Today marks my fifteenth day in this godforsaken place. I’ve been poked and prodded more times than I can count. I’m hoping that I get to go home this afternoon and I figured while I’m waiting, I’d write about it. What started all of this was what was supposed to be a routine gallbladder removal surgery. I waited six weeks for insurance authorizations and doctors appointments before they finally were able to take that thing out and I thought I’d feel much better after it was gone.. wrong, I was so wrong.
I feel like I could pass a medical exam after being here so long so here’s a little anatomy lesson.. Your gallbladder basically does the dirty work for your liver, filtering out the waste and disposing of it through your bile duct and into it’s appropriate home. The bile duct (crucial to life) is like a passage way for all of your digestive organs so your liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon and pancreas. After a few tests and scans we learned that I had stray stones in my bile duct and those would have to be removed. Well, fortunately for me I also had some stones in the stump where they removed my gallbladder, but since the removal was only five days prior, they could not remove them due to compromising stitches and what not from my previous procedure.
What was next for me was a procedure that they call an ERCP where they put you out, go in through your throat and they would remove the (five) stones and place a stent in my bile duct so if those other stones wanted to migrate down in the meantime, they would cause me no pain and then in a month or so they’d go back in, remove the remaining stones and the stent and I’d be good as new. The surgeon went over the risks which were infection, bleeding, and pancreatitis. I asked when and if I’d know if I had pancreatitis because I wouldn’t want to figure that out at home. He assured me that the risk was less than 3% and if I had it, I’d wake up in the middle of the night and know.
Well.. that is exactly what happened. Around 2:30am the night after my ERCP, I woke up in the worst pain of my entire life. Screaming out in pain, my nurse was trying her hardest to control it. She had given me so much pain meds that she was afraid if she gave me any more, she’d stop my heart. This pain went on all day where I literally screamed out in pain for hours and hours on end. No amounts of pain medication would keep the pain away and I was miserable, throwing up non stop from the pain and the pain, oh was it miserable. I would never wish that upon my worst enemy.
Little did I know that it would put me here for as long as it did. My doctor continued to do test after test and scan after scan until they determined that I had severe pancreatitis. He said that he believed if he scanned me every week for the next six months that it would continue to get worse and worse and that I’m lucky I’m not in the ICU. The pancreas is a very irritable organ and it’s not very forgivable. They cut off any food or liquid from me and I ate ice chips for 13 days straight, taking all of my nutrients in through a special IV that they call a PIC line that feeds a main artery in my heart. I was on a pain pump that was feeding me pain medicine consistently as well as a button that I could push every ten minutes to administer more.
The worst part about all of this was that the pain still never went away, and it still hasn’t. I wasn’t able to be considered to go home until I was completely off of iv pain medications for at least 24 hours. We tried once and I had a really bad night, so they put me back on, which made me take a step back and days further from going home. I expressed to my doctor that I didn’t want the iv meds because I wanted to go home and she told me very abruptly that she didn’t care what I wanted and that I could be in ICU where they leave my stomach cut open and have to clean it once a week so what she thought was best, was what was happening so I nodded in agreeance.
I have now been on oral pain meds and the pain is manageable. The next step to going home was trying to eat but it was a risk. Eating could inflame and irritate my pancreas setting me back days but I wouldn’t know until I tried. The doctor wanted to send me home on IV nutrition, but there is a nation wide shortage, so they really wanted to get me eating and… success! I am currently in the process of weaning off of the iv nutrition and will get to go home this afternoon!
Every morning and night they’ve had to prick my fingers to check my blood sugar and give me these god awful shots in my stomach and legs to prevent blood clots. No matter how many showers I take, I cannot get the smell of sick off of me and it’s a smell that I will never forget and I will never miss. Most importantly out of all of this is how much I miss my babies. I miss my girls so much it hurts and I cry every time I talk to them. It’s flu season so their visits were cut off and I haven’t seen them in over a week. I can not wait to get home and squeeze those girls as hard as I can. Spencer is almost crawling in the time that I have been here, and Khloe had her first school Thanksgiving party and I’ve missed it all. It is a sadness that I can not even put into words. Khloe cries for me at night and I feel so bad like I have failed them. I’m still not my best and am constantly in pain but it’s manageable now and I can not wait to get home.
For those of you who have reached out, sent flowers, offered your sweet words and have prayed for me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel as though the enemy is trying to pull me down and attack my health but I will not let him drag me down and I will not let him test my faith or pull me away from my God. And he is a good and merciful God who has listened to and answered my prayers. There will be no turkey in my schedule this week, and I’ll be lucky if I’m able to eat Christmas Dinner, but there are so many things for me to be grateful for. Happy Thanksgiving friends!