So Eff’ing Angry & Sad (language warning)

I am about to have a whinge and a cry… I am so fucking sad and angry that I have been between tears and fuming with anger. I am back in Hospital and not doing well. I was at work Friday afternoon in the sun with the kids for the last session, I had a hat and sunglasses on but by 3:20pm I started to feel very off colour and had to run to the bathroom. I felt sick and hot and when the bell went I was quick to get home to go to bed. Luckily I had cancelled plans earlier in the week to go to Lake Eildon Bonnie Doon for a dose of serenity and water skiing, I did this as I felt quite tired from returning to work and getting my head around teaching. All week I felt tired, I thought it was me adjusting to full time work and a new role.

Friday night I had a temp and slight discomfort in my right leg near the operation site, I woke Saturday morning to discover the right leg at the surgery site to be very red, hard and hot – essentially infected. I headed to the GP who diagnosed me with a temp of 39C and an infection and wrote a letter to attend the hospital where I had my leg lift surgery in November, which is where I am now…

I did write about some complications that happened with the surgery, the site took a long time to heal, but I had no infections… I healed up and I thought it was all good… I got the all clear from my surgeon to return to training, and life as normal, and now this.

Why am I angry and sad, well I have just started my new job, which I am really enjoying, and I now have an infection in my right thigh that has landed me in hospital. I was told today that I will likely not get out of here until Wednesday at the earliest,that is if I respond to treatment. Well as of tonight, my temperature is up again after coming down overnight and the infection site has spread – this doesn’t bode well for my body responding to treatment, shit,  bugger, grr argh . The infection is called cellulitis, and they can’t tell me why or how I have it. I have no open wound site, it is possible that it has brewed underneath and my body has been able to keep it in check, but it raised its ugly head as I have been a bit run down from starting work and not sleeping so well.

So here I am back in hospital with the same nurses, the same routine and all I want to do is go to my new job and get to learn the ropes and more about my amazing students… I am  angry that my body is sabotaging my plans, I am sad to be back in hospital and if I’m honest I am scared that this bloody infection won’t respond to treatment and this whole saga will get worse – I haven’t really had a lot of luck with this leg so far…

Anyway peeps, that is where it’s at – till next time

Lin xox

(PS – the language is not how I would usually write but I feel very raw and this is how I want to express myself today! )

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Surgery, the next step…

Hey there lovely readers…It has been a while between drinks or blog posts, my apologies.  I caught up with a dear friend tonight; dinner, dessert and a DVD – perfect! He did chastise me a little for not having updated the blog in a while – and he was right… I then came home and checked Facebook to have another friend PM me to ask if everything was OK and that they hadn’t seen a blog in a while – Universe I hear you… So I will just get to it.

So readers the update is I am in the throws of preparing for some more plastic surgery. Round two 9 months after the first round and I am feeling only a little nervous this time. This surgery is a small revision on the tummy tuck, and the bigger role of having the excess skin removed from my thighs. This is all set to go down on the 19th of November – 3 weeks and 3 days away…

Honestly this time I am far less anxious about the surgery. I know what to expect afterwards, I feel ready to face it – and have organised the 8 weeks off work that it will take to recover. It seems like a long time, but it is major surgery and will take some time to be able to walk far enough given my job requires me to be fit and active (not to mention not doped out on pain killers)

So in the next 3 weeks I will be organising my life to make sure my time in hospital and when I am home recovering is as stress free as possible. I am still struggling with shift work, being tired and run down… I aim to take every day off between now and then to organise, rest and sleep… I do not want to get infections after surgery because I am run down (like after the tonsil surgery 2 months ago)

I feel that this is the next step in reclaiming my body. I hope that having the thigh reduction will help with the running and the  pain and discomfort that the excess skin creates at times. I am honestly very happy with how I am looking now. I am at a stable healthy weight, my doctor is very happy with that aspect.. However these processes and surgeries are also about helping heal the psychological impact that obesity has had on my life, it is not just about the aesthetic.

For all of you still losing weight, dreaming of the day you get to goal, feel alive and possible plan your own plastic surgery, know it can happen – There were many times I never thought I would get this far. I remember plenty of times that I felt at the bottom of the barrel ready to end it all. The lap band was the tool that allowed me to have the space and time to address the food addiction, the cycle of obesity… But it also meant hard work, exercise and not cheating the system. It happened for me slowly, sustainably, there were many plateau’s… But it did happen, my life is no longer one lived out in a fat coma – but one that is vibrant and I am content and very happy… I continue to learn more about myself everyday. Don’t give up – reach out to supports – and if you feel that you have no one else that you can reach out to – please leave me a message or email me at lin.k@me.com – you are not alone.

I would like to thank all my friends and family for your continued support this year. I have probably been a pain in the arse and a complaining git for some of it… You guys are my rocks…

I will keep you all updated, till next time – Love Lin xox

P.S; So – For those of you who have asked if I need anything, these is something you can do to help  – here is what I need – good book suggestions…The kindle needs some more books downloaded on it, basically I need some more reading material for the long nights in hospital. Feel free to leave your suggestions here on the blog, or on my FB page or emailed as per the address above……  Thanks 🙂

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I blogged earlier in the week that there has been some stuff I have dealt with over the past fortnight, and that I might share that later. So here is the story… A fortnight ago I ended up in Hospital with some bad abdominal pain. They did a bunch of tests, and couldn’t find the source. I saw 5 different doctors over the course of my stay, and was given 3 different diagnosis, and a bunch of wrong info.

When I was discharged the doctor told me they had found something else that needed to be followed up, she then said it could wait until I saw my GP on Monday to discuss it and get further tests. The Dr said I could read it when I got home in the letter to my GP as my friends were there to pick me up and take me home. Bad practice right there to start. It was serious news, she should have asked my friends to step outside and given me the info, and allowed me to ask questions, and not send me home alone to read it myself without any way of being able to follow-up with my Doctor until Monday.

I got home and read that one test (of the 4 I had that day) detected fluid backed up on the right side of my heart. In fact I read “Right Sided Heart Failure”… Not helpful… I was stressed. Saturday was a nightmare of a day – I felt so alone and scared. I rang my mum in tears at 12:15am on Sunday morning – I was a wreck…. So Mum and Dad drove down arriving at 1am to try to calm their daughter who was a mess. It was a tough weekend all round for a number of reasons, I am very grateful to have parents who love me and understand that sometimes, despite the courageous facade I put up to the world, I can’t actually handle everything…

Off to my GP on Monday and she sent me for an Echocardiogram… I had that last Thursday and I had to wait a week to get the results. Waiting for the results since first reading the test from the hospital has been a time of high anxiety.  I haven’t coped well with it. I guess I felt that I had abused my body for so long, being obese for so many years that I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I felt that now that I kinda have some of my sh!t together, loving life and enjoying exercise, having all these fitness goals this year, the rug was going to be ripped out from under me…

Back to the results. I saw my GP yesterday for the results…. I got a clear bill of health – My Heart is all good and functioning within normal limits. Yee Haw!

Giddy Up, was my thought, I am back. I walked out of the doctor’s clinic feeling that I had dodged a bullet and  a smile from ear to ear! So I am back to training, running, and cycling and no need to keep the heart rate down… In fact my trainer did smash me a little last night (Thanks Dave – love it, bring it on more I say)

Being fit and healthy is the priority for me, this scare was again a good reminder that my best defence against illness and disease is a good offence… So I will keep eating well and moving more…. Remembering every time I don’t feel like running how I felt when I thought I wouldn’t be able to again.

But why write this post? Why share so much of my life on here… Despite what some people think, it is not about getting personal attention..  It is about letting people know that change is possible. Life is a choice. Everyday I spent overweight I was closer to dying. Everyday I was depressed, tired and at some levels did not want to live. Now that I have a life again, I don’t want anything to stop me living it. This is why I write my blog. It is about living everyday, but I do have to remember that I have to live with the consequences of my former decisions and life. If you or someone you love or care about is struggling with obesity, know that there is hope… If I can change my life – anyone can, there are solutions, there are second chances;  But I do understand this can be hard to believe if you are in the grip of obesity, there are days that I never believed that could be possible…  Part of my goal now is to be an example to people who feel that they have no hope, no future – to look them in the eye and say; I understand the pain, your journey, I have walked the long, slow, painful mile in those shoes…

You can reclaim your life. It can be better than you even imagine or dream, I never thought it was possible for me, yet here I am living it!

Till next time, Lin xox

Hospital – Going Home and “Scooting” Around!

Speed Racer - Not!

So in the end I was released from Hospital on Sunday 26th, despite me being worried I would not be.  The last drain didn’t come out but I was allowed to go home with it in as long as I monitored the drainage myself each morning and report it to House’s office; then go back on Wednesday for a check up.

I was thrilled, and if could, I would have jumped for joy! – As soon as I got out of Hospital I wanted to go shopping, I did actually need some new clothes (essential items 😉 ) and food for the house. So my friend Janelle (who picked me up) took me to the local Shopping Centre… Just before we got there I was exhausted. I had not factored in that getting up, showered, dressed, packed, down to pharmacy to pick up the drugs and going in the car would take it’s toll – but it did. Add to this that I am only walking slowly at the moment, and all of a sudden that shopping centre, and walking in it – felt like a mountain summit.

This trip took on a whole new dimension. The fatigue hit me like a tonne of bricks in the car… I didn’t know if I could do it. As we were driving there we were talking about a parking game plan; i.e. which car park door was closest, then Janelle suggested jokingly (i think) to go to the shopping mobility desk and borrow a wheelchair. Well I was not keen, but it made sense – I couldn’t walk that far, my blood levels were still down and the last thing I wanted was to be released from hospital only to faint on the first day. So I agreed.

Janelle dropped me at the closest door, parked the car and went to the shop mobility desk… Only they didn’t have any wheelchairs let – only a motorized scooter. She actually had to drive the thing back to me, so that was a bonus!  So, there I was, sitting on a motorized scooter driving around the shopping centre… And it was a humbling experience. Many people do not look were they walk. (I am sure I’ve been guilty of this in the past) Kids (being kids) will ask what is wrong with her?, You have to use the lift every time to change floors at the centre (which is crowded with trolleys, prams and everyone else who can’t use the escalators) and occasionally you get a dirty look or mean glance from someone with the message of “Why are you here in a supermarket in that big thing”.

So even though I was a bit embarrassed by the situation to start with, It definitely was a growth experience for me and a humbling one at that; I think that everyone should have to experience it – the whole walk a mile in someone else’s shoe thing!

One of the best things about coming home was the peace and quiet, not being bothered for meals three times a day, plus a morning and afternoon tea on top of that; or people coming in to see if you want the paper, to clean your room (twice a day), Nurses doing observations, Doctors checking you… It is almost impossible to rest! All necessary in the life of a hospital but tiring.

The down side of coming home is being alone and having to make my own cups of tea and food! Ha – can’t win either way… But on a more serious note, (and I wrote about this in the other day),  It is the fatigue and only being able to be up for a few hours before I have the overwhelming desire for a nap that is the killer. So I nap a couple of times a day – So be it at the moment. I have a long way to go and am just coming to terms with that.

Wednesday I headed back to Houses rooms, and he took out my last drain! I was so happy to be drain free, although for the first few hours I kept thinking I was still attached to something and went to pick it up (How quickly we adapt eh!)

He also put a big drainage needle attached to a suction machine into my belly and drained off old fluid and blood that had begun to collect there, around 700ml – Gross; but better out than in. I thought seeing the needle (think the size and length of a metal skewer) that it would hurt going in, and being poked around; but nothing, no pain only a bit of feeling it move around (but I did schedule my pain meds and take them half and hour before the check up)

SO the next phase is all about resting for another week or so, taking my time doing stuff and not worrying too much about the scales – House told me they would go up, they have – I am full of fluid, swollen and can’t really move around a lot.

Off to see my Lap Band Surgeon tomorrow to start to put back in the fill that was taken out prior to surgery. I am looking forward to being back on track and feeling “full” after eating a normal small portion that I am used to now.

Well writing this has bombed me out – Nap time!

Till next time, Lin xox

Surgery – Complications & Recovery; Part 2

I DO NOT have the weight of the world on my shoulders and need to remember that!

(Note: This blog was written about my recent tummy tuck and arm lift surgery and the recovery process)

Monday 20th Feb – The pain is not too bad today  – I finally got out of my room and walked with one of the funnier nurses, i’ll call her Ye. She is an absolute cracker (this means she is extremely funny in Aussie slang for my American friends) and makes me laugh…  We walk up and down the ward a few times, and that is it – back to bed, wiped out again..but at least my hemoglobin levels are rising…  Mum came in after work and we went down to the cafe for a latte… It is the simple pleasures.

Tuesday 21st Feb – Had one drain tube removed today! One down 4 to go! I also went outside for the first time since admission and had coffee in the court yard! – Lovely day and I feel the last of summer slipping away as i am still stuck in here. Today was supposed to be the day I would get out… But given the complication of blood loss and still having tube in I will be here for a bit longer, House is not even talking release dates yet 😦

Wednesday 22nd Feb – Two more drains out today – Still get light headed easily and resting a lot. Went for a couple of small walks off the ward today. My Dad came in on his way past which was a good distraction. Not a lot to report, my pain levels increased a little tonight managing this has been a little hard, but pain means your healing right?

Thursday 23rd Feb – Well I awoke today in pain, big pain and I was also upset on top of that, I suppose being my 10th day in here was getting to me a little. For some reason I am feeling the pain in my arms and abdomen more, it is a burning aching feeling.. I struggled with pain management all day.

Thursday night turned into a bit of a farce.. I asked my nurse at 7:30pm for pain relief she never came back with it. I am not one to keep buzzing and annoy them and thought that she must be caught with another patient. But at 7:50pm the pain became worse, a lot worse. So I buzz again and 5 minutes later she comes in – sees the tears rolling down my face because of the pain ( I don’t like to cry by the way) and exclaims “Oh I forgot about your pain meds” scurries off and then comes back in (sheepishly) and gives them to me, and seeing that I am clearly upset, quickly leaves.

The problem is that the pain was full force now, and took ages to get back under control… The key with pain management after major surgery is to keep it at bay and take the meds on time otherwise if can become excruciating… A point lost on this nurse today.

I do want to add that although I have been harsh here, I have massive respect for Nurses. Two of my best friends are ICU nurses, my house mate is also a nurse, plus the nursing staff here have been amazing, most going above and beyond the call. For me the issue was the nurses attitude to me today, which was short and abrupt all day and then she snuck away after giving me my medication, not a great look really – but you get poor performers in every industry!

Friday 24th Feb – Day 11 Going a bit stir crazy, but got another tube out – Only one to go…House said that I can hopefully have the last one out tomorrow and be released! YAY – but it depends on how much fluid collects… I am literally willing it to stop… Power of positive thought can’t hurt, can it! The pain is a little better today. Have been very grateful for all my visitors and friends / family calling. On a bad note though I found out that my Grandpa fell over, tripping on a step and has fractured his pelvis! -He is currently in hospital too! – My parents have really hit the jackpot with both of us in!

Saturday 25th Feb – Day 12 I didn’t sleep well last night – I awoke to House and a Nurse coming into my room, House was on his early morning rounds, and, at 8:10am I got the news that I wasn’t going home. Still draining too much and the tube can’t come out; House explained that while sometimes they let people go home with one or two drains still in, he won’t release me today given the extreme heat and my continued low hemoglobin levels, he said he wants re-assess the drain tomorrow and hopefully I can go home then.

It takes all my energy not to cry when they are in the room. I fully understand his reasoning and know that it is made in my best interests… But I just want to go home, sleep in my own  bed, sit on my couch…

I call my friend Janelle who was going to pick me up and take home. She listens to me cry and assures me that I can continue to hold out. She comes to visit later together with her partner – they make me laugh and cheer me up. I have continued to receive many supportive texts and calls from friends and family, thanks guys – these are so very welcome.

One of the things that has surprised me is that I tire so easily, I still have to rest regularly after 12 days. I really didn’t think of that prior to surgery, I thought that I would be sore and tender, but the fatigue really does hit me hard a few times each day. I just spoke to one of my nurses who just dropped in to say hello.  She asked what I was doing and I explained about my blog and that I was writing about the fatigue.. She explained that it has hit me harder because of the lower hemoglobin levels and that my body may continue like this for a few more weeks. This means that I will need to reassess my plans for when I return home, building in short walks and naps over the course of the day.                                     But that’s OK because at least I will be home.

So, being excited about going home tomorrow may have been premature. It is 10:00pm now, and I was just about to post this when I decided to check the drainage bottle, it is already at 100ml, so I think that it is now unlikely that it will come out tomorrow, my nurse agreed… I am worn out, sad, I can’t get my hopes up anymore 😦 that being said I should be more grateful for the good care I get here!

Will keep you updated in the next installment.

Till then, Lin xox

Surgery Day Reflections – Here we go!

Riding the wave of emotion all the way to Surgery Day (Those Stay Puff arms soon to be gone!)

(Note: This blog was written over a few days and is about my tummy tuck and arm lift surgery)

I had dinner out tonight (Monday night 13th Feb) ate some lovely seafood and a few laughs with a friend – my last supper before surgery. Got home, packed my case for hospital, gave myself a pedicure with a lovely foot soak, tried to calm down. But it is now 3:30am and I still cant shut my mind down! It is the day of my surgery now, a day that I have been waiting for for many months. I have turned on the Macbook because sleep seems elusive, and my mind is racing. I turn it on to get all these niggling thoughts out of my head….

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I had to stop writing above it wasn’t really helping – It is now 4:30am,(Tuesday 14th Feb) Writing usually helps me deal with stuff, but I just had a bit of a panic attack – this has only happened a few times in my life where the physical symptoms become unbearably palpable.

My heart started to race, constrict and I felt like I was about to have a heart attack… I knew almost straight away that it was a panic attack, my chest hurt, my back hurt – and a headache was brewing..I also knew that I needed to calm down; given I am about to go into surgery in less than 12 hours I can’t take a calmative or any type of pain killer. So I grabbed my heat pack, popped it in the microwave for 3 minutes and tried to walk and breathe through the pain. I used the heat pack over my back chest and head and heat then began to release the muscles. I then called my friend Janelle and she talked to me for a bit, reassuring me, helping me to breath and work through it… It all helps and I feel calmer now, just opened up the Macbook to type what happened – for some reason it feels important to get it all down… I have to stop all food and fluids at 7am. I am tired now – will have a quick sip of water and try to get a few hours sleep.

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I wake at around 9:30am, shower, blow dry the hair, dress and change the bed (I love coming home to fresh sheets) Everything is packed, the day is here and my Mum picks me up to take me to the hospital.

We arrive at the hospital for my 12pm admission and I am taken through to the surgery waiting ward. Next the fashion stakes go up! I gown up in the lovely backless frock that hospitals specialize in, but I do get a nice terry toweling robe for modesty. I also get to wear lovely white compression stockings and a red colored hair net, I strategically (and to pass the time) place the hair net to one side to look like a raspberry beret, then spend the afternoon singing the Prince song to myself…

While I am supposed to go through for surgery at 2pm, I don’t end up going through until around 4:30pm – This doesn’t help with the nerves but I am so tired from lack of sleep I doze in and out, Mum does a good job of keeping me distracted, they come to take me to theatre and I say goodbye to mum. When I get to the holding area I am encouraged to hear some decent music coming from theatre. I joke about the music not being a fan of country music with House (my surgeon) while he marks out all the all the excess skin he is going to chop off a with a Sharpie. The anesthetist gives me some sleeping juice and the last thing I remember is moving onto the operating table….

I don’t remember much from that night – I remember my nurse explaining that I can just press the morphine pump for pain relief, and I vaguely remembered my house mate (who is a nurse at the same hospital) stopping by after her shift (she tells me the next day that I told her to go so she wouldn’t miss her train:) )

In the morning I am told by my nurse that I am not really using the pain pump that much, she asks if I am in pain- I am but don’t want to hit the button – We realize why I am reluctant because when I begin to use it more it makes me nauseated and I am promptly sick. Apparently Mr Morphine pump and I are not going to get along, despite really wanting a relationship him, he is too strong for me, overwhelming and just makes me sick rather than feel better (someone say toxic relationship 😦 ) The Nurses clear with Dr House for me to switch over to a few types of pain tablet and this concoction is much better…

Surprisingly I feel ok by Wednesday afternoon. House and a hospital physician tell me I am still losing a bit of blood through the drainage tubes that are coming out of my arms and stomach (gross right!) and everyone comments that I am a little pale, after blood tests  this is discovered to be due to low Hemoglobin Levels. The Doctors tell me they plan to give me an iron infusion the next day… I have my mum and then later a friend visit Wednesday night  – This makes me feel better, and I think that I am on the road to recovery… While I can’t really get out of bed by Wednesday night I feel quite good & I am hopeful that recovery will continue on this trajectory… Unfortunately things aren’t to pan out quite as smoothly as I would hope…But that will have to wait till the next blog post…                          Till then,

Lin xox