A long time ago I decided I was not a pill popper. I would leave my headaches to almost the point of no return before I would take an Advil. This was not always the wisest decision, but for some reason I did not want to take the pill. With my surgeries I have done the same thing. The previous two I was on all sorts of pain medication – and my body became addicted. It was a scary thing. I was experiencing withdrawals and it took me close to two months to safely come off of them. With this surgery I explained all of my concerns during my pre-op. I told them the only drug that was ok to give me, and they agreed. What I began to notice in the hospital right away when I woke up is how drugged up I felt. (And no I am not talking RIGHT when I woke up – obviously) Even with a minimal amount of pain medicine, I was still very loopy and do not remember much. I know pain control is a very serious thing post op. You can cause more damage if you stay stiff and do not get up from a laying down position. Even still, second day in the hospital I decided I would push past the pain and stop taking the pain medication. This has been difficult. I am at home now but am still struggling. I of course feel better with each day, but it is still very painful. Not only am I sore and swollen down my left side of my ribs, but my shoulder and neck are all out of wack. At first I could not figure out why – then we realized the position they must have flung me in during surgery. My arm was pulled tight above my head for two hours – no wonder I am in pain. With pain comes insomnia. It is extremely difficult to sleep when you are in constant discomfort. Still – I choose to endure. The “high” feeling I receive from the drugs is not fun for me. I know this pain will not last – and therefore I am ok with my decision. I just began this morning to take an Advil to help with the joint pain however. Having a piece of your lung cut out is one thing, but having a stiff neck is another.
Dealing with my pain daily has become normal for me. Who ever thought I would say that? I feel like I have not been myself since July 20th, the day before my first surgery. All of the shit I went through during my hospital stays and all the days in-between really changed me. Obviously I will never be the exact same person I was back in early April 2014, but I would like to at least get back to the person on July 20th. Before I knew how scary life really can be. Before I knew what death looked like. Before I became used to being stabbed with a needle multiple times a day. Before I became comfortable just lifting up my gown to whoever came in that resembled a health practitioner. Before I knew what withdrawal feels like coming off of a pain medication. Before I knew how many days my body could go without eating.
My surgeon is amazed by how “well” I am doing. He says my fallen appetite is normal and most patients of liver surgery lose up to 25% of their body weight – so my 10-15 pounds is nothing. My first surgery was invasive, but he let me know my second was 500x more invasive, and I should lower my expectations on recovery. That is easier said than done. The way I feel in my head does not match the way my body is responding. “How bad do I really have to pee?” – I question this about every hour. That involves sitting up, walking to the washroom, and trying my best to sit on something not even close to comfortable. You try sitting on a toilet without using your abs. Near impossible.
Chemo is starting again in 2 weeks. A new friend appeared on my upper left lung that I now have to tackle. My body is not as strong as it was the first time I was on chemo, but my blood work looks good so back into the stadium I go. Bottoms up to the chemo cocktail.