Thursday, September 24, 2015

Well, that hurt!

The first day of school!  What was meant to be a fun-filled day for Reese and Logan turned into a day all about their mom.  I was really leery when I was told my liver resection would be September 8th but now looking back it was the best day it could have happened.  The excitement of seeing their friends, getting to wear a new outfit, and best of all, no homework that night!  The girls took my surgery and hospital stay like champs!

That morning I would check in for surgery at 5:30.  This surgery felt different.  The last surgery was just a nurse, surgeon and anesthesiologist.  This time it was a large TEAM of people coming in and out prepping me with remarks such as "are you ready for your BIG surgery" and "you must be special to have the operating room reserved for you all day" was definitely more serious than I think I even prepared myself for.  I would go into surgery with 2 IV's, one on each hand but I would come out with an additional 2, one in my wrist and one in my neck.  As I awoke after 9 hours in surgery in the ICU I felt strapped to the bed by all of the tubes and lines running everywhere.  An NG tube down my nose may have been the worst.  I remember looking at the clock and seeing the time and thought I was dreaming, it couldn't have taken that long? Then my surgeon (Dr. McCahill) stood over me looking completely exhausted!  According to the nursing staff he never left my side in the OR to even eat or go the bathroom.  Apparently I told him thank you and go have a beer and I fell back to sleep.  Ha ha.  My next memory was my entire family around me explaining everything went well and they loved me.  What a gift to fall back to sleep to....

Days 2 and 3 in the hospital were actually not too bad.  I was walking with a walker on Day 2 and really had very little pain other than my elbows hurt .... according the nurse it was from them being hyper extended on the surgery table for 9 hours that was causing the pain.  Who would have guessed that would be my biggest complaint.

Day 4 was when they decided to cut the medication to my epidural...big mistake!  After 20 minutes I was in excruciating pain to the point I couldn't breathe.  As quickly as they could they summoned an anesthesiologist on call and started running the drip again to my back.  It just may have been the most pain I have ever been in.  I am just so thankful for the person who invented the epidural.  Just may have saved my life!  Day 5 they decided to ramp me up on lots of pain meds before removing the drip and that helped but I really started to feel my body 'awaken' without it.  Aches and pains that I can't describe.  Because the decision was made in the OR to take half of my liver I am left with a giant hole until it regenerates.  This may sound weird by my other organs keep trying to fall into that empty space and it turns my stomach every time.  Weird, weird, weird!

I was never moved off the ICU floor so I knew I wanted out and go home as quickly as possible.  That place is loud, 24/7!  In my 6 days there they had 3 patients 'code' and my neighbor 2 doors down passed away in the middle of the night....check please!  Whatever they asked of me, I did.  Finally I was able to go home on Day 6.  I can't thank the nurses on the 4th floor at Metro enough!  They were awesome!

I have been home about a week and half and am feeling better everyday.  I have had a few set backs but that is because I am having a hard time just sitting.  According to Dr. McCahill yesterday I get an A+ for recovery time.  Yes!  I owe a lot of that to my mom, who has literally not left my side for nearly 3 weeks.  She does not break the rules (never has!) so when they say I need to eat a certain way or take meds at a specific time she has it all documented.  I don't know if I could have survived this journey without her.  I am blessed!

Yesterday was my first post op follow up and I was quite anxious going in.  This would reveal if my CEA levels have returned to normal.  My CEA is a marker that just reflects how much cancer could still be in my system.  Normal CEA for a non-smoking female is  5 or less.  When I started this journey, I was 269.  The hope after both of my surgeries was that it would be back to normal levels.  It came back at 15.6 so we are headed in the right direction but I will have it checked again in 2 weeks.  If it goes to normal, I can resume with my life and they will consider me in remission!  If the number goes up, back to chemo.  Please pray that this number goes to 5 or below.

What an eventful first few weeks of school!  Reese and Logan will never forget how they started the 4th and 5th grade.  I am so proud of them and how they have handled the last 6 months.  No, it is not fair that at 9 and 10 years old they are dealing with this but I have seen such growth in such a short amount of time.  Let's just hope and pray their first day of school next year will look nothing like this one!

God is good!


  1. Angie,
    Glad your recovery is going well, you have 2 really amazing girls there, we all love watching them play softball

  2. Wow--you have an amazing way with words and of taking us on the ride with you! Unfortunately we can't take away any of the pain but please know we'd share if we could. You will and yours will continue to be lifted in our prayers daily!! Hers to being below 5!! But you are an absolute 10+ fighter! Hugs!! Lisa Alexander