Since this blog is about my life (not just the kids, not just the church, and not just homeschooling), I would be remiss if I didn’t post something about the surgery I had two weeks ago. Don’t worry. It wasn’t an emergency and it wasn’t life-threatening.
Here is how it all went down. In August I went in for my annual exam. Everything looks great and I’m feeling good. All of my blood work numbers came back with healthy results and I have still managed to avoid getting on any regular medications and I’m hoping to avoid that for a very long time. At the doctor visit, the wonderful nurse practitioner asked me if I had any concerns. I told her that my only concern was the bump on my head. She said, “I don’t see a bump.” But as I pulled back my hair she could see what I was talking about and didn’t think twice about referring me to a surgeon. The best way for me to describe the bump’s location is to say that if the bump continued to grow, you would think I was growing a unicorn horn. Kind of weird, but still true.
A few weeks later at the surgeon’s office, it was decided that the bump was too big for a quick fix. I was going to need surgery. So we made plans and tried to be as prepared as possible. For the outpatient surgery, Brent went with me and kept reminding me that everything was going to be okay. Before the surgery, it was fascinating to watch all of the nurses and doctors work together as a team. At first it was a little overwhelming to have a whole bunch of people buzzing around me. But I reminded myself that all of them were there to make sure of one thing: to make sure that the procedure was a success. I kind of like having all of those people on my side. It ended up being reassuring to have them all there.
When I first woke up from the surgery I had two clear thoughts. The first was, “I woke up! Hurray!” The second was, “Wow! My head hurts!” They tried to give me some kind of narcotic medicine for the pain, but my body didn’t react very well to that. So I was sent home to start my prescription pain meds that I had filled ahead of time. That meds kept me in a daze for about a day. But honestly, it wasn’t helping much with the throbbing in my head. So eventually, I just decided to scrap it. Goodbye weird medicine!
During the surgery, the bump removal also meant there was some skin removal. Which means that there was a lot of skin stretching to bring everything back together. (Sorry if that’s kind of gross for some of you.). So now, instead of a unicorn horn, I have a Frankenstein scar! What an exchange! At least it isn’t permanent. All of my stitches will be gone after awhile, some next week and some a few weeks later.
I’m pretty pleased with the post-surgery progress. Here are some of the things that have been helpful with my body’s recovery:
1. Ice packs. (and a little ibuprofen). No medicine has been nearly effective as an ice pack in helping with my head’s throbbing. So I just take some ibuprofen once or twice a day to avoid a headache for the sensitive head, but I’m much more diligent about icing the scar area on a regular basis.
2. Vitamins. My surgeon gave me some literature that recommended taking vitamin C and zinc to help the body as it was healing. I like any solution that’s cheap and easy.
3. Walking shoes. (This is another part that might seem kind of gross.). Any surgery veteran knows that the first question your doctor will ask you is, “How are you feeling?” But the next question is usually, “Have you had a bowel movement?” Awkward! But still important. I tried to eat lots of fiber, even though I wasn’t eating much, and tried to start walking as soon as possible to try get things “moving along.” On the day I was ready to go buy some milk of magnesia, everything started working again! Thank goodness.
The other advantage to staying active was that it caused a distraction. Going for walks kept my mind and body busy about lots of things, so that I wasn’t always focused on the hurting head.
4. Accepting help. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t be too proud to let your friends and family help you. Prayers, meals, rides for the kids’ activities, whatever helps.
5. Patience. I wanted to be able to just jump back into regular life with a regular schedule. But there was no way I could pull that off! Oh well. I guess it’s better to heal right than heal fast. I also didn’t want to overdue it and make the recovery last even longer.
Just so you know, the bump the surgeon removed was tested. It was a cyst and had no cancer in it. Praise the Lord! And now I’ve made it three days Ina row without any ibuprofen or ice packs. Hurray! So there you go, the complete surgery report with more details than you ever wanted. At least I can say that I’m not holding things back from the blog, right? Happy healing!