The Remaining Ten days: One miracle after another.
So long, farewell, my lovely Hawaii!
No one wants to die on someone else’s birthday. We live in a world where most people want to live forever, but if they had it their way, they would not die on a loved one's birthday. Sometimes, these things cannot be helped.
On the morning of August 8th, my former sister-in-law’s birthday, the mother of my niece and nephew, would be thousands of miles away in Okinawa, celebrating life. Her life. And lord willing, in a matter of hours, I would wake up and begin recovery from the hysterectomy I have been avoiding for over 15 years.
As they wheeled me into my third pre-op, I realized it was actually August 9th in Okinawa. I was in the clear. No one I loved and cared about would receive bad news on their birthday.
That Monday was one of the scariest days of my life. I was not sure if I would wake up. I had the appendectomy a month earlier, and all went well. I had a thrombectomy days earlier, and I woke up.
But still, sometimes you wonder how much your body can endure and if mentally and physically you are up to living a life feeling half empty.
How did I prepare:
I called all those I love and hold dear and stayed in constant contact.
I wrote my second chance dreams down in a journal.
Forever the optimist, I remained hopeful and dreamed.
How to overcome emptiness.
It’s weird right? Feeling empty because a few of your organs are missing?
If I am being completely honest, it is about not feeling like a complete woman even though I am way beyond my childbearing years.
How do you explain this when entering a relationship? Do you need to? And the worst news comes when you realize all the health implications and side effects that come with the hysterectomy.
An article on Healthline.com said 1 in 3 women will have a hysterectomy. Those numbers seem too high for the advanced care and medical knowledge we have today. Now, I have to concern myself with whether I might have a heart attack, suffer from bone loss and/or start to show signs of aging faster than I have before.
It is not a mystery that I woke up that day. I survived. But it was hell I would not wish on my worst enemy. I threw up like I had never done before and for days. I could not get myself to eat for fear it would just come back up.
For the first time in my life, I knew what it took to suffer through a liquid diet.
As usual, I had all the support I needed. My friends and family were praying for me back home, and the nurses and my doctors checked on me regularly. The next day, everyone stopped in to check on the recovery and the incisions made across my lower abdomen.
Physically, I was healing like Wonder Woman.
Mentally, I wasn’t sure why I was encountering such a horrible year. All I wanted to do with the rest of this year was take a school break and visit family in Japan. I had hoped to catch BTS in concert before they took a break. I wanted to see Tokyo. I wanted to go to Seoul. I wanted to write about my travels and finally create a YouTube channel that actually gained an audience. Dreams!
And spiritually, I was just hanging on. I prayed often, but also asked, ‘Why me?’ and why now?
When life gives you lemons…
Whatever! I was not in the mood for this cliche or other silly things people say to you during moments like this. I was not trying to make lemonade or listen to Beyonce’s Lemonade album.
I want to live my best life. I want to feel whole. I want to see the world.
One day at a time, I guess.
Did the rest of my time in the hospital fly by? No, it did not. This really was a time of one thing after another. By August 11, three days after the surgery, I had stopped throwing up everything in my body. My stitching improved each day. And now that the major surgery was done, I was relieved and feeling somewhat hopeful.
Japan was not an option this year, but maybe I would be back to normal by the end of the year. I am forever the dreamer, the optimist. My goal was to look and feel better by this time next year. And if any luck or blessings come my way, the healed would plaster her newfound attitude and health on a YouTube postcard from Okinawa.
When my hematologist came in to inform me that the medication was not helping my leg and there seemed to be little to no improvement called for more tests (Yippy! My bruised arms wanted relief) and another blood clot removal surgery. I was scheduled to go under for the 4th time in five weeks in two days, Saturday the 13th of August.
The End of the Road.
Me six years ago.
Feeling stronger than I should, despite feeling empty.
My stomach looked weird after the appendectomy and now it took on another shape after the hysterectomy. More on the Swelly belly after this.
There is no denying I was miserable. The leg had lost very little swelling and the swelling climbed up my back.
“You are allergic to the drip blood thinner,” they had said.
Here we go. Multiple questions ran through my brain. Why did we not test for this sooner? I have been on this drip medication for 10 days. What have you done when other blood clot patients don’t show any progress? My questions grew, and many were answered. But this was the only time I was disappointed in those providing my care.
What a waste of time.
Or maybe it was something that needed to happen in order for me to get the medication I recommended when I first arrived. The same medication I took three years ago when I had my first DVT. The same medication where I saw improvements in a matter of days.
They moved the surgery to the 14th for several reasons, but this allergy was probably one of them. Fourth time's the charm. Everything went fine. I woke up. I had an appetite. I felt good.
Two days later, my hematologist threw his hands in the air and said, “There is nothing else we can do. I have no idea why nothing we do isn’t working. I am sorry, but we have to rely on medication from here on out.”
“Fine by me.” No more surgeries EVER I hope. I assured him it was okay and it was all in God’s hands now, and always has been.
He told me I had been the second worst case of a DVT he had seen all year. The worst case walked out of the hospital. I would need a walker and a wheelchair.
Still, I felt good about my recovery. I was getting the medication I had recommended when I was admitted. When I entered the hospital I was not as happy as I am now. I blamed no one for the fact that my left leg was four times larger than my right leg.
They scheduled my release for Wednesday, the 17th. It almost didn’t happen because the insurance company didn’t want to issue me the medication that actually worked. I had been on two previous blood thinners now and nothing worked. What else did they want to give me?
Thankfully, my departure from Queen’s Emma Clinics was delayed by only a few hours. I was home before dinnertime. Not that there was anyone there to make it for me – let’s just say, ‘thank you lord, for DoorDash.’
The new medication worked miracles in a matter of days. It was hard to walk for only another week or two, but eventually, my body recognized my legs and I could walk a block, then two. I could stand for longer than ten minutes to cook a meal. Ordering DoorDash everyday can be expensive.
I was not well enough to move myself out of my one-bedroom apartment, but I made it happen and that apartment complex charged me an arm and a leg for seven holes left in the walls. By the end of August, I moved out. By the end of the first week of September, I was back in California.
My checkups went well. Everyone was happy. It was great leaving Hawaii with a smile on my blood doctor's face. The little things you never forget.
I am continuing to recover. Nearly six months later and my legs look almost normal side by side. I can walk for up to 40 minutes and have even attempted to jog for 20 seconds. I am back in the gym, light weights, 20 minutes far less than the hour I used to spend on weight training. 10 minutes on the bike and elliptical and I feel good.
Still overweight, but good.
Not everyone can be Al Roker. Lose tons of weight in the hospital and not gain any of it back once they return home. I packed on the pounds, but I know it is only a matter of time before I burn those pounds off and take off for my new adventures.
Stay tuned for more information about my recovery.
What I am doing now. Besides job hunting.
Where I plan ongoing next.
Tacoma for a book research project.
Omaha for overdue family visits.
Okinawa for long overdue family visits.
Tokyo and Seoul because I can.
Maybe more, who knows…there are no limitations.
So, stick around and enjoy the ride. Do not be surprised if I change up my Writing Blog posts or my Lifestyle Blog posts to travel destinations with tons of tips and tricks, howtos and so on.
Life is a journey.