On The Mend

Enjoying much needed snuggle time and giggles this morning with my munchkins.  I love them so.

Hello, there!  Anyone still out there?!

This past week has been quite a blur.  For those of you who may not know, I had an appendectomy and part of my colon and small bowel removed, as well as a large mass from the lining of my appendix last Wednesday morning.

This wasn't one of those, "Oh, wow, that came out of no where" type things.  It was a problem that had been ailing me the past 12 weeks.

Rewind back to 32 weeks into my pregnancy.  I went into the hospital because I was having horrible back and stomach pain and thought I might be in labor.  They did a series of tests and an ultrasound and ruled out the possibility that I would go into labor within the next five weeks or so.  The ultrasound and lab work looked fine and they sent me on my way.

The remaining weeks of my pregnancy were some of the hardest of any of my pregnancies.  I had horrible back pain and a jarring pain that never seemed to go away in my stomach.  I couldn't wait for that baby to come out so that my back and stomach could feel normal again.

A week after Kate was born and I went off the high dosage of Motrin, that exact jarring pain came back in my stomach.  The kind of pain that keeps you up at night, curled up in the fetal position, or makes you want to take a warm bath every night because that's the only form of relief you can get from the pain.

The next five weeks would be spent in and out of the hospital, obgyn and doctors' office - being put on what felt like every medication under the sun.  And then finally I had an appointment to have a uterine ultrasound last Tuesday.  

The ultrasound was scheduled for nine o'clock.  After having the ultrasound, I went and picked up Liv from preschool, dropped her off at home, ate a little snack, and then went back to the doctor for a follow up appointment to discuss the results of the ultrasound.

I was so relieved to find out that my uterus and ovaries looked perfect.  And they were even more surprised to find that my uterus had actually completely shrunken.  This meant that the pain site was higher than what they originally thought was my uterus.  My OB immediately ordered a CT scan and recommended that I stay in the hospital to have that completed.  

So Kate and I sat in the hospital for the next two and a half hours together as I drank six cups of the nastiest dye for the scan, fed the baby, and rocked the baby.  

On our way home from the hospital I stopped and got some groceries and, by the time I had even gotten home, I had several missed calls and voicemails from my doctor.  I called him back and was absolutely shocked when he told me that at some point in the last twelve weeks my appendix had ruptured and that I needed to go to the ER right away. 

I think I awkwardly stayed on the phone asking dumb questions for several minutes because I was so dumbfounded by the news.  I think I was somewhat avoiding the inevitable task of getting my girls and myself packed up and making all of the arrangements for us to be able to admit me to the ER.  This situation seems all to familiar these days - we have had way too many doctor, hospital and ER visits/stays in the past 90 days.  There's nothing worse than having to shuffle two young girls around so much.  It gives me a lump in my throat.

When I walked into the ER I was greeted by a team of five nurses that had been waiting for me with a wheel chair.  Once they confirmed that I was their "Appy" patient, they immediately walked me back to a room where I was told to undress and put on a gown.  After I put on the gown, I sat in a small room alone waiting for Craig and Kate to meet back up with me after dropping the girls off with my mom (bless her heart).  The room was quiet and still.  I could literally hear my heart beating out of my chest.  My head was spinning.

The surgeon came in shortly after Craig and Kate arrived.  He explained that the CT scan indicated that there was a rupture in the appendix and that I most likely had been dealing with chronic appendicitis over the past 12 weeks.  Because the appendix had been enflamed and ruptured over such a prolonged period of time, the surgery would most likely be more complicated than a regular appendectomy, which is an outpatient procedure.  He scheduled the surgery for the following morning and we were wheeled up to our tiny room on the 6th floor.

Now there are no words that can quite describe what it was like to leave Craig and Kate behind and be wheeled into surgery.  It's like feeling a rush of all the love you possess for everyone in your life and desperately never wanting to let go of that love.  And before I knew it, I was waking up from surgery.

In that instant I blinked and then thanked the Lord for letting me be okay.  Was I okay?  I was in a large, brightly lit room.  A woman asked me a question and when I answered I felt like I was choking up the words.  All I wanted to ask was "How did the surgery go?"  And "Where is Craig?"  I wanted him really badly in that moment.  He has been my rock through all of this.

I was finally wheeled back up to my room where Craig and Kate were waiting for me.  I was so relieved to be back with them.  I was beginning to become a little more coherent and could soon talk a bit.

That afternoon my dad came to visit and gave me the most beautiful father's blessing.  I am so grateful for my dad and that tender moment I was able to spend with him.  I am feeling more blessed than I have ever felt in my life.  These experiences are drawing me nearer to my savior and family and are helping me realize what matters most in this life.

The next few days were spent in much pain in the hospital.  Recovery seemed to be such a slow and hard process but I was pretty determined (most of the time) to progress and heal.  But it was probably definitely one of the hardest weeks I've ever gone through.  

I was discharged from the hospital on Sunday and spent Sunday, Monday and Tuesday morning at home recovering with Craig and Kate.  It was such a sweet reunion with the older girls on Tuesday.  Emery kept yelling as she was running toward me, "Miss you, mom.  Miss you, mom."  Holy cow, the tears are flowing as I write this.  I love my girls with all of me.  What an amazing gift it is to be their mother.  I have felt so humbled and grateful through all of this to have the knowledge I have about eternal families.  I want to live my life worthily to have those promises fulfilled.  I want that more than anything.

We received confirmation yesterday from my surgeon that the mass they removed was not cancerous so they are very hopeful that this is the end of what has been a very long road.  We will have a consultation with him sometime next week and will most likely be given more answers and information that will help us better understand what exactly happened.  In the meantime, I'm feeling well today and taking it one stride at a time--and feeling very grateful and blessed for all of the love, prayers, and support that we have felt over this past week.  We have been immeasurably blessed by the faith and love of both of our families and friends.  Thank you so much, loves! 
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