Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I saw urodoc today for my post-op appointment and all is well. Not only am I fond of him and grateful to have him for my urologist ...but I am also fond of his staff. They are just terrific women. What a great medical office to go to! I find myself always laughing with someone if not many of them. :) I mostly expected it would be a good report after hosting the mother of all stents for the winter. :) And I had a concern about some kidney pain that occurred a week before it was removed and my kidney looked normal when he scoped me. So good news. Yay! :)
And now, I have blood work done later in spring, to be followed up with a renal scan at the end of June. The scan is to see what my kidney function is. I am a wee bit concerned since the last relapse because it seems it goes down after that happens.
I should say ...I am a wee bit concerned in the natural and probably should not give voice to that. But in my spirit, I know all things are possible with God and that there is power in prayer. I don't pretend to know why God does heal some people and others he does not. But, Jesus said if we have prayer even the size of a grain of mustard seed, that we can move mountains. I know I have at least that much and usually more.
But ..even that small amount of faith can set positive things in motion ...in this case healing. I guess we just have to be willing to believe and he can take that faith and do something good with it. Then there are people who are healed who have no faith and people with tremendous faith left to suffer.
Interestingly, last night I heard that when people without faith are healed ...it is though God's grace.
So, I come back to ..I don't pretend to know his mind ..why he decides as he does. But ...what is most important to know is God does heal people. He heals in every day things and he heals with the miraculous. God heals. I do choose to activate my faith ...believe for healing and let God do the rest.
Jesus also said that there is power in our words. And he told us to "Fear not" more than anything else he said. So, he was most aware of our human condition ..our proclivities toward the negative.
And he encouraged us to pray to our Heavenly Father.
So what I glean from these things is that he taught these things so that we would have faith and believe and so that we would speak and think as positively as we can, so at the very least ..we maintain a positive attitude. And science has confirmed that a positive attitude has a positive effect on the body...thus the best chance for healing in the natural.
So ..whether or not he heals with a healing miracle ...abiding by these principals will still enable us to have a more positive life experience. It will help us in other areas too.
My mindset is to pray with all my heart and believe I am healed. I will also do some other things in this area. And now ...it really is in God's hands. I will not resist anymore if my destiny truly is to go through the surgery.
But ...that being said ...I am so very much putting my energies ...mind, body and spirit into once and for all being healed ...permanently healed and that is all I can do now. Believe. Pray. Believe. Positive confession - giving no place to fear ...at least not dwelling on it. Believe.
Well, I am heading off to church now. It occurs to this SeaSpray that she had better sit in the front row, because she just consumed 3 slices (bad SeaSpray BAD!) of the most wonderful white pizza covered in fresh garlic, tomatoes and spinach. I should've just had 2 slices, but won't eat the rest of night.
Well, even tho I've brushed my teeth and used mouthwash ...I am still having an inner experience with the garlic. HMMM...what I NEED is a surgical mask! ;)
Friday, March 25, 2011
Faith makes things possible, not easy. ~Author Unknown
Faith is a passionate intuition. ~William Wordsworth
I've been remiss in blogging because I have been making up for lost time since feeling foot loose and fancy free for the last nine days. :)
I am going to share some things with you. You've read a lot of it before ..unless you are a new reader... but not all of it.
I can't help but wonder if I am being like the person in the joke, who when they get to heaven ..they ask God why he didn't save them from the flood. He answers that he tried to. He sent three different ways of escape (boats and a helicopter), and each time you refused stating, "No, I can't go with you. God will save me." Those are what I sent to save you, but you didn't get on board. (That was my version. The actual joke was better.)
I actually had two people tell me that joke in reference to my situation in within a short period of time. One was a stranger I met in the pool at the Y one afternoon and the other a physician. I admit ...I couldn't help but wonder what the odds were that I would here the same joke from a stranger and then a physician?
Anyway, I am still so grateful to have the big ureteral stent out.
This may sound weird ...but for as much as I was seriously ready to have the stent removed ...paradoxically ...I was also afraid to have it removed. This is because I related to it as a security stent. Kind of ..like a security blanket ...helping me to feel all safe and like everything was okay ...so long as I had the stent inside me. I was secure in the knowledge that as long as I was stented, the ureteral stricture would not close off again ...blocking the normal flow of urine from my kidney to my bladder thus causing a relapse. That is never a good thing. It has also been devastating to me because I have ...as some of you know ...really been counting on total ...even miraculous healing, because ...I do-not-want the surgery ...ever. And ...even more than that ...well not more ...but still monumental to me ...being stented was synonymous with reconstructive surgery not being imminent. I knew that the short term guarantee was no longer there when the stent came out.
So ...the entire time I am stented ...I am also conflicted, because I don't want to be stented ...at all ..but I do ...but I really don't ..really don't ...but do ...because it's a means to a hopefully happy ending ...a happy ureteral ending. So ...I put myself out there with my life on hold, swimming upstream against the odds - while the urine flows downstream in a wide open ureter via ureteral stent ...ever hopeful that THIS time ...God will heal me. I also know he doesn't need a stent to do it, although he usually does work through physicians and medicine. It would seem that perhaps his answer to my prayers to being healed is through surgery, that for whatever reason ...it is my destined path.
But ...I just do not accept it. I also know that healing for some people comes after they've been through a long process. that healing could be in the natural or via supernatural intervention - GOD himself. I know that seems crazy to some of you ... perhaps most of you. I just know ...that I know that God is ABLE to do anything he chooses to do.
I thought I would be forced into the surgery in February and was gearing up for it, but was profoundly relieved to have been given one more opportunity.
Sometimes I joke that I am a walking paradox because I can have such opposite opinions/feelings within myself. Someone once joked it's because I am a Gemini - sign of the twins. Funny, but I in know way believe in the powers of astrology. Only God.
But, I digress.
I am telling you that I have great faith. I do. And yet ...with my reluctance to let go of the ureteral stent, it would seem that I lack faith. I guess it comes down to ...my spirit always has faith. My mind is usually on board ...unless I start thinking about my medical uro history and allow fear to come in. Which, admittedly has been a good part of the time. Always anticipating that darn other shoe dropping. Rock and a hard place. Conflict within mind and body ...but my spirit is always on track with faith. When I link up totally with my spirit I do believe all things are possible with God ...including healing. And I know some think I am denial. I really am not. No one is more aware of the situation then I am. But ...everything in me has felt that I should resist.
I do know ...that after enduring this last stent for the length of time I did, that if this didn't do it ...well then ...the writing is on the wall, I guess. I'm not trying to be obtuse. I just believe in not giving up. And, I never really got the green light in my spirit, but for ever so briefly. I have felt a red light. If it's right ...I will know it and I will feel the green. ..and I have not.
I can't help what I feel. In my heart of hearts ...I really do feel I will heal. (I wonder if everyone would've just done the surgery, tried a little or resisted completely? What would YOU have done/do? And if anyone answers - why would you choose that path?)
So ...no regrets. I am grateful for the reprieve and new opportunity for healing.
I believe I am healed.
Carpe diem! :)
You will see in the following reprinted post, just what a fight to stay away from the surgery this has been for me. Some of you may've already read the following post because I wrote it for the Positive Medical Blog back in September after I had a relapse with the right ureter. Discouraged, afraid, conflicted ..with a bit of forced peace ..I was trying to hold on to the green light feeling in my spirit because surgery was inevitable ...probably to be scheduled in February. But, as I have previously stated, I am so grateful that I got another opportunity to heal via having a LARGE stent placed in me after removing the small one. And so now recently removed ...and feeling great ...I enthusiastically embrace life stent free. :)
I am adding this previous post first of all for me, because it keeps the story all together for my own purposes and also to update any interested reader who may be new to this story. I began blogging because of urology issues and has been my way to vent every so often ..either by sharing my heart or venting about some exam, test, procedure or hospital stay. God knows ...medical things provide plenty of material for humor. :) I am pleased when someone lets me know I have helped them in some way by sharing my experiences. I am appreciative when readers share their own uro experiences or other medical things. I think insight is gained both ways ...and certainly comfort in knowing you aren't the only one going through something and seeing how other people successfully overcome their challenges. And support. I think it is important to encourage, provide hope ...or perhaps in my case ...voice of reason.
This story is going to end one way or the other and as you know ...I believe healed.
Reality to Fantasy ...Sharing My Heart About Surgery
Photo credit for ureteral stent
A ureteral stent is placed inside the ureter, entering first through the urethra and positioned up along the ureter so that one coiled end rests in the kidney and the other coiled end rests in the bladder. It keeps the ureter open to facilitate the passage of urine or stones without obstructing. It also aids in healing after the ureter has passed kidney stones or after procedures and surgery, so that it doesn't scar closed.
Some of you familiar with my posts already know that I have quite the urologic medical history. All thanks to one "You've been working on it a longtime" 6 mm kidney stone that struck at 4 a.m., at the end of May in 2004 ...with* the* most intense pain I have ever experienced in-my- life ..trumping ..yes ladies ..trumping labor pain.
I will spare you the hideous details of that day ..but suffice it to know ..that stone was my #10 pain. Since then ..whenever asked about my pain level on the pain scale ..I base all answers using the mother of all kidney stones pain criteria. Works rather well. I pray I n-e-v-e-r have to set a new bar for pain again. That will be enough ..thank you very much. Oh wait ..there was the in office ureteral stent removal ..quick ..but an instant TEN on the pain scale chart.
So ..that day ..after the trip to the OR to have said 6mm kidney stone removed and 2 ureteral stents in and out during the month that followed the stone attack...I was cleared after the following KUB in the fall.
It never occurred to me I would ever see a urologist again in my life. I naively thought that chapter was closed.
But then 18 1/2 months months later ...on New Years eve - December 2005, while working my Patient Access shift at the hospital ... the little urinary tract infection I thought I had ...exacerbated into much more. I ended up one sick lady the next night ...admitted into the hospital for the week ..complete with a side trip into the OR at the end of the week. It turned out that my ureter was totally constricted. This happened because it was damaged by that first and only kidney stone ..the mother of all stones 18 1/2 months earlier. It caused my ureter to scar closed over time, blocking the urine flow from the kidney... causing a serious infection ...among other things.
So I had a ureteral stent placed by a new urologist, to aid in keeping the ureter open and facilitate healing. I have had long periods of time in between stenting in which my ureter remained open ..but did have a relapse in 08. Surgery had been advised ..but I have resisted with everything in me because I am considered a high risk for this surgery. I have tenaciously and in faith held on to the possibility that I am healed.
Then last weekend ..I experienced renal colic late at night (see this post in SS), ended up in the ED the next morning(Saturday), OR on Sunday morning and am now currently sporting another ureteral stent. To say that I have felt discouraged and afraid this week is an understatement. It would seem that the rock and the hard place I have been in over these past four years is closing in on me and I am being forced into having the surgery that I have desperately been trying to avoid.
I have the most amazing urologist who has been stellar with his care. He listens and we work well together. I am so grateful he has given me every opportunity to heal. I am grateful for all the work he has done ..all the time and energy he's invested into my case ...all the while taking good care of me. I am grateful to his partners and their office/clinic staff. If I had to go through this stuff ..then I am so glad I was under that group's care ..especially my urologist.
People do go through much worse things ..but this whole process has not been a day at the beach. It really helped me as a patient to be able to go to a warm, friendly upbeat medical office in which the staff was patient with this patient ..who could get a bit squirrelly every now and then depending on what the procedure du jour was.
Surgery was recommended early on ...but I just had to try to give my ureter every opportunity to heal with minimally invasive treatment before agreeing to the high risk surgery. I suppose I have prolonged the inevitable ..but I do not regret the extra time I have had.
I do not.
And so this week ... my time has run out. It would seem that with this most recent turn of events ..my ureter constricting again ..after only 7 months that the writing is on the wall and I have to do the surgery. Admittedly ..this past week ..I have not been taking it well. I have been having total wallow week. But today ..was the first day ..that I am beginning to wrap my brain around the fact that I am going to have to do the surgery. I actually had a good and productive day. I guess that happens ..good days when you rise up out of your self pity party. And fear. I actually have been way more fearful then feeling sorry for myself. Fear with a capital "F".
Which goes totally against the faith in God that I really do have ..and goes against my normally optimistic and upbeat see the glass half full personality. I guess I latched on to the words .."She's not a good candidate for open surgery" or "It's not a good situation" and knowing I need to go to a teaching hospital and different surgeon ..it all just paralyzed me with fear and I have never been willing to move forward. Ironically ..had I never heard the words ..or understood why I was high risk ..I would've had the surgery. But I know too much. And so I froze and resisted.
I also really believed I was healed because things were going so well. But, it is a silent chronic condition (You can't feel yourself scarring) and unfortunately I don't have warning until my ureter closes off and then it is a big deal and not something I can keep doing.
But what about faith? Is God not God? Do I trust him or not? Well it seems I will be free falling ...relying on his guidance and protection, because it is now out of my control. I don't like not having control. I have to let go. I have to have trust ...trust with a capital "T" in every person involved with my health care, ...especially the operating surgeons ..the gas doc and all the staff involved in the OR and post-op. All I can do is give it to God at that point.
Maybe it has always been that way and I just didn't see it.
It is not easy to surrender ...to let go.
It is not.
But ..I know ..sometimes we have to do ...what we have to do... and now this is what I have to do. You can see how much I have wrestled with this.
And I had 2 C-sections. I do know something about open abdominal surgery. But it's a much shorter surgery and ...you get a baby in your arms. After the reconstructive urology surgery ...I get another stent in my rebuilt ureter. Not as warm and cuddly as a new born baby. Well ..maybe if they let me hold it first. ;)
And ..actually ...I am a bite the bullet ...just do it ..face it and get it over with person. I always have been. Except with this. I have felt a MAJOR red light in my spirit. Friends, family and physicians ..have all told me to do the surgery. But it is NOT like going in for a routine appendectomy or gall bladder surgery. This surgery is a lot more involved.
And you know ..if a person has to have an emergency surgery or they WILL die ..the choice is obvious ..try to save your life with the surgery. I on the other hand am not under imminent threat of death and get along just fine with being stented ..although really, really inconvenient and some really can hurt. It's just a whole other ball game when it's not emergent.
A good example would be the pain of a stuck kidney stone. I KNOW ..I would take my chances dying ...over living with that pain ..which would be impossible to live with anyway. Or like we have a friend who went in for a regular checkup and his doctor heard something abnormal with his heart and sent him to a specialist the same day. That specialist told him you will be in the OR tomorrow having open heart surgery because you could die at any time. He had the surgery the next day and is alive and well now.
He did not have an option because death was imminent.
A coworker of mine said that she knew she could die while having the bariatric surgery, but she made up her mind if it was her time ..then it was her time. She urged me to do the surgery. But I could not.
Anyway ...I know I have to have a major attitude adjustment. I am grateful that there is a solution and I have an opportunity to have it fixed. The risks just scare me is all. And I pray there are no complications.
By the time I am actually going for the surgery I will hold my head up and demonstrate faith, fight to pull through and will have hope and a can do attitude. And not for show ..but really do it ..for me, for family and for the surgeons. I want to be strong for myself and others.
So ..today ..really was a turn around day for me. And for the first time since one day last year ..I did get a green light in my spirit about it. I won't be doing it just yet ..but fairly soon. I need to work that out with my doctor. And I imagine that between now and the scheduled surgery ...I will vacillate between fear and faith ...but I am going to counter the fear when it hits with hope, good thoughts and faith along with prayer.
I hope I haven't offended anyone by sharing this... my heart ...about these things. I know people everywhere go through difficult situations and have to make tough choices. I'd like to know if anyone out there has ever been in a similar situation ..even if not medical? A situation in which they stalled and put off doing something that needed to be done? Have you felt afraid? How did you over come it? Or do you wrestle even now with fearful thoughts or serious concerns?
On a lighter note ...here is the visual of where I am at:
All this time ...if forced into the surgery ...I have envisioned myself on the stretcher... with all fours ..arms and legs braced against entering through the door of operating room. Then recently ..in my mind's eye ...I had 2 legs and one arm in the OR ...but boy was I tenaciously holding on to that door frame with a right handed vice grip. And THAT is just the pre-op area.
Even though I am more accepting today ...I may just scramble ..regroup like a cat and get all scrappy and then with the determination of a mule brace all fours ...again ...against the final OR door.
I can imagine gouging my nails into the metal frame in my attempt to hold on.
Then ..they STILL have to get me onto the table.
Okay ..so I am gonna have to work on this more. I am making progress. :)
I know the OR staff appreciates patient cooperation in sliding from the stretcher to the OR table. And I am a frequent flier OR veteran at this point and I can skootch to the spot with the best of em. However, they may have to drug me first ..dull my natural instincts. Or is that when they flare up ..no inhibitions? I've always worried about being too breezy with words in the OR once they give their special happy cocktail. But ...I think for this surgery ...I will welcome any kind of breezy. :)
Monday, March 21, 2011
With this ureteral stent being out now ...approximately 98 hours post stent removal, I feel like this afternoon was my turn around moment. I just got my first sudden and unexpected burst of energy Saturday afternoon. I began cleaning with gusto ...enjoying every second of it and was thrilled when I realized I was crunching down low and pushing things and I did not have any major pain. No aching in a place that had been bringing me to tears sometimes. No worn out tired feeling...even tho I am still recovering. And no worrying I overdid it. It is just different.
Instead ...I felt all this energy and a renewed hope came flooding into me.
I later remembered back to when I was pregnant in March with our first son.
I remembered how I've always and I know this is weird and not the norm for most people ....I remembered how I've almost always disliked March because I begin feeling sad about letting go of winter. I love winter.
And this year ...I was so grounded with this particular stent. But throughout this urology journey ...much has changed in my life on other fronts. I feel like I've built a cocoon ...a protective cocoon around myself and even though It wasn't always about the uro issues ...I detached somewhat. I really feel like I am coming out of something and the best analogy I have is that of emerging from a cocoon. I guess I was processing the losses during this time. And the changes. I am not sure. I will have to think about it. All I do know for sure ...now... is that I am ready to emerge. I am ready for new beginnings. I accept that there will be new beginnings. I am letting go of the past and the things I didn't want to say goodbye too.
I know that most people get excited with spring being around the corner ..seeing the buds on the trees and the daffodils and tulips breaking through the ground. For most people spring is a welcome respite from the cold, snowy weather. The excitement for nature coming alive again and enjoying warm, sunny days again.
But, I have a let down feeling at this time of year. Plus I don't like the transition of cold to warm and mud all around. Well ..it seems muddier. And I even stress about clothing changing from fall/winter clothing to the spring/summer and I always worry about what I will wear. And then I do the same thing when I have to transition back into fall/winter clothing... although I do eagerly anticipate the fall and winter seasons and holidays and all the things I associate with them.
But, earlier ...I got the same feeling I got when I was pregnant with our sons. I could not wait for spring and summer! I was so ready to let go of winter that year. Of course what I wanted ...was to have our precious babies. LIFE was in the air. Joyful ...EXPECTANCY was in the air. And Hope. :)
Well, it hit me today ...that I feel the same way now. I loved when earlier last week, I saw two geese on the pond out back. Then I got excited when I heard the night bugs (peepers/tree frogs?) outside for the first time this year, Thursday night. And have been thoroughly enjoying the balmy spring air and opening windows to let all the fresh air inside. And now, I can't wait to move into the beautiful spring weather and appreciate all the new beginnings in nature and in my life.
I am so grateful to feel better and to feel so free.
I feel filled with hope for all kinds of things. For me. For my family. For others. I welcome new beginnings.
I know there is much to be concerned about in our country and in our world and in my life and for some people I know. But ...I just feel hopeful ...liberated and hopeful. And grateful.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Just check out those big lights. Do you see how big they are? Do you know how bright they are?
I know some of you may think I am being ridiculous.
I feel ridiculous, but just can't help how I feel with this stuff.
I vent in here.
Most of my real life people don't have a clue how I feel prior to going in to the OR. Well ...Mr SeaSpray does ...because he sees the squirrelly come out.
All the preparing ...which we all do if we have somewhere to go ...but this is more of a ...I'm gonna be ...nekked ...in front of a lot of people I don't know squirrelly prepping for the OR squirrelly prepping. Not that knowing them makes it better. I promise you that I don't look forward to being undressed anywhere. Not in the grocery store. Not at the dentist. Although ...I'd rather be in the OR instead of the dentist. At least they knock you out. I hate going to the dentist, but of course I go. That smell ..those sounds! Ugh! No ...no undressed at the DMV. No undressed at the bank. No undressed at the mailbox. NO! No, no, no nekked anywhere... well almost anywhere. :) But in front of strangers and you have no control over your body ...you have to surrender yourself ...let go and that is a haaard thing to do. ..even if it is only south of the border and I'm draped or whatever they do in the OR.
And all those bright lights and in that OR ..even the BIRDS get a bird's eye view through the window. It doesn't help the situation when you hear a Sea Gull laughing when you're about to assume the Bajingoland position. I'm just saying. And, yes ...they do have a big window in the OR and while pretty ...natural light abounds... commingling with the bright OR lights, the problem is ...natural light abounds... commingling with the bright OR lights.
I guarantee you most women don't want to be undressed with OR spot lights AND daylight shining in on them too, commingling all over them. Why not just put us under a giant magnifying glass too and send the picture to YouTube? I'm just saying.
Now ...if I could have some patient input into the OR lighting ...I suggest candle light. Yes ...that's it ...candlelight. I recommend ...abooouuut 50 candles! (depending on room logistics, of course) And in all different shapes and sizes ...strategically placed for ambiance and well ...obviously the optimum light on the surgical site for the surgeon. Unscented for patients with allergies and scented for the others. Although the staff and patient have to be in agreement about the scent an that could be decided during the preregistration. We don't want anyone feeling repulsed by aroma. I choose a Sea Spray scent. A friend gave me some Sea Spray candles and they are so pretty... like the ocean. I love food scents in cold weather ...especially baking scents, but I sure don't want to have the aroma of apple pie wafting through the area after being NPO for 84 hours. Well ...it feels like it!
It occurs to me that OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration), may have an issue with this, but I say OSHA-SMOSHA! Think of those Press Ganeys for patient satisfaction. Think about the patient experience!
So, I need to shave, wax, pluck, moisturize -which gets UNDONE with this wipe they give you to sanitize now - TWICE you have to do it, set my hair and yes I know it will get mushed up under the OR cap. I just have to ..I feel better doing it. Hmmm ... it just now occurs to this SeaSpray ...that all this beauty prepping ...for the glam view of me sporting a hospital gown(at least it's a pretty aqua) with my hair mushed up into the OR cap and draped with those OR thingies - name escapes me, oh and lets not forget the little scuffies or stockings and then in in the Bajingoland position for my debut in the OR ...IS how I release the squirrelly. Some people smoke to release the squirrelly ...that undercurrent of pre-op anxiety coursing through their veins. Some people would eat or drink to release the squirrelly. I would like to eat and drink water ...but that darn NPO.
That's it! All this fixating on prepping releases the squirrelly ...instead of me thinking about everything. I'm ureterally stented BIG stented ...and so I am not running a marathon. But I can prep!
At the hospital I worked at, some of my coworkers would go outside to have a cigarette. Me? I would do my makeup at break time. I get so relaxed when I apply makeup. It's fun and I feel better. But ...the OR protocol - states no makeup. (I think there are so many ways a patient can and probably does get contaminated and I am guessing with worse things ..but rules are rules. *sigh*)
Mr SeaSpray is probably going to be relieved that I won't be whining in bed because the stent hurts, causing Godawful spasms. While on my side facing away from him ...if he was awake ...last night he would've heard me say, "I always do this! I can't believe I am again feeling nervous with all of this. I KNOW what to expect!" But, it's the control. The needles and IVs. The getting naked. And nausea and kidney spasms - post-op. Well the place I go to is real good with preventing any post-op nausea and my arrival home is uneventful. I really appreciate that! But, this time, with this stent ...because it's so big and been in me awhile, I can't help but to worry about kidney spasms ...the mother of all kidney kind of spasms, tomorrow post-op and into the night. Been there - done that.
Well ...that's the latest scoop and so I'll be back when this is over.
Oh and back to surgery by candlelight ...The candles should be lit prior to the patient being wheeled into the OR and the OR darkened and you know ...a little music or ocean sounds might be nice. I would choose Pachelbel's Canon in D major.
And another perk to having all those candles in the OR ...if the anesthesiologist gets bored ...he could make puppet shadows. ;)
See ...it works for everyone! :)
Monday, March 14, 2011
No Looting - Japanese People Respectful Amidst Extreme Adversity- Also, Samaritan's Purse International Relief Organization
I am just so heartbroken watching all the devastation and suffering over in Japan.
So much seems to be going wrong in this world lately. There has always been pain and suffering ...I know that, but it seems to be on the rise like never before. It feels like it to me anyway. Sure ...we get the news from all around the planet instantly now ...via satellite, to the point that one can't even keep up with the constant barrage of information. There is seemingly more political unrest then ever before, all around the world. Perhaps that is due to the increasing availability of modern technology and repressed populations can now see that other countries live in freedom and understandably want that for themselves. There is good amidst the turmoil. A woman has to go through the painful labor before her much desired baby is born. In our country there seems to be so much political upheaval for different reasons.
Natural disasters are increasing exponentially, there is financial breakdown around the world, and in this country, the United States of America ...a break down of things that seemed so secure and now nothing feels secure anymore. Things that could be counted on ...once upon a time ...no longer can be. And to me ...sometimes what has always been considered morally right is now politically incorrect or wrong and what was wrong is now considered right. The almighty dollar is more important than maintaining a quality product. Employees are expendable regardless of their dedication to the company. I have been increasingly feeling like there is a social breakdown in our American society, as compared to the traditions and values that were our heritage ...all contributing to a strong American culture. A life considered so valuable, that masses of people left their homelands to become a part of the American dream. We were taught to be respectful and to care about each other.
What is going on?
I have lived most of my life as a glass half full person, but I just feel like I have never seen so many things go wrong as I have these last couple of years. maybe it is just my perception of things ...but the negativity feels almost palpable.
I want to say that it all seems too much ... too much, as I type this from my warm, comfortable home.
What the Japanese people are enduring ...is too much. All this destruction, loss of life and during the cold winter on top of it. The threat of nuclear meltdown.
Their country is devastated.
And yet ...these beautiful people ...these beautiful, suffering people remain respectful and are doing what they can to help each other. And there is no looting. No ...very man for himself. No additional destruction of property just because they can. They don't need police or military to keep people in control to prevent looting and crime. Lawlessness does not abound in the areas in which catastrophe of epic proportions has hit Japan.
Instead ...they wait patiently in orderly, long lines for their turn to get rations. What a contrast to what we witnessed after the Katrina hurricane ...or after the earthquake in Haiti.
In reading some articles about this, I learned that in the Japanese culture, they are taught from an early age to be respectful. It is drilled into them to be respectful, that they should be responsible for each other and have been taught to go without at times because there could be a time when they would have to. And now here they are facing one of the worst world wide disasters in modern history ...a major earthquake with several strong aftershock quakes, the tsunami, the threat of a nuclear disaster ... and a collapse of the infrastructure that enables the supplies to be brought to these suffering people ...and yet ...they remain calm and respectful ...looking out for each other. And it is maintaining this order that will more quickly facilitate disaster relief, along with rebuilding their country ...their lives.
The Japanese people, mindful of the importance of respect, dignity and compassion toward others, along with civil obedience ...being carried out with such grace amidst catastrophic adversity, is an inspiring example for the rest of us!
We are going to donate money to Samaritan's Purse toward the Japanese relief effort. They are one of my favorite charities because they visibly do so much good around the world and are one of the first on the scene when catastrophe strikes and they also have built hospitals in war torn areas, providing medical relief... among so many other things ...depending on the need. Please watch the short video of Rev. Franklin Graham speaking with Greta Van Susteren. Below, I've provided a link to the Samaritan's Purse website. The video about the Japanese relief effort and an article are included. If you wish to donate
Here is the link to Samaritan's Purse website: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/pray_for_japan/
The following is from the same article about the Japanese relief:
WAYS YOU CAN HELP
GIVE:Please visit our donation page to help provide the resources to meet critical needs in Japan.
One more thing. Do you have an emergency disaster kit for yourself and your family? And do you have an emergency plan in place? We don't. I've felt for a long time that we should, but never acted on it.
I think we should.
What do you think?
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Okay ...I just couldn't resist this one since I am experiencing urobrain again. No ...the urine isn't in my brain. Detrol LA is good, but not THAT good! No ...this always happens when I am heading to the OR for a uro procedure or when like recently ...my indwelling stent is doing all kinds of things to get my attention. Or when fear about uro is trying to get my attention and so I may write about that again. Or not. I don't know.
Anyway, I am thinking that keyboard is a favorite of some uro patients too.
Here is another urine controlling urodoc/patient favorite ...2 words ...8 letters.
Detrol LA. :)
And Detrol LA is also a favorite of the stenter/stentee ..for sure this stentee ...because it helps to control bladder spasms when stented ..ureterally stented.
Actually, this past week, I just crossed over to a generic for that. Detrol LA doesn't have a generic, but this other one I am using is a LOT cheaper. $15.00 for 3 months vs $82.00 for 3 months on our med plan. And Detrol through the pharmacy costs even more.
Oh ...I just had a thought. What if my bladder spasms are worse *this* week because I stopped using Detrol La this week and went to the generic of Ditropan? Well ...will be a moot point soon anyway.
Ahhh ...life is good when urine control means your -in -control! ;)
Thursday, March 10, 2011
The picture above shows where kidney stone pain affects the body and that is how it affects me now, but sans kidney stone since I am stented. I am also perplexed, because the stent keeps everything open. Anyway ...I've been drinking, drinking and drinking.
It's been a while since posting from a patient perspective at length, but I need to VENT!
I haven't done this in a while and ...the fact that I am asking is proportionate to my level of concern. And I hope it is just a fluke (isn't that a fish???), and that I am just overreacting.
Also, if anyone familiar with stents knows anything about this or has ever experienced it ...I'd like to hear about it.
My urologist is out of town. And, while I really like his partners and they are great ...if anything were wrong ...well ...I just want my doc ...the one who knows me best.
I believe in the power of prayer and have been praying. I will put a prayer request on our church prayer line after I write this. And the Internet provides a wonderful opportunity for people from all over to pray for another person and in this case ...I would be most grateful if anyone reading this would pray for this to pass and for my ureter to heal once and for all. Thank you. :)
So ...what is this all about?
Pain ...excruciatingly, sharp and sudden pain in my right stented kidney when I bent over to pick something up. Instant 10 pain! This sudden 10 pain in my right flank also caused me to be instantly nauseated ..so strongly, it felt like I might be ill in short order. And it was so strong - the pain in flank ...that I called out "Jesus HELP me!", a few times, when it was at it's worst. I didn't even do that when I had the big kidney stone. Calling out Jesus' name like that is not normal for me. Only ...in an extreme case of pain or fear. Maybe 5 times in my whole life. I didn't even cry out when I was in labor with our first son. I hyperventilated ...but never cried out more than a whimper. An in office stent removal caused me to do it once. Then I explained to the nurse and doctor, that I wasn't swearing, but the fastest way I knew to pray for help with the pain.
This pain today was the intensity of a major kidney stone at first, but went on to feel differently...although sore. It was a very ...extremely sharp ..weird ..uncomfortable ...nauseating feeling. For all my avoiding the reconstructive surgery ...I can tell you that if I had to deal with that kind of pain ...I'd fly into the OR so fast to have it and hand the surgeon the scalpel!
Anyway ...I have a BIG ureteral stent in me now and so I think a stone is unlikely. And it was different then stone pain. Intensity yes ...but different. It had to be the stent doing something weird. And maybe I am still aching because I aggravated it in there when I bent over. Did it migrate into a weird place? Just how big is my kidney though and how far could the stent go? It's not like it's flying back up north for spring.
So ...my mind was racing for a cause and I thought maybe I am dehydrated and the stent is irritating my kidney. Because, I was thirsty when I went to bed, but didn't drink because I didn't want to get up and tinkle all night. That being said ...I got up 3 times to tinkle and was thirsty each time, but because I wanted to sleep, I still did not drink. I forgot about keeping myself hydrated with the stent. How I could do that after all this stent experience is beyond me ...other than to say I was just that tired. I had a friend stay over late and then I stayed up after that...but didn't drink even though I was thirsty.
So, I quickly drank 2 -16 oz glasses of water. Most of the pain subsided before I drank the water, but was still not a good feeling and I don't know how to explain it. I also had not taken any pain medication, but I always wait until the comfort level is challenged. (Ohhhh ...it was CHALLENGED alright!) I know they say you are supposed to stay on top of pain ...but I just would not take that much medicine to do that. I never have with any of these stents. I don't think you can be too careful with pain medication. That being said ..of course I do take it.
This is a big stent and I will write about it later. This stent absolutely requires pain medication. day/night. And I use I usually manage it with 2 Percocet daily...although sometimes 3 if it is a bad stentTramadl once daily on most days... usually at night. I've developed a system that works for me. Not always ...because like I said ..there are exceptions if it's a bad stent day ...meaning a lot of painful spasms among other things. For the most part though ..I take 1 percocet at a time and use the two of them for when I am going to need to be up and around and busier ..or out somewhere. Or for a sudden surprise attack of pain. Pyridium numbs everything and Detral LA helps with the spasms in the bladder. It would be inhumane to not take Pyridium or Detrol La while stented. And the same goes for the pain medication too. You HAVE to get away from the pain!
So, today I only had the latter two meds in me because I wait until I really start to feel bad and then take the 1 Percocet. However, after this incident ...I raced to the medication and took TWO at the same time. I was not feeling right. It wasn't as excruciating like it initially was... but I also wasn't waiting to see if the pain exacerbated beyond what I experienced when I bent over.
Then I went to bend over to pick up the bath mat and OMGosh! It happened again! I absolutely could not pick that mat up! Because I just could not tolerate that kind of pain/nausea and I didn't know if I was hurting myself internally.
And then it happened a THIRD time!
Suffice it to know that I stopped bending over the traditional way.
By the way ...I didn't realize how many times in a day I bend over to do something, get something or pick something up. It's true - we take things for granted until we can't do them anymore. So ...if I have to bend and since I'm a righty ...I simultaneously extend my left leg straight out as I pick up with my right hand. Actually feels kind of good too.
Now ...I do realize that this obviously can't go on like this.
It was about 6 hrs ago since I last bent over that way ..the normal way. I figure why tempt fate?
And I haven't eaten. I don't know why. I just felt like I should not eat much. So, I had a Slim Fast, my big green drink (health product), healing honey and Herbal Aloe Force juice. And a lot more water. And a lot more tinkling ...whizzie winkling. ;) I am now having a nice hot cup of coffee. Mmmm ...it tastes so good.
I am hungry though. I may have something.
I also got this little travel bag out that I've used to pack things for when I am in the hospital. I didn't pack it, but made a mental note of what I would put inside. I also did some girly things that help me to feel better when being seen as a patient. I set my hair, tweezed my eyebrows. I would've shaved my legs ...but I didn't want to bend over. I shaved them yesterday, but I can grow trees pretty easily. I know ...too much info.
There was a time ...back when this all started, in which I was a frequent flier to the hospital and urology office. Now, Thankfully ...I am not. But ...anyone who's ever dealt with a chronic medical condition or had the misfortune of having to be seen as a frequent flier ...just because things happen to you ...well ..I know you understand. Perhaps more of a female thing because men ...well what do they have to do? If they don't shave ..they're sexy or manly or rugged. No woman wants to be manly or rugged. Am I right girls? I'm just saying. Manly or rugged definitely won't do.
Some of you might be thinking ..well if she can do all that, then it can't be that bad. Oh yes it can. Pain medication enabled me to do it. And I would still try anyway. When I was 17, I was ill and had to go to the doctor. My aunt was annoyed because I wanted to take a bath first and she said that if I felt good enough to take a bath ...then I must not be that sick. But she was wrong. I was and I did go in to see him. I just wanted to feel clean. Don't most people? And yes ...I have had a few times where I could not do a thing and by the grace of God ..I made it to the Emergency department. When I had strep ...all I could do was drool into a tissue. The big kidney stone that caused all this uro stuff in the first place ...that stone prevented me from brushing my teeth, washing my face, combing my hair and certainly couldn't shower or shave ...never mind makeup. But ..it did bother me ...I just couldn't. And medical staff doesn't care. They just want to help you. It's a personal thing. And ...if I don't care ...be very concerned.
Anyway, hours later now... I feel my kidney. It's aching or full feeling. You know how when you get an upset stomach, with some viruses you can kind of feel your whole stomach? It feels like that. And I feel my ureter going down the side. I should not be. And for some of you that have had ureteral stents, you know that when you have to void ...you get a painful back up feeling if you wait. Well, now it feels a little like that too.
This is after taking more Percocet and another Pyridium.
Okay ...I did just bend over to pick up wash and also empty the dryer and I did not get that excruciating pain. So ...THAT is a GOOD thing! But ...I don't feel right on that side. And it is masked by the pain med ...although the excruciating pain would come through that ...I am certain.
I am trying to figure out if I lifted something or twisted weirdly ..or maybe even slept wrong ..or flipped wrong in bed and aggravated something. ??? I have never experienced that with any stent before when bending over.
It has to be a good sign that I did not get that excruciating stabbing 10 pain and accompanying instant nausea ..right? And ...I wonder if the stent was not hydrated enough in there and so that was the pain ..scraped on something and now it is irritated? Obviously, I am clueless about my kidney's interior.
I don't want to call anyone because I want to see if this passes. I don't want to be the patient that cries wolf. I am scheduled to have this stent removed next week and I really want to make it to that date. It will be 10 weeks next Thursday. This is the last stent and so I am glad I had another chance with a big stent. I'll discuss this in another post. I'm ready to talk about ureteral stents and surgery ...or I should say ..avoiding surgery.
I just don't understand why this happened and why I continue aching. ? I hope it passes. At least I'm not getting that hideous pain when I bend over now. That was so bad and I think the nausea was proof of that. It's weird how seriously strong pain can make you feel like vomiting. I wonder why that is?
Well ... let's see what the morning brings.
Update Friday Night - 6:44 PM:
Thank you to those of you who are praying for me. thank you very much.
I wrote this post in stages yesterday/last night. By later last night, I could bend again and I have been today as well ...although ..I am being guarded.
I have never experienced anything like this with any stent I have ever had. Not only was it as painful and nauseating as I described ...but it scared me.
This particular stent has been a tough one. I had the same one in Summer 2008, and that summer this loves water so much she'd do everything in it if she could SeaSpray ...opted not to even go in her pool ...just because going up the deck steps and down the pool steps and gently move around in the water was too much. Just the thought of it usually caused me to not want to do it. This stent has grounded me. Much to the frustration of one of my friends because I will never give her a firm commitment about doing things because it all depends how I feel and there is no predicting that with this stent and I do not want to get caught away from home if a bad kidney or bladder spasm occurs or something like what happened yesterday. ESPECIALLY that!
Anyway ...I stayed in bed today until around 2pm ...taking it was ...reading and sleeping. I was sore in my flank not long after I got up and then sure enough the pain traveled down.
So, I don't understand why I feel my flank like I do now ...but thankfully it's not like it was yesterday. But, I am more sore than I have been this entire time since January 6th. I just do not know what happened ..what did I do or not do? Did I get too dehydrated and then when I bent over, it kept gouging me? But then it did it 2 more times after I drank 32 oz of water. Unless ...it takes longer than I think to get into the kidneys. ?? Did I twist or lift something heavy? And I did twist and lean on a chair briefly just before while turning to watch something on the TV.
Aside from some kidney spasms early on, this stent has been all about very strong bladder spasms. Really hinders me and at times wakes me up at night.
I will most definitely tell my doc about this.
And now it is 9:03 pm, and my kidney feels like it is cramping and aching. Getting concerned again. i was okay for resting. But ..you know ...the better you begin to feel ..you forget and do things. Maybe after yesterday ...I should not have. I did light cleaning, laundry and dinner.
I just want to make it to next week. So, not kidding ...I am taking it easier than I have. Maybe I will just catch up on blogging. :)
Maybe my body is telling me it is done with the stent. ??
I pray to God that all is well and I make it to my stent removal date next week.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Stranger things have happened ...but ...how can that be?
Actually, I asked that very question ...after exclaiming, "WHAT? No UTERUS?!"
You'd think this would've been obvious to a doctor. I just assumed they would certainly know ahead of time ...or I would've pushed for them to be certain ...before opening the abdomen up.
All that needless suffering ...for NOTHING! ???
I will come back to this.
As some of you already know, we adopted Faith on Veteran's Day weekend, this past fall. The staff at the animal pound thought she might be around 9 months old and they didn't think she was spayed. A couple of vets in the area participate in the state program, that enables people to spay or neuter their new pets at a seriously cheap rate when they adopt their pets from the local pound. Twenty dollars vs 260 - 289 dollars. It wasn't that cheap back in the 70's! needless to say ...I'll take the 20.00 spaying please ...thank you very much. :) Plus they get a free distemper shot.
We have always been responsible with spaying and neutering our pets ..both cats and dogs. Well ...there was one exception ...our third dog, Sparkle. We were going to have him neutered, but didn't rush on it because we weren't concerned about him becoming pregnant. And we didn't know that a male dog will take off if they know a female is in heat. I'll save that story for my dog series in the future. We didn't take any chances with Bob (our 2nd male dog) and had him neutered when he was 5 months old. Anyway, I was delighted to hear that we could do it so cheaply this time around. The only drawback was that we had to wait until January, so that we could go on the list for the new year.
The woman in charge of scheduling, graciously saw to it that Faith could go in as early as possible. I was greatly concerned that she might go into heat (not the woman - our dog ;), before January. I was also concerned that since she was found roaming in a state park, that she could already be pregnant. (Not the woman - our dog ;) The woman informed me that if Faith did go into heat, we would then have to wait several weeks after her heat before the vet could spay her. Needless to say ...I was quite the hawk ...ever on the look out for any male dogs that might come near her when she was outside. And I didn't share my secret concerns about the possibility of her already being pregnant with Mr SeaSpray, because I was already treading on thin ice for having brought her home in the first place, when he specifically told me not to bring any dogs home. Although to my defense ...his request was but a vague memory after I met Faith. And ...why exactly did he think I was going to the animal shelter? Of course I'd probably bring a dog home.
He LOVES her though. I knew he would. That was my justification. I knew she'd warm our hearts and help us heal from the loss of Bob. And I'm not saying it was the right thing to do ...just that I really did know it would work out. Well...it worked out if ...working out means it was okay for the 3 times she chewed the foot rest on the love seat, Chewed the foot of the rocking chair, chewed/destroyed my prescription glasses, 4 pairs of slippers chewed to pieces, my mildly chewed shoe and son's mildly chewed running shoe, chewed baby toy, chewed building blocks, chewed coffee table in 4 places at the base(small - thankfully), chewed couch pillow, chewed Christmas ornaments, got a scratched cornea after chasing the cat, and a few holes dug down to China in our back yard.
Anyway suffice it to know ...if she had puppies too ...I'd really be in the dog house. That happened to us once with a dog we rescued. Puppies. Oh ..gosh! Except ...back then ...Mr SeaSpray also agreed to get the stray dog. If Faith had puppies now ...after sort of ignoring his admonition NOT to bring a dog home ...need I say more? Well,I might as well go to Home Depot, buy enough building supplies to construct a dog house large enough to accommodate Faith, the puppies AND me ...and start building ASAP ...and move out there before he got home from work!
Finally ..the big day came. It was time to have Faith's surgery done.
On the way over, I noticed the morning sun highlighting one of her molars and there was a little brown tarter. I wondered about that. I thought I saw new molars still coming in and tarter would be indicative of an older dog.
We dropped her off. They asked us if we wanted to pay 40.00 for her to have blood work for the anesthesia. We said, "Yes."
A little while later, one of the veterinarians was leaving a message on our answering machine. I froze for a split second, because in my experience ...the only time a vet calls you is when there is a problem with your pet. My mind immediately raced back to last January, 2010 ...the day we had to put Bob, our beautiful German Shepherd down. But, I jumped up to grab the phone.
The vet proceeded to tell me that she opened Faith up, but couldn't find her uterus.
"What, NO uterus?! How could THAT be?!"
She said she checked around (how big is Faith's body cavity?) and even called her partner in to check and he couldn't find it either. She said it's rare, but there is a condition in which female dogs are born without a uterus and there was some test she could do with her ovaries, but I said I didn't want that since she can't get pregnant anyway. She also said, she could've been spayed already.
"But, couldn't you see a scar?"
I said the lady at the pound didn't see a scar and thought she wasn't spayed and I thought I saw something very faint, but wasn't sure.
I didn't say it, but I figured a vet would know for sure after giving her her pre-op checkup.
She went on to say, that Faith had a small amount of tarter on her molars. I told her I had JUST noticed that on the way over to the appointment. So ...the vet said she is probably older than we think ..definitely over a year old.
I said, "But she chews everything she can get her mouth on and she's SOOO ENERGETIC! She acts like a puppy, but maybe this is her personality.???" and the vet agreed.
Then she informed me that the lab test showed she had Lyme disease and they were sending her home with Doxycline to treat the Lyme disease, pain meds and a dog collar around her neck.
So ... $157.00 later, Mr SeaSpray and son picked her up.
She looked awful... so out of it and moved slowly. I felt so bad that she went through all that for nothing. I really would think that a doctor could detect a scar. ??? Unless the first surgeon was just that good at suturing? Or do dogs heal with less scarring than humans?
Anyway, she's just about done with her Lyme med and then she has to go back in for the Lyme vaccine. Oh, the other thing is that she did not seem the least bit ill. Not feverish, lethargic or sore. Our German Shepherd, Bob was diagnosed with Lyme disease in February, when he was 9 months old. He had suddenly begun to limp, favoring one leg and also had a fever. Medication cleared him up and he never had it again.
I do wonder about them asking us if we wanted her to have the blood tests done for the surgery because isn't that a prerequisite for surgery? Anyway ..of course we wouldn't have said no, and I'm glad we caught the Lyme. I had put her on the Advantix flea/tic medication, but I know that is only for prevention.
I plan on going back to our regular vet with her after this shot. They were very nice in this other office. I did want her to have all her shots with them initially because I did get a break by getting her surgery at such a discount and just thought it was the right thing to do.
But, I have used our veterinary office since October,1977. So. we have a history with them. I can't wait to show Faith to them when she is due for her shots again.
Faith actually seemed to heal quickly as evidenced by her boinging all over the place not long after the surgery. Really ..she leaps in the air mid run and has all kinds of crazy antics. She is the funniest dog we have ever had. And do you remember the YouTube I put up a couple of weeks ago with Mishka the talking dog? Well, I called Faith over to watch Mishka and not only did she watch ...but she howled every time Mishka spoke ..um howled. Ha! maybe we'll have Faith have her own YouTube debut sometime. :)
*** About the chewing ...we provide her with plenty of dog toys and chew bones, pigs ears, etc. Also, we usually keep her gated in the same rooms that we are in so that we can keep an eye on her. She is an affectionate dog and she gets a lot of love and attention from us. I hoped she would grow out of this chewing behavior. And I am still hopeful with warmer weather coming, that her chewing energy will be used up with increased outdoor exercise.