How and why I stayed calm leading up to and during my surgery (well… tried to) part one..

Today I had a notification on my phone from Facebook.

It marks 7 years to the day that I got a letter saying when my first major operation at King’s would be.

It was going to be on the 18th January 2013. Its a date that I will probably never forget.

The day I got the letter, I had gone out shopping with a friend. We had such a good time. I forgot about all that had happened the past few months and forgot that I was actually quite poorly.

I got home, sat down, and was given an envelope by my parents. They sat down with me as I opened it. They knew what it was. And deep down, I did too.

I opened the letter shakily and read every line.

I found out when the operation will be, what tests I’ll have beforehand and what to bring with me to the ward as I was going to be an inpatient for a while.

I read it carefully over and over. It couldn’t sink it. I felt numb. I was just like “oh okay” and then carried on my day. My parents were ready to reassure me but didn’t seem to need to at that stage.

I just thought.. it is what it is.

However later on that day, It finally did sink in. I was talking about it with my dad. The more I talked about it, the more real it became. This wasn’t all one big joke nor was it a dream.

It was real life. I was going for major surgery for the first time in 15 years. And this time I would know what was going on. I would be putting my life in someone else’s hands.

I suddenly started feeling sick and breathless. I started crying and said “Dad I’m scared”. He hugged and reassured me that everything was going to be okay. He and mum was scared too, but they also knew I was in good hands.

This was going to happen, it had to happen. I had no choice.

Looking back, feeling grateful and looking like a bloody octopus!

I’ve just come back from a successful driving lesson. I’ve had a few lessons now, and each time I feel like I’m getting even better at driving.

I’m really enjoying it!

My life recently, despite having highs and lows (as anyone’s life does) has been pretty “normal” – as ive previously mentioned.

This time about 6/7 years ago, I was extremely weak and poorly. No one knew what the future held for me.

I questioned whether I’d ever have a life. I didn’t know whether I’d ever learn to drive. Whether I’d ever get into a relationship. Whether I’d ever be able to work. And I know this was a horrible thought to think.. But I questioned whether I’d make it to my 16th birthday.

It was a horrible time with a lot going on. No one knew what the outcome would be. It was touch and go. We had to take risks and fortunately I was very lucky.

Look at me now, 22, learning to drive, in a relationship, working.

Im very fortunate to be living the life I’m living now. The outcome could have been a whole lot worse.

I think that what I’ve been through has also made me grateful for the smaller things in life. Any milestone I reach or any baby step I take.. In anything I do, I’m proud of!

Some people might think I’m a bit too enthusiastic about the smallest of things sometimes but I can’t help it.

Somedays I’m thankful that I’m still here, livingπŸ˜‚

Even back then, I was grateful for the smallest things. Things some people might take for granted.

Here is a Facebook status/photo I posted in December 2012…

I was estactic about having the tube taken out of my nose! I was grateful for not having something so ugly and uncomfortable taken away – just in time for christmas! I finally looked normal!

(however it wasn’t out for long as the following January, I had my surgery and throughout the year of 2013, I had many tubes in and out of me… I looked like a bloody octopus at one point!πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ™)

I am normal… In my own way

It’s hard to say whether I can accept what I’ve been through or not. The majority of the time I feel like I can but sometimes I ask myself;

Did I actually go through all that?

The question I find myself asking many times. Did I actually go through that period in my life where I basically lived in hospital? Did I actually have major surgery? Was I actually that weak and poorly?

The answer to all that is yes. I did/was. It sometimes all feels like a distant memory, or even a bad dream though.

Saying that, my situation now where I have scars, my stomach is distorted and I have a tube, seems pretty normal to me.

I can kind of understand how someone else could look at my situation and think that it must be hard and scary. I mean, being connected up to a machine that pumps feed into you can seem quite daunting. I remember when I got told I will have to have a tube into my stomach – I was petrified!! Yes, I still had a slightly odd looking stomach with scars from baby surgery and no belly button but I was used to that. I was born with it after allπŸ˜‚. But the thought of having a tube just sitting in/on my stomach. Visable for me to see. And a machine that would pump stuff into me… I doubted whether I’d be able to get used to it.

Some people may not consider me, or my situation, to be “normal”. And that’s okay.

Why?

Because I know I am normal in my own way. I have grown used to having a tube in my stomach. I have grown used to having a slightly odd stomach. I have grown used to being fed by a machine overnight.

I am also used to the fact that my appetite is not great.

But I suppose the question I should be asking is….

What is normal?

(Btw this is my 50th post! Wow!)

😁😊

My Experience of Stomach Surgery (part 4)..

After a few days of being in intensive care and special care i was moved back to the normal ward.

Princess Elizabeth Ward is what it was called. It was a second home to me back then – which isn’t the most ideal I knowπŸ˜‚ but despite the circumstances, I felt happy, safe and welcomed there. The cleaners, the nurses, the doctors, everyone on that ward were amazing.

Anyway, when I got on to PE ward, I was still a little dazed and sore from the surgery but I was getting there. I didn’t feel any pain for the first couple of days but that’s because I had an epidural. Before my surgery I used to think only pregnant women had epidurals and didn’t quite know what it wasπŸ˜‚

However prior to surgery I was given an explanation as to what an epidural was. In my own words, an epidural is basically a form of pain relief. It’s a tube that runs down the spine that injects a form of pain relief into your body. It basically numbs most of the body and reduces the pain that you could be feeling massively.

I didn’t quite realise how effective an epidural could be until I had one.

I had one put in during my surgery and had it kept in all the way until I got to PE ward and was properly starting to recover and get back to normal.

When it first came out, I still felt no pain whatsoever. I had no feeling at all within my body actually. Within a day or two of it being taken out though…. I started to realise how powerful that drug was.

The pain was horrendous. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. I have the odd pains and aches now but I have never had pain like that. However it’s not surprising, considering I had just had major surgery where my stomach had been sliced open. (sorry for the graphic image thereπŸ˜¬πŸ˜‚)

By this point, because I started getting feeling all over my body again, I also had my catheter taken out (a thing that lets you go loo without getting out of bed or even moving – sorry againπŸ˜¬πŸ˜‚).

I then started to have physio and would start by working on slowly sitting up and sitting on the edge of the bed. It felt like a work out!

Thinking about it, I find it fascinating to think that once, even sitting up in bed exhausted me. Now, I still get tired and exhausted probably a bit easier than a “normal” person but I can do a lot more!

After days, maybe a week and a bit, I was walking around the ward with my triage (they called me lady penelope at the hospital as for a short while I had to have people with me when I went for a wander round the ward or hospital – my dad and a nurse or two, as well as the machines I was connected to!πŸ˜‚)

I made such good progress in such a short amount of time (I think it was just because I was soo determined to get back to normality that I really pushed myself!). After about 2 weeks of being an inpatient, I was sent home. Everyone was so impressed with my progress that they felt that I could go home. I remember asking my consultant when I could go back to school and he replied “give it at least a week”. I was gutted, I wanted to go back the next day! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I was so happy to get home, recover and have a “normal” life. Me and dad surprised my mum and brother by turning up at the house without telling them I was coming home. It was so nice to get into my own bed!

Unfortunately though, it wasnt long before myself and my family realised that maybe all was not as it seems and I probably came home sooner than I was supposed to..

My Experience of Stomach Surgery (part 3)

Following on from part 2…

So after a couple of days in intensive care I was moved to Special Care.

This is a step down from intensive care, and only one step away from being on a normal ward.

I don’t particularly remember much from special care.. Much like intensive care.

I vaguely remember being in a room to my self, as well as on a ward during my time in that unit.

I remember that I had a doctor come into my room/bay everyday asking me what colour the walls were.

This was because I was still on a lot of medication to manage pain and stop me from moving too much as the scars were still very raw. The drugs were slowly wearing off though, and they knew this from me telling them what colour the walls were. The less blue/green (I think) the were and the more normal my vision was becoming, the closer I was to the drugs wearing off completely.

During this time, I also remember a story that I think I’ve told many times before – the time I hallucination I had of my dad being a women! That was so strange! πŸ˜‚

I had many odd hallucinations during this time. I saw strange things and was pretty disoriented. I didn’t feel any pain and felt quite light and happy but I still wasn’t myself. Apparently I sweared at my dad and told him to do one a few times. Those who know me know that is unlike me.

I also once thought my dad was having an affair with a nurse! I used to growl and give this nurse dirty looks whenever she came to check up on me – obviously there was no affair! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I believe I was only here for a few days before being moved to a normal ward… When things started to really move and I was closer to normality!

I can do this… I need to

That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.

I’m currently on the train, going up to Kings College Hospital – a hospital I know pretty wellπŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚

I’m on my way to an emergency appointment.

Since I’ve been an adult and have moved to adult care, I have never had to have an emergency appointment with my consultant. Which is a good thing. It just shows I’ve been well enough and able to look after myself without the need of medical intervention.

However recently, well the last few months actually, I’ve been noticing a few things.

A few people close to me know that I am pretty much always in some sort of pain or discomfort. I also suffer with a lot of sickness. But for the last few years they have been manageable. I’ve been able to cope most of the time.

Recently though, I’ve been struggling. Ive been trying to not admit it. I’ve been trying to push through and keep going as I always have. But it’s becoming too much now.

The pain. The discomfort. The sickness. It’s all too frequent and becoming quite powerful. It’s starting to interfere with my “normal” life despite my best efforts to hide it. People around me are noticing changes in me too, particularly my behaviour. It’s becoming quite clear that I am struggling.

Last week I gave in and phoned up my consultants secretary. I asked if I could see my consultant ASAP.

Luckily there was availability today.

So currently, I am on my way.

I’m going to tell her everything and not sugar coat things saying “I’m not too bad” etc. As I have a habit of doing…

I am pretty certain she’s going to recommend some tests.

Although, I’ll be happy something is being done about this, I am also nervous as these tests could also intefere with my “normal” life.

I am also worried that, if they found the problem that is causing me this grief, the treatment that they may be able to offer me could send me backwards.

It probably won’t but I’m so scared of going backwards with my health. I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am now both physically and mentally! What if this pushes me backwards? What if I become more ill? What if I end up being admitted into hospital on a long-term basis again? What if I end up driving those I love away from me due to my poor health?

I’m so comfortable with living a normal life now. I don’t want to disrupt it… But like a lot of people have said to me…. I need to listen to my body. And I need to put my health first!

K x

Should I or shouldn’t I? That is the question.

I don’t know what to do.

I’m in a good place at the moment. Despite having a few more pains and discomfort than usual (which I have arranged an appointment with my consultant soon for), I am happy. I’m doing well at work. I’ve pretty much finished my Business Admin course. I’m going out and having fun with my friends and boyfriend. Life is probably better than it ever has been right now.

But I’ve been thinking recently. Well… wondering. Would now be the right time to have a little play around with my medicines/tube feed. Maybe reduce the tablets I take and/or try having more nights off my tube feed.

I’m in a stronger, healthier state now. What if I was to, say, stop using my pump for 4/5 days or even a whole week… What would happen? Will it make me eat more? Probably. But will it make me get ill? Maybe. Is it a risk I’m willing to take? I don’t know.

I will probably talk to my consultant before I do anything but I feel like maybe I should give having a whole week or something off my tube feed a go? Normally I have 1, 2 nights off maximum. I’ve tried a week off before, but it was a few years ago. It didn’t end well. My weight dropped dramatically and I got sick.

I’m at a better weight now. And like I’ve said, I’m much healthier. So maybe a week off the pump wouldn’t do me as much harm?

The important factors I’ve got to take into consideration are weight loss and dehrdration. These two factors could be triggered very quickly from me not eating or drinking enough to keep me going throughout the day. However by not having the feed overnight, maybe I will start feeling like I need to eat and drink more throughout the day, helping me to get the right balance and avoid dehydrating and/or loosing weight.

With the medication side of things, I don’t take a lot of tablets but I still think it would be nice to wean myself off them. But that, again, is something I will talk to my consultant about before doing anything.

I feel like I’m ready to start taking risks with my feed and medication now. But I’ve got to do it carefully and with consideration. It could go one way or another. I guess I won’t know unless I try, will I?

I’m both excited and anxious about doing this. But also I’m still not sure whether to just go ahead and do it.

I know I know my own body and its all my decision, but what do you, my viewers, think?

Should I give it a go?