30 January 2011

It's real! The endo is really "out-o" and my journey toward wellness begins


When I've shared the above photo, I've been asked "Is this real?" My answer is, "Yes! I was at the marina with camera in hand and happened to look up at just the right time when a seagull flew in front of the sun. Luckily, I snapped the shutter in time."

Since my surgery last Tuesday, both my husband and I have been asking ourselves the same question... "Is this real?" There is so much that occurred on Tuesday that seems unbelievable. We're still trying to wrap our heads around it.

In my last pre-op appt on Monday, Dr. Cook had me sign off on all the consents necessary prior to surgery. The list of possible surgical actions was pretty extensive and included things like the possibility that my appendix might have to be removed; the possibility of hernia repair; and the potential of bowel resection in case a section of my bowel needed to be removed because of endo damage. That long list of "possibles" made estimating the length of the surgery difficult. A total of 300 minutes (5 hours) had been blocked out for the operating room and staff, but Dr. Cook said it could go longer... much longer. I was mentally prepared for that.

On Tuesday a little after noon, I went in to surgical admitting at Good Samaritan in San Jose. All my vitals were taken. I was very calm. My very kind admitting nurse said I won the best blood pressure award for the day (124 over 79). I got changed into a lovely lavender-periwinkle surgical gown, got my I.V. put in and finished my pre-op interviews with the admitting nurse. I signed and initialed more consents with the long list of "possibles" on them.

One of my OR nurses came and introduced herself. I liked her right away.

Then I met my anesthesiologist. I liked him right away too. He informed me that in order for Dr. Cook to have the best access during surgery, my body would be positioned at a steep incline with my head down. He then told me that I would probably wake up puffy and possibly have blurry vision from the pressure that could build up in my head.

Shortly after that, I was wheeled to the OR. I gave hugs and kisses to my husband, my mom and my sister-in-law before I was wheeled through a set of restricted-access double-doors and into the OR. I met my other OR nurse there and liked her right away too. I felt so calm and at ease. Everyone on my OR team was so kind, confident and capable. I closed my eyes and fell asleep assured that I was in excellent hands.

When I started to wake up from the anesthetic in post-op recovery I was surprised that the only discomfort I felt was the feeling of an overly full bladder. Even though I had a catheter in, my bladder tissue was in spasm causing me the sensation (it was rectified with a dose of peridium in my I.V. once I got settled in my room where I would spend the night). My vision was blurry as I had anticipated. I finally asked someone what time it was and how long the surgery had taken. Imagine my surprise when I was told it was only 4 1/2 hours from the time I'd gone to sleep! It was the first time this week I asked myself, "Is this real?"

Dr. Cook's first words after greeting my family following surgery while I was waking up were, "Mission accomplished!"

My wonderful sister-in-law took great notes when Dr. Cook met with them. Her notes read:
  • 4 1/2 hour surgery
  • harder than expected
  • scar tissue and bowels stuck
  • was over the bladder
  • getting back to normal anatomy
  • got cervix removed
  • did well overall
  • appendix was fine--didn't have to remove it
  • face is puffy from being upside down
  • will take catheter out in morning
  • first 2 weeks will be sore
  • by 3 weeks will still be tired but better
Dr. Cook had taken fascinating photographs through the laparoscope and had them in-hand when he met with my family post-op. He told my family he wished he'd taken more. I think he was too busy concentrating on the tasks at hand.

He then repeated his initial statement, "Mission accomplished." He had gotten all the endometriosis and all the scarring/adhesions out. It was gone. My body was free. I was back to normal anatomy. My husband found himself thinking, "Is this real?"

Five days later both of us catch ourselves still thinking the same thing. My post-op discomfort and pain has been so minimal with the help of the pain meds that it seems too good to be true. I've been up and moving around since only a few hours following waking up from surgery.

Yes. It is real. The endo is gone. It is real. My journey on the road to wellness has begun.

I'm anxious to get the official surgical report so I can read it. I'm also looking forward to watching the video of the actual surgery to see what Dr. Cook saw. I will share some of that here on the blog once I get it (not the video so don't worry).

In the meantime, I'm resting a lot. Sleeping is something my body wants to do all the time right now. And if I stay on schedule with taking my pain meds (generic Norco), sleeping is comfortable and restful. I'll post more in the days and weeks to come. Right now, it's time to rest again.

4 comments:

Joanie said...

Cindy,
I'm like a sponge... I just want to know all there is to know about this wonderful successful procedure.
Love you so much

mkamye said...

Cindy - I'm so glad the surgery was a success! I wish you a quick and speedy recovery!
~Amy Hawkins

Carolynn said...

Yay, you! So glad to hear this. So happy that you're finally free of this debilitating condition.

heather said...

Reading all your posts on endometriosis has taken me a while. With all the medical technology we have I am surprised that not one doctor looked into this. Such a long and difficult journey you have been through. This most recent post sounds like you are finally free. I hope the recovery goes well and you are back on your feet soon!

p.s. I was born in San Jose at Good Samaritian Hospital :)

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