Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hospital stay in pictures...

My lovely IV pole. Blood, TPN, fluids, and anti-biotics.
My PICC line.
Before my surgery. Can you tell I had had a rough few days?
After my surgery resting with some of the best medicine in the world. One of my baby girls!
Second day of up and walking around. The pillow helped to keep pressure on my tummy.
A few of my lovely flowers and cards. I also received a lilac bush and daisy's that will be planted outside. 

I'm feeling pretty decent today. This morning was kind of rough pain wise, but I did manage my first shower by myself. Do you know how hard it is to wash your legs when you can't bend over properly? The bottom half of my legs didn't get scrubbed but one of my new found Crohns friends kindly said that the soap and shampoo that ran down my body cleansed my lower legs so it didn't matter. Awesome point! Speaking of lower legs and not being able to bend over very well, this little lady won't be shaving her legs anytime in the near future...and I'm also going to have to go and get a professional pedicure if I want to show off my toes anytime in the near future. 

I've made a lot of progress as of today. Follow up appointments have been made with both my surgeon and my GI. I have successfully found a psychiatrist and my first meeting is May 7th. The doctor in charge of my care while in the hospital provided me with enough depression and anxiety medication to last thirty days so finding a psychiatrist was vital if I wanted to stay on the right path of obtaining a clear and healthy mentality. I'm excited that I have someone I can talk to and lets be honest, someone who can continue giving me the anxiety's very much needed. I've also started the social security disability process. I can't believe that at twenty eight years old I'm starting this process but my surgeon told me the day after my surgery, I'm in no condition to work anytime soon and that I needed to look into obtaining it. I hope it goes smoothly and that I don't have to jump through hoops.

Yesterday was my first home visit with my nurse. Let me remind you that I had had no depression or anxiety medication since Monday. Yesterdays experience was traumatic to say the least. She had trouble getting the adhesive off around my ostomy areas, which are still very tender by the way, then she put the bags on incorrectly so we had to do it a second time. Hysterical people...I was once again hysterical. It didn't help that during this process Cadence decided she was going to start choking on a goldfish cracker. I'm laying on the bed unable to assist with anything because if I stood up poop would go everywhere, my cousin Heather who is our godsend right now started to panic as we were trying to determine whether she was fully choking or what, and then next thing I know the nurse is tearing off her rubber gloves and grabbing for the baby. Luckily Cadence got it up on her own, but the fact I didn't have a full on anxiety attack after those few moments of bag changes and choking...amazes me. I couldn't handle anymore so I made Heather take Cadence upstairs and stay until we were done. I couldn't take anymore distractions. I'm telling you now, my poor psychiatrist is going to have her hands full with I also think she's going to need to up the dosage of my anxiety medication...haha.

Let's see, I'm still patiently waiting for my nurse to come by today. It's 5:30 and I have not heard from her yet even though the nurse yesterday said someone would be out today. I hate the unknown, part of why I have such severe anxiety. So sitting here knowing that at any moment someone is going to knock on my front door, but I don't know when that moment will be which leaves me unable to prepare for it mentally...makes me mad...and even more anxious. Is anyone tired of hearing about my anxiety issues yet?? Good news, my meds are ready though, so tonight maybe I will be somewhat calmer and less anxious. I'm going to eat those things like candy if I have to. Especially since tomorrow will be my first time changing my bags!! Dear Lord help us all!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Home Sweet Home

My hospital stay has come to an end...thank goodness. This has been one of the most traumatizing week and a half in my entire life to date. As some may already know, I got some really bad CT scan  results on April 9th. I had a consultation on April 13th with my GI to go over the results and come up with a game plan. That was one Friday the 13th that I sure won't be forgetting anytime soon. I expected to hear that it was time for surgery but I was in no way prepared to hear that I was going straight from the doctor to the hospital and that I would probably be having my surgery sometime within the week.

To say I was an emotional wreck by the time we got to the hospital would be the understatement of the year. I was a complete basket case. They had to start me on anxiety medication within a few hours of admitting me, it was that bad. Hysterical people, absolutely hysterical. I don't think Daniel knew what to do with me. I will say though, anxiety medication is some wonderful stuff. When they would give it to me in my IV it worked instantly. Between it and the morphine, life was pretty good. I'll also be the first to say, that if more people in this world would take some anxiety medication, the world would be a much better place!

Because I was once again so dehydrated and just completely malnourished, they couldn't get a good vein to start my IV. They finally got a small vein in my right hand that the IV therapist insisted could only withstand fluids and medication...absolutely no blood draws or anything else because it would blow like all the other veins before it. Little did we know that the surgeon had already ordered a picc line to be put in because he wanted me on TPN immediately. For those of you who don't know about picc lines, they are iv's that they start in my upper arm that are inserted into a larger vein leading straight to your heart. They consider it a surgical procedure and have to numb the area pretty good so that it doesn't hurt. They find the vein using an ultrasound and after they are inserted they do an x-ray to insure proper placement. Lucky for me I got to have the procedure done twice, because their first attempt didn't work. Thankfully they realized it right away so I didn't have two separate procedures. Even with the numbing medication, it was pretty uncomfortable this time. I was so glad when they got it finished.

Even though they were told no blood draws, they still attempted a blood draw out of my left hand. Apparently they needed to get blood from two different locations so they couldn't use just the blood from my picc line. It took them three times to get a vein in my left hand and I was still so dehydrated that my blood was flowing like syrup. In the few hours that it took to get to this point I had only received half a bag of fluids. I kept telling them that if they wanted blood to flow I should have been on my second bad by that point. Of course nurses don't listen to you half the time so I was stuck dealing with the extra pain.

My TPN was started that night and I was not to have anything oral. No oral medication, no food, no water, nothing until after my surgery. They started me on all kinds of medications, I received two blood infusions, and I was hungry. But all was good, I had anxiety and pain medication.

I met with my surgeon on Saturday where I was told that my surgery would take place Wednesday. Those were the longest few days of my life. I've never had surgery of any kind and I was absolutely terrified of what was in store for me but I knew I had no choice and that it was going to happen whether I like it or not. I will say looking back now, that the mental preparation and leading up to the surgery was worse than the surgery itself. Don't get me wrong, this hasn't been a walk in the park, but mentally I was just a mess. Once they came to get me for my surgery things moved quickly. They wheeled me down, allowed me to use the restroom one last time, and within about ten minutes I was laying on the operating table, arms outstretched with a mask being placed on my face. I remember absolutely nothing until the next morning.

The pain the next few days was pretty gruesome. They took out my ng tube the next morning and then took out my catheter on Friday so that I would be allowed up and out of bed. Lord help me, getting in and out of bed was a chore. Pain medication does not make moving around easier let me tell you.

I knew that I was pretty sick, the doctors knew that I was pretty sick, but reality was that I was really, really sick. My GI doctor kept telling Daniel that Friday that I had severe Crohns. I don't thin my surgeon was even prepared for what he found. They cut out a foot of my intestines, and the damage to my colon is so severe that he was forced to give me an ileostomy bag and a mucous fistula bag. I currently have two bags attached to my ride side where my waste and infection from the fistula drain out. I have been told that the damage is so severe that I should be prepared to have them for the next year, at that time we will discuss reversing everything. I'm also still dealing with kidney issues because of all of the damage my Crohns has created so sadly, I'm not out of the woods yet with everything. I will have follow up CT scans in the upcoming weeks to check up on my kidneys in case something needs to be done with them.

They removed my drain from my incision site Monday, and even though they said it wouldn't hurt like a mother. My staples are scheduled to be removed this coming Monday and I am dreading it. I honestly asked the surgeon who visited me on Saturday, an associate of my actual surgeon, if they could knock me out for all of this stuff because I just couldn't handle anything mentally or physically anymore. I had had enough with the pain. I assure you, I will be drugging myself prior to this appointment in hopes that it helps.

I'm still very uncomfortable with the thought of having these bags. They've started me on depression meds for everything and I pray that they kick in soon. I've been told it could be few weeks before I notice a difference.

Everyone keeps telling me how great I am doing and how proud they are of me, but I don't feel great and I don't feel proud. I think I'm still in shock over everything and I'll be the first one to tell you I've had my pity party moments. Moments of hysterical crying because I am just overwhelmed with the thought of these damn bags and having to change them and drain them throughout the day. I've read that it will get easier with time and pray that it happens quickly. I will have a home nurse for awhile helping me get used to changing the bags and I will begin seeing a therapist to help with all of the mental challenges that I face. I've been a mess for awhile but this just took me over the top. When the nurse who admitted me Friday asked whether I had suicidal thoughts because of my condition and I replied yes, the room got very quiet. I don't think Daniel was prepared to hear those words come out of my mouth. Thankfully I'm not suicidal in the way of actually taking my life or thinking of ways to do so. I've just wished death upon myself and I guess that's just as bad. I praise God that I have my two daughters because they truly are the reason why I have gotten out of bed every morning for the past year or so. I'm scared to think of what I could have done without having them as my motivation to live.

After a day full of drama at the hospital yesterday I demanded my discharge papers that afternoon. After even more drama I was finally discharged around 8:30 p.m. or so and was home by 9:30. I'm glad to be home and I feel the improvement in my mobility everyday but I'm still so frustrated at the thought of these silly bags that I just cried myself to sleep last night. The bags haven't been changed since Saturday and they skin around the stoma and fistula are irritated and burning. This was part of why I demanded to be released yesterday. My first home visit with the nurse will take place today and my bags will finally be changed...I can't wait for a little bit of relief.

I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this time. It's not only been stressful on me, but Daniel and most of my family as well. My mother-in-law is taking four days a week off of work to care for the girls, and my cousin Heather comes to our house on Wednesdays to help take care of the girls and will take me to appointments when I need to go. I'm unable to lift anything over ten pounds for the next six weeks so I can't care for the girls at all because I can't lift them. I've had a great support system over these past several days and I'm very lucky because of it. Even though I am going through this very weird stage in life, I am very blessed. I am blessed to be pretty healthy compared to some, and I am very blessed that I have such wonderful friends and family. I love you all.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My just in case something drastic happens post...

It's 10:32 on a Sunday night. In three days I will be undergoing my first ever surgery. God forbid it be a simple one, it's a big deal. One that they weren't willing to undertake here at Miami Valley at first. I have had two individuals that work here at the hospital now comment about how they recognized my name from seeing and hearing about me so often here at the hospital, but they've never had the face to go along with it. I don't know how I feel about that.

It's hard going through this surgery having a one and a two year old at home. While I am confident in the medical team that will be taking care of me, I'm still intelligent enough to know that anything can happen. I thought writing a little something to both of my girls might help release some of the emotion that I have building up inside of me right now.

So here we go...

Addison~ I don't even know where to begin with you. You were my precious, quiet, snuggle baby when you were born. Never in a million years could I have anticipated the vibrant, strong willed, stubborn, kind, funny, loving, little girl that you have turned into. It's amazing how I can go from being angry with you one second, to being smitten with you in another. I love you Addie. More than words will ever be able to express to you. You are the reason I am a Mother. As one of the nurses pointed out last night, my pregnancy with you is what more than likely allowed me to get pregnant with your sister so easily. I'm a mommy because of you little one, and I am so grateful to you for that. My heart aches for you when you aren't in my presence. At nights I just want to grab you from your bed and put you in bed with me so that I can snuggle you close. I love your smell, and the feel of your skin against mine.

You are such a kind and giving little girl. I see a future of helping others for you. I think you would make a perfect nurse or doctor. Whenever I have felt ill this past week or so you will come up to me and gently rub my cheek with your hand, or you will gently scratch your nails up and down my forearm. Your head will be tilted ever so slightly and with such concern in your eyes you will ask "mommy all ight, mommy tummy, mommy owie booboo?" I love that you care so much for others already and you are only two years old.

I love when you want nothing to do but to snuggle up on the couch with me so that you can get underneath the blanket while we "beed" a book. "Mommy beed it?" Yes Addie...Mommy will always beed it to you.

I love you Addison Grace, I love you in a way that only a good mother would know. I truly would do anything for you. I would die for you and because of my love for you, I am choosing to live for you by having this nasty resection. I can't wait for the times that we will have once I am back up on my feet.


Cadence~ Oh child, goodness, goodness, goodness. I remember clearly when we brought you home, within days we were ready to take you back. Never have I heard a little baby cry so much for no reason at all. Here we are twelve months later and you are a completely different child. You are our calm daughter. You take everything with a grain of salt but you most definitely know how to plays us. You're the daughter that is going to keep up constantly guessing. With Addison we know she's trouble, she isn't shy about doing things she shouldn't be doing. You on the other hand are sneaky. Right when we have you figured out you go and throw us for a loop. You're goofy little grin and your little squeals of delight are the most unbelievable thing ever. They bring such joy to my heart. You are content being my little snuggle buddy. You could sit in my lap all day long if you could. You love it when I gently squeeze you, nuzzle your head, and hold you close to my chest. You love being loved and you love giving love in return.

You are enjoying eating right now. Half the time when you see that I have started making your plate of food, you've already started climbing into your highchair. You don't even have to be asked. Most of the time you've cleared your plate and then have started on your sisters. I think of you as our little chipmunk, but much cuter. You love to dance and whenever you hear any music come on the tv you stand up and start bouncing up and down. It's absolutely precious to watch. You have brought such joy into our lives and everyday I reminded why God brought you into our lives so quickly after we had Addison. Never once were you thought of as an accident. Trust me when I say you could have been prevented, we just chose not to. Now did we think you would be conceived three months after your sisters births? No! But boy am I glad you were. I pray that you and your sister will always be the best of friends.

Like I told your sister, you are the reason why I am doing this surgery. It's because of my two beautiful daughters that I continued to get out of bed everyday even when I didn't have the strength to do so. I always somehow managed to find it because I knew that you two babies needed me. At times I felt burdened by it, but in reality, it was my pleasure providing for the two of you. You both gave me strength I never knew I had. I owe everything to you and your sister.

Love always,

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Easter 2012

Well, seeing as I am currently laid up in a hospital bed I figured nows the time to get caught up with the blog. I was taken straight to the hospital Friday after my doctors appointment. I'm currently receiving lots of antibiotics, more blood that doesn't belong to me, TPN, and lots of fluids. My resection surgery is scheduled for sometime this Wednesday. I will be in the hospital another seven to ten days afterwards, possibly longer depending on how long my recovery takes.
Our weekend started on Friday night when we allowed the girls to color Easter eggs. They both really enjoyed it and after a few mishaps I finally had to say out loud to both Daniel and myself...this is about the girls not us, let them do whatever they want. By golly they did and they enjoyed dropping their eggs into all different colors. Addison was killing us though. She would drop some of the vinegar on her leg and she would lick it off and then finally she would stick her whole hand in the cup and then lick her hand. She makes us scratch our heads sometimes...silly kid.
Anyway, Easter this year was awesome. I felt really good and got to really enjoy my children and our family. Poor Daniel ended up with food poisoning but I felt good so what can you We spent Saturday with Daniel's Mom, brother Dustin, aunt Nanny, and Uncle Cecil.
They cooked out hamburgers, hot dogs, fruit salad, potato salad, macaroni salad, deviled eggs, cucumber and tomato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, and lord knows what else...we had a feast. The Easter bunny dropped off lots of goodies for us at Mamaw's house...what can I say? We're loved! I got some Bath and Body Works Country Chic smells so good.
We spent Easter Sunday at our house and had my Dad and the rest of the family over since they hadn't seen our new house yet. After the Easter bunny made a pit stop for the girls we got to cooking. Daniel smoked a pork butt so we had pulled pork sandwiches, I made homemade au gratin potatoes, orange jello with oranges and bananas, and a white cake with cherry vanilla icing. My aunt Robin made mac and cheese while my Dad and Donna made green bean casserole and deviled eggs. We ate really good!
After our feast we did an Easter egg hunt for the kids.
Addison had a ball and I'm so glad that I felt well enough this year that I could take lots of pictures of the occasion. Even Cadence got into the egg hunt. Having young children really makes you appreciate the holidays more. What is so funny is that prior to the hunt we were talking about ice-cream trucks. Wouldn't you know, just about the time we had finished up one drove by. Our house is out in the middle of no where so it was really shocking. I was so excited that the girls were going to get their first experience with the ice-cream truck and there I was with my camera to capture it all.
Addison got a bubblegum flavored popsicle while Cadence got a sno cone.
They were so cute sitting back and eating the ice-cream. Poor Daniel missed all of this because he was upstairs sick. I had a ball though and I'm pretty sure that they did as well.
I hope your family had a wonderful Easter weekend. I know I enjoyed just about every moment of mine. I posted on facebook that night how wonderful it had been. Sadly I didn't know what was in store for me the following day with a single phone call from my doctor. Oh well...I'm in the hospital to get better and while I am absolutely terrified of the surgery I pray that it gives me the strength and health that I have been without for a very long time. I can't wait to be able to get out and about by myself if I want, with both girls. This good end up being a really awesome summer!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ireland Rose

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that my sister Nikki was expecting her second baby. For nine months they refused to tell us the sex of the baby. I said from day one it was a little girl and from day one I was told that I would just have to wait and see. Well wouldn't you know, March 1st rolled around and Ireland Rose made her appearance. Score one for aunt Katie!! I was unable to attend her birth which really upset me, but they live a few hours away and we only have one vehicle. Of course Daniel needed it to get back and forth from work so my hands were tied. They finally came home about two weeks after her birth and I got to squeeze and love the crap out of the child. She is so cute and looks just like her older brother. Pictured below is all four of the grand kids on our dad's side of the family. Dylan is the oldest by four months, followed by Addie, Cadence and then little Ireland. Aren't they adorable? We are so blessed!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Ladies Birthday Week

Talk about taking a little blog break. Even for me this was a long one. We've had a busy couple of months and I'm afraid that after receiving some pretty bad health news on my part, they are about to get even busier.
I know it's now April but I figured I would share a little about the girls birthdays. Cadence turned one on Valentines day and Addison turned two that Friday. I decided to celebrate their birthdays together to help save money and to prevent our family from having to attend two different events. Of course for our family that means several different functions, but boy did we have a blast. We as in our little family of four and a few others, celebrated each girl on their actual birthday. We started off with Cadence at home. I made her spaghetti, corn, and we had cake. The girl loved her cake. It was hilarious how into her cake she got. Absolutely precious!
That Friday for Addison we decided to take the girls to Chuck E Cheese for the very first time. My step-mom Rhonda, mother-in-law Sue, and Daniel's aunt and uncle and their great-granddaughter helped us celebrate. The girls had a blast and were all over the place. They especially loved the carousel. I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy myself either. I was golden up until the last half hour or so when the Crohns pain started in. We got Addison lots of craft items for her birthday. Lots of stickers, paper, her very first pair of scissors, and an outfit to match the one we bought her sister. Cadence received a few new outfits as well as her very first piggy bank. We went overboard for Christmas with them so we've tried to scale back some with gifts on other holidays or birthdays.
That Saturday I threw the big party while we were still living at my Mom's. Our theme was a circus theme and everything was so cute. I think everyone truly enjoyed themselves and it was nice having so many people to help celebrate our little girls. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. My daughters are very loved and for that I am very grateful. I don't think you can really see in the pictures but I had shirts made for both girls. I also had a hair bow made for each of them but Cadence's never made it on, and Addie's didn't stay on for long. Their shirts had one big balloon on the front with their age embroidered on it. Underneath the balloon was their name. They were so cute.
I tried to keep the menu simple and cheap and also circus themed so we stuck with hotdogs, chips, potato salad, and baked beans. Daniel even popped a trash bag full of fresh popcorn for the occasion. I think the popcorn was a huge hit. I bought paper popcorn sacks like what you would get at the circus so we used those and I also used them for the favor bags that we passed out to all of the kids. I filled them full of candy and circus tattoos. The kids all really loved the tattoos. Instead of buying a cake and cupcakes, I decided to make cupcakes. I used a box mix for the actual cupcakes and got a recipe for cream cheese frosting online. The cupcake was awesome, the frosting...not so much. I used blue and red food coloring for the icing and they were really pretty, but the icing was horrible folks. Most everyone scraped it off. I waited until right before the party started to ice the cupcakes so they would be fresh so even though I knew it was horrible...I didn't have time to run out and buy frosting nor did I have the materials to start over. Oh well.
They got lots of lovely presents. Cadence got her build-a-bear from her Mamaw Blankenship and Addie got her first fishing pole. They also received books, a kite, lots of clothes, and few other things.
Having divorced parents who can't be in the same room with one another also means that you have to throw separate parties. The following weekend we had a party at my step-dad and his girlfriends Kathy's. We used the same theme and also included my sister Megan's, uncle Andy's, and grandpa Power's birthdays into our little shindig. Kathy cooked most all of the food and she also ordered all of the cakes. Is the girls cake not the most adorable thing you have ever seen? The menu at this party was lunch meat sandwiches, baked beans, meatballs, salad, fruit, the family mac and cheese, and lots of little appetizers. It was a really good party and I always enjoy spending time with that side of my family. Once again my health issues kicked in towards the end but I managed. We had spent the night with them the night before since the party started at noon and neither of the girls slept. I think my lack of sleep played a big part in my Crohns acting up.
Anyway, that was their birthday week in a nutshell and I think it was big success. Now to determine what next years theme will be??