I've been away a long time, and I will explain that later. But for now, here is a little crocheted spider I made for Halloween. I actually made 9. I ran out of these cute eyes after the 5th one, and these 5 are girl spiders with 2 layered-flowers on their heads in pale pink and hot pink.
Here, you can see all 5 spiders! The flower centers on their heads have pale pink buttons for centers. They are cute. I hope to have one for everyone in my group at work. There are 8 of us, 6 gals, and 2 guys. Need to find some more eyes today.
And the thing I love most about doing any kind of art work! Being able to take a picture of it, and pull it into my psp program. And here's the spider from the first picture, pulled into a picture I created. I love art!
And now ... where have I been? I've been here, but this year has been quite a year. In April, I went to see my family doctor because I wasn't feeling well. I haven't felt all that well for quite a long time.
Symptoms: nausea to the point of almost vomiting, diarrhea of pale stools up to 20 times a day, bright orange urine, and itchiness to the point of digging my skin to the point of bleeding and leaving it scarred.
He took blood as he knew something was drastically wrong, and an mri and ultrasound were performed. All this took over a month. He sent me off to the "Gastro" doctors where a total of 5 procedures were done over the next several months.
First, they found 3 large gallstones trapped in my bile duct. They were about 3 cm long, about the size of a quarter. They could not be removed with an ercp the first time, so with the second one, they hoped to blast them and remove their pieces. The 2nd procedure showed they were gone, but now I had a cyst/tumor in the bile duct. Sometimes they called it a cyst; other times it was called a tumor.
On the first procedure, a stent was inserted to allow the bile to flow into the intestines. I was also jaundiced, but didn't know it. The stent was removed on the second procedure. The tumor was biopsied and found to be benign. Good. Bad news: they turn malignant if left untreated. Treatment: removal. Gall bladder bile duct: Whipple surgery.
I ended up in ER about 4 days after the second procedure. They had removed the stent, and now the bile was backing up in my system again, causing all the original symptoms. They were going to admit me, but I asked to be released, as they had me come back in the next morning to have the stent put back in. At this time, the gasto doctors all said the surgery would need to be done. The surgery was called a whipple, which I had already researched when I found I MIGHT NEED bile duct surgery. I knew it was the lower bile duct, so the whipple was the surgery that went with lower bile duct surgery. After researching, I put the info on the back burner. I did not like knowing all about it, especially since I MIGHT NEED IT! It was not pretty information.
I had the new stent put in. Now they wanted to do an EUS, gastro ultrasound, to see what more they could see. With each procedure, the prognosis was more dire. The day after this procedure, I broke out in a bad rash. I called the doctor and he said it had to be the demerol they used to put me to sleep.
The rash turned into one giant welt running all over my arms, chest, stomach, and leges. And then it went to my face. By the third day, it looked like I had a smooth, bad sunburn. I can no longer be given demerol.
After the EUS, the surgery was to be done. Unfortunately, I waited and waited to hear from the doctor. After about 3 weeks, I ended up back in the ER with bile backing up again and a septic gallblader. I was admitted, and on the fourth day, they put 2 stents in. I was released the 5th day.
The hospital (the staff doctor) was actually going to release me on Wed., but luckily, my surgeon had looked at my labs and said NO ... she needs a new stent. Thank heavens! But yuck ... my 5th procedure. I also did not sleep till the end of this procedure, and was alert through the final end. While it probably was NOT a long time, it felt like it! It was horrible.
My surgeon was not available for 3 weeks, so my surgery was finally done on 7/31/12. This was the birthdate of one of my children. All through these months of the procedures and hospitalization, my husband kept asking, "Can't we just get on with the surgery, and be done with all this?'
The doctors said no. Doctor after doctor, and there were lots of doctors, all said: "This is a difficult surgery to do and to recover from. It has to be done by opening up the patient, and it is a painful and long recovery. We do NOT want to do that, IF WE DON'T HAVE TO DO IT."
My surgery was on a Tuesday, early afternoon. I was in ICU till Fri. I had a feeding tube in and did not have anything by mouth, including water until Sunday. I had a pain button installed, which was definitely my best friend. Unfortunately, using the feeding tubes means having your insulin checked, and often I needed units of insulin to keep it normal. I was afraid I might be diabetic when I went home, but they said my insulin and blood sugar levels should be okay again ... once I was OFF the feeding tube.
While I was in ICU, I was catherized, so I never had to get up. On Friday, that was all removed, and I was to sit up about an 1 a day, and walk about 3x a day. I was to sit up longer each day, and walk a little more each day as I was able.
I was told, "This is going to hurt, but believe it or not, if you do it ... it WILL hurt a little less each time." They were right.
I wore special socks that were motorized to keep the blood circulating while in bed. If you ever have to be in bed a long time, these help. Also remember to point and flex your toes, and do ankle rolls with both feet. You don't want to develop a blood clot or dropsy. My sister is a nurse, and she said that once you get dropsy, it's permanent.
I got out of the hospital about 7 pm on the next Tuesday. I had a stapled incision horizontally across my body above my navel. I didn't bother to count the staples, as do many patients. Just above my navel was my feeding tube. Below on my lower right side, I had two tubes (which were removed the night I left the hospital) which had been draining while I was in the hospital. I had 2 other drains/tubes just under my breasts which went to my liver. The feeding tube and liver tubes were left in when I was released. These really hurt my rib cage, and made me feel as if I was being crushed. They also caused me to breathe very shallow. In the hospital, I was on oxygen up until the last day.
I went home happily, and the recovery was HELL. My husband was home for 2 weeks as I could do nothing short of laying flat on my back in bed. I would still get up and sit each day, get up to use the bathroom and walk around a little, and then back into bed. I took pain pills, and was very constipated. I could barely eat as my stomach could not hold much. I had to have someone there, just to get me off my back and up into a sitting position. This was agony to do without someone.
Three weeks later, I went to the doctor and they removed my staples and feeding tube. I was very unhappy when they said the liver tubes would have to remain another 4 weeks. Actually, they scheduled my next appointment for 5 weeks which was even worse.
After one week, I was in so much pain from the liver tubes that I had to call the doctor. He said he could remove them at 3 weeks, so I called and rescheduled my appointment for the time he suggested. I suffered greatly with those liver tubes, which over all, was the worst part of my recovery.
The day I went in to have them removed, the doctor had a life and death situation back at the hospital, and had to leave immediately. I was devastated, although I understood. Luckily, they said I could come back in about 2 to 3 hours, and he would remove them.
I did ... and it was relief to get them out. But the pain that night was intense from removing them, and it took 3 days to really recover from that.
Over all, I was out 8 weeks. They say 6-8 weeks for recovery. I was blessed. A whipple basically involves bile duct surgery. The amount of organs removed depends on what they find when they go in. At one point, the gastro doctors were saying I would need 1/2 my liver removed, all my gall bladder, possibly 1/2 my stomach, and maybe some of my pancreas. I was blessed -- they just needed to take the bile duct and tumor and the gall bladder.
The recovery was horribly painful, and I would NEVER want to go go through this again. If you need to have it done ... you will get through it, but you will not be happy. There were many nights of tears ... all the way up through the 8th week.
After 8 weeks, I went back to work for only 4 hours a day. The first day was the worst. I had to drive a car for the first time ... and be up walking and sitting for over 4 hours. My muscles and bones were weak from all the time in bed. My skin was sensitive to everything, and my bones hurt while laying in bed. I felt like was I had metal rods inside my back. Sometimes, it took forever to find a comfortable spot where I could sleep. Even creases in the sheets felt like huge metal rods under your back!
I had to quit taking my pain pills at about week 3 because they bothered my stomach. When I called about the liver tubes hurting, the doctor said to cut the pain pill in 1/2 and make sure I had enough food in my stomach when I took it. I was able to take them like this. I was allowed to take a stool softener 3x a days, and believe me; with narcotics ... you will need it.
Last week, I was able to work from home on Tuesday and Wednesday. I was off on Monday since it was a federal holiday. I went to work Thursday and Friday for 8 hours, and it was fine. The only real problem is sitting too long, which causes my muscles to tighten up, making it hard to stand up straight after sitting awhile. So I have to get up and move around a lot; it helps.
It will be 11 weeks this week. I was able to just start laying on my right side ... and my left side at the end of last week while sleeping. Thank heavens for that. I hope to be able to sleep on my stomach again sometime this week. I can almost get over on the right side, but not totally flat yet. I am a stomach sleeper, and I sleep towards the right.
I can tell you this. After this surgery, you feel like you'll never be normal again. You are terrified you will never be normal again, even when people assure you that you will be. Please know ... I am feeling more normal every day ... and there is hope.
I go back to my surgeon in about 2 weeks for liver blood work and results. Hopefully all is well.
At Mt. Carmel West Hospital, there are only 2 doctors that do the Whipple surgery. One is Dr. Price, Dr. Phillip Price. He was my doctor, and he did an excellent job. There is one other, but I forget his name.
One of my nurses had told me that when she started working at the hospital, they were told they'd probably rarely see a Whipple done because they were fairly rare. At the time I was in the hospital, there were 3 other Whipple surgery patients in my wing, and the day I left, another one was added. It is becoming more common-place, and they don't know why.
I think all the engineering of our food is causing many health problems. C'mon. I don't believe you can improve on God. Certain foods have certain nutrients, and they were all meant to nourish and heal our bodies. Today, everyone wants to put fiber in their products or vitamin D in their products. You don't need these essential nutrients placed in foods they don't belong in, but need to learn to eat the foods they come in naturally. You can get too much of a good thing, you know? Everything in moderation.
And so ... I am now back. I can blog again. I can catch up on my website for graphics. I am still fighting to pay all the bills, because even with insurance ... this costed me a fortune. Lucky, I hd saved, so I was able to get through a lot of it up front. Just a little more to do; hopefully.
But, now my hair is falling out, which it has done in the past when I've had surgery. Whether it's the anesthesia or just all the stress ... it always happens. These are things we tend to forget ... until they happen again. So, I made find some scarves or hats in my future; maybe even a wig. I don't know yet, but it won't be much longer before I will need to make a decision on this.
Unfortunately, my teeth are giving me problems now, and I just can't afford more time off this year, more medical bills, and more stress and anesthesia again!!!! Darn. Can't these medical oopsies come farther spaced apart???
So ... I am back; almost.
If you have any questions about my surgery, or about a Whipple, or you've experienced one yourself, feel free to leave a reply.
For now ... I'm just glad to be making my way back.
this website had not been updated in a long time