My Return to Work 11 Weeks Post Hysterectomy

 

It is hard to believe that 11 weeks has passed since my surgery.  This past Monday on my 11 week hysterectomy anniversary, I finally returned to work.  I was off for a full 10 weeks and am now back to work on a limited work schedule.  I will only be working 5 hours a day for the first few weeks back.  This is both helpful and frustrating at the same time.  Easing myself back into the swing of things is important.  Also there is the fact that even after 11 weeks, I still have a good deal of pain and discomfort if I sit straight up for to long.  That all being said, it is frustrating when I finally get things progressing with the piles of work on my desk and I have to stop and leave because I’m not allowed to be there any longer then 5 hours.

Although I cannot say that I fully “enjoyed” my time off, it was still nice to have a bit of a break from work.  This was the longest I had gone without working since I started working fulltime 2 weeks after high school graduation.  Prior to surgery, I had made myself a list of all the things I planned on accomplishing while I was off.  I knew I couldn’t do anything physical during the early stages of recovery, but I also knew that I had many tasks on my never ending “todo” list that require no more then a computer and time. Time!!  Something that I normally do not have a lot of was finally going to be available to me!   I wanted to get all my pictures transferred off my phone and organized and uploaded to Snapfish.  I planned on scrapbooking and blogging several times a week.  Yet, the weeks passed by and I did none of these things.  My physical and emotional recovery was a lot more difficult then I imagined and still continues to be to this day.  The extended recovery time and my inability to feel “normal” as quickly as I anticipated caused me to feel depressed.  I found myself week after week feeling more and more like all I wanted to do was hide away in my home. Although I saw little moments of improvement, I found myself having very little energy or enthusiasm to do the things I once enjoyed.  As the days and weeks ticked away and my return to work date grew closer, I found myself falling deeper into this dark place.  I was sad…and yet I wasn’t really even sure exactly why.

Jumping forward to Monday June 10th, my appointment with our onsite clinic was set for 7:00 a.m.  I needed to be seen there before I could be officially released to return to my desk for work.  By 8:00 a.m., I was once again walking the familiar halls of my office building.  It was strange, but once I was actually onsite, I felt almost excited.  I explained it as that “first day of school” feeling.  The butterflies and the anticipation.  Yes, it’s silly I know.  I had only been gone 10 weeks, not a year.  But nonetheless, here I was heading back to what for me was routine and familiar.  Being someone with extreme anxiety and OCD, routines and familiarity are important aspects of contentment.  Little did I know this would help pull me out of my funk.  I’d become so recluse the last few weeks at home that I had forgotten how good it felt to interact with other people.

When I walked into my office, I had to smile as my coworkers had decorated my office with cute balloons and streamers to welcome me back.  It felt so nice to know that I was missed and that people were happy to see me return.

It’s been 4 days now since I returned to work.  Things are going good and I am slowly getting back into the grove and catching up on emails and paperwork.  I am thankful for the 5 hour a day limited work schedule, as I do notice the pelvic pains start at about hour 4.  I am assuming that as I start strengthening my abdominal muscles, the pains will eventually subside overtime.  Until then I am trying to go easy on myself and not get to terribly frustrated when the stabbing pains get to sharp to ignore.  I have said often over the past 11 weeks that I am not sure if I will ever feel like my old self again…  I’ve been fighting this internal battle to try and regain what I feel like I have lost.  But I’m starting to realize that it really doesn’t matter.  The old me.. the new me…  either way, I’m still me and I plan on making the best of whoever I happen to be at this very moment.

So, let the journey continue……………………………………….

365 Day Blog Post Challenge: EPIC FAIL!!

My Epic Fail

20190531_055637I’M BACK

Clearly I have failed my 365 day blog post challenge.  I only managed to make it through day 100.  Then life happened.  As I’ve mentioned, I was diagnosed with Complex Atypical Endometrial Hyperplasia late February 2019.  This resulted in the immediate need to schedule a full hysterectomy with a bilateral salpingectomy and oophorectomy.   Basically, I needed to be gutted like a fish.  Due to the CAEH, I had abnormal precancerous cells and we needed to remove everything as quickly as possible to try and prevent those precancerous cells turning cancerous.  Jump forward 4 weeks from diagnoses and I was in the operating room going through the most extensive and aggressive surgery I have ever had.  That was April 1st, 2019.

I had done a lot of internet research (which is both good and bad) prior to the surgery to try and find out what my recovery was going to be like.  I ran into a lot of conflicting information.  Some people would say that they felt great and were up and about in as little as 2 weeks.  Some people said that it took them 10-12 months before they felt “normal” again.  Being that I have had two other surgeries and I had relatively good recovery for both of them, I thought for sure I was going to fall into that group of people that had surgery…. rested for a few weeks… and then would be up doing normal “life stuff” (with some restrictions of course) rather quickly.  I was actually looking forward to a quick recovery and a little time off work to get some of those things done around the house that I’ve been putting off for ages.  Well… none of that happened.  No quick recovery and no getting things crossed off my “to-do” list.

Even though I thought for sure I would be one of those extraordinary recoveries, I decided I would do a little preparation because I knew that for at least the first few days, I was going to be tired and on pain medication.  So, I went ahead and wrote a few “365 Day Blog Posts” prior to surgery.  I had them set to post over the first few days of recover.  That’s were things went downhill.

Recover has been difficult to say the least.  I’ve had both physical and emotional issues that were extreme enough that prevented me from completing a blog post each day.  For the first 4 weeks, due to internal incision issues and an external incision that had popped, my weight lifting restriction was cut to just the weight of a water bottle.  This prevented me from even lifting my laptop on and off of my lap.  Hence, my 365 day blog post challenge fizzled.

I managed to make it through this challenge for 100 days, which I am proud of.  I enjoyed the experience.  The 365 day blog post challenge required me to write about random things.  Most of which I would never have thought to write about.  It also forced me to confront some questions that brought up a lot of emotions.  Which was tough, but good for me.

I am sad that this health issue arose and I was not able to complete all 365 days.  Maybe I’ll give it a try again next year.  For now.. I will focus on blogging about other aspects of my life.  Life seems so much different to me now after all I’ve been though over the past 2 months and I feel like I have so much to share on my experience.

Life is moving forward.  Slowly, but at least there is movement and that is what is important.  It is time to get back to the things I love doing!

My Hysterectomy Story: Day 12 postop

Today is day 12 post hysterectomy surgery.  I’m very disappointed in myself that I was not able to document my progress everyday as I had hoped.  I’ve been struggling with both physical and emotional issues since the surgery, not to mention pretty severe anxiety.

Going back to the beginning, I do have to share that prior to surgery I struggled immensely with major anxiety issues.  I tried desperately to emerge myself in my work so that I would have a distraction.  Which was good, because I had to figure out how to I was going to leave my job for  weeks while already being severely behind. I was able to get a large amount of work done (working 12+ hours a day a weekends) during the month leading up to my surgery.  I was also able to get someone trained to take over my workload while I would be out.  This was probably the hardest part for me because I am one of those people that prefers to do things myself (it is very hard for me to delegate due to my over control issues).

After getting work settled, I had to turn to something so I spent the whole day pre-surgery cooking like a crazy person.  I filled the frig with all sorts of premade food for us to eat in the evening (my husband does NOT cook), as well as prepacked my husbands lunch for the week ahead.  He is so used to me making him breakfast and packing his lunch, I felt like I needed to help out a little at least for the first week to make sure he was prepared.  I also knew he was going to be overwhelmed doing everything around the house that I normally would do (cat care, taking care of me, food, cleaning, laundry, errands), so I wanted to try and make it as easy on him as possible.  The poor guy was just as much of a wreck the week prior to surgery as I was.  Neither of us slept well and we were both on edge.  Even to the point of arguing with each other over the stupidest of things.
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The day of the surgery arrived and I was actually a little less freaked out as I was the prior days.  I thought for sure I was going to need them to hook me straight to an IV with some sort of anxiety  medication as soon as I arrived.  They didn’t give me anything until I was in the operating room (which seems a little strange to me.. by then it was only minutes away from me being out with the anesthesia, so odd that they gave me anxiety medication at that point.  Anyway.. after all the pre-surgery prep (so grateful to have my husband, mom and dad there with me), I was rolled into the operating room just before noon.  I don’t remember much about that part other then moving from the pre-op bed to the operating table.  After I helped maneuver myself over, they gave me the anxiety medication and the rest is history.  I don’t remember anything else until waking up in recover.

I was fortunate that I had no affects of anesthesia in terms of nausea.  I was of course tired and I remember dozing on and off for about an hour.  I was then wheeled into the actual recovery area where they gave me some jello and apple juice.  By this time it had been about 21 hours since I had eaten or drank anything, so I was ready for that apple juice.
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I felt pretty good in terms of pain directly after surgery (and even through the first 48 hours).  I was sore, but not in terrible pain.

I was sent home around 6:00pm and was home settled in bed by 7:30pm.

I started taking the pain killers and they unfortunately gave me horrible nightmares and insomnia.  I didn’t realize it was the pain killers until a few days later.  So for the first 3 days at home, I hardly slept, was uncomfortable in bed and when I did fall asleep, I would have such bad nightmares, my husband would have to wake me up because I would be screaming or crying in my sleep.

My wonderful mom came and took care of me the first full week of recovery while my husband went back to work.  Although I just laid in bed, she was still here to get me food and drink when I needed and help me in and out of bed.  She was so wonderful.  I don’t understand how people do this on their own without help.  I don’t know how it is even physically possible.

Recover has been very typical.  I’ve been in bed now for 12 days.  Just getting up to use the restroom, shower and move to the couch for a few minutes each night to eat.  Sleeping is still tough (even without the pain killers) because I am a side sleeper and I just cannot get comfortable on my side right now.  I’ve read that many people are able to instantly start side sleeping.  However, when I try, I get these stabbing pains so I have to roll to my back.  Sleeping on my back has now caused me to have some lower back and hip issues which is uncomfortable.

I didn’t take my first shower until Wednesday (surgery was Monday).  I admit that was traumatizing.  I was so scared (not really sure why).  We had a shower seat, so I was able to sit down, but I just could not get my body to stop shivering (cold and fear).  Of course, all the shivering did not do well with my stomach incisions from the laparoscopic surgery part.  Who knows what it was doing to the internal ones.  I think that is part of the stress, is that I cannot see what is going on inside and I have no idea how the recover is progressing.  Don is my super hero as he basically got me through the whole shower, got me dried and dressed and back into bed.  This was an odd experience for me because I’m normally the strong one.  I remember when I had my gallbladder out, I was up doing dishes that same evening.  No fears, no worries (pain yes, but no fear).  With this surgery, I am just afraid.  I’m afraid of basically everything and that fear is causing me more fear because this is just not my normal personality.

The other issue I am having is that I am constantly feeling pressure in the lower region.  Almost as if something is going to open up and my inside parts (that are left) are going to fall out.  It is a horrible feeling.  The doctor says it’s because I’m over doing it, which I don’t understand because I literally am in bed 80% of the day.  We have thus discovered that I have a week pelvic floor so things are just pushing down on my incisions and causing this pressure type pain.   I am TERRIFIED that my vaginal cuff is going to open.  The fear is so intense that it causes me major panic attacks during the day when I’m alone.

I know it’s only been 12 days, but I currently am having issues with believing that this will every get better.  I feel like life will never be normal again and I will never be able to do any of things that I used to do without living in constant fear of damaging something internally.  This is causing me to fall into a little of a depression which I’m fighting everyday.  I’ve made the mistakes of watching YouTube videos of women who are up and about and driving 2 weeks post surgery.  I can barely even walk around my house without feeling like my guts are going to fall out.  I know you cannot compare and that everyone heals at their own level, but I really do feel like I’m never going to be the same person again.  I’m never going to ride a bike or be able to do anything active.

Could this over dramaticness be associated with the onset of surgical menopause since they took my ovaries?  I don’t know…. could be…. I’m experiencing a hot flash as I type this, so I know my body is definitely at war inside (both my body parts and my brain).

I just wish I had a crystal ball that would tell me in a few months, I won’t even remember any of this and I will be my normal self.

On a high note, the biopsy of uteruis, cervix, ovaries and tubes came back NO CANCER!  We caught this all in time before it developed into full blown cancer, so that makes me happy.
I just wish now I could get through recover so that I can try and find a way to deal with whatever this “new” life is going to be.

My Story/My Hysterectomy Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 100. Life Can be a Challenge

365 Day Blog Post Challenge

Day 100

 

Instead of doing a random blog topic, I thought I would spend my 100th blog talking about my current situation.

Today is day 10 of my recovery from my complete hysterectomy and bilateral salpinectomy and oopherectomy.  I honestly thought I would be further improved by now.

Although my pain level is at a moderate 3/10, I am having a really tough time with horrible pressure issues. I don’t know how else to describe it other then it feels like my internal parts are trying to fall out of my body. I was told it was because I was overdoing things and putting pressure on the internal stitches but today I did nothing but spend the whole day in bed resting. Yet I still have this horrible feeling. I suppose I will call the doctor tomorrow for advise.

Other areas of difficulty are the onset of surgical menopause. I am having all of the typical menopause symptoms all at once and strong.  Night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia and escalated anxiety.  I am struggling with the options of HRT (hormone replacement therapy). For every good I also find a bad, so it’s hard to make an educated decision.

I think the biggest challenge is that externally after 10 days, I am starting to appear “better”. This makes those around me think that I should be doing more then I currently am. Even though we were told this would be up to a 6-8 week recovery, when you appear better on the outside, people think you are ready to start getting back into a normal routine. This is so not the case and can cause a good deal of tension and stress, not to mention  pressure on me as I feel guilty not doing all the things people are used to me doing.

This has truly been a challenge. I hope things improve over the next week.

My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 99. Needing a Break

365 day blog post challenge

Day 99

Hysterectomy Recovery…need a break

 

I am going to take a little break tonight on my blog post challenge,

Although I am rounding up on day 8 post surgery, I have been advised by my doctor that I am overdoing it. This is strange because I have been really good about staying in bed a lot, but clearly my internal incisions can’t handle even the little movement I’ve been doing. I started feeling strange pressure issues in the region of where the surgery was. Per the doctor that is because when I overdo things, the swelling increases, which puts pressure on the incisions. The last thing I want is to prolapse, so I am going to take a break tonight on the blogging and just try and relax and lay flat.

 

 

 

My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 98 Cleanliness

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 98
315. How long can you go without a bath or brushing your teeth?  What are your ideas about cleanliness?

I have a double part answer to this questions.  I have different levels when it comes to my ideas of cleanliness for personal hygiene and household cleanliness (clutter).

When it comes to personal hygiene, I’m sort of a tickler on showering and brushing my teeth.  At a minimum, I need to brush my teeth twice a day.  Sometimes three if I sneak in a brushing at work.  I cannot go to sleep at night without brushing my teeth.  I just do not like the way it feels.  Also, unfortunately, I inherited the genes for really bad teeth, so it is important that I try an do all I can to keep up with healthy teeth and gums so I do not end up losing them at an early age.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As for showering.. I’m an every day kind of gal.  Although, there are certain occasions when I may skip a day (those lazy Sunday’s I was talking about on one of my previous blogs would be an example).  I actually am one of those people that just hates to “get ready”.  Meaning that I know when I shower that I am then going to have to go through the whole process of “prepping” myself after I’m done.  Moisturizing, makeup, blow drying my hair.  I have super crazy hair.  It’s naturally curly, which I know many people say they wished they had, but mine is not that beautiful curl.  I have this ringlet, frizzy, brittle looking curl that if not tamed by the blow drawer, looks hideous.  When we are camping or there is some other reason I cannot blow dry my hair (for instance, this surgery has required that I not hold anything heaver then a bottle of water, so I am not able to blow dry my hair), I have to pull it back into a tight ponytail.  And even then there are crazy hairs that stick out all over the place.  It’s just not a pretty site.
Even with all of this, I still feel the need to shower everyday.  I just don’t feel comfortable if I don’t feel clean.

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Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

As for household cleanliness, this is where I am a lot more lenient.  Although I do not particularly care of clutter and I do not like when things are actually “dirty”, I am much more tolerable when it comes to clutter cleanliness then I am personal hygiene cleanliness.  If paperwork piles up for a week on the table, it doesn’t freak me out.  My husband however is exact opposite.  I don’t think he goes one day without complaining about all of the “stuff” we have in our house.  And we live in a tiny little 750 square foot house, so as you can imagine, there is not exactly a lot of room for “stuff”, so I’m not always sure what he is referring to.  He would prefer that we live in a space that looks like a hotel room.  Hardly anything around and very plain looking.  I, myself, have come to the realization that if my house is a little dusty or if I have some boxes stacked in the corner of my spare room, it’s not the end of the world.  I will admit that there are times things get out of hand in our place due to my little shopping addiction.  That’s when it starts to stress me out.  I don’t like “overwhelming” clutter.

My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 97 My Biggest Vice

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 97
270. What is your biggest vice?

The definition of a vice is, “a practice, behaviour, or habit generally considered immoral, sinful, criminal, rude, taboo, depraved, or degrading in the associated society”.

By this definition, I would have to say that I don’t really have any “real” vices.  I do have some bad habits, but nothing by definition that would be considered sinful, rude or immoral. If I had to pick a “vice” that I would consider to be my biggest, it would definitely be my emotional shopping.

I would consider this a vice because there have been times when I have actually tried to hide my shopping. The majority my shopping is done online, so the only way I can hide it is to get home first before Don so that I can get the packages inside and in the spare room before he gets home. Now….This doesn’t happen often, the whole “hidding” thing, but it has happened in the past. So this definitely makes it a vice for me.  When anything you do becomes something you feel the need to hide, I guess  it probably qualifies as a n actually vice.

This is something I actually thought about prior to my surgery last week. I thought, “Hmmm…. What if I want to buy something and it would be delivered during my recovery…” .  Since I’m not allowed to lift anything for 2-3 weeks, I wouldn’t be able to get any packages  in the house before he got home. So no shopping for  me  for a while!!  😂

My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 96 My Perfect Day

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 96
263.  What is your idea of a perfect day?

 

Beings I am currently experiencing a pretty aggressive bout of insomnia, I would have to say that the start of my idea of a perfect day would be waking up from a good night’s sleep. I don’t even need a full 8 hours. I would settle for a consistent/uninterrupted 5-6 hours. To make it a perfect day, I would also need to be able to wake up in my without assistance from an alarm clock. ⏰

Although we love to go out and do things, some of my favorite days have been those lazy days when we wake up and have coffee in bed while watching a n early morning Sunday movie. Most recently we have become hooked on watching a show called “Creature Features”. These are old B type monster/horror/SiFi movies. Most are pretty terrible, but we enjoy watching and making fun of them.

After the movie, as long as we didn’t have to run errands, I would say that pretty much anything Don and I do together would be a perfect day. For Don, he would probably say a perfect day would be then going on a long bike ride. For me, maybe a trip to the casino for a little penny slot machine play, or even just sitting around the house relaxing would be wonderful. I’m pretty much a home body so anytime I get to stay home is perfect for me.

To top off my perfect day, any take out food for dinner would be fabulous. No cooking or cleaning. Then off to bed!

This to me would be a perfect day.

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My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 95 Learning to Drive

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 95
176. Tell how, when, where you learned to drive and any memorable experiences

 

I had a rather crash course into the world of driving.

I will never forget my first time actually getting behind the wheel of a car. It was one evening after dinner and my dad was going to drive my Grandma home. She lived just a few blocks away, but I always loved to go with my parents whenever they left to run errands, so I asked to tag along. As we went outside my Dad tossed me the keys and said that I should drive us. I guess this was a good way to handle this because if we waited for me to get up the courage to do it on my own, I probably never would have.

Like I said, my Grandma’s apartment was just a few blocks away, but it did required going on two “main” streets to get there. I managed to make the first right hand turn with no troubles and proceeded to make the left turn and then another right turn to pull up in front of her apartment. Hurray!! I got her home without any damage to any of us or the car.

After we waited to make sure she was safely inside, we headed back to the house. I managed to make the first turn fine, but the next turn I ended up going up on the curb as I turned. Oops! Cut that to short. Luckily I didn’t hit the pole  when I jumped the curb.

Once we pulled up in front of the house, I did bumped the curb a few times when trying to park. But I made it!!  It’s funny how we build things up in our head and then when we actually do them, most of the time they are not as scary as we thought they would be. From that moment on, I loved driving and couldn’t wait to get my license. I was so ready to have that independence that came with driving.

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Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Pexels.com

 

My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 94 Feeling Secure

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 94
375. What makes you feel the most secure?

Currently, what brings me the feeling of security is my husband and my parents. This has been a very challenging month. I went from finding out I had complex atypical endometrial hyperplasia to having a complete hysterectomy with a bilateral salpinectomy and oopherectomy. My surgery was Monday and I don’t know how I would have gotten through this month or surgery without them.  These three people have brought me much needed security this week. The surgery day was terrifying and this first few days of recovery has been challenging. My mom has been with me all week sitting here in the house with me while I sleep and heal. Given that I suffer from intense anxiety (it especially surfaces when I feel I have strange things going on within my body), having her here during the day while Don is at work has been a huge form of security. Sometimes (especially when it comes to anxiety) it is tough to be alone. There is a sense of security having someone close to help you if something goes wrong.I

I love these people so much and appreciate all they do (above and beyond) to make me feel that security needed to get through  this difficult time.