Yes, it is!

Friday, January 11, 2013

So Much To Be Thankful For

I have so much to be thankful for lately.  So much has happened in the month since I last wrote here.  I'll share here one of those things I'm so thankful for.

As some of my friends know, I had surgery a couple of weeks before Christmas.  This is a surgery that I've been pursuing for a few years and finally got insurance approval for a few months ago.  I am so thankful that I was finally able to have this done as I am so much more comfortable and my self-esteem is even a little improved.  Literally, a weight has been lifted and I feel GREAT! 
I am so thankful that my surgeon advocated for me and was able to get this surgery approved.  I remember when I first met this surgeon last August, I was very impressed with his bedside manner and his demeanor toward me.  He didn't make me feel like a freak.  At. All.  He listened to every concern I expressed and reassured me that he could help me.   

After 2 months of waiting for an insurance approval or denial, in mid-October I received a phone call from the surgeon's nurse telling me that I had finally been approved for surgery.  I had pretty much given up by then of ever hearing back about it and was resigned to living in discomfort unless I paid thousands of dollars out of pocket.  Paying that much money at this time just was not an option.  My childrens' medical needs come first for now.  We will find out next week if we will have to pay several thousand dollars for hearing aids for Jackie.  It appears that Jackie has a profound hearing loss in the left ear and possibly mild loss in her right ear.  Our insurance does not cover hearing aids.  So, paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for surgery for myself just was not a priority.  Thankfully, I didn't have to worry about this after all.

So, now with this approval, I was ecstatic.  And nervous.  Boy, was I ever nervous.  The thought of a 3-3 1/2 hour surgery under general anesthesia frightened me. I was determined, though, to get beyond the fear and look forward to living a life with less pain and discomfort.  The nurse was ready to schedule me for surgery fairly soon after receiving the approval. Unfortunately, our dog, Lucy, had just been diagnosed with cancer and I wanted to be able to care for her during her last days.  So, I scheduled surgery for 2 months away in mid-December.  Being such an anxious person, I couldn't help but start to panic at times at the mere thought of going under the knife again.  I can't help but wonder if some of my anxiety over any surgical procedure is a result of suffering a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) after an outpatient elbow surgery.   Anybody who has experienced a collapsed lung will tell you that it is one of the most excruciatingly pain and frightening medical complications.  As much as I looked forward to having less pain, I often found myself thinking about all the things that could go wrong.  God forbid that anything happened because I'm pretty sure that Tim (or anybody for that matter) would not be able to raise our children by himself.  They are just too high maintenance.

 As the day of surgery grew closer, one of my friends reminded me that she was praying for me because she just knows me all too well and she just knew how anxious I was about it all.  Amazingly, my nerves became less frazzled during that last week leading up to the surgery (prayers really work!) and I was becoming more excited about the positive outcome of it.   

The morning of surgery arrived and even though I hardly slept that night before, I felt eerily calm as I walked into the hospital and up to the outpatient surgery area.  I do remember becoming a little panicky, though, after the pre-op nurse injected a drug cocktail into my IV.  I hate that feeling of not having control of my body and that often sends me into panic mode.  Tim, the nurses, and my friend (thank you, Friend!) did their best to help calm me.  Soon after, I was wheeled into surgery and other than commenting on the bright lights in the surgical suite, I don't remember anything after that until I woke up in recovery.

After spending time a couple of hours in recovery, I was discharged to go home in the late afternoon.  My recovery went very well and even though I was warned that I would experience a lot of pain and to make sure I took the pain medications regularly, by the 2nd day after surgery, I felt my pain level had decreased enough to just need extra strength Tylenol.   I don't know if that's typical but I felt great considering the trauma that my body had just gone through.  I had to keep reminding myself that although I felt great, I still needed to be mindful of my weight limits and to not overdo it.  
It has been a month since my surgery.  I have had a remarkable recovery.  I still have some discomfort around the surgery area but I other than that, I feel great.  I have very little to no pain in the areas where I had so much discomfort during the past several years.  I am so thankful for that.  I also feel more confident.  The best part is that I don't feel like I'm receiving the unwanted attention that it brought before.

This surgery has me feeling so much better, physically and mentally, that it made Tim take notice and comment to me that I should have surgery more often because I've been so much nicer.  Ha!  That silly man. He says the funniest things. 

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