There are many steps in recovering from a major surgery: the number of things you are hooked up to decreases, you get released from the hospital, slowly get strength back that was lost while sitting around in a hospital bed.
Also, in my case, there's been the small steps toward being able to eat normally again (still working on that), getting various tubes/stitches/staples removed (everything is gone except for my feeding tube) and completing 23 grueling sessions of pulmonary rehab in order to graduate - which I did the week before Christmas - yay!
Along the way, little slices of normal life start to insert themselves into the medical routine and they are oh so very welcome. Going out to dinner or a movie? Awesome! Putting up the Christmas tree? Hell yeah! A trip out shopping instead of buying on Amazon? What fun! (All of course done with my mask discretely in my pocket book ready to be deployed if need be.)
Are We There Yet?Recently I have had some people ask me if things were getting back to normal. The answer to that is not straight forward. 'Normal' to me before surgery was days of fatigue, doing treatments and dragging myself to rehab. Rewind to a little over a year ago before I had to stop working and life consisted of mornings of drinking coffee and reading the paper while doing my therapy, going into work, coming home to do therapy and exercise, cooking dinner, watching some TV with Todd, doing my final treatment and going to bed.
So what will life look like with no treatments and only having to remember my medication times throughout the day? (I am still getting used to that.) The answer is I have no idea and the possibilities are incredibly exciting to me!!
I would like to go back to mornings of reading the paper and drinking coffee before doing some kind of work (what that will look like, whether actually going into an office as a paid job, doing some freelance writing, volunteering somewhere or doing something else at home.)
Exercise will continue to be a big part of my life - I want to get back to being able to go on bike rides with Todd and go to yoga classes!! I might even finally be able to complete yoga teacher training like I had wanted to (not to teach but just to get deeper into the practice.)
I want to have an active social life again, going out with friends - I miss that! (Although I will have to continue to adapt to a basically alcohol-free lifestyle, regrettably.) I want to be able to go on trips out of town on the weekend at a moment's notice. I miss our mountain house so much I can't even tell you! And I miss going down to Todd's aunt's beach house at Holden Beach - it is so beautiful down there.
Speaking of getting away, before any of that happens I want to plan a couple of trips. I want to go to Atlanta for a weekend to see my good friend who's moved down there. And I want to go to Cleveland to see my dad/step-mom and family - and hopefully my brother can also drive down from Michigan so I can see his family too (nephew Simon!!)
Speaking of Getting Away
Todd and I are also starting to plan summer vacations. We have a friend's wedding in Vegas in April. We want to go to Montana sometime. And we are starting to think longer out (next year) about a trip to Belize or some place like that on one of Todd's brother's fishing trips. (That would require a lot of planning and preparation from an infectious disease standpoint but the docs have said that with enough advanced time it should be fine.) We also have good friends in Ireland that we would love to visit. So much to do!
So what am I waiting for? That's easy - two things: I'm waiting for my rejection (discovered during my bronch a month ago and subsequently treated with a large blast of steroids) to clear and for my Nissen stomach wrap surgery to be done. For the rejection, I had a follow-up bronch on Monday and I am awaiting the results. If I remember I will update this with them. If I am clear, plans will start being made! [Update: I am still showing mild rejection, although less than last time - this makes sense because my Prograf (my main anti-rejection medication) levels have still been low. My treatment will again be I the steroid treatment. This is also good, in my opinion, because it means they didn't think an escalated type of treatment was necessary.]
For the Nissen, I am supposed to get a consult with the surgeon soon and I am hoping that surgery will follow fairly quickly. The recovery from the Nissen seems to vary a lot between patients. Although the surgery is done laparoscopically, I am hoping that the pain will be lessened by the fact that my chest is still numb from the belly button up to my collar bone.
Anyway, that's the deal with me right now. I am awaiting the endless possibilities of what my new normal could be.
Oh, and I almost forgot: Happy New Year y'all!
Photo Credit: Egg @ doctor, www.andertoons.com; Amazon boxes, www.techlicious.com; Yoga hands, www.yogavibetenerife.com; Belize, www.belizethisway.com.