Monday, March 3, 2014

Surgery Update

Over two weeks ago, I had laparoscopic surgery. I mentioned it a couple days before in a blog post about my last surgery, which was an appendectomy that had a lot go wrong.

I'm happy to say this surgery went pretty smoothly. No ileus. No ruptured organs. No extended hospital stay. The doctor was able to remove the cyst from my right ovary and get me patched back up. The neat thing about laparoscopic surgery is that they don't have to make any large incisions. Just three small cuts, only one of which needed stitches. And thee doctor actually made them in the same spots as my appendectomy, so I don't really even have new scars. Then they pump the abdomen full of carbon dioxide so they have room to get their tools in and see what they're looking at. It's pretty crazy.

That said, the results of the surgery are turning out to be less wonderful. They sent the cyst out to get analyzed and so far, the pathology report says it's a "mucinous borderline ovarian tumor." In other words, it's not cancer, but it's not not cancer. The cells were neither benign nor malignant.

Who knew such a thing was possible?

Well, probably all doctors and lots of other people, but certainly not me. So now my doctor is going to present it to a tumor board to get opinions on what to do. Then we may send it out to other specialists to get more opinions before we decide. But the end result may be another surgery to remove the right ovary and check my lymph nodes.

Three weeks ago I thought I was fine. And now all this. Sometimes life is a rollercoaster you don't even know you're on.

While I'm anxious to find out what's going to happen, I'm actually not freaking out or anything. It could be because there's a chance I won't have to have another surgery. And it's super likely that even with the worse case scenario, I'll get through this fine.

Or maybe it's because I've been distracted by the pain of the surgery.

I woke up in pain. I didn't remember pain like that from the last surgery. I had expectations about what I would feel, and this blew me away. And the pain didn't really go away, even with pain medications.

The day after the surgery was also pretty awful. Not only did my abdomen hurt because of the cyst removal, but I also was suffering from severe pains caused by the carbon dioxide. It moves through your body and causes pretty terrible aches and pains.

The night of my surgery the carbon dioxide was around my lower ribs, and when I tried to reach the nightstand to take a pain pill, the stretch caused the CO2 to shift and it was like someone had tightened a thick belt around my ribs and was just tugging and tugging. I could barely catch my breath. Every time I breathed in, it hurt worse, causing my breath to rush out of me. And then of course I was terrified, so I started crying, and that certainly didn't help matters. Chris woke up quickly and rushed around the bed to get the pain meds. Then he just had to rub my arm and try to help me calm down. That happened a few times over the next day or so. It was very scary and very painful.

Eventually, the carbon dioxide moved up to my shoulders, where the doctors told me it would sit for a while and then eventually just go away. It was a bit like I was being stabbed in my shoulder blades. Fantastic. And the pain medication just wasn't cutting it.

After a day or so of that, the pain lessened, although I was still pretty sore in my abdomen. It got better each day though and six days after surgery, I was able to return to work. I did a short day and took it easy, but ... the next day I felt worse again. And the next day.

Like I said, rollercoaster ride. Seven days later, I was up to trying to go to work again. Finally I was able to go a couple days in a row, just for shorter days. I wasn't worse. I just wasn't better.

I'm happy to say I'm finally starting to feel better. I'm not 100%. Not even 90%. Maybe 75%. But that's better than nothing. For some reason I'm having pain a lot longer than is "normal" for this type of surgery, which my doctor can't explain, but I seem to be healing ok.

So now we're just waiting to hear from the doctor to see what the tumor board had to say. Hopefully we're due for some good news and there won't be another surgery. But no matter what, I just want to say thanks to my wonderful husband for taking such good care of me through all of this, and my family and friends for their concern. I'm lucky to have such caring people in my life.