Looking at me here you would never know that for the last 24 hours I had been dry heaving and vomiting what little I had to come up after not being able to eat the two days prior. I’ve been up for 30 plus hours and absolutely delirious. After walking into an over flowing check in, waiting in registration, I was then rushed to my surgical floor and through the key card door to my bed. It was honestly a blur. I was so sick the entire time… I asked for my Dad to come back early and they graciously allowed it. My nerves started to settle with him next to me and my surgeons both coming in and talking with me. Things started to take a turn for the worse though when the anesthesiologist came to my side.
I thought we had this down to a science at this point but he was new and I am not sure if he had something to prove or what his issue was? He did not want to follow the previous notes left by the doctor before him. I tried my best to explain this was my 12th major surgery and about my 30th time under anesthesia and I knew what worked for me but he was convinced he was going to do a nerve block. Nerve blocks make me extremely sick! The problem is they wear off! They are temporary. The second they wear off I feel every inch of the pain and then become violently sick. I asked my Dad to please talk to him as well and he did but ultimately it still made no difference. He just kept telling us “Well this is a much different surgery, more invasive than before!” I wanted to laugh out loud… more invasive?!? Do you know who I am? Do you know what has been done to me! I just had to let it go at that point. They were going to do what they were going to do and I was being prepped to wheel back and my nerves were making me sick again. Everyone was asking me questions, allergies, metal in my mouth, ready to go? It was like a movie and it was playing in fast forward. Suddenly I shouted No wait, Dad… We haven’t even prayed yet and I reached out for his hand. He held my hand and the room all of the sudden went silent. I heard nothing but his voice. In that moment God gave me total peace and comfort and then total blackness.
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. -Romans 16:20
I have never in all my surgeries experienced anything like this. I am always awake for the ride down the hallway, I move myself onto the surgery table, my surgeon jokes around with me, my operating nurses comfort me, I know I am being strapped in, then I am told to count or told I am going to sleep, etc… This has never happened, ever. My Dads prayer was the last thing I heard. I remember nothing after.
Surgery was about 3 1/2 hours. They tell me that everything went fantastic. The cystic mass was actually full of fluid to their surprise. It was so compacted they weren’t able to see the fluid on the ultrasound. That is why originally they thought it was dry. So they drained it and removed it! The so called “growth” that had us all petrified was actually the shadow of my ovary. The mass was so big and compacted it shifted the way things sat and the mass pressed up against my ovary to where it looked as if I had something growing inside! So we had nothing to biopsy!!! No CANCER even needed to be detected. Isn’t God so good? Hallelujah! So these types of cysts can and most likely will come back, the main cause in my case is from having multiple surgeries. So we are gonna keep a close watch on things and catch them early IF and when they do come back. Now we know how to attack them so all is good on that end of the spectrum! My hernia was removed and properly repaired with bio mesh. My small intestine was pulled all the way through and is no longer in a loop formation. My J pouch that has still been intact inside (just disconnected) has now been undone completely. My small intestine was now taken from the end and pushed through my stomach to create a new stoma. So I have several areas that are extremely sore and several different entry points.
(My stomach is very swollen as this is just hours after surgery. The main incision is the long strip on the bikini line, there is stitches all around my stoma that you can’t see under my bag but they make a circle formation and behind that, as well as, underneath for my hernia repair. The nerve catheters are under the white tape. They have tiny wires that go down into the wounds and then those wires are connected to IVs that pump the numbing medication. The grey circles are monitoring my nerves. They are plugged into a machine collecting data on the table next to me.)
I have little to no memory of the recovery room whatsoever. This has NEVER happened. I always know in detail my stay, my nurse, the time… I am so OCD. So this experience was so different for me. Apparently when I woke up I was in excruciating pain. The anesthesiologist team was called back in several times. They finally agreed to sedated me again and give me what I originally asked for in the very beginning. The Nerve Catheters you saw above (which by the way do not expire) So they were placed into my wounds at this time. Nerve catheters pump small amounts of numbing medication directly into your incisions. So you basically don’t feel your pain. It is kind of the best thing ever and is narcotic and opiate free! Why could they not just do this during surgery for me is still confusing? This entire process took 6 hours! My poor Dad sat in recovery next to me for 6 hours while the only recollection I have of the entire thing is reaching out for his hand at one point and him grabbing it. Normally you only wait in recovery till you wake up or because there aren’t beds available upstairs but they had 5 on this day ready and waiting but my pain was so bad and I was so sick they couldn’t release me.
(here is a close up of one of the two nerve catheters placed in me)
When I got up to my room things were still fuzzy. I don’t remember being wheeled there or the elevator ride up, I don’t remember my transfer attendant or being transferred into my hospital bed? But I remember my Dads voice. I remember him setting my room up the way I like it… my fan, the a/c, the lights off, my special blanket and pillow. He was running around, I could feel his energy, he wanted to make everything just right for me and he was doing it as fast as he could. Normally I would be anxious but I wasn’t at all I was so calm like unbelievably calm. Writing this right now I have tears coming down my face because I am realizing just how much Dad loves me and everything he does for me.
When I write my blogs I am always listening music always… Literally Steffany Gretzinger’s “Save ME” came on as I’m writing this part about my Dad and the words just keep repeating….
“You’re my hero
You always pick me up
Before I self-destruct
You’re my hero”
If you know anything about the album Blackout Steffy just released or even this song you would understand why this has touched me so deeply. God is so incredibly thoughtful with his timing and with his gestures. I can’t make this stuff up. He is working in me in ways I can’t even describe and it is through MUSIC which I am so thankful for!!! I am telling you when people say God speaks to them… IT IS REAL! I love Bethel and I love Elevation Worship- two reasons why I wanted to go to Outcry so badly… But Mosaic MSC and Steff’s Blackout album… THOSE are the reasons God brought me there. He is always opening my eyes to new things and new people I didn’t even know I needed. I could write an entire blog just on this…
A little later that evening I awoke and saw my beloved nurse who I won’t name for her own privacy. My nurse who has been with me since my very first surgery. She smiled from ear to ear and leaned over and just hugged on me. That was God again. My floor is big and there are many nurses… I love them all don’t get me wrong but how do I get my girl no matter what day I go in on? No matter what side I end up on? What time of year? It’s God. 10 surgeries at this specific hospital and I wake up to her face every single time!!!
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
-Colossians 2: 6-7
After the third day my nurses shift was switching and I had a floater for a night. The first thing I noticed was her necklace it was a beautiful cross. I complimented her on it and she held it with her hands and smiled. Later that evening as she was going over my medical screen she asked me how I stayed so happy? I asked what she meant by that and she replied, “You have been through so much yet you carry a very positive energy with you.” My only response to that was that God has continued to be my strength and comfort. That if all of my pain and suffering is helping even one person then every ounce of it is worth it. She began to have tears stream down her face. She lifted her arms to the Lord and she started to sing. Not quietly either. She said “I knew I would meet you today… I just knew!” I was a little out of sorts by it all but I just listened to her voice. She was singing the old church hymn “Faith is the Victory” and not just a verse but the entire song! She proceed to tell me her story of coming to know the Lord and singing and singing. I felt like she was in my room for HOURS! She never went to another patients room? I wasn’t sure how she could do this? I must of fallen asleep because the next thing I remember it was the morning and she was next to my bed to say goodbye. I apologized for falling asleep on her. I had not rested so well ever while in the hospital. I think I slept 6 or 7 straight hours. She held my hands and said, “the presence of the Lord is with us and He will give you rest.” Then she prayed over me and as she left… she was still singing. It was such a surreal experience and to have in the hospital?!? She was truly a beautiful woman. I look back at it now and ask myself did that really happen? But yeah it did! She even gave me a card to keep in contact with her so I know I’m not dreaming…
|“Faith is the victory!
Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory,
That overcomes the world.” -My nurse singing in her beautiful voice
I felt like God just opened doors for me everywhere I looked this stay. I know I call my nurses my family but to hear them all call me family this was a first for me. I know they care about me but I was being loved on and hugged and held. I am a grown woman and not very good with affection and these women just loved and loved on me. Thats what they do. They are some of the warmest most compassionate human beings alive. They have invited me into their lives and I am beyond grateful for these friendships. God did this. God gave me these wonderful people to do life with. I don’t even have words.
My hospital stay was a little longer than I had hoped for. Even though I love everyone there I still miss the comfort of my home and of course my Jersie Mae. My small intestine decided to stay asleep or blocked. Not really sure because nothing was coming out of it and I was so nauseated and constantly dry heaving because I had nothing to vomit!!! So on Day #3 we had to insert a tube into it in hopes that it would help move things along. Well it didn’t! It only made things so much more uncomfortable! Always looking at the plus side of things though… not having an appetite always sheds those unwanted pounds off! 🙂 Knowing my body and how to insert and remove the tube myself I did a bit of bartering to get out and back home with my puppy. I had to be able to drink enough fluids, stop vomiting and be ok with the nerve catheters removed before I could get the exit card! So slowly but surely I knocked each one of these out. By the 5th day I was wearing my cozy sweats walking around the hospital, getting my own crushed ice cubes and visiting with my nurses. My intestine still wasn’t awake but by the end of day 6 I convinced them to let me go home with the tube in still.
So I am at home now and doing my best! Each day is a little bit different. I have had a couple rough days of nausea still. The vomiting is intense because it leaves me that much more sore for the following day. The big incision doesn’t hurt really at all. It is where they repaired the hernia that absolutely kills. I cannot cough, laugh, hiccup, etc. I literally feel as if my insides will fall out if one of these occur. My pelvic bone/ abdominal region burns periodically and really intensely. Almost like something is tearing and on fire at the same time. I had to do my first bag change since being home and that was very painful. My stoma is almost triple in size still from surgery and surrounded in stitches. My wafer that the bag attaches to can’t rub against it in any way or it is very uncomfortable. The only other real issue I am having is a bit of a speech problem. I am not able to always find my words right away and then when I do they aren’t always correct? I am hoping this is just because of long term anesthesia effects and will eventually just fade away so I am trying not to think too much about it just yet. Then there is everyday stuff like showering, walking enough, etc… But like I said everyday is different. I know each day will get easier and I am that much closer to fully healing. I am already down to taking tylenol just twice a day once in the morning when I wake up and once at night before I go to sleep. The best part… I am home! I am with my best gal who is snuggling me almost too much! Her little pug face can’t get close enough to mine.
My prayer is that this was my final surgery. I pray that all of these amazing calming and comforting hands were hands of healing sent by you, God. I pray that you would lead me down the path where my life is meant to go. That I would be able to stand on my own as I have before and have you as my confidence. I pray for your strength and your comfort in my recovery. I pray for my relationship with my parents to grow stronger and that the bond that we have would only flourish for you and your purpose. I pray that I can release the guilt of my sickness and the burden I feel that I am to my loved ones. I pray you would help walk me through these steps as it affects my everyday relationships and how I interact with these people. I pray for my prayer life to only increase and become more prominent and more intimate with you Lord. I pray for complete and total healing of my body in your name. Lord I thank you for always being with me. I thank you for your breath, for your spirit, for your eternal gift of life. Lord I thank you for the gift of music. I thank you for the unconditional connection you have given me and the peace and joy that it brings me in the chaotic world we live in. Lord I thank you for giving me the life that I have, the opportunities it has brought me, the blessings and the purpose it has given me. Amen.
“My forever in Your heart
Your steps I will follow
I put my trust in who You are
Your voice is my arrow
And I will walk into the dark
To see how the light breaks through
I will run into Your arms
I will hold on to You
I will lift my eyes to things unseen
To the promise in Your victory
And I will build my life on the mystery
Of where You call me, and I will go
Into the unknown”
All For Him,
Kimberli West xoxo
http://www.kimskause.wordpress.com / email@example.com
Lastly for those of you who have Spotify… you have to check these two songs out by Hillsong Worship. They are sooooooo good! Obsessions is a remake of a Delirious song and I honestly think it is one of their best EVER. (the Crowder version melts my heart too) This acoustic Nashville version of Who You Say I Am is A-A-mazing!!! (link below)