Wednesday, May 23

Paging Dr. Teagan!

Look what came in the mail today!!! I'm sooooo excited!!!!!

Maybe Dr. Teagan will be able to heal my stomach issues. That would be nice! In the meantime, I'm on close, intimate terms with my bathroom. Boo :-(

Monday, May 21

Paging Dr. Teagan

When I was leaving the ER Saturday night/Sunday morning I snagged a couple of the face masks they leave out for patients with coughs or colds to wear so they don't affect other patients. I took an adult and child size, thinking perhaps Teagan would be interested in them, as she has been very interested in my health/surgery.

Today she came to visit, bearing a box of items to cheer up her Auntie M. Enclosed inside was one of her special "Elmo" cold packs (for when she gets an owie) and a bright and very cheerful, indeed, penguin:

She is fascinated with my cane, which I've had to use since the surgery to stay steady. We shortened it to her size, but she wanted to be able to have her little stuffed monkeys use it but it was too big...major bummer!

Later, she listened intently as I talked to my GI's assistant. (He, of course, is on his way back from CA right now and will call me either tonight or tomorrow to discuss what's going on.) Teagan then quizzed me about what the doctor said. Super cute. And checked out my surgical incisions again...eeeeweee gross! When I suggested they looked like worms, she loved it! Super gross!!!

So then we got the face masks out and told her I got them at the hospital the other night and would she like to play doctor? You betcha!!! We also grabbed a whole bunch of address labels from my desk to fill in as bandages. (Thank you American Heart Association!)

We had plenty of patients!

Paging Doctors Teagan and Auntie M!!!

Look how happy our patients were!!!

Recognize my comforters from the other day?

Gramma & I also got bandages--I on my tummy and Gramma on her throat because she had a slight cough. :-)

Gramma loved the game because it meant that she only had to "play monkeys" with Teagan for a short period of time today! LOL

Having my sweet little TeaRose come to visit certainly did cheer me up~which I need as I am still having (*gag*) rectal bleeding as I have continued to have diarrhea. I have chosen to not return to the ER after spending 6 rather fruitless hours there the other night. I am hoping my GI will be in touch with me in the next 36 hours and we can make some sort of game plan.

In the meantime I'm drinking plenty of water, Gatorade, and soft foods...and my mom's home-made bread! (As these are the only things that stay in lately!)

Needless to say...after Teagan left, Auntie M went to Amazon and these will be arriving at our house sometime next week:

I'm so excited! I can't wait for these to come!!!

Sunday, May 20

6 Hours in the ER

Well, after 6 hours in the ER tonight, I learned that I have an unremarkable bum and am only slightly full of crap.

Seriously though, Mom & I arrived at the ER at 8pm. By 10pm still hadn't met the doctor, but as all 30 beds were full, that was rather understandable.

However, in that time I did have blood & urine tests done and was in the queue for a CAT scan. When the doctor arrived, I was sad to learn that he was extremely hot--not what you want when you are being asked to provide a stool sample, if possible, and are going to talk about your bowel habits, etc.

Based on my recent history (including the issues that lead me to see a new GI who then sought an ultrasound of my gall bladder which then lead to me having surgery last week), the possibilities of what was wrong with me included (going down the line from most to least likely): an obstructed bowel (as in obstructed with p-o-o-p), a tear or rip in my bowel somewhere (thus all the blood earlier), a twisted bowel, simple bleeding hemroids, complications from the gallbladder surgery, or some unknown quantity.

In the meantime, I continued to remain parched as a wanderer in the desert ("take nothing by mouth") and nauseated until they gave me IV pain and anti-nausea meds (yay!). Then I was only parched.

Doctor Hottie spoke to the surgeon on-call from my surgeon's office, ran the aforementioned tests, and finally did a rectal exam (which he referred to as an exam of my bottom--as though I were a child or something; endearing rather than annoying, probably because he's cute!).

Findings were:

Because the CAT scan showed no gall bladder stones or problems w/the incisions, no need to worry about that any more.
Because there were no tears, or rips or twists in my bowels, no surgery needed--YAY!!!
Because there was no solid or complete obstruction (yes, there was "stuff" in there and air bubbles) I didn't need to have a tube put down my throat and have my bowels vacuumed out--double YAY!!!
Because there was no blood in my stools and the hemroids he did see were external and not bleeding, I can see my GI and have him run the colonoscopy as planned in June.

Results were as I stated in my first sentence, I have an unremarkable ass and am only partially full of shit, which I said all my friends knew anyway!

But what this means is, the spasms, and attacks of pain, and blood were most likely caused by the constipation issues I've been having and these are most likely medication related. So I am to touch base with Dr Arjul (my GI) next week to bring him up to speed and see if he needs to see me sooner than my already scheduled appointment in June.

I am to drink plenty of water (which I do anyway), consume lots of fiber (which I thought we did), exercise (he suggested just walking for now because of the surgery--I'll give him that one, 'cause I've lacked in this area), and try not to strain or push when having a BM. LOL

If I have the bleeding issue again, back to the ER I go. In the meantime, they handed me a much coveted cup of ice water and my marching papers and sent me home, where I sat down with a huge glass of water, a slice of home-made bread (thanks Mama!) and typed this a 3 in the morning prior to going to bed.

I plan on sleeping til noon at the earliest!

Thanks for all your prayers, thoughts, concern, and love!!!!

Saturday, May 19


So, I had just watched I'll Have Another take first in the Preakness in before collapsing in pain. Ambulance just left. Not sure what happened-it's all just a blur of pain nausea sweat shakes.Of begging for mom to call 911. Now on couch on other side of tunnel of pain wondering what the hell just happened?!?

Apparently I had been sheet white. Slick w/sweat. Diarrhea. Nausea. Terrified I was going to throw up and screw up interior stitch-work. Black hole of darkness was trying to claim me. 

About an hour or two before, I'd had a "BM" that was mostly blood--not good! We'd called the on-call surgeon who said it had nothing to do with the surgery--suggested perhaps a hemroid? Seriously?!? She said if it happened again, to go to the ER as people have actually needed blood transfusions from bleeding hemroids. (Seriously?!?! OMG!!!!)

So, Mom stood over me with a cool damp cloth, looking into the toilet, seeing no blood, but then just called 9-1-1 when I was unable to answer, except for groaning in pain.

So glad she did! I was too out of it to make any decisions or to even know what was going on. I was just aware of being fairly certain that my death was imminent.

The surgeon had mentioned that I had a ton of gallstones and hethought they got all of them, but that there was always the possibility they'd missed one it could have escaped and get lodged in pancreas--but he didn't describe what that would be like.

But emergency responders said if that had happened, I would have been running a high fever and would not have been able to bend at the waist and the pain would have been even more excruciating than what I was currently experiencing...which I couldn't imagine at the time: and I have a high pain tolerance!!! 

Anyway, they got me stabilized and got on my case for not taking the oxy the dr had prescribed after the surgery-opting for the vicodin I keep on hand for when my fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain gets to be too much. 

They couldn't understand why I hadn't taken it and laughed when I said I was afraid of becoming addicted. They handed me 2 and a glass of water and here I am an hour later looking back wondering what on earth that whole thing was about.

Maybe it's just that now that the neck and shoulder pain is gone, my body is finally aware of the internal pain of having had an organ removed!!!

So what the hell happened....quite simply: I don't know. But I'm feeling much better now. 


Just wanted to give a brief update on how I'm doing post-op.

Surgery started several hours late due to some random power outage that encompassed the entire hospital & surrounding area. Evergreen Hospital was totally on top of things and called us before we had planned on leaving so that I could stay at home and starve comfortably in my own living room rather than in one of their pre-op rooms! The power was back on by the time they called however the outage was followed by a bad car accident on the 405 that shut down several lanes so they were running about an hour-to-two-hours behind with their surgery schedule. They gave me a number to call prior to leaving for my new check-in time to make sure they were really ready for me. Second time around, they were.

I really like the way the surgical wing is run at Evergreen (this being my 2nd surgery there). They are very organized but also very caring. All of the nursing staff is incredible! My assigned surgical nurse turned out to be the same nurse as from when I had my hysterectomy 2 years ago! How funny is that?! And my anesthesiologist was awesome! He really put me at ease. He also assured me that he was going to stay with me in the surgical room until I was fully awake so that I wouldn't need to use my CPAP machine (even though he had it ready to go). I wasn't really cognizant of any of that portion~I became more aware of things when they had me sitting up in a recliner and were bringing in my Mom and Auntie Donna.

(This was pre-op when I still had a sense of humor!)

Now, even though I was out of it, I was aware that I was experiencing the most pain in my right shoulder rather than in the surgical area. My logical mind knew this was because of the air the surgeon put in under my diaphragm to give him more room to work in and that, because the diaphragm doesn't feel pain, the pain radiates to the right shoulder and neck, and that once the air worked its way out, the pain would also dissipate. However, my foggy mind wanted them to make it stop immediately!

Well guess what: It has been 4 days and the worst pain has remained in my right shoulder. To be fair, that was where I'd felt a lot of the gall bladder pain to begin with, but this just wasn't easing up! It was horribly excruciating! It hurt to take a deep breath. To move my arm. To turn my head. To sleep. To be awake.

And I am not a baby about pain! We fibromyalgia warriors handle pain that would cripple others, right?!
But this was killing me! My mom tried massaging me--I was urging her to push into the painful points as hard as she could...similar to pulling off a scab: hurts but you've gotta pull it off.

The tenderness where they operated was nothing compared to this pain in my neck and shoulder. I had slowly become convinced that someone somewhere had a voodoo doll of me with an ice pick stuck in its shoulder.  I was starting to wish they would just pull the arm off, that my arm would fall off and the pain would be less! Seriously!
Thanks Ro!!

But then my mom went to her water yoga yesterday and talked with a friend who had recently had surgery on a hiatial hernia and guess what her doctor told her to do???? Have someone burp her 2-3x a day for a week or so after surgery. Whaaaa????

So last night, my mother burped her 41 year old baby after having not done so for about, oh, about 40 years. And guess what??? This lil baby burped like nobody's business and is now relatively pain-free in the neck and shoulder area and can turn her head, move her arm, and breathe deep breaths!!! Hallelujah!!!

Of course, now I'm a bit more aware of the tenderness in the surgical area, but I feel sooooooooo much better over all!!! Yay for being burped like a baby!!!!!!!!!!!!

And a big huge thank you to my mommy for taking care of me! She is the best care-taker and I am so blessed to have her taking care of me. I seriously do not know what I would do without her!! She is incredible: my support & my friend....Really, what comes to mind is that old-fashioned word, "Companion." I love you, mama!!!

Thanks, too, to my many friends & family who have been sending texts & emails, checking in on me via facebook, and calling. I've felt so loved by you all!!!

My sweet sister & niece came and took care of me on Wed morning while my mom went to the Y. When she left, Teagan left her 3 favorite friends to help take care of me:
Perry the Purple Mouse, Pinkie the Monkey, and
Baby Monkey. While she was here, she looked over
my wounds carefully, asked what happened, listened to my 
explanation and then pronounced me to be "very brave."
It's nice to be somebody's hero!

Thursday, May 17

A Little Visitor...

...has taken a liking to our yard!!!

We feel so honored to host this little yellow finch and have noticed he is 
beginning to bring his wife around...will we soon have a family of finches? 
We hope so!!!

Sunday, May 13

Time to Get Personal--Again

Hello All,
This will be a very personal posting in regards to my health. I didn't know whether to call this post "Letting it All Hang Out" or "Feeling Fragile." As you can see, I went with neither one even though when I first started on this little venture I'm going to recount, I felt more of the latter. (See my posting on fibromyalgia for more on why that happens if you want to.)

I've shared with a couple people that about a month ago I became severely constipated (told you it would be personal!!!)--as in concrete. I won't go into details as they weren't pretty and I didn't like living it the first time and sure as heck don't want to relive it but let's just say I never understood the word "constipation" prior to this and that I also have even more respect for anyone that have given birth.

Shortly after that, as in within days, I began to have these horrible spasms that would literally take me to the ground writhing in pain. It felt as though it were from right behind my breastbone going down through my intestines and up through my esophagus. This was happening every couple of days and there were a couple times I nearly went to the ER. 

However, given that it came right on the heels of the whole bowel issue, my mom and I thought I might have caused a hiatal hernia. I tried time and again to get a hold of my gastroenterologist but could only get an answering machine and no one called me back. Sooooo, I called around and got around and ended up getting an appointment with a doctor at Eastside Gastroenterology near Evergreen Hospital. 

In the meantime, I tried to see my primary care physician who, of course, happened to be on vacation. So I saw another doctor who thought that perhaps it was simply an esophogeal spasm caused by the trauma of the severe constipation. 

However, I part of the reason I thought it was a hiatal hernia was that I had also discovered a large (1 1/2 inch)  lump in my lower right breast but I thought maybe it was a lump from the hernia pushed up so that I could also feel it in my breast. I do self exams every month or so and have no idea where this freaking big lump came from!

The doctor I saw did a breast exam and said he didn't think I should worry about the big "C" word. 

But I was a smart girl and kept the appointment with the GI doc on April 30th. He was awesome!!! I really, really liked him. He impressed me at the appointment and then impressed me some more by actually calling me at home later that evening to double check a few things!!! So if anyone needs a good gastroenterologist, Dr. Arjul at Eastside Gastroenterology near Evergreen! 

After talking with him and being examined by him, I learned I needed to: 
1) Have an ultrasound of my gallbladder to rule out any issues with it {had this done Monday, May 7th}
2) Have a colonoscopy to check for pulyps in my colon and to confirm Irritable Bowel Syndrome (as I've had symptoms since childhood but never been officially diagnosed) {scheduled for June 28th at Evergreen Hospital as I will be under full anesthesia}
3) See my PCP to have my thyroid tested as constipation can be a sign of a thyroid problem (as well as get a referral for a mammogram) {did this Thurs, May 10th. Side note: she thinks lump in breast is caused by an underwire bra}

In the meantime, I had a couple nights of having nightmares over and over again that my body was riddled with cancer and that I was going to have to have my friend Donna shave my head and have a wig made for me for when I underwent treatments! Or that I died and my precious niece and nephew would never remember me. So, yeah, I was feeling a bit fragile

By May 9th I learned that I needed to:
1) See a surgeon ASAP to have my gallbladder removed ASAP as it is full of stones and contracted and diseased
2) Have the colonoscopy  as scheduled, after recovering from surgery
3) Have a mammogram done as soon as I can  after surgery despite the fact that 2 doctors don't believe the lump is anything to worry about.

Oh goody!!!! 

 By May 11, I'd met the surgeon and scheduled my gallbladder removal surgery for Tuesday, May 15th.

Should all go as planned, it should a be a laparoscopic, and be over in a couple  hours. And I should be able to go home that very day, unless they have to do full blown surgery.
They will only have to open me up if one of the following has occurred:
-Gall-stones have moved towards my pancreas and become stuck there
-Scar-tissue from one of my prior surgeries have adhered to any of the areas they need to reach 
-Some other weird, unforeseen event occurs ;-)

As we discovered via my hysterectomy that I am allergic to the adhesive bandages they typically use after surgeries, my surgeon is going to use superglue.

So there we have it in a nutshell...a really big nutshell.

As if all this weren't enough, I'm supposed to see a new rheumatologist May 30, revisit that neurologist on June 18th so I can tell him off regarding the medications he put me on that he knew I was allergic to, and meet with my sleep specialist on July 9th. Shaping up to be a great summer!

So if you remember, could you pray for me? Probably mostly for my emotions!!! But also for the surgeon. LOL 

Love you!

Wednesday, May 9


*Please note, this may be a long post, but you'll want to read the whole thing as there's important news at the end of it!*
Yesterday I was actually able to get out of bed at the crack of dawn (9am) and head over to Whidbey Island with my mom for her regular "Tuesdays with Dante" day. She may come home tired, but she always comes home content after spending the day with her boy and I've been getting jealous. I don't see enough of him (or my brother & SIL) even though we live in the same state!

I made it out there last Thursday for a few hours and was so happy I did, but a whole day with the little guy was pure bliss! He is growing up so fast! Learning new skills and tons of new words that he strings together in both nonsensical and understandable sentences. (Such as when Daddy picked us up at the ferry and then swung by the store to pick up a few things, leaving us in the car with Dante. After struggling, unsuccessfully, for quite sometime to get his car seat belts off when he saw Daddy leaving him behind, he finally announced to us: "I want out!" plain as day! Fortunately Daddy came back right then and he was content to take off again with Daddy safely back in the car.

Dante absolutely loves seeing his Grandma and greets her with big smiles and Hi's! but he's been a little unsure of me since he hasn't seen that much of me lately. But, he saw me last Thursday and again on Saturday and then again yesterday so while he wasn't immediately launching himself into my arms, he wasn't scared of me either.

Last Thursday, he suddenly started calling Grandma "Nana" and that seems to have stuck! He continued to call her that all day yesterday! He has christened her with his own special name! How exciting! Especially as my mom had her own Nana whom she's been talking about quite a lot lately and been missing. Isn't it sweet that her little love bug chose to call her that?
At Auntie Tiffy & Uncle Mikey's Cinco de Mayo party with Nana

Last week, Dante noticed that both his Nana and I had our toe-nails painted with bright colors and with flowers on our big toes. He was fascinated! He compared our toes to each others and then (with my help) pulled off his sock to look at his toes. He lined up all of our feet together to look at them and then crawled on Nana's legs to get a good look at her toes and was surprised to get a bumpy "horsey" ride too.

Foot Fetish in the Making? ;-)

This week, he remembered that ride and within minutes of our arrival, he pushed the coffee table out of the way and climbed on to Nana's legs with glee!

Ride 'em Cowboy!!!

He did this off and on through out the day. Nana's not sitting on the couch? That's cool. He can make it work on the floor too!

Just like his Daddy before him, Dante is a little nature boy. Two words he had down: Bug! and Spider! He is okay with you stepping on one of the many (MANY!!!) spiders outside if you tell him it's a spider but God forbid you step on a bug!!! He could probably spend hours looking at various bugs! There were lots of fascinating roly-poly bugs outside that he carefully followed around, squatting down to get an even closer look at--you know, cuz a 15 month old is soooo much higher up than a bug on the ground! LOL

Do you see that green cup in his hand? He brought that outside with him. At one point he had set it down and was looking at a bug on a the porch pole. Suddenly there was this glimmer in his eye that spread across his whole face. He spun around and grabbed that green cup and tried to capture the bug on the pole! I'm telling you the instinct to catch bugs in jars must be inbred into little boys!!!

Of course there wasn't just insects, but various grasses and wild flowers to check out as well. He is a lucky little boy to live in a place where he is surrounded by such beauty!

We are looking at a little tiny purple wild flower...

He must have known me to be the sucker I am, because he finally took one tentative step off the patio into the grass (where his mama won't go as it is full of bugs and spiders, but his daddy will go--the test of Auntie M: will she do it or not???). As I had already chased down a big wiggly worm for him he must have had an inkling of which way I'd turn. *Gulp* Auntie M took the plunge, pulling up my pants as high as I could to avoid getting  creepy-crawlies in them and followed him through the grass, Nana following saying, "Really?? Where are we going??" with me replying, "I don't know--ask Dante!"

He led us to the corner of the garage where he paused, looked up at me, took a big breath for courage, and took my hand (my heart promptly melted) and led us into the front yard. There we inspected the car ("vroooom, vroooom!") and still more flowers...

....before Dante continued to lead us on our Nature Walk adventure, straight up his driveway, stopping to check out intriguing items such as pine cones, insects, sticks, or "bubble" flowers...

This is a "bubble flower" because you blow on it~clever of him, no?

Great fun!!!! He faithfully carried his green cup with him everywhere! Teagan usually would start out on a nature walk with an item that I would end up carrying as she would soon be carrying rocks or sticks or other things. While Dante did collect other things--pine cones, sticks, flowers--he only carried one thing at a time and kept that cup in his other hand the whole time! Pretty amazing. However, I did end up carrying the little bouquet of wild flowers and grasses we collected and brought home to Mommy since he didn't want those in his green cup! LOL!

Our only issue lay in getting him to turn around and come home. Twice we made it down the driveway:

...only to have him turn and go back up it. It finally ended with Nana having to capture him and carry him down while Auntie M tried to distract him with our collection of "pretties" for Mommy.

We made it back into the house, where he was happy to see his Daddy for a brief time...
Cousin Teagan gave Dante this adorable fedora!!!

...before crashing for a nap. (Secret: Nana took one too while she held him and so did Auntie M.)

In case you can't tell from the pictures above, Dante is just a wee bit of a ham for the camera! He'll hear me turn on the camera and suddenly you get pictures like this:

Or this:

What a card! Of course, he likes to explore the camera too, to see what the pictures look like that were just taken, or to watch videos that were shot, or (more importantly) to push buttons and see what happens!

Dante took this picture all by himself! Aren't you impressed?!

As you may remember, Teagan is obsessed lately with playing Monkeys with Gramma. Well, it turns out, that no matter where she goes, Gramma/Nana seems to be playing with monkeys with her grandkids! Kinda funny really!

Notice the rather crazed look in her eye from having to play with monkeys so much?

And, similar to Teagan at this same age, Dante (in case you haven't already noticed) has great fun playing with hats! Which I love, cuz I love hats!

Now are you ready for the really important news from yesterday????





He pointed right at me (3x!!!) and clearly said "M!" while smiling! 

Yup, you guessed it: my heart completely melted away!