Friday, May 22, 2015


A sunflower from the beautiful arrangement my cousin and her husband sent while I was in the hospital.

I'm finally well enough to give everyone an update.  For those who don't know, I spent the last month in the hospital and then recovering from surgery.  On a Sunday night in mid-April I started with abdominal pain and a fever so it was off to the emergency room for me.  Once there, a CAT scan showed an abscess on my left ovary / fallopian tube.  This is the second time in two years that I've had an abscess in the same spot.  Last time, they were able to insert a tube and drain the abscess, but no such luck this time.

This time, I needed surgery, but because of my history of Crohn's disease, I am not a good candidate for surgery.  I've had several abdominal surgeries and this has resulted in a lot of scar tissue which is what makes surgery so difficult on me.  For example, several years ago, doctors tried to remove my right over because I was having trouble with cysts and pain.  But there was so much scar tissue in my abdomen that they couldn't find my ovary.   That's right.  After looking for over an hour, the doctor Couldn't.  Find.  It.  I don't know how you lose an ovary inside your body, but apparently that's one of my skills.

Needless to say, the doctors were reluctant to operate this time, but abscesses can become life-threatening so we pushed ahead.  I spent a week and a half in the hospital hooked up to IV antibiotics before the surgery, waiting for the fevers and my white blood cell count to drop.

Luckily, I had a great surgeon.  He made an eight-inch vertical incision on my abdomen and plunged in.  The plan was to do a complete hysterectomy.  Basically, to go in and take everything he could find.  (Ha! I thought.  Maybe this time my uterus will be the one playing Hide and Seek!)  Typically, the surgery takes an hour-and-a-half.  On me, it took four hours.  But the good news is all of my organs were where they were supposed to be, and the surgeon removed everything except the cervix.  He couldn't take it because it was plastered to other organs with scar tissue and he didn't want to risk cutting something vital.

Good move, I think.

It's now been three weeks since the surgery and I'm finally able to walk without doubling over.  I'm exhausted by the end of the day and still pretty sore, but I don't need pain meds constantly.  Driving is still difficult.  I still have lifting restrictions, and I need to rest pretty often, but all in all, it's been a pretty good surgery/recovery.  (And as this is my 7th abdominal surgery in 12 years, I think I now qualify as an expert!)

Slowly, I've been venturing outside of the house.  Last weekend, I forced the family to drive to Lexington for the Kentucky Wool Festival.  Yes, it was raining.  Yes, I needed pretty heavy pain-killers to survive the long drive, but it was worth it!  (I'm planning a write up next week.)  We made it to church on Sunday, and today, I'm heading to a retreat for adoptive and foster moms.  (I'll also write about that next week.)  Despite still being in a fair bit of pain, I feel like I'm getting my life back.

Truly, the psychological recovery from major surgery is as difficult as the physical recovery.  We don't pay enough attention to that, and so before I had all this surgical experience, I was always surprised by how depressed I would get.  This time hasn't been that bad, and I am Grateful!  In fact, as I write this, in little bit, I think I'll do a week-long series on surviving hospital stays / surgery.  I think as a culture we ignore anything involving sickness / death and as a result, we are completely unprepared when it happens to us (or a loved one.)  I'd like to start a dialogue about that.

Finally, I'll do separate updates on the kids and on my novel.  But here's a very short update.  The kids are all doing well.  They all finish school next week.  And Sarah graduates from high school!  Crazy!  Gabrielle turned 5 on Sunday.  She's so stinkin cute, I can't stand it!  We still have some (ok, a lot) behavior issues to work through with the two newest kiddos, but that will come in time.

On the book front, I have a tentative publication date.  Right now, the book is scheduled for release in August of 2016.  (The release date got bumped back a few times due to various publishing conflicts.)  Right now, I'm working on my second novel (or rather, I'm trying to get back into working on my second novel.  This surgery has thrown everything out of whack!) and waiting for the final edits for the first novel.  The publisher needs the final manuscript for Book One this August, so I'll likely spend the summer going back and forth with my editor a few times to make the book even more Fabulous!

I know this post was long and rambling.  I blame Percocet.  :-)

My girl loves her birthday cake!

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