Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Left Colectomy - My Surgery

Disclaimer: Post surgery belly pictures are below!

I've been wanting to sit down for a week and write this but the words are escaping me.  August 22 I had surgery to remove a foot and a half of my colon...left colectomy is what it's called.  I had my pre-op appointment at the hospital on Wednesday, August 20, and I had an appointment with Dr. Rogers (my surgeon) right after that.  Since I hadn't really gotten to talk to him since June, we had  a list of questions and my anxiety was sky high because I just didn't know anything.  The doctor sat with us for about an hour and answered everything we asked him.  That's when we found out he would be removing about a foot and a half, he wasn't going to explore anything more, the surgery would last about 3 hours, and my recovery time would be about 3 weeks.  Looking at the diagram below, basically the plan was to remove the straight stretch on my left side (right side of the image), and he was to connect the parts together.
I felt much relief after my appointment but still had quite a bit of anxiety.  Thursday I had to leave work early in order to 'prep' for surgery.  Thankfully I didn't have to do a full cleanse, just a partial cleanse.  The drink was some nasty over the counter crap we bought at Target for a whopping 97 cents!  Seriously, I don't know why they can't make these beverages taste better...or make them taste like nothing at all!!  They're all just plain awful.
Thursday night was short, as we had to be at the hospital at 5:00 am to check in.  My surgery was scheduled for 7:30 am, first on the docket.  
I was back in a bed, in a gown, and I was hooked up to an IV in no time.  And all of a sudden it was time for me to go.  Peace out colon!
They wheeled me to another area where I had to wait for the anesthesiologist and wait for the doctor to come by.  The anesthesiologist gave me something to relax me as they wheeled me to the operating room.  That stuff knocked me out and it wasn't even supposed to!  I remember being wheeled to the operating room, I remember getting situated on the table, and that's it!  After that, I remember being wheeled around to recovery then to a room where I had to get myself into the bed in my room.  Yes, I had to get myself into my bed!  OH MY GOSH, I remember it hurting!!  Then I was out again.  I woke up at some point with dry heaves, due to coming out of anesthesia...once again, OH MY GOSH it hurt!!!  I remember telling my mom and Chris that I didn't want Sara Kate to come to the hospital that day because I didn't want her to see me like that.  And I don't remember much else.  I can't remember what time I finally woke completely up .  But my dear husband took some lovely pictures of me though during the day...so glad we have these LOVELY memories.  Haha! :-)
As for the surgery from the doctor's stand point, he told Chris and my parents that everything went as he expected it too.  He removed 18 inches of my colon and the surgery lasted a little over 3 hours.  The only thing that was different than his original plan was he added an extra port for the robot up near my ribcage, and he said that would be a very sore spot.

The night was uncomfortable and Chris stayed at the hospital with me.  My mom brought Sara Kate up after gymnastics Saturday morning and she wanted nothing to do with me.  My dad had to pick her up and make her come give me a hug.  It made me sad but I knew I expected her to be stand-offish.  Once my catheter was removed that morning I moved from the bed to sitting up in the chair.  It was uncomfortable but I propped up on a pillow and it was manageable.
I had a room full of guests by the afternoon; my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, niece and nephew came to town, as well as my in-laws came by.  I think it was good for Sara Kate for her to have her cousins there.  There was a plethora of iPads there between us all for the kids to play on and I had a double room so there was plenty of room for them to 'run' around.  My mom stayed with me Saturday night and Chris and my dad went home with Sara Kate.  Sunday morning I moved from the bed to the chair and we waited for a visit from the doctor on call.  He came by around lunch time and we got great news that he was discharging me!  I was out of there shortly after that and was home by 1:00 that day.  Yes, they brought me the biggest wheel chair EVER!  We laughed, except I couldn't laugh because it hurt.  But it was amusing.
Sunday afternoon and evening I sat propped in a chair and I slept propped up in bed, although I couldn't get into or out of bed by myself.  My mom left Monday afternoon and Chris came home from school early.  My mother-in-law stayed all day on Tuesday, and we had some sweet church friends that stayed with me the rest of the week during the days.  By Wednesday morning I was carefully able to get out of bed by myself.  I spent the week propped in a chair and carefully walking around.  I have felt the best in the morning and I kind of go down hill from there pain and general discomfort wise.  Friday, one week after my surgery, I got out of the house for the first time.  I went with Chris to pick up Sara Kate from school and we took her for ice cream for having a great day at school (after an awful day on Thursday).
Being 'down' on a holiday weekend was kind of a bummer.  Saturday I spent the day watching football but I kind of broke down Saturday night because I was so uncomfortable and sore and honestly, my spirits were just down.  That's the first time I've broken down during this entire experience.  Sunday morning I managed to make it to church and that helped, and yesterday we went out and got some lunch which was nice.
Sara Kate has been doing ok.  She's been acting out some and she's kept her distance from me, but she's getting a little closer and a little better every day.  She sat beside me this weekend to watch the iPad and play with a sticker book and color, which was great, until she elbowed me in the stomach trying to reposition herself.  I just have to remind her to watch her elbows when she's sitting near me. :-)

Chris has been great, taking care of me, taking care of Sara Kate, taking care of things around the house.  I'm very thankful for him.  I'm also very thankful for our sweet friends who are keeping us fed, bringing us yummy meals.  Everything has been amazing.

As far as my recovery, I'm a week and a half post surgery and I'm making it, feeling a little better everyday and moving around better everyday.  My back is killing me and my main incision site is really sore and I have what I'm calling 'the bulge' at that spot.  I don't know if it's from the stitches or what, but it is so sore to the touch and is an actual bulge just above my incision site.  Total, I have 6 holes, where they had cameras and ports, and the big incision where he removed everything.  I have taken pictures every few days and I've debating putting them on here, but I decided that I will because this is my blog journaling my experience.  And maybe someone on the internet will see this and it'll help them. 
Tuesday, August 26...4 days post surgery...
I ended up blistering where the bandages were, that's what those red spots down near the low incisions are.
 Friday, August 29...7 days post surgery...
The blistered spots look really red and were very sore, and I was starting to bruise.
Tuesday, September 2...11 days post surgery...
Blister spots look much better and are very itchy and I'm still bruising.
So that's where we stand.  My post-op appointment is September 11, almost 3 weeks after surgery.  Hopefully everything continues to progress the way it should and I'll be back to normal in no time.  After this recovery is done with, I'll still see Dr. Rogers every so often and in a month or so I'll be referred Dr. Paschall (who did my first colonoscopy back in June when I ended up in the hospital), and he will be my GI doctor and I'll work with him to manage my Crohn's.  Thank you for your prayers during this process and I ask for your continued prayers as my healing continues!

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