I probably ought to post something. I've been so groggy and helpless with all the painkillers I haven't felt much like writing, or doing anything else for that matter. But, for journaling purposes, I figured I ought to share my experience of the past week. It all began on Sunday......
I had to stay home from church because the boys were sick. I wasn't feeling too hot either. I made a big effort to just let everyone be that day. We were all tired, sick, and a little burned out. It was a nice, relaxing Sunday. The boys took 4 hour naps. (I know, I couldn't believe it either!) We had just put in a movie so everyone would be entertained while I threw some dinner together. All of a sudden, I felt this fever come out of nowhere. I was literally shaking, teeth-chattering, freezing high fever in a matter of a few seconds. I decided to lay down for a minute, hoping it would pass. I was thinking how horrible it would be if we all got the terrible stomach bug that's been going around. Then out of nowhere, I got this incredible, shooting pain in my right side. It literally felt like labor, the last stage of labor, on my right side, along with the fever and shakes and fear, because suddenly I knew something was not right. I told Wes to get the laptop and looked up ovarian cyst. It sounded like that could be it, but it didn't sound quite exactly what I was experiencing. Then, at the bottom of the page, I saw appendicitis. It sounded more like that, although still not exactly. I was really freaking out inside by then. I was scared we wouldn't make it to the hospital in time, but also scared of worrying my family for no reason. I have experienced many panic attacks throughout my life, not really sure why, and I wasn't quite sure if I was having one. I think I asked Wes for a blessing. Then I remembered that I thought my mom had had an ovarian cyst before, so I decided to call her. She thought I had a kidney infection, or a bad case of the flu. But she encouraged me to go ahead and go in if I felt I needed to. Suddenly the pain got a lot worse and I really got scared. I could really concentrate on what I was doing. I thought about packing a bag, and then I felt silly about it, and also worried we wouldn't get there in time. I grabbed my glasses and contact stuff, and we took off. We dropped the boys off at my parents house. They called me on the way there and tried to tell me different things they were looking up that they thought it might be. I was hoping they were right. But deep down, I knew they were wrong.
Ever since Wes and I got married I have struggled a little with my health. I always figured it was stress because we got married and 10 days later moved out of state and 4 days after that he started pharmacy school, and I started working 2 jobs before that. I thought that stress was the contributing factor to my illnesses, aches and pains, which was probably right. But I had off and on had some weird pains in my right side, which we checked out once (in fabulous Nevada, which has the worst health care in the nation) and found nothing. We didn't have health insurance at the time, and when it costed so much to try and find out what it was we decided to let it go. I had lots of extra pains during my pregnancies, especially my first, as well as back labors and posterior births. There were many other things in-between and since then. But I had decided that I would have faith in Heavenly Father that he knew of my struggles and that he would guide me through in the best way. Fast forward to the hospital....
Getting there was a blur. All I could remember is feeling like we were behind the slowest drivers on the road, and we were stuck on the one-way street in Lehi. I was trying so hard to get Wes to drive by on the shoulder and pass this one car, and he wouldn't do it. He thought I was overreacting, I think.
When we got to the ER, I felt so relieved we'd made it. It was pretty slow when we got in, but it felt like they took their sweet time. I was trying so hard to be patient when a boy who'd stuck a piece of corn up his ear got to go in before me. But I don't think they saw me well enough to see that I was in a lot of pain. When they checked my vitals my blood pressure was through the roof and my fever was over 103. They took me right back and hooked me up in Triage. Suddenly, the pain subsided a little and I got worried that I did have some kind of panic attack. The doctor and nurse were there, getting blood tests and such, and they were trying to talk me into morphine. If you know me well, you know I hate, hate, hate medicine of any kind. (isn't it ironic my hubby's a pharmacist?) I finally relented, and I couldn't believe the difference it made. Suddenly I was mobile. I felt the pain, but it was bearable. I decided I wanted to go home. Yeah, like that was going to happen. We waited in the room for the labs to come back. They all came back normal. Then they decided to do a CT scan and thought they saw something. Man, those things are scary! In a hospital, by yourself, totally helpless and alone with your thoughts. Then when they doc says he thinks he sees something and can we do it again with the dye....that was both horrible and scary. It took forever. Then they took me back to the room without telling me anything until the ultrasound technician came to get me. I bugged him until he finally relented and told me he thought they'd found something on my ovary. Maybe a cyst of some kind. They wanted to see it better. Two ultrasounds and another hour or two later, the nurse came in and said that the OB on call would be coming to the hospital to talk with me. I did not think that was a good sign if a doctor was leaving home at 2 AM on Monday morning to talk to me about my pain.
Dr. Allen came in while later and explained to me that I had ovarian teratoma. It was a 7 centimeter benign tumor on my right ovary. The pain had come from the size of the tumor being so large that it was twisting my ovary to the side. They had checked its blood supply during all the tests, and it had appeared normal. That's why he recommended emergency surgery first thing in the morning. He was worried that if I left it alone that the blood supply would potentially get cut off from the twisting and then they'd have to remove my whole ovary. He also said that due to the size of the tumor, they'd have to operate a little differently by making a larger incision on my abdomen. We decided that we'd just go with whatever he said, although I felt a little uneasy since I trust my OB so much, and I didn't know this guy. But we went along with it, and he arranged for the OR team to come in a little early the next morning. I called my parents and told them what was going on. My dad came up at 5:30 AM to give me a blessing with Wes, and on I went to surgery.
Boy was that experience surreal. I was so nervous, I fought the anesthesia for a couple minutes. But once I relented I was out, and I don't remember waking up, all I remember is waking up at 11:30 and having so much pain and not really being able to control my body. But I looked up, and Wes and my sweet nurse, Marci, were right there and I knew it would all be okay. I could not wait to drink some water! Wes had called my good friends, Michelle and Celest, and they had taken care of so much for me. They both came up and visited me, and so did sweet Charlotte and Stacey. My dad had stayed with me while I was in recovery, and that meant a lot even though he probable doesn't think so.
When I got home that night, Michelle had cleaned all my carpets, along with my whole house, and Denise brought by a hot dinner shortly after. I have received a home-cooked meal every night since then.
I was really bummed about the timing of all this. I can't life more that 5 pounds or drive for 2 weeks. For another 4 I can't lift more than 15 pounds. I've had to take more painkillers than I ever thought I would, and they really knocked me out. But I have felt many, many blessings come from this experience.
Wes's mom, Johanna, died of stomach cancer when Wes was only 6 years old. She left behind her husband and 4 little boys. I thought a lot about her and others who might have undergone something similar only to receive bad news that they are sick/dying and then have to face the recovery I have. How frustrating and heartbreaking it would be to feel like you can do so little when what time you have matters so much. I feel truly blessed to have a healthy body, all questions answered, and good friends and family to rely on.
The other thing that has touched me is going though this during Thanksgiving week. I've had to rely on others for practically everything, without being able to offer more than a thank you in return and the goal of paying it forward someday. I feel so blessed to have the gospel in my life, and a husband and father that are worthy Priesthood holders. I have received many blessing this week, and always, and I continue to feel so blessed for their power. I am so lucky to have such wonderful family and friends who have loved and supported and helped me though all this. Three of my friends that brought dinner brought it the day they left town for Thanksgiving, and I was truly touched by their willingness to serve and give during such a busy time. In my patriarchal blessing, it talks about me being very close with me Heavenly Father in my pre earth life, and it tells me that I will feel wrapped in his arms of love many times throughout my life. This has been one of those times, and that experience has been nothing short of a miracle.
This post is already too long, and I am tired and miserable. But tomorrow I will feel a little better than today, and one day I will feel normal again. Until then I will try to focus on getting through the holidays by doing as little as possible, enjoying the blessings I have, and the beautiful experience that has been given to me, and all that it's taught me. Thanks for all your prayers, love and support. We've truly felt them and appreciate them so much.