Sometimes, I think it’s great to tap into that inner confidence and “have no shame” and other times… wellllllll, let’s just say, you should have a little. Apparently, right after I recorded this video, I recorded another one informing everyone that I finally “passed gas”. Ha! Well, although I think it is important for those looking into having this surgery to know that you will be extremely medicated for several weeks (or months, depending on your surgery’s extent and your own pain tolerance) and your muscles will be in “sleep mode” for a while… I don’t think it’s necessary for me to post myself talking about it, though. (See what too much medication can do to a person?? 😛 )
Which leads me to saying, I was HEAVILY medicated in this video. I’m also very thin and look almost ill. I look this way for several reasons… One, your metabolism is sped up a great deal after surgery. My doctor later explained to me that this happens, because your body and nerves are doing extra work to help “repair” your back and readjust to its new alignment. So therefore, you lose weight. (Our bodies are so fascinating, aren’t they?!)
Two, I wasn’t eating that much. For various reasons – One, the pain levels are so extreme that it really makes you have no appetite. Two, you’re on A LOT of medication and they, also, make you have no appetite. Three, because you are so constipated that when you do eat, you feel like your food has nowhere to go… Because you’re so friggin’ backed-up! (Yeah… so this is where I can apologize for the TMI while, at the same time, not really feel bad about saying it… Perhaps because it is written in a blog and not broadcasted across Social Media – ha!)
The constipation… yeah. It sucks. Not going to lie to you guys – I HATEDDDDD it! Sometimes I cried about just the constipation alone. Probably more so because I hate the feeling of not being in control of my own body. (I was never one to take hallucinogens or any of those types of drugs for that same reason.) So not being able to have a bowel movement when I KNEW my body needed to was a pretty shitty experience for me. (No pun intended… but funny that I used it – hahaha! 😛 I crack myself up sometimes. Deal with it.) One day, I remember looking down at my stomach and thinking I looked pregnant. Another time, I remembered eating something and experiencing stabbing pains after having just a few bites because the food had nowhere to go… Or the new food was attempting to push the old food out. (Emphatical on the “attempt”.)
I remember the nurses recommending Senokot. Yeah, that didn’t work. Plus I had already been taking it in the hospital and it did shit. (Not cause me to “shit”. It did nothing for me, is what I’m saying… Just want to clarify again there 😉 ) Stool softeners helped later down the road, but what helped get the ball rolling, was my mother giving me an enigma. I then kept up with Smoothe Move Tea, stool softeners and aloe water, daily. (And not the “Aloe King” aloe water that has all the added sugar in it. Plain aloe water. Put it in a smoothie or mix it with regular water, if you don’t like the taste. Sugar causes constipation as well, so when you’re suffering from bowel problems, best to stay away from it and go the cleaner route.) Eventually I got back to having a normal bowel movement. But that took time… and me weaning off of the pain meds. So if you’re going through this right now – be patient. You’ll eventually poop, I promise 😉
Which brings me to the pain medication. Ugh. What a doozy. So I was on Hydromorphone – 5mg (aka Dilaudid). Plus muscle relaxers and a Nuerontin. Every four hours. I was high as a kite and it’s probably the reason why I don’t remember a lot of things… I don’t really remember recording this video. (And I’m sure the “not eating very much” didn’t make any of it any better.
I never felt “pain-free”, but some days, the pain was more bearable than others. It was like a nagging, uncomfortable, gnawing feeling in your bones and muscles. My Mother reminded me the other day about the first time I took a shower. She would have to come in and help me wash my legs after I finished with my torso, because I couldn’t bend or really lift my legs on my own. I would also walk around the neighborhood in a high as F*** state of mind… but hey, it helped!! (Oh yeah! So walking helps the MOST with constipation. Need to tell you that. Walk, walk, walk, and then walk some more. Because that is actually going to be your saving grace. It’s what helped me finally get back on a regular schedule because you’re lower extremities are moving and are “activating”. Plus it helps with your state of mind. Especially for me because I’m a heady person. So it was great to get me out of the house and out of my head and just walk around and enjoy life around me again. I actually still walk almost every day! It’s really a great workout for your mind, body and soul 0:) … But hey! That’s just me. Every BODY is different 😉 )
Back to the medication… We switched me to Percosets, which did zilch. I think I even had a weird reaction and felt itchy??? I’m not sure though but something like that seems familiar to me. But I know it didn’t do ANYTHING for the pain. So we went back to the Dilaudid. My Mom would come into my room during the night, and wake me up every four hours to give me my pain medication, and every eight hours for the muscle relaxers. So again, to paint the picture more for you, I was high as Fuuuuuuuu** and I still felt uncomfortable. But thank God for pain meds! I don’t even want to know what that pain would’ve felt like, had I not been on anything. So yeah, they suck and have their side effects but hey, they helped get me through all of it and they’ll help you too.
Eventually when I called to get another renewal the nurse asked me how often I was taking it. I told her and she was like, “Ummmm okay. I believe it’s time to start weaning off…” (Yeah, okay lady.) She filled another prescription for me and when I saw Dr. Errico at my follow-up appointment, six weeks post-op, he started weaning me off then. By that time I was feeling sooooooo much better and was actually eager to start the weaning process. (I’m not a pill popper. Never have been, never will be. I’m sensitive to medications, vitamins, basically anything that is “foreign” to my body – so this was an exciting triumph for me.) Sounds crazy and like a distant dream to those of you that perhaps just had your surgery… But don’t worry, you’ll get there too. I promise! 😉
Breathing. Remember when I told you that when I woke up from my surgery I started gasping for air and exclaimed that I couldn’t breathe? And how the nurse told my Mom not to worry – that I needed to get used to my lungs being in a new place? Well that’s why they give you this fancy little contraption.
To help your lungs get a little work-out in and learn to expand again… but in a new position. It’s also to help prevent pneumonia from setting in. (When you have a big surgery, such as this one, sometimes patients are susceptible to pneumonia because you aren’t moving as much and mucous builds up.) I didn’t get pneumonia, but I did get sick.
My “thing” is sinus infections. Everyone has a “thing”… Some type of weakness that attacks when your immune system is low. Maybe yours is stomach bugs? Or colds? Coughs, migraines, whatever… we all have them. Mine is always sinus related. And that’s what happened… (Another reason why I look a bit “sickly” in the video.) I probably, also, got sick because I wasn’t eating that much :/ Another thing I’ve learned throughout years of being chronically ill and not feeling like myself, is how important it is to take care of yourself. If you aren’t eating and feeding your body, you aren’t gaining fuel or energy. If you work as hard as I do, and aren’t fueling up, you’re running on empty. Eventually, your car dies… or in my case, needs to be “serviced” 😉
So my advice to you: I know you don’t want to eat – I didn’t either. But try. Try really, really hard. I promise it will be helpful and you’ll feel better in the long run. I eventually figured this out… just took a small sinus infection to get me there 😉
So I think that’s all for now… I’ll try to get another post in this weekend and give a small update on what’s been going on in my life. I’ll say that I’m extremelyyyyyy tired and have A LOT going on but it’s all good things! Production company is coming along and I feel like I’ve taken another step in my acting career… but that’s all stories for a different day. Thanks for reading and see y’all again soon!
Till next time… Exes and Oh’s!
Your little Fighter,
PS this is my family dog. Isn't he the cutest?! He thinks he's a puppy... He's not. He's ten human-years old. Your only as old as you feel, eh? :P