We’ve all had those days when we are totally rockin’, knocking things off your “to do” lists, getting things accomplished, soaring high and feeling good about our progress… and then you turn around and find a “to do” list that’s even twice as long as the one you just completed, or your boss cancels everything you just worked on, and all of a sudden that big bubble of pride you blew up for yourself bursts. Two steps forward, three steps back. Oh, the defeat. I’ve learned to look at those moments as “baby steps”… at least I got done what needed to be done so my list isn’t as long as it COULD be, right? It still does feel a bit deflating, though, to know that the light at the end of the tunnel was pushed a bit further than you hoped. Well, that’s the feeling I’ve had this past week or two…
*If you have a weak stomach, tread lightly with this next paragraph… graphic scenes ensue. Parental guidance is suggested. *
After I had my catheter removed, I was feeling the “high” of my healing progress… it was a major step in my process of returning to “normal”. Well, the healing for that procedure hasn’t been so smooth. I had mentioned that it was a bit more painful than the actual transplant surgery, and I found out why… I had developed a rather big hematoma where they did the surgery. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a big blood “bubble” that can sometimes form internally from bleeding. There are many ways one can be caused, my surgeon told me that mine was probably caused because they had to struggle a bit to remove the catheter from my stomach (they were trying to keep from making the scar too big for me, my body had grown attached to the catheter so it was a bit traumatic to separate the two, etc.). My stomach had gotten completely swollen at the site, totally purple, and rock hard (like a baseball-sized rock in my tummy) making it very difficult and painful to move around. Originally, they told me that they wanted to wait and see if it would “reabsorb” back into my body (which is what normally happens) because they didn’t want to make yet another incision to drain it and cause further risk of infection. So, we waited, and the next time I went in for my clinic visit, the bubble “burst” and I looked down to find blood all over my stomach seeping through my clothes. Good thing I was in the right place at the right time! They did the best they could to drain the rest there in the office, but told me I needed to drain it myself over the next 3 days – twice a day – until the bleeding stopped. (I can only describe the process as squeezing my stomach (esp the rock hard spot) like it’s a big pimple, pushing out all of the blood that is sitting there, and leaving my suture open so that I could repeat the process later that day. Good times!). I’m glad to say, I have a strong stomach when it comes to gore, or else I would never have been able to handle such a request! There were a couple of nights I was up all night worried that I might get an infection which would affect my new kidney, or that I’d have to go in for another surgery… and it was hard to do the procedure on my own because my stomach would tense up making it difficult to do what I needed to do, so I was back to being very sore and slow. Not only that, but after following the ingenious advice of my doctor, I was walking around with a huge maxi pad taped to my stomach (the hospital’s suggested dressing of choice. Hahaha…). So, as I was dealing with that set back, I was also dealing with some other disappointing news regarding my bloodwork and tests, which made me feel like my bubble burst and I was now three steps back in my progress. The good “baby step” moment was knowing that none of it was due to my kidney, and that it was still working as strong as could be. Way to go Kirby! Keep it up! Just another bump in the road I’ve got to get over so I can keep moving forward. 🙂
Today, the swelling in my stomach has really gone down, which means all that gore over the weekend did it’s job, and now, instead of the baseball-sized rock, there’s only a small golf ball-sized rock left in my stomach, and no more difficulty getting around. The doc says we can now let the suture close and the rest of the hematoma will eventually dissolve back into my body (in a few months). Yay! And no more maxi pads as my fashion accessory! 😀 (They are so ’95 anyway…) One more step forward in my progress is the fact that my weekly visits have been lowered from three days a week to two! Woohoo! I’m not sure if it’s a good thing when you’ve been to a hospital frequently enough that everyone knows you by name (and what you order every morning for breakfast!). 🙂 So, here we go… getting back on track to moving forward again…
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. I’m very thankful that my setbacks haven’t been anything extremely severe or life-threatening. I have heard many stories from the others in the clinic or elsewhere where patients have almost lost their kidneys or had serious infections. My kidney friend in Australia is one of them… she just had her kidney transplant a few weeks ago, and her liver is now having problems with all of her new meds. Maria, we are all praying for you and hoping that everything turns around so you can also start moving forward with your healing progress!
2. Optimism. I have read time and again that a positive attitude really makes a difference with how you heal, so I’ve tried to stay as positive as I could. My doctor shocked me the other day when she told me that I’m not like most of the “Type I Diabetic” patients she sees (really… that damned label again) because most of them just give up after having to deal with their illness so long. I can’t imagine that! I’m glad I’m able to continue not being a part of THAT “norm”!
3. My parents for helping me through a very scary collapse in blood pressure that had them literally carrying me to my bedroom. I’m so thankful you were there to get me through that moment. It was as scary for me as it was for you, and you being there calmed me. 🙂
4. Facebook and Pintrest. For helping me get through many nights of insomnia. (I bet some of you aren’t used to seeing me post as much as I have lately! LOL!) No worries, I’ll stop bugging everyone with my stupid quiz results soon. 😉