...the final pill. It marks the end of what I am calling my "medical recovery". I still have plenty of healing to do on my own, but today is my last day of pills. For those who don't know, on November 10th I had surgery to repair my abdominal wall (meaning they went opened me up and "corset" stitched my abdominal muscles back together) due to them coming apart during my pregnancy with my twin sons. At that time they also repaired a hernia located in my "alien" bellybutton (I call it that because without abdominal muscles to hold my bellybutton together...I didn't really have one), a hernia that had become painful over the course of the last several months.
The surgery went off without a hitch. I was ecstatic to learn I didn't even have a drain put in (it's common with this surgery to have 1-2 drain tubes put in to help drain off excess fluid that develops around the incision)! This was it...after nearly 6 years of pain, and insecurities; I finally felt like a normal human being again. The following Thursday (the 16th) I went to see my surgeon for a post-op at 1pm. He'd noticed I had some excess fluid around my incision, but no big deal. He drained the spot and was happy with how I was coming along, as was I. I returned home to my computer where I sat editing for an hour or two before deciding I should change my bandages. It was then that I noticed a red area developing on my abdomen. This was the start to a very scary weekend.
My parents had arrived from Nebraska that same evening as previously planned to help me around the house so Sean could return back to work (I'm restricted on how much weight I can lift, which with three boys at home...means I lift a lot daily). Taking a peek at my red area again, it had spread from my incision to my breastbone. Although scared out of my mind, I called the after-hours on call surgeon at the insistence of my husband (which I thank God for that). After a quick discussion with the doctor, and sending him a few photos of my red flaming self, he determined that I had a very aggressive infection and prescribed me a horse pill of an antibiotic that I went on that same evening. The following morning at 8am after a sleepless, fever filled night, I was able to see my own doctor.
The actual conversation between my doctor and I seems like a blur. I clearly remember the look of anguish on his face as he said things like "E.R.", "open you up", "clean you out", "put you out", "blood infection". With tears streaming down my face, he left me so I could call Sean about what was going on. During our conversation he came back in to say that he'd like to try putting me on a cocktail of antibiotics and steroids in an attempt to battle the infection without the need for surgery. It was a risk considering how aggressive the infection was, but if he was willing to take the risk...as a professional...I trusted him.
That evening the fever was back. "Kiddo, I think it's time to head to the E.R.", my mom said to me as my teeth chattered away and hot tears streamed down my face. "No, this wasn't it...just wait a little bit longer", I'd thought to myself. Thankfully ibuprofen did it's job and kicked the fever just for the time being, allowing me to at least get through the night. Around 3am I woke drenched in sweat, but COLD! The fever had broke! Come Sunday morning, my red abdomen was reduced to a light pink. With another trip to see my doctor that Monday morning, I was sent home with a "you seem to be in the clear of this, but it's still an uphill battle".
Thanksgiving morning I popped the first pill out of the second round of steroids. I remember looking at the clear empty hole that'd been left behind, thinking that this year I was thankful for so much more. Thankful that my health was coming along, and that I was there to celebrate the holiday with my family. It may not have been as big of a medical scare as my anxiety was making it out to be...but when I looked around that table Thanksgiving night. I was there. My husband, the love of my life to my right, and surrounded by family. The next morning we put up our tree, decked it in precious memories, and when asked what I wanted for Christmas this year...the answer was simple. I already have it. Everything I could possibly want in this world is right in my own home; the love of my life, my boys, and God's love.