Monday, April 27, 2020

Two Weeks Post Surgery

I am officially two weeks post surgery and I have to say that the time has flown by.  Simply resting was king of hard, my mind would think of all the little things I could be doing around the house but I have gotten a LOT of rest.  I am grateful for Kyle and Bella with all of their help during my recovery.

In this time I also had my 39th birthday, what a strange birthday this year but I did enjoy spending it with Kyle and Bella (when she surfaced ;)).  It was a quite celebration of watching movies, playing some games and I found myself some new running shoes for my birthday present thanks to Reebok having a nice online sale.  Kyle and Bella made me my favorite cake, white cake with chocolate frosting, and we thoroughly enjoyed devouring that.

As I have gone through recovery it has been pretty smooth sailing.  To go from bleeding constantly day after day with major cramping to absolutely nothing has been INCREDIBLE!!!  I have had some minor cramping but nothing like what I was used to and my incisions have all healed nicely.  I have just three small incision spots and one is literally inside my belly button so you can't even see it.  The area right above my belly button is tender to the touch, it is also where I have scar tissue from a belly button piercing which I imagine they would have had to cut through.

I have noticed a huge change in my energy and having a lot of symptoms I had before with the low hemoglobin that are now gone such as:
  • Restless legs
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Light headed
  • Fainting spells
  • Pale skin
  • Easily short of breath
To no longer feel any of those symptoms has been literally freeing!  I associated  so many of them with POTS, some could still occur due to that condition but now I know I was experiencing them mostly due to being anemic.

Easing into working out has been going well.  I started with short walks inside the house the first week and this second week I was okay to start some low intensity cardio.  I have started LISS/MISS (low intensity steady state or medium intensity steady state) cardio on the airdyne we have and also still walking.  It has felt really good to move some and feel the benefits of the simple cardio.  I've never been a huge fan of cardio but LISS/MISS is such an awesome tool to use when you are limited in what you can do for exercise.

Today was my post surgery check up and it went so well!  I have had such a great recovery in just two weeks.  My incisions look great, everything is healing quickly and I was cleared to start light lifting and back to normal in just two more weeks instead of four.  The best news was my hemoglobin level, it is up to 11.8, nearly back to normal!  My doctor is so incredible and thoughtful, she was thrilled with my incision in my belly button.  She tried to make it as small as possible so I wouldn't have a noticeable scar for competitions, I never would have expected her to think of that.

I am grateful to be at this point in my journey and am looking ahead with excited anticipation to future goals.  To actually feel GOOD is incredible and to know I am finally healthy I am more than ready to start crushing goals!  

My mind has played some tricks and at times I feel like I have lost a lot of muscle but I am grateful that Kyle is right here for me to talk to and remind me of simple science :)  My muscles are there and they will be pumped back up in no time, muscle memory is a wonderful thing and my body hasn't forgotten all the years of work put in for the muscle I have built.

Now to get through the craziness that is currently life and finding a new normal.  I am anxious for our gym to be open again and am ready to see our amazing fit family and teach some kickboxing!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

My Hysterectomy

What a whirlwind life has been these past few weeks.  We are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and it has thrown everyone for quite a loop.  So much of our daily lives have been altered from closures of schools and businesses to being cautious of every time we need to leave our homes.

Along with these changes non essential surgeries have all been cancelled, that included my hysterectomy which was scheduled for April 2nd.  At first I was of course frustrated but I fully understood why it was cancelled but I knew deep down that this would be detrimental for me.

A couple of weeks ago I had a pretty bad Sunday night passing a lot of extremely large clots and my blood had become watery.  The following Monday I had an appointment with my OBGYN and she decided to put me on Progesterone to stop my period.  It was never an option before due to my high risk for breast cancer but at this point we both agreed that being on it short term would outweigh the negatives and the bleeding had to be stopped.

Over the next couple of days everything got worse.  I was changing tampons and pads every 20-30 minutes and passing so many clots.  Wednesday night I actually fainted and was unable to move around much.  Thursday I called my OBGYN again and was advised to go to the ER, the last place I wanted to go.

I knew Kyle would only be able to drop me off and I was legit terrified.  The hospital was taking temperatures before anyone could go inside and they were so kind.  I was admitted into the ER and my hemoglobin had dropped down to 6.7, on Monday is was 9.2 so that just meant I really had lost a lot of blood in those few days.  The normal hemoglobin level for women is 12-16 and I have been below that for quite a while just never as low as it had gotten.

I honestly cannot say enough about how amazing the nurses, techs, doctors and hospital staff were while I was there.  They made me feel almost at home, I get emotional just thinking about it.  They were angels on earth to me and kept me informed every step and made sure I knew all of my options and even helped guide me if I was uncertain of any of the options.

They admitted me and Thursday night I had my first blood transfusion.  My nurse stayed with me the first 15 minutes so I could let her know if I had any reactions at all, thankfully I had none.  It took about 3.5 hours, so crazy to see that blood going into my IV.  I was just so grateful to whomever that blood came from.  Thank you a million times over to every person out there who donates blood.  Never would I have thought I would be in the position of needing a blood transfusion, especially from my period.

Before I went to the ER I truly had it in my head that I could not bleed out from my period.  No matter how loudly my body was telling me something was very wrong I just didn't think it was possible.  In my mind I was overreacting and not being strong enough to get through it.  Being told by multiple doctors and nurses that I could have very well bled out was eye opening.  It's not that I was weak or not being strong enough, it was that I was being stubborn and not listening to my own body screaming for help.

Friday morning they tested my hemoglobin and it had only improved by .1 and I was so disappointed.  That day I had a second blood transfusion, once again my nurse sat with me for the first 15 minutes to make sure everything went ok and it did.  Thankfully after the second transfusion my hemoglobin jumped up to 9.2, back to a more "normal" number for me but still well below where it should be.

Throughout my stay I was also receiving high doses of Estrogen and iron through my IV.  The doses of Estrogen freaked me out, it is the one hormone I was to stay away from.  My little sister's breast cancer at the age of 23 was estrogen based and I had been taken off any form of birth control when we found that out.  To have to pick a lesser of two evils was tough but I understood that it was truly a life saving measure at this point.  

My OBGYN doctor was not at the hospital while I was there so I saw one of her colleagues and she was incredible.  We discussed my plan for leaving the hospital and that really was to get the bleeding stopped, bed rest and my doctor petitioning the hospital to approve my surgery as she viewed it life saving rather than non-essential.  I was prescribed high doses of Norethin (a birth control), tapering over a period of 12 days with the main concern being as I taper it that the bleeding will start again. 

She also explained to me why they did not want to do the surgery while I was already in the hospital.  With my hemoglobin being so low surgery was dangerous, my immune system is compromised and my recovery would be longer and much more painful.  The risk of COVID-19 is high and at this time I would become extremely ill if I were to get it.

What a scary time we are in right now.

The following Tuesday my OBGYN called and let me know that they were going to schedule my surgery for Thursday, I was so surprised!  It was such a relief to know everything would finally be taken care of.  The scheduled it for 7:30am and Kyle was able to be there with me, it was a huge relief to know I was able to have him with me.

I started bleeding again Wednesday night despite all of the birth control and passed some clots Thursday morning.  My body was more than ready for the surgery.

My doctor was able to do a laparoscopy procedure so I just have three little incisions across my lower abdomen.  My ovaries looked good so they were able to leave those and removed my uterus and fallopian tubes.  A normal uterus weighs 60g - 100g and mine was just over 500g, the largest fibroid was 8.3cm.  I can't imagine how differently I am going to feel once I get through the recovery process.

The hospital staff was once again amazing, they took the best care of me.  I always had what I needed and never felt lonely.  My hemoglobin had dropped back down to 7.8 after the surgery so my energy was extra zapped once again.  My hemoglobin will build back up as I continue to take my iron supplements and get plenty of rest during my recovery.

My recovery will be 6-8 weeks with no driving the first week and minimal activity besides some walking, I can't lift anything more than 10 pounds.  Feeling so tired certainly helps me rest and walking just a little bit zaps my energy.  My tummy is a little swollen which is normal and my incisions look really good.  I do continue to have cramping and am very much looking forward to when I no longer have to deal with that!

My emotions are all over the place, which I expected.  Being on so many hormones and going to nothing was bound to mess with me a bit.  Now is the time to really follow my own advice and meditate daily.  Find my focus again and my ability to calm my emotions and find that happy place in the way I know how.  

Being away from the gym and training has been so hard for me.  We are closed due to COVID-19 but still doing live workouts once a day for our members and spending that time with Kyle is one of my favorite things.  I love the fun stuff he comes up with and sharing his ideas with everyone during this difficult time.  

I won't be able to really lift for six weeks and I will listen to my doctors.  My body will recover properly and I will bounce back stronger than before I just need to find my patience and be grateful that I will heal and be better.  Thank you to everyone for your prayers and positive thoughts, it has meant the world to me.