It’s now been four weeks and two days since the original surgery, and two weeks and two days since the second surgery. I was supposed to go back last week to have another ultrasound to check the two blood clots the doctor has been monitoring. However, I developed the flu! Yes, of all things, and of all people to get it, I did!
I have tried to do just what the doctor ordered all of this time, yet things happened which were all beyond my control. The flu took the wind right out of my sails, that’s for sure! The second day, I threw up five times over a period of several hours, all while praying I didn’t cause any harm to the surgery places inside!
Fever, chills, body aches, massive headache, congestion, and a terrible cough all went with it. A trip to the doctor and ten Tamiflu later, I am feeling better! My entire household is now on Tamiflu to hopefully prevent them getting the flu. I’m praying they do not experience this because it was miserable!
During all of this, there are things I learned about myself.
- I am a good patient. My husband and children have observed me when I’ve been most vulnerable. They have witnessed me calmly sitting in somewhat of an upright position in the hospital bed, quiet as a mouse. I let the nurses do their job, and I try to be the best patient I possibly can. When asked about it recently, I told my husband that these are the people caring for me. There is no need in me becoming a bad patient when they are tending to me because I could make the situation a LOT worse for myself. And I do NOT want to do that. I realize the nurses are in charge of my IVs, as well as administering medicine, and helping me in and out of the bed to go to the bathroom. I’m not about to tick them off by being a loud and obnoxious patient. Now, don’t get me wrong, if someone starts mistreating me, I’ll find my voice real quick. But there is no need to be a bad patient, ever. Period. Let them do their jobs, and most of the time, they will exceed your expectations.
- I have anxiety. This I have known for a while, but I thought it was just a touch of anxiety that would rear its ugly head every now and then. With what I’ve been going through, it has made itself more apparent. There is no shame or weakness in admitting I have anxiety. Believe me, you would, too, if you started bleeding profusely after a surgery that was supposed to prevent that from ever happening again!
- I have faith in God. My faith has been a huge part of my recovery from life in general when things try to knock me down. I get back up, dust myself off, and pray harder than ever before. And, I did just that when the complications started. I found myself pacing the floor with tears spilling out of my eyes as I clasped my hands together and prayed to God to help me. My family was scared, as was I, but in a crisis situation, they got to see me clinging to God and begging for Him to help me. They’ve known for a while that my faith is strong, and they know I pray. But they got to witness firsthand something that is usually only between myself and my Lord and Savior.
- I have post traumatic stress. My doctor acknowledged this due to all that I’ve been through this past year and a half with the doctors and the illness itself. This drives the anxiety through the roof at times. Yet, my God is bigger than this AND the anxiety.
- I am strong. What would make others crawl into a fetal position has only made me realize how strong I truly am. I’ve handled everything that has been coming at me with the help of God, and He has been my strength!
- I am a firm believer in second opinions! As I started out on this journey, I saw a local doctor who didn’t have much of a bedside manner and who was too “matter-of-fact” for my liking. Listen up. Just because the doctor might be closer to you as in drive time does NOT mean they are the doctor that needs to be treating you! I have found much better care from a doctor that is an hour and fifteen minutes away from me. This has not always been convenient, especially with the complications that developed. BUT, I do not mind the drive because I know I will be in great hands when I finally reach their office! If you’re going through something, now or in the future, there is NOTHING wrong with seeking a second opinion. Maybe the doctors will concur with their findings and treatment options, or maybe they won’t. You owe it to yourself to seek the best care available to you no matter what is going on in your life or with your family. It truly matters who you choose to care for you. I am so happy with my choice, so much that I’ve recommended him to others!
- I am emotional. And there isn’t anything in the world wrong with that. It seems I’ve shed my share of tears within this last month, but it hasn’t all been because I’ve been worried or scared. Things affect me greater now like even being sent a video recommendation from a friend that resulted in tears falling like rain. Why? Because it was the sweetest message in that song, and they wanted me to hear it.
- I am a good friend. During all of this, I have come to realize that I am the kind of friend I’d like to have. Did that sound weird? I check on people. I care deep within my soul about their well-being It matters to me when my friends are hurting – no matter if we talk daily or if we get so busy in life that we only talk every now and then. If I find out someone I love is hurting or going through something, I reach out to them to let them know I care and I’m here for them. And I mean it with my whole heart. Sadly, I have not had a whole lot of this during the past month’s recovery. The ones I have had it from were surprisingly MEN! Yep, you got it. My women friends haven’t really bothered at all, which has caused a little bit of sadness and disappointment, but I realize that’s life. People aren’t going to do for me what I would do for them. They just don’t. And it’s been proven. But, there are good people in the world that DO check up on me and care for me. I have known for a while that I get along better with men, older women, and children. That’s no secret. I have one gentleman coworker that checks on me almost daily, if it hasn’t been every single day since this all started. It was a surprise, really, but I’ve appreciated his care and concern. My boss has checked in on me several times as well. He’s a really great guy! I also have guy friends in other states that have reached out, but one such gentleman in New Zealand has let me know he cares just recently when he realized I had been absent from Facebook. He’s the only one from a group I met online 20 years ago to check in on me. He tried to make excuses for the others, but if they wanted to check on me, they would have. I’ve been there through a lot of their family things through the years – really hard things they had to endure, but that’s okay that I’ve walked this without them. He’s still by my side, and I’m grateful.
- I am a survivor. I’ve been through some hard things in my life that could have destroyed me, yet I did not allow it to do so. With my faith in God, I have conquered, and with His help, I have climbed the mountains and have stood at the very top praising Him! I can’t honestly say that I’ve praised Him in the midst of trials, because this one is hard to do at times. But, I have tried. I know without a doubt that I’ve clung to Him like never before, though. In the midst of hard times when I’m struggling, you will find me praying to God for help and guidance. He is the first one I turn to!
- I use what I’ve been through to help others in their time of need. I will be the first person to lend a helping hand or at least offer to help someone who is struggling. I realize the importance of being there for people, and that is my goal to be there so no one ever has to feel alone again. Going through the surgery, I still had this on my heart and mind, thus the reason I invited a gentleman to Christmas lunch with my family. He was going to spend the day alone with his dogs, but I could not sit in my warm house surrounded by the love from my family, laughing and enjoying the day, known he sat alone in his house not feeling the warmth of love around him. Three days after surgery, I extended an invitation for him to have Christmas with us – complete with gifts I purchased for him prior to the surgery as well. And I was honored when he accepted the invitation!
In closing, all of the things I’ve learned about myself have been positives. I’m not looking at anything in a negative light. I’m thankful God has given me the gift of another day to spend with my loved ones! Among all that has happened, I feel a closer bond with my family as well. It’s truly humbling when you can’t get off of the couch without assistance and have to depend on others to get in the shower, get dressed, and to even fix your meals. They have given me so much love and have truly cared for me, which has touched my heart. I don’t want to ever be a burden to my family, and thankfully, they have not made me feel as if I am at all. They have willingly given their time and have stayed with me, sometimes out of fear with everything that was happening, but always out of love. My husband’s employer has been super to allow him to be home with me for weeks working remotely, as well as allowing him to take me back and forth to all of the many doctor’s appointments. My daughters have been helping me at home also. I know I am BLESSED, and my heart is truly grateful!