spasms" that other patients have described. I need to be very mindful to thoroughly chew my food and eat slowly (we're taking P A I N F U L L Y slow). If I do not do this or if I eat a food that for whatever reason my esophagus doesn't like (cooked carrots have become an issue for the first time in my life), I will get an incredibly uncomfortable full feeling all the way up my throat and I have to walk around until I belch, releasing the pressure that has built up. At my two week follow up, I asked Dr. R if this was normal and he told me he had never seen someone at my age with such a bad esophagus, so this was to be expected. We are hopeful that with the reduced acid reflux my esophagus may start to regain some strength and function better over time!
My parents graciously allowed me to recover at their home. I had company during the day, delicious home cooked meals and Ricky was a trooper, commuting to and from work, just so he could sleep by my side at night. But after five weeks, Ricky and I moved home this past Wednesday!
On Saturday, I shared this post to my Instagram.
Today was a big day. Today marked two years since I had my lumpectomy, sentinel node biopsy and my chemo port removed.
Today I wore a headband, with my hair down, for the first time since chemo.
Today, I am 39 days out from another life changing surgery. I am six weeks into recovery and reminding myself to allow for grace in this healing process.
These surgeries left me with 9 visible scars. They left me with two uneven breasts. They have caused discomfort, pain and unexpected side effects.
But they also saved my life. They showed me how brave I can be. They reminded me how much my family loves me and just how much God cares for me. And I will forever be grateful.
I am still recovering. But I am SO grateful. I have been off of my omeprazole (40 mg, 2x a day) and famotadine (40 mg, 2x a day) now for 25 days! I have tears in my eyes typing that right now. I still need the occasional tum and I still have some stuff going on that I am not sure is acid reflux related or not. But I am feeling better and believing I will continue to feel better as my body heals!
Updates and Prayer Requests:
April 2nd I have my next follow up appointment with Dr. R. At this time, I am hoping to get approval to begin lifting things again (telling my crying nephews I can't hold them has been heartbreaking!) and to take baths! I am also hoping to get answers to any lingering questions I have.
My eyes are continuing to have issues. I am hoping to schedule an appointment with a reputable ophthalmologist soon. Please pray we can figure out the root cause and come up with a solution!
If you or someone you know loves reading, please check out my Instagram (@love.is.loudest21) and keep an eye on my Reading tab on here. I would love to engage with more readers!
Thank you again for all of your prayers, love and support!
All my love,