"If you're going through Hell, keep going."
-Winston Churchill

Jan 23, 2012

Canceled Surgery

               Well I most certainly did not expect to be blogging today -or even this week or month. If you have not already heard the news, let me fill you in: my surgery was canceled. To spare you the details and make a long story short, here is a rundown of what happened. I was admitted Tuesday (17th) to start different antibiotics, IV, and to properly cleanse my entire body. Monday I had started my clear liquid diet as instructed to help with cleaning out my intestines. Well, apparently my mom is right and I am full of it. I was unable to completely clear out my body. In addition, late Tuesday night I became violently ill. I have not thrown up so much since my accident. (Brief lesson: since my injury I am not able to vomit like before. Sorry if this is TMI. When I become nauseous, I am usually only able to dry heave.) So throwing up like I did that night was quite unusual and took a lot out of me. Wednesday morning it was decided that I could not have the surgery at that time. The next possible surgery date would be March 7; however, this is almost impossible because of a few reasons. Late March I will be traveling to Oxford, MS, to be awarded as the recipient for the Sigma Nu Charity Bowl at Ole Miss University. It is highly unlikely that I could have the surgery in the beginning of March and be recovered enough to make a long trip in just a few short weeks. I also have intentions of attending the day program at the Shepherd Center in April. I am currently scheduled to be evaluated on March 1st to determine if I qualify for their program (which I have already been guaranteed that I will). After my evaluation, they will then schedule me to attend actual therapy, which would ideally be April. 
So my options would be to have a bladder surgery on March 7, not be able to attend the fundraiser in my honor at Ole Miss, and have to further postpone going to the Shepherd Center-something I am rather unwilling to do. My only other option is to hold off on the surgery until some other time, yet I have no idea when. I will not lie and say this last week has been easy. I have been mentally preparing myself for the surgery since November. It has caused a lot of anxiety and mental anguish over the last couple of months. I was keeping the mind frame of one of my favorite mottos: “Hope for the best but plan for the worst.” When I would say that, I was hoping maybe I would only have to stay in the hospital for 5 days, but I was going to plan to have to stay for 14 days. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that my surgery would be canceled. I have overcome a lot of obstacles since my accident: A pressure sore keeping me in the hospital for three months; a feeding tube leaking into my stomach leading to emergency surgery; having a poor seating system and intense spasticity that has helped in causing severe scoliosis; being denied Medicaid.. It is always seems like there's something. Two step forward three steps back, right? Even before the accident, I was an optimist. My glass is half full and I always try to find different perspectives, but the surgery ordeal has really hit me hard. But I keep telling myself there must be some reason this is happened. I must believe that God did not want me to have the surgery for some reason, at least not at this time. Perhaps one day I will know why or perhaps I'll never know, but I have to believe. Sometimes a little belief and faith is all we have to hang on to.

                So that has been my last week. I have been putting my emotions into my art and been painting more. Keeps me focused, calms my mind, works out some of the smaller muscles in my arm, and helps me work on my control and holding my hand steady- it's a win-win all around!
Hooty Hoo!
 I also received some exciting news about some possible opportunities in my future. I hesitate to say what it is until it is 100% set in stone, but I could use and would most definitely appreciate all the prayers I can get that these opportunities could work out in my favor and be truly beneficial to my recovery. I will happily announce any exciting news as it is guaranteed to me! As always, I am so blessed to have all the support from my family, friends, and community- anyone who reads this or ever prays or thinks of me. I wish I could find a way to individually thank each and every one of you for what you have unknowingly done for me just by showing your support. God Bless

Jan 10, 2012

Upcoming Surgery

This may be my last entry for a month or two. A week from today I will be going to Jackson, MS, to have what is called a Mitrofanoff procedure. I know that word probably means nothing to you so let me explain what is. Currently, I have to be catheterized every 4 to 6 hours. Not doing so can easily lead to accidents, dysreflexia, infections or bladder failure. And because of my injury and lack of finger function and trunk control, I am unable to do this on my own. You can imagine how inconvenient it is to have to go through this process every 4 to 6 hours (especially when going out). With this procedure, my bladder will be stretched so it can hold more, generally for up to eight hours. In addition to enlarging the bladder, my appendix will be used to create a stoma through my stomach- more than likely my belly button. I will then be able to go longer periods without having to catheterize and will also be able to catheterize myself through my stomach. What now takes 5-10 minutes and discomfort will only require little time and effort. Not to mention with a stoma through my stomach, I will be able to catheterize myself. It is a large step towards becoming more independent. 

To sum it up, a lot of my organs will be rerouted and stretched. My intestines, bladder, and appendix will be operated on. They expect me to be in the hospital 7 to 10 days and they say recovery can take up to 1 or 2 months. From what I have heard from other people and have read online, it is a very hard and long recovery, but well worth it in the end. I decided to do the surgery now in the beginning of the year so that I could recover and it will be behind me as I go forth in this year to get as much rehab and recovery as possible. It seemed like a moot point to go to Shepherd and then have a surgery that would stop therapy until I recuperated. I am very anxious about the surgery after hearing how tough it will be. I know I have been through a lot and I can get through this too, but I still find myself very scared and nervous. But I will keep the faith, as I always do, and find comfort in knowing two things: God will never give me more than I can handle it I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I would just like to mention that the last couple of weeks I have been very motivated and strict with my exercise plan. My PCA, Mary, stretches my legs every morning for a good hour. I roll over on my stomach and stretch. I practice pulling myself up and then sitting unsupported in the bed to work on my trunk control. Then, we stretch my arms and I do 10 different arm exercises using a theraband, 30 times apiece. I can already tell such a big difference in the mobility and strength in my arms. It is crazy to think about exactly how many muscles are in your upper arms and shoulders that you have to build. I have to make sure to concentrate to use the right muscle or I will subconsciously compensate with a stronger muscle. It is such a rewarding feeling every day to work so hard and be able to see progress. I pray that I can push myself during my surgery recovery to try to keep up with some of my arm exercises that are not too strenuous so I do not lose anything that I have gained here recently.

One final thing I would like to mention: I finally have everything in for the Shepherd center and have been put down in their scheduling book. As of right now I am scheduled to be evaluated on June 11 to make sure that I qualify for the Day Program. After my evaluation I will be scheduled for a month of therapy. I am trying to get my appointment moved up so that I can attend sooner. Ideally, I would go for an evaluation the beginning of March and then enroll in the program April or May. So that is where I sit right now on the Shepherd story. I will get there eventually and it will be worth the wait! 

          Please remember to keep me in your prayers as I prepare for my upcoming surgery. I look forward to writing again when I feel better and everything is running smoothly! God bless