Port Surgery and Recovery

The night before surgery, I really wanted to see our daughter. That was an impossibility. She lives 80 miles from us and has a busy life. I didn’t expect her to miss work or college classes for a “simple” surgery. I told her to stay where she was and save her absences in case I had complications. So many people I know who’ve had cancer have had ports. They talked about how the surgery was “nothing.” However, I’m the person who loses consciousness during epidurals for a ruptured disk. I’m the person who fainted in a dentist’s chair because he used epinephrine. I’m the person who cannot give blood because the last time she did, she remained unconscious on and off for hours.

Nothing about my body is normal. So my surgeon labeled me High Risk for a simple port insertion. I’m usually the type of person who prefers to get a medical procedure over with as quickly as possible, but I was nervous about this one. I talked to our daughter. I made sure she knew I loved her.

Then I set my mind on packing for our trip. I took my body pillow and neck pillow. If you don’t have a body pillow, I highly recommend you get one. It’s really helped my back and hip pain at night. Also, I bought travel sized products, and I never go anywhere without my Kindle. Since I’m so sedentary, (not by choice) I’m a bookworm. Packing Tip: Even though I use pill separators, when traveling, I ALWAYS put them in a ziplock bag just in case they come open.

Since I had to be at the hospital very early and the drive was 2 hours, we decided to go down the night before and get a hotel. Gastroparesis, dysautonomia, and fibromyalgia are an evil trio in the mornings. I usually make afternoon appointments if at all possible. Surgery schedules don’t allow you that privilege. My husband worked all day that Monday and in hindsight, he should’ve taken half the day off because we were both exhausted by the time we pulled into our hotel Monday night. I’d called and made reservations. I even told them we’d be arriving late, but they gave away our King size room. Thankfully, the hotel had elevators so I didn’t have to maneuver stairs. The bed was comfortable at least, and the place was affordable. If you’re ever in Conway, Arkansas for work or play, it’s the Hampton Inn Motel 6. I took a few photos of our room:

OPERATION DAY:

I snapped a quick photo of myself right after getting back to pre-op. My husband was still out in the waiting room. I was made to go over all the list of illnesses I have and all the medications I take with the nurse.

It hit me that I’ve survived ALL of these diseases so far. I can manage today. I’ve got this.

It only took twice to get a vein for an IV. The nurse tried once and then asked the anesthesiologist to do it. I was there for a port after all. Then I had a few minutes alone.

So I prayed. A peace came over me. I wasn’t as nervous anymore.

I did have to go under general anesthesia and have a breathing tube because I’d awakened at 3:00 am nauseous (my norm) and the anesthesiologist wanted to ensure I had an airway. I also had some minor breathing issues coming out of anesthesia but nothing serious. It went well.

I do have another nasty scar to add to my collection and the port bump is a little strange for me right now from the side view.

BUT I’m okay with it. No more 45 minutes of veins blowing out and multiple sticks. I can start my weekly IVs back up. This is a positive thing. I had a compassionate surgeon and care team. I am thankful. God saw me through this time. I have faith. I am going to keep fighting all of these illnesses until I breathe my last breath.

We have our good days. We have our bad days. We have our days where bad doesn’t even begin to describe it. However, we always need to continue the fight.

Whatever motivates you to fight, whether it’s your faith, your family, yourself, your pet, reach inside on those really bad days, and remember why you’re fighting. Never give up. ❤️

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