Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Rewind Week - Part 2

As I wrote in my last post, we actually got to have some fun in DC before my gallbladder rudely interrupted the party last week...

Georgia got to enjoy watching some new cartoons.  She declared that Superman was "hot!"  Nick is hoping that was because he had just emerged from fire and not because she was attracted to him!

Just taking a ride

On Sunday, we all headed downtown to visit the International Spy Museum.  Nick and I had previously been a few times and always enjoy our visit there.  Yes, it's one of the few museums in the city that is not free, but it's well worth the admission price.  The boys were psyched for the James Bond exhibit!

Spies in training!

Even though Georgia was too young to "understand" most of the spy museum, she liked interacting with the gadgets, watching the movie clips, and following around her cousins...

In good news, Uncle Andrew can official remove a nuclear device from exploding with only 15 seconds on the clock!  Nick showed him up by doing it one-handed while holding Georgia.

Checking out a film on the Bond villains

Nathan proved he can hang onto a building suspended for one whole minute!

Even though we were approaching naptime, we managed to sneak in a quick visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.  It's always one of my favorite museums and we figured Georgia would be entertained by all the animals.  That she was, as she gladly abused Auntie and pointed her from exhibit to exhibit shouting "Over there!"  

Heading to the museum

Hanging out with Auntie in the museum

Best attempt at a mother/daughter photo.  Obviously, someone was much more interested in the giant bear behind us!

Georgia loved this little space - she was the perfect size to disappear until her cousins found her!

When we got home, Andrew and Nick put together my anniversary present - my new bike!  Nick knew I really wanted a bike to putz around the neighborhood and go for rides with Georgia one day.  So, for our 4th anniversary, I became the owner of a cool new PINK bike!!

My new pink princess bike... complete with a basket!

Taking her out for a spin!

Gallbladder Update:
It's officially been one week since my surgery and everyday things are getting easier.  My hockey puck shaped bruise on my abdomen is turning a lovely shade of yellow/green/purple.  Thank goodness my bikini days are long behind me because no one needs to see this thing!  Finding a comfortable position to sleep when I first lay down is still challenging, but flipping/flopping isn't easy, so I make do with whatever position I can manage.  I went for my first walk around the block last night and survived.  Ironically, my lower back seems to hurt more than the incisions. From everything I've read, that seems to be the trapped gas from surgery still moving around my body.  By the end of the day, my lower back is sore and achy.  

I've driven a few times since surgery, but today was my longest outing.  I drove on the highway for the first time and didn't have any pain, although the seat belt doesn't hit in the most ideal place on my lower abdomen.  

My follow-up appointment with the surgeon isn't until next week, so I'm hoping to keep improving everyday and be back to almost normal by then!  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Rewind Week...

Due to the rude interruption of losing an organ last week, I never got to share photos from our visit with the Brodeurs.  Even though my gallbladder attacks were ongoing at the time, we were able to sneak in a few days of relative calm before the craziness hit the fan mid-week.  

When they arrived last Saturday, it also happened to be Matthew's 8th birthday.  If you remember one of my last "normal" posts before surgery, Georgia helped me decorate and get ready for their arrival.  Of course, Georgia manages to turn someone else's birthday into an opportunity for her to get gifts.  She was beyond excited to inherit some Thomas the tank engine trains and tracks from her big cousins...

Getting some instructions from Matthew

Watching Nathan put together some trains for her

Happy girl!

I was under a lot of pressure to come up with a good idea for Matthew's birthday gift since I had an original idea for his brother's birthday earlier in the year.  Thank goodness for Pinterest!  We came up with a fun idea of how to present some money to the birthday boy...

Being wrapped up by $50 worth of $1 dollar bills

We had to cap off the birthday with some time by the firepit since Nick had approximately 4,000 trees delivered to our house that week!

G was psyched to stay up late and eat marshmallows with her big cousins!

Nathan roasting a marshmallow

Melissa, Nick & Georgia by the fire

Matthew and Nathan taught Georgia how to brush her teeth like a champ every night before bed and then they would take turns reading to her before bedtime...

Luckily, we were able to hit up a few museums and spend some time in DC before I was admitted to the hospital.  Stay tuned!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Made For Blogging...

I have such fun news today... My godson, Nathan, has started his own blog called Mad for Books.  Nathan is one of the smartest guys I know, especially considering he is only 10 years old.  This your chance to read some of his book reviews before the kiddo hits MIT or Harvard in a few short years.  He is truly mad for books and loves to read.  I can still remember his Mom calling me when he was just a little guy because he swore he read Harry Potter and she wasn't quite sure whether he was telling the truth or not.  A few comprehension questions later and he passed my test!  

You'll notice a new link on the right hand side of my page with a link to his blog.  Please check it out and leave him a comment letting him know what you think of his book reviews!  I am so proud that the blogging bug has caught another family member!!

Nathan reading to Georgia last week

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Gallbladder Surgery Recovery...

It's officially been 4 days since my gallbladder was removed via laparoscopic cholecystectomy.  Overall, the surgery was successful.  The surgeon was concerned that he might find small stones in the ducts because of the location of my pain, as well as some of my pancreas/liver enzymes.  During my surgery, he took an xray of the ducts to ensure that nothing was in there attempting to pass.  If he did find more stones, I would have had another procedure the following day to remove those.  Luckily, the ducts were clear, so the only procedure I needed was the gallbladder removal.

Since I was an add-on surgery, it was a long wait on Wednesday to meet with a surgeon and finally get confirmation that they could squeeze me on the OR list for that same day.  Finally, around 3:30, they came in to get me and wheeled me down to pre-op, where they confirmed my identity approximately thirty-three times!  As I told Nick, Alzheimer patients must really have difficulty with this part of the procedure.  Around 4pm, I was rolled into the OR... or as I like to call it, the icebox!  Within minutes of being in the room, I was out cold.  When I woke up in recovery, the first thing I asked the nurse was about the other stones.  She told me that she didn't have any of the details from my surgery and didn't know.  Luckily, I was reunited with Nick shortly after I woke up.  He had spoken with the surgeon and knew that no other stones were found.  The surgeon also cleared me to go home that evening if I was able to get up, move around, eat/drink, etc.  He had previously told me that he was doubtful that I would want to go home that night.  I was out to prove him wrong!  

The biggest "pain" I had after the surgery was the gas traveling up to my shoulders and back.  I had Nick rubbing away at my shoulders hoping to break up all those air bubbles trapped from the surgery.  Within a few hours of arriving back to my room, I was inhaling saltines (I hadn't eaten in 24+ hours) and chugging down apple juice.  I took my first few steps around the room and then started wandering the halls of the hospital.  I wanted home!!!  The nurse looked at me like I was crazy when I told her I wanted to be discharged.  But, she paged the surgical resident, who came up to take a look at me and declared me healthy enough to head home.  Nick ran out to fill a script for some pain medication while everyone completed my discharge paperwork.  

Our biggest "thank goodness" moment was when my hospital roommate also arrived back from surgery around 11:30pm... and was accompanied by half of her family, including several small children.  Something tells me that I would not have gotten a lot of sleep had I stayed in that room that evening!  I may have muttered something about insane visiting hours on my way out of the hospital and was told that there were no set visiting hours at the hospital.  So, it's acceptable to have 10 people pack into your shared post-op room at midnight?!?  INSANE!  Hence, thank goodness that I was able to be discharged because it would have been a very long night in that hospital.

We arrived home shortly after midnight and tip-toed around to try not to wake Georgia or the Brodeurs, who had kindly entertained our child all day long.  I was pleasantly surprised that I could walk fairly easily.  Much easier than after my c-section surgery.  The only difficult part was twisting or bending.  I took my pain meds, climbed into bed and actually slept fairly well that first night.  I think everyone was fairly surprised to see me climb down the steps the next morning and join everyone in the kitchen for breakfast.  Happy 4th of July to me!

Recovery seems to be going okay.  I have 3 small holes right under my bra line and one larger incision in my belly button area.  The 3 small holes burned a bit the first few days, but I don't even feel them at this point.  They still have steri-strips on them and I assume those will stay until my post-op appointment.  My belly button is a different story - the larger incision is covered with a steri-strip, but also includes a softball sized bruise that is very tender and sore.  I'm assuming my gallbladder must have left my body from that hole.  I've had an ice pack on/off my belly button the past few days to help with the swelling and burning sensation.  The most frustrating thing is that I can't lift up Georgia and have been told that I shouldn't lift anything heavier than 15lbs for one month.  It's really difficult when you're child is screaming crying and just wants her Mommy to lift her up for a hug and I cannot do it.  I'm trying to be a good patient.  

Overall, I think that the recovery is much easier than a c-section.  I stopped taking the pain meds after the first day and have survived on Tylenol since that time.  The hardest physical movement is getting up from sitting or getting out of bed, but that motion is slowly getting easier.  I'm anxious to get moving again, so my mom and I took a quick trip to the farmer's market this morning to stretch my legs and get some fresh air and veggies!  I can't wait to meet with the doctor to talk about when I can start to exercise again... even if it is just getting cleared to walk on the treadmill.  Standing is actually easier than sitting in some positions, so I want to get moving again.  I think being in decent shape pre-surgery is probably helping with my recovery.

As for recommendations for other people having the surgery... I read lots of blog posts before the surgery and I completely agree with everyone else that said that getting up and moving ASAP after surgery was vital!  I was up and walking within 2 hours of being back in my room and I think that made a huge difference.  I didn't have the horrible gas pains for days that some people talked about.  They were definitely present immediately after surgery, but quickly went away within a few hours.  I can still feel gas moving around in there when I lay down or move around, but it's not "painful" vs uncomfortable.  So far, I've eaten a pretty bland diet.  I don't want to aggravate anything in there and I'm still a little hesitant knowing that certain things seemed to have set off the attacks in the first place.  Although I doubt I'd have another attack as painful as those I experienced last week, I don't want to push it.  As Nick said, my gallbladder looked like a snow globe on the ultrasound - if I rolled, the snow/gallstones moved all around.  My only regret is not asking to see the stones after surgery!  I would have liked to have seen those little suckers!!