So Much for Bikini Season, Kelly’s Journey
This story is one part of an ongoing series where NJ101.5 news reporter and anchorwoman Kelly Waldron chronicles her experiences after being diagnosed with Endometriosis. Follow “Kelly’s Journey.”
I can’t even explain the relief I’m feeling. I made it through the surgery and my recovery is underway.
I went to the hospital 6:00 Tuesday morning for my pre-op prep. I was an emotional mess.
When the nurse came in, the minute she said something nice to me, I started crying. I was scared of what was about to happen. I was afraid of going under general anesthesia again and of how it would affect me.
At the same time, I felt strength. I don’t know where it came from, but I reached somewhere deep inside because I knew it was something that needed to be done. I knew there were so many of you I wanted to share this experience with in an effort to help. In my desire to help others, in some way, it made it a little bit easier. I knew I had to get through it.
This sweetheart of a nurse was the first to arrive. Like I said before, the minute she opened her mouth and said something nice, the tears were falling and I couldn’t stop them. The more she comforted me, the more they fell. I took a few deep breaths and got it out of my system. It was game time and I had to be in the right frame of mind. She explained that because they were planning a robotic procedure, I needed to have two intravenous lines, one in my left hand and the other in my right arm. That way, they could access me at any time during surgery if they needed to.
PREVIOUSLY IN KELLY'S JOURNEY:
Once I was connected, the anesthesiologist came in. I had spoken to him the night before because he called my house to see if I had any concerns. Of course, I explained that I didn’t like how I felt the last time. It took me forever to wake up and I woke up with an uncontrollable trembling that seemed to take forever to stop. Then, I remembered not being able to keep my head up when people were trying to talk to me. Of course, at the time, I didn’t realize that was normal. So, when I explained all of my concerns, he explained that those were very normal reactions. He asked me if I had any health issues. I explained that I’m about 5’6” and 130 pounds. I’m in good shape. I exercise. I have low blood pressure and low cholesterol. That’s a good thing when you’re going under. He also explained that if you’re sensitive to alcohol, then you’re usually sensitive to anesthesia. I am a lightweight, so it definitely made sense.
So, the anesthesiologist went over everything we had discussed on the phone the night before and then told me he was going to give me a little something to relax, which he described as “a few glasses of wine.” Well, that was all it took. As soon as he administered it, nothing mattered anymore. They wheeled me into the operating room and put me on this special table. I was on the table and all went dark.
I woke up disoriented and trembling uncontrollably. My jaw was completely clenched as I fought off the shakes. I remember nurses trying to talk to me, but I wasn’t able to comprehend anything. It was all foggy. The doctor came to my bedside and all I remember is her saying, “Everything went well, exactly as planned. There were no surprises. We were able to do everything we wanted to do and you’re going to be sore.”
They had very warm blankets wrapped around me in an effort to control the trembling. Then, I remember hearing a nurse say, “OK, let’s get her to recovery. We have to get her up.” Of course, I thought she was out of her mind. There was no way my body was getting up. So, they wheeled me into recovery and helped me get into a recliner.
As soon as they helped me get upright, I became a little more alert. They put me in the chair and I was out again. This delightful nurse, Colleen, came and started speaking to me. I remembered her from my last surgery. She was my nurse then. Of course, I was completely foggy, but I just remembered her because she was so caring and she had such a great bedside manner. I had no idea where my husband was at this point and then I heard him come in. He tried to speak to me, but I was still totally out of it. I just remembered him saying that, the doctor had called him in the surgical waiting room. She was able to remove the uterus, the right ovary and fallopian tube and she was able to drain the cyst on my left ovary. All went as planned.
Because I am such a lightweight, we were in recovery for about three or four hours. I was extremely groggy and unable to comprehend a whole lot. They weren’t letting me go home until I was able to go to the bathroom. Of course, anesthesia slows down all motility, so peeing isn’t exactly something that comes easily. About four hours later, I just wanted to be in my own bed. I was finally able to get up and go to the bathroom, so they released me. Of course, during surgery, they put a tube down my throat, so I had no voice and my mouth was completely dry, so drinking and eating was just not something that was easy.
I got home and hit the bed. They had started me on dilaudid at the hospital and I continued it around the clock for the next 24 hours. Unlike percocet, it agreed with me and allowed me to sleep. Later that night, I got my faculties back and I felt a bit more like myself. At that point, I was able to hear my husband’s side of how things went and exactly what happened.
I have five incisions. The largest one is a vertical incision right above my belly button. There are two on either side and they are horizontal. So, bikini season isn’t going to be fun. Seriously, I could care less about that. I just figure, I might as well have some humor about all of this. I feel like I did about 1,000 sit ups and finding a comfortable position in bed was very difficult.
I wound up propping pillows all around my body and was able to lie on my left side. When you have abdominal surgery of any kind, they also put gas in your abdominal cavity so they are able to see everything. But, the gas can be very uncomfortable in the days that follow because it has to work its way out. I’ve been feeling it when I lie down in certain positions and at times, it makes its way up to my shoulders.
The first night, I got a good amount of sleep with the help of the dilaudid. I was up every hour or so to go to the bathroom because of the intravenous drip. But, like I said earlier, it was difficult because of the affects of the anesthesia. They told me to hold my stomach whenever I get up or sit down to give my stomach area support. That does help, but the main incision has been very “leaky” because of where it is. So, I’ve had to change that very regularly to keep it clean.
Day two, I started trying to wean myself off the dilaudid and started alternating with three advil. That went well, but I did need dilaudid in the middle of the second night. I wasn’t trying to be a hero; I just wanted to find out how bad the pain really was and if it was manageable. They make drugs for a reason. If I’m in pain, I’m taking them. So far, it’s been alright.
I’m just incredibly sore, which is to be expected. I’m moving very slowly and I find that I get most uncomfortable after I eat. I haven’t been eating very heavily, but even a little amount makes me feel extremely bloated and uncomfortable. It’s also incredibly painful to clear my throat or cough or blow my nose. Again, that’s to be expected. So, I’m just staying in bed, allowing everyone to help me. That’s probably the toughest part. I’m not one to sit back and let people wait on me, so that takes some getting used to. But, I know that it’s what I have to do to recovery properly.