55. 14 days, 2 kidneys, a strange surgical pose, 80% function and counting...Or, the diary of a kidney surgery recovery
It may sound obvious, but I will say from the start that recovering from major surgery after two other surgeries, six rounds of chemo and five weeks of radiation is MUCH more challenging than your normal post operation recovery. This one has humbled me in new ways, and coupled with the backdraft that is the emotional flood of attempting to process all that has happened in the last year, it’s been a much heavier ride. HERE are the cliff notes:
Day 1- Get sprung from the hospital. My entire core is blown up like a balloon. I have to keep my steps short as each one hurts more than the last. My special skill of being able to get up and down with “no hands” from my mastectomy surgery is useless, as I have taught my core to fire with every move and now it’s firing pain everywhere. Thank god for pharmaceutical grade medication.
Day 2- I am not sleeping. Meds kill the pain but seem to keep we awake. Have started watching “Breaking Bad” as well, which may account for the insomnia. I knew I was saving it for something good. Walking is harder. Seems like my femur is out of alignment in my hip and I can’t quite get it back in. When I try to put weight on right foot it feels weak and their is shooting pain when I attempt to move my hip flexor. It all begs the question, what the hell did they do to me in surgery?
Day 3- Ab pain better, hip pain worse. Have taken up residence on the couch and am learning more than I could have ever wanted about making and selling meth. Wonder if in surgery they twisted me all up, which would explain the pain in my hip. I consult Doctor Google and yes, the position they put you in during surgery is reminiscent of “The Hanged Man” in Tarot cards. (Also the Meaning of said card: suggests ultimate surrender, sacrifice, or being suspended in time, which is in no way lost on me.)
Day 4- Abs feeling better, gas abated, hip a little better, so I decide need to get out of the house. Walk to meet a friend for lunch. Two whole blocks. Then have to have Collin come pick me up because everything hurts and am too tired to walk back.
Day 5 - By some miraculous combo of tired, pot gummies and pain reliever, my hip is actually MUCH better. No pain when I put pressure on it. HUZZAH. Still not hungry, I blame the gas. Am starting to “spot” . HOLY HELL. Could I now be getting my period after six Months?!! Great timing ( said no one ever.)
Day 6 - Wake up in the desert. (No, no, on purpose, and in a house.) Amazingly great night’s sleep. Perhaps I should have come here earlier. No period, perhaps it was just a tease.
Day 7- Still in desert, sleep still good. Still not hungry but abs seem to be better. Maybe I’ll attempt the gym this week? Maybe a walk on the treadmill or something?
Day 8- Bouts of insomnia . Head home. In all, feeling better, hot flashes are back, sleep isn’t as deep, seems maybe I am healing better. Not using pain meds, except at night, if anything they aid in sleeping which is critical to recovery.
Day 9 - Am moving much better. I have followup with my medical oncologist. Things are looking good and I have been cleared to begin Tamoxifen. An oral chemotherapy I will be taking for the next five years to prevent reoccurrence of the breast cancer. Drop Collin at the airport, as I am forbidden to fly for the next few weeks so blood clots don’t kill me.
Day 10 - Still not sleeping well, but am now so deep into the Breaking Bad binge that I know I could make a go of it as a drug dealer. Go to the gym for the first time, walking on a treadmill, seems to go decently.
Day 11- Get up early and head to Palm Springs, we are having work done on the concrete and I need to approve the color. Drive is easy and I am feeling more like myself. Sleep still sucks a bit, but i have the pot gummys to help me.
Day 12- Wake up early and pad around the house, taking a walk around the block. At this point I know next week I will need to start getting to the gym etc, so that my first week back at work won’t kill me .
Day 13- Enjoying a decent morning . Actually run around doing errands etc, and decide I am gonna try and take a friends class at the gym. Then I pull the ripcord an hour before because I am tired as hell, and hit a full on wall.
Day 14 - Seems I am on the mend and potentially will indeed go to the gym for a bigger workout, but today I am headed back to UCLA for a BONE SCAN. Let’s just hope we are smooth sailing from here on out….