As of Monday, July 29th it has been six weeks since my left kidney and uterus went on a permanent vacation from the body Joey.
“Even at 6 weeks, you will still be less than 60-70% of your full energy. And that last 30-40% will take a while to gain back, ” the surgeon warned me.
And he’s right. But here’s the thing too: I haven’t had full energy in a long, long time. I don’t even know what full energy really is anymore. So my expectations are low. Like Flo Rida low.
Even though I’m not “100%,” I’m just in a different place than I was a few months ago. Previously, every pain required immediate analysis:
What’s my pain level? Have we hit a three? Which hospital are we going to?
Pain required immediate action and reaction: making calls, taking pain meds, preparing for a long wait in an ER room and hoping my pain levels didn’t reach a 10 before I was able to be further medicated and treated.
Now, I rarely quantify my pain above a 1. It’s not that there is no pain; however, the pain I experience is more soreness and discomfort. Bruises from the surgery are still working their way out, and there’s a tenderness in general around the surgical area. I can feel the knotting of the scar tissue internally, my lower incisions are itchy and get irritated when they rub against my clothing or the seat belt or the sides of a chair.
Not that everything is going smooth as glass, though. Two of my incisions are struggling to heal. They are both located under my left breast, which is a dark, moist, and warm place – especially in this summer heat. Now, they have dehiscence aka wound separation.
I’ve had them inspected twice: once at an urgent care, then 10 days later at a hospital. The hospital visit was more upsetting than I realized. It was my first time back in an ER since March. As a result, my heart rate was higher than normal, and I was listed as a tachycardia risk. This upped my priority on the list, but even with that, we didn’t get home until after 1AM.
After a round of “big boy” antibiotics, the wounds still aren’t healing. The doctor referred me to a Wound Care center. The NP removed 3 stitches that hadn’t dissolved, debrided both of the wounds, chemically cauterized them with silver nitrate, packed them with mesalt sodium chloride dressing to absorb the excess fluid and bacteria, and then covered them with a pressure bandage. Fortunately, they used a local anesthetic cream on the wounds the first time, but it wore off quickly and I’ll be honest, all my previous statements about no pain do NOT include this new process.
However, I’m hopeful following these new orders and changing the dressings daily will result in more rapid healing. I go back on Monday to see if it’s working. It may seem silly, but my current goal is for my 2 remaining incisions to close in time so that I can go swimming at DragonCon over Labor Day. It’s a small dream, but it’s mine.
In the meantime, I’m trying to ease back in to commuting to the office. Once I’m at the office, I’m able to work well enough. But the commute is exhausting, and I’m usually tired about 15 minutes before I arrive at the parking lot. I’m very grateful I’m able to work remotely in the meantime.
As for the stamina, it is what it is. I try not to overdo, but I do try to do a little more every day. Put one foot in front of the other, and all that . . .