It’s been four weeks since I had surgery. By all accounts, the surgery was a success. It was a success because they didn’t have to remove any of my bowels, especially my rectum. What they did remove was the mysterious growth that measured about 3cm x 3cm and was attached to my rectum but not growing out of it, and still has yet to be properly named. They also removed the organs the mysterious growth damaged, which were both of my fallopian tubes. In addition, there was a large cyst growing quite happily on my right ovary, which the surgeon removed without damaging my ovary. The surgeons sent everything they removed from my pelvis to pathology for testing. Since I haven’t received any calls requesting that I must urgently meet with any of my doctors, I’m assuming either they haven’t found anything too unusual or they still don’t know what the mysterious growth is.
When I’m finally healed from the surgery, I will have a vertical scar starting just below my belly button and extending down my pelvis measuring 10cm; or 3.9 inches for you non-metric converts. I’m grateful it’s that small because it would have been much larger if any of my bowels had to be removed, and I could have had an ileostomy attached to my abdomen. However, in place of those things, I will also have scars on my abdomen from the allergic reaction I had to the white, adhesive surgical bandage they placed over the steri-strips used to hold my incision wound stitches together. The allergic reaction I had caused my skin to develop large blisters around the edges of the bandage. I now have scars that show an outline of where the bandage was. I can only hope the scars will fade in time.
Apart from the allergic reaction to the surgical bandage, the big disappointment is that my pain is not gone. When I say that I’m not referring to the surgical pain, which is almost gone, I’m talking about the pain I’ve been living with for the past two years. The first signs that it was still with me came on the day they removed my epidural. Within a few hours of it being removed the old leg, hip, and back pain came back with a vengeance and my blood pressure jumped above 160. The nurses called the doctors from the Acute Pain Service to get my pain down to a level I could bear. That took a while and the whole time they were working on me all I felt was fear. Fear that what the doctors predicted prior to surgery was coming to fruition: I could have a major pain flare after surgery that could not be controlled and I might never be pain-free.
As I’m writing this my legs, right hip, and right lower back are hurting. I’ve been having this pain to varying degrees since they removed the epidural and patient controlled anesthetic (PCA) pump. To compensate for their removal and my body’s response to the surgical pain or body trauma as some doctors prefer to call it – at least I’m assuming these are the reasons – I am now taking pain medication at a dose that is just over three times higher than what I was taking before surgery. That scares me more than the pain. It scares me that before surgery, I was taking a significant dose of pain medications that didn’t always ease my pain and now this higher dose is barely doing the same.
My pain specialists are holding on to optimism. They believe that time will be my healer. They have me working on tapering the doses of my pain medications to a point where my pain is managed with the lowest doses possible. Until then I will try to live as normally as I can, which now includes accepting help from others without resisting, and monthly appointments to the pain clinic to monitor my progress.
OK Go – Here It Goes Again