Thursday, March 15, 2012

Free As I Want To Be

FINALLY! I am home from the hospital. Apparently my condition was starting to get worse, and they had no choice but to put a chest tube in. I can't say I recommend it to anyone, it hurts like crazy to breathe. They slice you open while you are awake, shove a tube in between two of your ribs, then insert a tube hooked up to a ventilator with suction that sucks up all the air in the plural space between your chest wall and your lungs.

I learned two things about chest tubes this week. One, even if it feels like it, the chest tube cannot suck up your lung, just the air. Trust me, the way it hurt, I imagined it was exactly like a vacuum when you stick it next to your skin. I thought there was a good possibility the suction would just suck up my lung like a piece of lint on the carpet.

Two, you can't think about how gross it is...a tube is actually in your chest! I really got light headed thinking about how it was lodged in there. And probably because it hurt like crazy while it was suctioning... and I was immobile for so long I have this weird headache that won't go away.

Here's what I learned about myself. I am SO INCREDIBLY blessed. I have a wonderful husband who refused to leave my side. I had incredible nurses who took care of me. My nurse Barbara held my hand as they shoved the tube into my chest cavity, something that meant the world to me at a moment when I was scared of what was happening next. I have family that rallies around me, gives me their time without a thought, and waits on me when I am unable to do much for myself. My co-workers have been concerned and visited, my sisters at church brought me meals, flowers, and kind words of encouragement. I am without words to adequately describe what it means to me.

So thank you! Thank you for your love. Thank you for your encouragement. And thank all of you for your friendship. It means the world to me and I hope you know how much I appreciate it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Medical Mishaps

It has been an eventful week. And a non-eventful week. Both at the same time. Any week you go to the hospital three times it's bound to be interesting. On Tuesday I had surgery for the reoccurring mass on my back. The two weeks previous, I had a feeling something would go wrong. Not a worry-filled something won't be right feeling, more of a things are not going to go as expected premonition. As I prayed contemplating if I should even go through with the surgery, I had the firm reassurance all would be well, but things were not going to go as planned.

I can tell you, I would have been ecstatic to be wrong, but unfortunately I wasn't.

The day of my surgery, I felt like I should not have anesthesia. I did not know if it would even be an option to stay awake, or furthermore why in my right mind I would ever want to!? Everyone told me to go ahead and be sedated, but I just could not do it. So the surgery began, and I watched on a screen as the largest needle I NEVER wanted to see was placed into my back injecting Sotradecol to shrink the mass. I was warned it would be painful, so I didn't think anything was wrong when the pain began.

As soon as I sat up after surgery, I felt like I could not breathe. No matter how much I wanted to, I was just not able to get enough air. After an hour's observation and good oxygen levels, they let me go home.

Fast forward two days to Thursday, and I know something cannot be right. The pain in my back I anticipated, the chest pain I did not. The pain inside my chest was not going away and I did not recall feeling this way before. I broke down and called the nurse to ask what could be going on. She said I needed to go immediately for a chest x-ray and see what was going on.

So off we went to the ER to find out what could be wrong. The two things the doctors thought it could be, a blood clot ( I was informed before the surgery on Tuesday pulmonary embolism has happened on occasion) or a collapsed lung. After about four hours of waiting they told me I indeed had a pnuemothorax, and the air escaping my punctured lung was causing my lung tocollapse. They sent me home and told me to follow up Friday. This is what my lung looked like Thursday:
As to not continue to bore you, the rest of the story that brings us to where I am now is, I was told not to do anything strenuous and to be very cautious since I cannot breathe normally, and to stay close to an ER at all times this coming week in case my lung decides to collapse entirely. Not the greatest news, but so far so good I guess...

Which brings us to what has been on my mind lately. With all the health issues and sitting around all day, it is easy to understand I am growing impatient with all this business. As I am typing this I keep getting shooting pains that I pray aren't my lungs collapsing the rest of the way. I know God gives us trials to help us grow, but if failing was optional I would ask for an F this go around and try a different kind of trial. Medical ones are getting really old.

But we are sent here to earth to learn and grow, and God doesn't allow us to fail in our tests. I've realized when I do, they keep reoccurring until I learn and get it right. I know I am being taught patience, but I really thought I was a pretty patient person. I know God is with me, and I am grateful for the invitation to draw closer to Him and get through this mess.

As I am working on it, I have amended my roadmap for where I want to be this year. I've now added this:

If all of you can pray my body will heal, it will be greatly appreciated. I am so grateful for all of your support, prayers, and words of encouragement, and with help I know I will get through this.