(Or sir, depending on who’s reading;)
Honestly, I want to be done.
If I never visited another doctor for the rest of my life, I’d be one happy lady.
But that’s not the case, and we all know that from time to time, doctors are real lifesavers. In this situation, all I need is another (minor) procedure.
Before I fill you in on what’s happening tomorrow morning (10/27/15), I thought I’d catch you up to speed on what’s happened since I last blogged over 4 months ago.
- Aortic valve replacement at Mount Sinai in New York (which was a success until my surgeon later admitted he wasn’t expecting to cauterize my upper chest like crazy as soon as he opened me up. Basically, he had to sear/burn the many unexpected veins crisscrossing my sternum in order to control all the bleeding. Turns out when you have major veins blocked due to previous scarring, your body miraculously recreates new veins in a most convenient way. Amazing. I learned later from another surgeon that not all doctors would have continued with the procedure. Many would have closed me up in order to plan a better alternative. But this didn’t deter my doctor. Praise God.
- With the extra hour or so of surgery needed to tame my bleeding episode, I ended up losing my memory for 4 days, which they assumed happened because of the amount of time I was out (sometimes anesthesia can do this; it’s even been nicknamed “Pumphead”). Couldn’t remember my kids’ names, birthdates, not even the year we are currently living in. My poor hubby was a mess.
- By day 6 of repeating “The year is 1995, right?” to my doctor, I finally answered his quiz questions right and remembered it was 2015. Yay. I could now be discharged to a nearby hotel for another 6 days.
- Sounding like a winded, out-of-shape runner, and looking like a super pudgy mommy with stick-like legs, I was sent home.
- I was prescribed Lasix to release all the extra fluid my upper body was retaining.
- With the help of the meds, I finally deflated to normal size:
- During my recovery, I ended up going through a third iron transfusion because of all the blood loss during surgery, a round of antibiotics from an upper respiratory infection and sinusitis, but by month three, I finally was somewhat back to normal.
- Except that my upper body puffiness was returning as soon as I stopped taking the Lasix.
Sorry if that was too lengthy. A lot of other emotional stuff took place (sleepless nights, agitated/drowsy days, and no one to else go get huffy with execpt my poor hubby. Did I mention the rewards he deserves for caring for me? Thanks, babe!). Basically, I wasn’t a fun person to be around from all the crankiness, but, praise God, I really do feel like I’ve turned a corner and I’m somewhat back to normal.
Then last Thursday I went to see a vascular surgeon to discuss my upper body water-retaining problem. He walked into my room and said, “Oh, I was expecting to see an elderly woman.”
I wanted to say, “Well…internally, I kind of am.” But I just smiled.
Turns out he said my Superior vena cava, the main vein that helps drain fluid from your upper body, is 100% blocked. According to Medicene.net, “Symptoms include swelling of the face and arms associated with shortness of breath.”
What? That’s me.
For the last few months I have been soooo winded while walking or standing too quickly. And this explains all of my upper body water retention issues. Actually, he said it looked like part of wire was still left inside from my last surgery (he assumed) and possibly another wire from a previous port placement in my chest (device used during my chemo treatments for easy blood access as they internally connect the port to your main vein). This, he speculated, could be causing the blockage, but he wouldn’t know until he placed my new stent. He could only guess that I’ve probably had this blockage for 10 or 15 years. This was most likely why I had so many new veins that had regrown across my chest.
Basically, if you read the book, you know that a couple of my medical complications were associated with water retention. After I went into the ICU while pregnant with Asher, my upper body ballooned up, and my organs shut down. I was on IV fluids that may have added to my Superior vena cava issue. And with Sabal, again I drank an enormous amount of water (if you read, you know why;), and was given IV fluids for my C-section, which most likely caused my enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy) when my body couldn’t drain the fluid.
But who knows. It’s all speculation. And really, it’s all in the past (praise God!).
Either way tomorrow, Tuesday, October 27 at 7 am, my surgeon is going to insert a stent to re-open my clogged vena cava. It should be a simple procedure, my surgeon hopes. Actually, he kept repeating that. “He hopes.” Is it okay to admit that I “hope” so, too?
Nah. Scratch that. I’m praying that all goes better than expected. Even yesterday at church a sweet friend of mine, Joannie, reminded me that all we need is manna for the day.
I knew what she meant.
She saw the anxiety crawl accross my face when we asked our Sunday morning marriage group for prayer. “All we need is manna for the day,” she reminded me.
And she’s right.
For today, right now, I need to enjoy those precious moments in life with my kids and husband and not allow the fear of the “What if?” to wiggle its way into my thoughts/time/sanity.
God is Sovereign (1 Timothy 6:15-16). He has full power to govern without interference. I can’t control my days. They’re already mapped out. But I can focus on my manna (the provisions He gives me) for the day and be thankful for the time, thankful for each breath I’m still here to experience.
Every breath is a gift, whether you’re sick or not.
I also know my Heavenly Father loves to hear from His children. So if you don’t mind, will you please believe all goes well too?
That I really am in and out like my doctor is assuming.
That this procedure reduces my upper body puffiness, increases my oxygen flow, and that the stent remains open for a long, long time.
Prayer works. I promise. Honestly, the more I learn about the body the more I’m convinced that it’s a miracle we’re all even alive. God is amazing and He is able to do far more than we could ever imagine.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” Ephesians 3:20