28 February 2011

In case of emergency...cut the wire...

Which wire?!

**this blog is *NOT* for the faint of heart**

Holy smokes. This is the second time I've been wired shut, and they always make you wear scissors around your neck "in case of an emergency" and you have to throw up. It's kind of annoying, and people always ask why you're wearing scissors and blah blah blah.

Let's back up a little. They have me on this crazy antibiotic-augmentin. Top three side effects- nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. This is the third time I've been on it, since the first surgery I got that crazy weird infection that no one had seen in the hospital. So they changed it to augmentin the first time, and the second time just gave it to me right off the bat. Naturally they did the same thing this time. Except this time, my stomach would not get a break. I had crazy diarrhea (sorry, gross I know), my stomach was always rumbling, and I could hardly calm it down. This morning was the breaking point.

I was trying to get ready for our appointment, but I couldn't shake the nausea. I kept going back to the bathroom, thinking that maybe I just needed to use the bathroom. I was trying to get ready, and I found my scissors (I'd been bad and left them on the counter), put them around my neck and took my antiobiotics and children's motrin. Finally I got the point that I was going to try to take the suppository for treating nausea. Except when I got to the bathroom, I just ended up throwing up instead. Hurling is a better description I think.

All I could think was, "Don't panic, keep breathing, cut your wires." So I took the scissors off and tried to cut the wires. Harder than it seems. Kept trying to cut them, but it was hard to see (why is it that even though I drink liquids, I threw up chunks??). My tongue was going crazy, trying not to touch the chunks, which only made me more gross and nauseas. Finally I made it to the right side of my mouth, and cut the rubber bands, which cleared out the hole, and I was able to get everything out of my mouth by rinsing and draining from the right side. Finally I was all clear, the bathroom sink was a wreck, and my mom poor mom had to use the bathroom (while I'm trying not to freak out about throwing up wired shut).

Needless to say, we were a little late to our appointment, but they were pleased with my healing (inside my mouth, and the swelling). They decided to take me off the antibiotics (it's the hardcore stuff, literally like two antibiotics in one), told me to eat yogurt, take my pain meds sparingly ("all medicine is toxic"), I could drink through a straw, I am my own best doctor, and start doing things, but little by little. The advantage of not having my hip graft done is that there is no healing required, so it's all mouth focused now. Also said that if I go out, I need to cover up my neck (prevent scarring from plastic surgeon--I think this is a great excuse to go to Target and buy a big sun hat! ;D).

Anyway, my stomach has still be uneasy all day. I tried to drink some chocolate milk when I woke up from my nap in pain and took some meds for it. Took a little nap, still queasy. Drank some Sprite (Thanks Michelle!) and also some ramen broth (just cooked the ramen, but marcus strained noodles out).

Think it's controlled enough for us to head to Whole Foods to get some yogurts, coconut water, and possibly some delicious soup... we'll see.

WoW. What a day!

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov 18:10

25 February 2011

Doctors...

Life is always an adventure right? I emailed my doctor today, saying, "Hey, we're at the point where steroids wear off right? So now we're swollen lots, as long as no fever--I'm golden."

So I sent him this picture.
But he was scared. You know docs, you get one crazy weird infection and they get all worried. Anyway, so I emailed him at like 11, and he made an appointment for me at 1430. So we headed up, and low and behold, nothing! They took my sutures out from my little plastic surgery neck incision, and then told me I'd be back on Monday (nothing exciting, we already knew that). He said to keep up with the antibiotics, and now change it over to heat packs, instead of ice packs.

That's it. Thankfully it was the fastest I've ever gone to Tripler and back, on a Friday afternoon no less! Survived the trip.

God is good :)

23 February 2011

Home at last...

Surgery recap. If you recall, there were a lot of variables with this surgery. Removing the bar, if they could remove all of it. Breaking one side or both sides. Taking a bone graft from the left hip if there wasn't enough bone on my jaw. Wired shut or banded.

The night before surgery didn't quite go as I had planned. As I laid down after doing last minute packing and cleaning and organizing the kid started making noise. Whiny noises (remember he's still fighting some sickness). So I got him out of the crib (not letting my mom take him since I figured this would be it for me picking him up for a while. I tried to get him to sleep, laying down with me, drinking milk, to my dismay nothing worked. He was still whiney and not sleeping an hour and a half later. So finally I put him back into his crib, and he slept. By now it was already 0130, and I had to be at Tripler at 0540. *sigh* Generally the night before surgery I like to stay up late anyway (since I normally go in early into surgery), and I figure I'll be getting all that sleep anyway, I might as well take advantage of it!

It seemed weird that I was supposed to be in the OR by 0730, and it was 0710 and I hadn't seen *anyone* from the oral surgery department. But I met the anesthesiologist and she was super nice. She freaked me out a little because she had asked M to give me a kiss, and I was like, are you going to put me under before you wheel me out of the room? She said of course, but she wanted M to kiss me first. Oddly enough, I don't remember being awake as I was wheeled out of the room.

Then I woke up, and my hip didn't hurt. But my mouth sure did. This only meant one thing-there was no hip graft done, and I was pretty upset about this because Dr. Closmann had made it pretty evident that my bone wasn't thick enough to support implants. But at this point, I just had to trust that God was in control. I didn't find out until this morning what really happened during surgery.

In the attempt to remove the "blasted bar" from my bone, they could only undo some of the screws (they're meant more to be permanent) and alas their $10K drill set could only undo 9 of the 15 screws. So when they were adjusting the leftover part of my bar, my bone snapped. Oh yes, snapped. Needless to say they went with that break as the point of reference to align my jaw. Because my bone snapped, the doctors did some debating about what to do for the bone graft. Since a live graft requires lots of stability, they didn't want any microfractures to occur and compromise the graft, so they opted for some synthetic bone. Like bone in a tube, or something. Then the bottom three brackets popped off during surgery while they were wiring me shut. So this morning, I laid in the ortho chair for about an hour (flat, with no ice), while he tried and tried to get the brackets back on (two times they popped off), then he decided he would cut the wire leaving the three brackets free, and just put new brackets, and then let them use bands for those last three teeth. Seriously, I felt super worse after that time in the chair. I think my swelling went up exponentially. *sigh*

So here I am. At home, finally. Didn't think it would feel so good to be home, but it does. Just that peace of not having nurses constantly coming in, to take my vitals, or give me meds, or ask if I need something. I might miss a few med doses, but I think it'll be worth it.

Speaking of which, I cannot wait to take a shower tomorrow. YES!

(PS-I apologize for any typos or incoherentness of this post, I would like to remind the audience that I am under the influence of prescribed narcotics. Good night!)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, II Corinthians 1:3

22 February 2011

The final hours...

(well I started this blog the night before surgery, but I'm wrapping it up the day after)

I'll have to go back and check, but I'm not sure if I've posted the day before surgery, or so close to that time. I thought, this would be a good time to reflect, since my mind tends to get hazy around surgery times.

Let's start by saying that last night, Marcus & I spent the night at the Waikiki Marriott, and it was totally awesome. Such a blessed time getting away from "life" and getting to be with each other before this new journey begins. This morning's breakfast was from the buffet at the Kuhio Grill & Bar, I had french toast, belgian waffles, bacon, scrambled eggs, rice with ume, papaya and watermelon. Quite the assortment, and totally worth the price (they had a special, $20. Considering the cost of a normal entree, definitely a steal for the variety). Then we cruised around the hotel a little and checked out. The day carried on without much exciting things (laundry, kid nap) and ended with hanging out with Lei & the kids for a bit before getting kid ready for bed and leaving him with daddy while I went to read at CB&TL (since I failed to earlier while kid was napping :/ ). It was blessed. Sherri came to visit for a little bit (we had to make amends) and then I read until they closed.

When I walked into CB&TL I felt like it hit me, this was it. I felt like I was on death row or something (probably so dramatic since I had watched the recent episode of Private Practice earlier), but it was like; "This is the last delicious drink I will get for a while, what do I want?" As I sat down to read and listened to Shane & Shane; it was hard. But it would be worth it. It seemed like every day was more painful than the last, my left side of my jaw was being overworked, and was starting to hurt more and more. Especially after my PT test on Friday. I had to go through with it.

18 February 2011

i don't understand your ways...

but still i will give you my song...

not understanding seems to be the point lately. it's not about why, but about following. not asking what the destination is, but knowing the way (jesus).

but sometimes it's hard to do that.

this morning i took my last pt test before my surgery. thanks to jesus i did far better than i thought i would, especially since my waist was .5" bigger than my last test, so i wasn't too thrilled about starting the test that way, but i just gave it my all. i walked the mile in 11:18! that is crazy fast. unfortunately my heart rate monitor was retarded. it would show my heart rate for a few minutes and then switch to the chrono time on its own. i pushed the button on the third lap to get it to show the hr again, but then by the time i crossed the finish line it was missing again, so they had to do the manual one. but i guess something happened, because when i got back from finishing the lap with mcalister's wife they had to redo the manual hr check and it turned out to be 154. i told them they could use 174 which is what it was before the time showed up, but you know, i guess they can't go on my word. then the situps came around and i was nervous. but i changed into my regular shoes (did the walk in the vibrams and socks) and pumped out 51 situps! (thankfully! i didn't know that there is a gap, 51 gets 9.5 and 53 gets 10... nothing in the middle. so i'm happy with 51) anyway, end score was 94.11, exempt from pushups, test again in 6 months.

still excited.

then the pain started. my neck. or something in my jaw connected to my neck. to the point that it hurt to open my mouth... i don't know how or what, but it happened. all i can take is tylenol... since everything else thins your blood (no no for surgery).

i'm trying not to get mad, because my instinct is, "really GOD? i'm going to be wired shut for who knows how long or what they're doing to me, these are the last 4 days i have of real freedom without the guilt of pt test and now it hurts WORSE to eat now than it did before the pt test. UGH." so that's that.

now i just have to trust him. and draw near. because his ways are definitely higher than mine.

10 February 2011

not so easy...

You would think after two oral surgeries the third would be easy. But instead I find myself immensely emotional about this surgery. So much of me *of course* wants this to be healed. To be able to eat without pain, even to have teeth on the right side, but even more to not have this constant jaw pain on the left side from overuse/misalignment that gets worse every day.

But recently, it's overwhelming sometimes. To think, of the painful recovery road just from another hip graft. To think that my last graft was almost a YEAR ago, and I am still not 100% on my right side. Then I get to throw in potentially two extra incisions being made, and being wired shut for 6 weeks (for reals this time, not like the first one where we thought so, then they cut me free after 2). SIX weeks. 42 days. More than 40 days in the desert.

Most people freak out about surgery because of anesthesia, "what if I don't wake up?" BAH HUMBUG. Who cares if you don't wake up, HEAVEN. JESUS. That would be the best thing that could happen to me.

But it's the waking up part that sucks. Waking up from surgery is interesting. The first one was so long that I was very groggy, I remember waking up very thirsty, unable to communicate to my nurse, and going back to sleep. Then trying again, and this time she used a straw to dapple water onto my parched lips and through my wired teeth. The second time, I distinctly waking up thinking, "Thank you God they did not take bones from both hips." The pain on the right side was excruciating, to think that it could have been both sides at once, I was very grateful to only have one side grafted.

This time. This time is different. Similar to each one prior, but it's own beast. First, to remove the bar that is currently in (without cutting my old scar completely open), will require an incision on the top right side of my face, to remove the screws that are up there. Then, to break my lower jaw on both sides, requires an incision on the inside of my mouth on the left side. Then another bone graft, from the left hip.

I try to hold on to these lyrics by Rita Springer: Worth it All

I don't understand Your ways
Oh but I will give You my song
Give You all of my praise
You hold on to all my pain
With it You are pulling me closer
And pulling me into Your ways

Now around every corner
And up every mountain
I'm not looking for crowns
Or the water from fountains
I'm desperate in seeking, frantic believing
That the sight of Your face
Is all that I need
I will say to You

It's gonna be worth it
It's gonna be worth it
It's gonna be worth it all
I believe this
It's gonna be worth it
It's gonna be worth it
It's gonna be worth it all
I believe this

But it's still hard to hold on to. Is it? Is it worth it?

It's gotta be. My mouth gets worse every day... I guess it has to get worse before it gets better.

I think about what people say when they go through suffering, "When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," the Psalmist doesn't write, "IF" I walk through, he knows it'll happen. He doesn't write, "walk into the valley" because he KNOWS it will end. He KNOWS he will walk THROUGH it. Some people have an option to quit trials and beg God to get them out of it. I feel like I don't have a choice in this matter. Because the date is set, I want to get better. I need to get better (for my sanity).

There is no IF for me. February 22 is WHEN. I will get THROUGH surgery, whether it's 4 hours or 6 hours or longer.

but... will I still praise Him? do I still trust that he will restore my soul? do I fear no evil? do I believe that he will anoint my head with oil and my cup will overflow?

i don't know.

02 February 2011

What a day!

I woke up feeling considerably worse than I did yesterday. Crazy sore throat (is the only way I can describe it)--it hurt to swallow... so of course I did want every smart person does, went to sick call (and brought my ABUs just in case I would be well enough to go back to the CGOC conference). At this point, I'm thinking I just want something to stop coughing and make my throat feel better.

I go to sick call, and surprisingly I don't have a fever (and I hadn't taken anything yet). The doc looks me over, says he doesn't think it's strep since he generally sees it in teenagers, but he'll do a swab anyway. Tells me there's some white stuff in my throat. Says I'll have to buy some sucrets (since they don't have any at the pharmacy), and he'll give me some cough syrup. I wise up, and ask for those cool capsules that help with cough (I had gotten them before). He says he'll give them to me. Then I ask when I cough stuff up, if I should swallow or spit it out. He told me, "Don't cough." O. My. Gosh. Really? Thanks doc. So he gives me quarters.

I text my friend who graciously allows me to crash at their place while I wait for my 1245 appt at Tripler (followed by Oral Surgery at 1330). By the time I wake up at 1145, I feel like I was run over by a train. My throat is ridiculously even more sore (I don't do anything and it hurts like heck, and when I go into a coughing frenzy I want to cry). I make it up to Tripler, thankfully find parking, and head to the cafeteria, praying they have soup, so I can eat a little and take some medicine (advil, anti-cough medicine)... so I feel like a cripple walking around, hanging my head, not talking to anyone (really hard for me, this poor dude dropped his money, and like a mute, I tugged his arm and pointed at the ground)... then I head to my first appt, and they peg me with a whopping 101 fever. I know right?!?! Where was the fever when I was at the DOCTOR's office?!? Anyway. That appointment was awful. Really.

Then Oral Surgery. Ah. Yes. Oral Surgery. 22 Feb will be interesting. More variables than I originally thought. Basically, they could break the left side of my jaw (and again, by break I mean cut), in which case they'd cut on the inside. I may or may not be wired shut or banded shut. I may have to use a syringe, or I may get to use a straw. They may do a bone graft, they may not. *sigh* the only definite thing is that plastic surgery will be working on the scar on my neck to get rid of that bumpy part of the scar.

Well... all in a day's worth of doctors right?

01 February 2011

3 weeks...

I find it ironic (or better-God's timing is interesting), that I started this week (Sunday) doing a Shred workout. And decided that I would use the remaining time before my surgery to work out every day. And then the very next day I wake up with an itchy throat, and coughing. Which turned worse today, into sore throat, fighting fever, and worse coughing. *sigh* My big thing through this season of life (getting cut open time and time again) is I don't want to miss whatever God is doing in my life. Needless to say I try to reflect a lot, to see if I'm even growing at all. So at this point in time, when I made my own goals about what I wanted to do, by my own strength, I'm reminded that it's not about that. It's written that "I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13) so it's a reminder that it's not by anything of me, but all through Him that I am able to accomplish.

Perhaps it's a good reminder before this (prayerful) last surgery, that everything is not dependent on me, in actuality, it all depends on Him.