Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Home from the Surgeon

Had my surgeon appt this morning. He took out the 2 cables on the outsides, and left the cable in the middle. He decided to again advance the drain. He pulled some out and went to keep the suture kit to put one on. As he was tying off the suture the drain fell right out in his hand. Come to find out there was only about 1/2 an inch of it left inside of me, we'd advance all we had. So my drain is gone!!! He put my lovely abdominal pads back on me and sent me home with a few extra for the next 24ish hours. It will drain and then it will close up. So now I just have 1 cable left!!! YEAH!!! He said all is looking good. He just wants me to be careful. No mud wrestling he said, and no twisting my body, keep all of my movements straight still. I go back on January 6th and he will probably take the last cable out then. oh and on the major itching he said that's a good sign. That means that the nerves and body are trying to heal my right side. Let's hope it goes away quickly because I've never been so itchy in my life! oh and he said once the drain hole closes up I can start trying to drive and test it out but i have to take it easy. Which i know cause it's awful hard to check my blind spot or to look behind when I'm backing up! So I'll wait a few more days on testing that one out!
He gave me the green light for vacation to Wichita so we will be leaving tomorrow afternoon and will be in Wichita thursday morning! I'm so ready for a few days away without the kids!
see all of you soon!

Monday, December 29, 2008


First I just want to say thank you to everyone for all the comments, emails, messages, texts, and phone calls! I am beyond blessed to have so many amazing friends and family, and such a strong support system! I do truely love all of you!
I'm getting asked alot of the same questions so I will type up the answers as best as possible without violating the privacy of others involved.
Bri and I started going to counseling almost 2 1/2 years ago. We both agreed to keep it between us, and we did. We didn't seem to get very far. As you all know the kids and I moved to Iowa 3 months before Bri. This time gave me my 1st glimpse at me. I went thru hell and back during that time, dealing with a new city, a new life, and Ben's autism diagnosis. I was in the end quite amazed by the strength I was able to find. Thru all of this I've been on my "weight loss journey". Everyone told me that it would change me and I didn't believe it. I still remember the 1st time I met my surgeon. We talked about the relationship changes, and the mental and emotional changes. I saw those things but had no idea it was a direct result of my lifestyle change. When Bri joined us here in Iowa we never were able to quite sync back up and get on track together. Bri struggled getting situated in his job, and I struggled with everything. We both pulled farther and farther away from each other into our own worlds. Before you knew it we simply lived under the same roof, and discussed the kids when needed. We just lived day to day, that was all. Neither of us was happy and neither of us knew what to do at that point. I'm not sure where the transition or the shift was, but we hit the point where neither of us cared anymore.
In March of 2008, I met someone, and we got to be good friends that was all. Somewhere it began to shift and neither of us exactly know where and how. It just happened. We talked about it alot and ignored the changes. It finally hit the point where there wasn't any ignoring it any more. This was not something I was looking for and neither was he, it just happened.
Right now the 7 of us live here. Bri will be moving in the next week or 2, and we will be moving to Wichita at the end of the month back to Wichita. Bri and I have agreed to everything, and have already drawn up all the paperwork on our own. He will be coming into Wichita twice a month and will have the kids here in Iowa a minimum of 3 1/2 weeks a year. Bri and I are doing well working through all of this, and the kids are doing great. If only some of the family could do so well.

I'm doing pretty well. Physically I'm exhausted. My body isn't what it was a month ago. I still can't do much. I'm hoping when I go to the surgeon tomorrow I can atleast get my drain and cables out. We shall see.
Mentally and emotionally I'm exhausted. There have been so many changes and decisions. I've had alot to work thru and alot to think thru. I don't think like I used to. I'm honestly terrified to be coming back to Wichita. I'm not the same person that I was 16 months ago. Sometimes I look in the mirror and see a person I don't know. Every aspect of me has changed. I'm happy, happier than ever before, and I feel a peace like I didn't even know existed. But I'm nervous how people from my past are going to feel, how will I connect with all these same people again? I'm also excited. I'm excited for my life to begin. I'm excited to breath.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The News

I know that many of you already know, and I know that many of you are linking over to Bri's blog and reading it as well.
So I will confirm, but not put my full post about it quite yet. Bri and I are getting a divorce. We've tried for years and have been in counseling for years. Neither of us are happy and can't seem to make it work.
I have met someone else as most of you know, he is looking. We will be moving to Wichita, as of right now it is looking like the last weekend of January. Bri will be staying here in Iowa for the moment.
I will post FULL details soon.
Love to all!

1 month post op and 11 days post op

I'm 1 month post op from the original surgery and 11 days post op from my emergency surgery.
I go back to the surgeon on Tuesday. Hoping to atleast get the drain out, and I'm not sure on the cables yet. Swelling down quite a bit, and scar looking good!

Friday, December 26, 2008

christmas photos

we had a good christmas. the kids enjoyed themselves! emily's santa present was an ipod, jace's a nintendo DS, ben's a plasma car, and ari got a pink wooden kitchen. they got tons of toys including a ipod jukebox, a nerf tag game, baby dolls, and dinosaur sets, and tons more that i can't even begin to name. bri got some clothes, books, gloves, and ipod headphones! i got some clothes, a quilting steam iron, gift certificates to my knitting shop, and a new leather journal!
here are a few pictures from our holiday!!!
christmas eve

christmas day

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS and lots of love to all! missing all of you!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

christmas eve

wow it's christmas eve. time is flying by. so many things are happening and i don't even know where to start with any of it. after the holidays.
the kids are excited. i'm excited to get to watch them, their excitement is contagious. We will have a house full of people!
I'm doing pretty good. My swelling has gone down alot. I'm still super sore and moving slow. Mostly i'm really scared that something is going to happen again. so i may be guarding myself and my body more than needed, but i can't help it. all movements scare me. i'm also in general in alot more pain without the epidural and the pain pump.
more tomorrow, with pictures of course!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Surgeon Appt Today

Today I had an appt with my surgeon. He said I'm looking good. He advanced the drain and it immediately started draining again. So I have this drain for atleast 1 more week. He didn't remove any stitches and who knows when he will. He wants me to keep wearing all of the wonderful compression garments, and said to even start trying to sleep for a bit on my right side to help push some more of the fluids out. I go back next tuesday.
i'm still not standing and walking straight and I'm still sitting up in bed, not even remotely close to laying down. go figure. i'm also only in comfy pants, and not even looking at a pair of jeans!

my dad and i spent alot of the day together, running errands and my surgeon. it was nice to get to hang out as we don't get to do that anymore.

the kids are pretty good. so excited for christmas! i can't believe it's in just a few days. i had hoped to be better and alot farther along in my recovery but such is life!
tomorrow i will get some pictures of the kids up! promise!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

23 days and 5 days post op

i'm 23 days post op from my 1st original surgery and 5 days post op from my emergency surgery. here are my newest pics from this morning! :)

you can see a bit of the right side in this photo. this is where the emergency surgery was.

again this is the right side.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dad home, me back to ER, me home

well we got home late last night with dad. he has a 4mm kidney stone. they doped him up on pain meds and sent him home with a prescription. we crashed.
this afternoon my stomach was so swelled up, i looked like i was 4 months pregnant and my skin felt so tight. called surgeon, told us to meet him in iowa city at the ER. we drove in a blizzard the 50 minutes to the hospital. my surgeon was already there waiting. he thought i had a fluid pocket and used 2 HUGE freaking needles to attempt to draw the fluid out. it hurt like crap as he was pushing in, but he wasn't getting any fluid. i had an ultrasound. no fluid. so apparently i'm just really swelled up from all of the stuff going on. he wants me to start using the compression stuff again, as he thinks i've had enough time since the emergency surgery for good blood flow. he wants me to keep a close eye on it and we will check in monday for an appt, sooner if something goes wrong. so now i'm home from the ER, too, AGAIN.
i'm sick of the damn ER. i'm sick of the hospital. i'm pretty much sick of it all.
will do pictures tomorrow...promise.

Friday, December 19, 2008

dad rushed to hospital

dad got into town. said his back and side sore. next thing we know he is getting fidgety. said it getting worse. pain. trouble taking deep breath. so dizzy not talking to us can't move. call 911. fire and ems. rushed to hospital. mom with him. i will be heading there as well.
please pray. you don't know how scared i am. my mom and i have been told 2 or more times in the past that he might not make it. those of you who know my dad and his medical history know what i'm talking about.
updates when i can. i'm freaking out. i don't know if i can do this. i don't think i can handle anymore.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

pretty down

I'm alive, but pretty dang sore. I can hardly move around. When I do stand up and put any weight on it I have horrible cramps and spasms and the nerves go nuts. I'm again coughing up stuff from the anesthesia and have a sore throat from the tube down my throat. i can't stand up straight again, can't lay down, I can't use my right arm to help get myself up and down because it puts to much pressure on my right side. which means I pretty much can't get up and down without help. I'm running a consistent low grade fever, and back on a whole list of meds at different times thru out the day. i can't take a shower until atleast monday, so it's all sponge baths at the sink. the warm water was the only thing that helped relieve my sore muscles.
as you can tell i'm fairly grouchy right now. this is such a huge setback and it's really quite upsetting. i know i will slowly improve again, but these last 2 1/2 weeks have drained me and to now have to start all over again, in more pain than i was in the 1st time is pretty frustrating.
in good news...when it was time to be discharged bri had to run to target to buy me new clothes since mine were a mess from the issue. :) he bought me size medium pants!!! YEAH!!! i can't remember the last time i was able to wear a size medium. that was super exciting!
other than that i'm going to head to the living room and attempt to knit again. Ben's stocking still isn't done. It got pushed to the side a bit over the last few days.
thanks for all the words of encouragement. i need it now more than ever!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holy F@CK!!!

this has been the longest 16 1/2 hours EVER. scariest too! Went to bed last night at 10:50. At 11pm tried to roll over. heard the loudest ripping sound every imaginable and felt something on my sides and legs. My right side had competely busted open, 6 inches wide by about 3 inches gapping open was their guess. definitely fist side. I grabbed my side trying to hold it together. got towels. i sat in a chair. i was completely quiet and could only focus on the 911 dispatcher and the paramedics. i never once looked at my family because i knew that would be the point i'd flip out and lose control. the paramedics had a bit slower response time due to the fact we were having a major winter storm. too awhile to figure out how to get me on their stretcher. since my incision is 1 long continuous incision all the way around my body there was great concern on how to keep the rest from coming undone too. the ambulance ride was a blur of activity on their end. got to er and people everywhere. local er doesn't handle this type of surgery. he calls surgeon, who wants me to come out to Iowa city hospital. so they steri-strip my body to hopefully give a bit more stability and give me some serious narcotics! :)
50 minute ambulance ride to iowa city. surgeon greats us in the dang ambulance drive up. at 2am i was taken straight from the ambulance to the or. docs had to sew muscle and skin back together again. he then used the glue AND used cable stitches. i have 1 cable stitch on each end of the section that tore and 1 in the middle. so all together should help. during surgery doc also cleaned it all out and pumped antibiotic fluids inside. out of surgery at 4am. finally awake around 7am. 2mg's of morphine every 5 minutes for awhile. just got home. i'm in a lot of pain this time.
apparently there was a fluid and blood pocket that got trapped under the skin and the skin couldn't deal with the strain.
sorry so unorganized. i'm tired. thoughts blurry

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


wow. sorry it's been a few days. this has probably been the longest weekend of my life. I'm not sure where to start, and out of respect for all involved i may not strt at all. lets just say change is happening, and not everyone is so thrilled. this weekend has tested me on pretty much every level imaginable.
i will slowly update as i sort it all out in my mind.

in other news. i'm doing pretty good physically. went to ultrasound and surgeon yesterday. another ultrasound in 1 week, and surgeon in 4 weeks. he released me to drive and i tried but i'm just not there yet unfortunately. soon hopefully.

the kids are good. busy with their last week of school before christmas.

i've decided to start writing again. i have been mulling over the decision for a few weeks now, but have officially decided to go ahead and start. we will see how it goes.
i will post more soon, promise.

Friday, December 12, 2008

2 Weeks Post OP...WOW

These last 2 weeks have been the longest and fastest and hardest and most amazing 2 weeks of my life. I can't believe the transformation that has occured, and I'm no where near the end.
3 days ago I got dressed, in "real people" clothes as I'm calling them right now, and walked by my HUGE mirror in the bathroom. I stopped and stared. For the 1st time in I have no clue how long I thought that I truely looked good. I don't mean to sound conceited by that because that isn't how I meant it at all. I felt for the 1st time that I was seeing the "fruits of my labor" The whole life change, changing my diet, my exercise, my mindframe, it was all right there in front of me in the mirror, for the very first time. I felt as though I was staring at someone else. I cried, and then felt stupid for crying at my reflection! :) I'm so excited and so thankful to be where I am right now. I pulled up an ideal body weight calculator this morning and typed my info in. I'm 2 lbs away from my ideal body weight! YIPPPEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was texting with a friend yesterday and one of her statements hit me hard. She told me that I was an inspiration. WOW. that word seems huge and has so much weight. When I began this journey I never thought I'd be where I am right now. Just looking back over the last year and a half, makes me want to cry, laugh, and scream all at the same time. I have been asked for my "secret" so many times. I've decided that I will type up my story and post it. Give me thru the weekend but I promise to get it done!
In other news I got the bill from the hospital. Not the bill I have to pay, but simply the here are the charges that insurance covered! Mind you this is only the hospital, not the doctors, anesthesiologist, labs, etc...The bill was....drumroll....
24,000!!!! HOLY COW! So apparently I was way off on the total price of the surgery! Just makes me feel even more blessed!
I can't say thank you enough to all of my amazing friends and family! It makes me feel so good to get the texts, emails, blog comments, facebook messages, phone calls, visits, etc...I feel beyond blessed to have so many amazing supportive people in my life! THANK YOU! I LOVE ALL OF YOU SO MUCH!
I'll end with my 2 week post op pics!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 12 post op

Today i took pictures in clothes! Jeans mind you! :) I'm doing pretty good. Showering on my own now. Moving pretty good. Still not quite upright but getting sooo close! Oh and to answering a question that was posted no my breasts and upper body have NOT been done. With this being such a major surgery I can only do a piece at a time. I have to wait 3 to 6 months minimum between each surgery. :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sleep doesn't come easy

I had a recheck at the surgeon today. He went ahead and removed my last drain. It's still slightly higher then when they usually remove it but since mine has been causing so much trouble it was decided that it's for the best. It was by far the most painful to remove. If it starts swelling up then they will have to draw the fluid out with a needle. I'm praying it does well. I go back next monday for an ultrasound to check for fluid pockets and I have a basic recheck. I still can't take a bath or use lotion. he showed me a small stretch I can start doing that should help me get the rest of the way to upright. I sure hope so!
I'm darned sore! Especially my right side where the bothersome drain was.
I'm shocked by how demanding this surgery has been. It's not just been pain, it's been soreness, trouble moving, sheer exhaustion, emotionally, mentally etc. It's just been so much different than I thought it would be. I had my doc, and knitted for a bit today and I'm so tired my eyes will hardly stay open. But i can't just go lay down. If I want to try and get into bed then I need a minimum of 6 pillows, my egg crate pressure mat, and the back cushion of the chair. Oh and don't forget that I need a person to help. I can't lift my legs enough to get myself in and out of bed. Then it takes 10 or so minutes to get everything situated and then hopefully i'm in the perfect position where it isn't pulling on either of my sides, my stomach, or my back. THEN when i wake up i have to wait for someone to come help me as i can't lift my legs and body up off the pillows and swing over to the side of the bed without help. so better pray someone is either really close OR that you don't have to pee to badly! :)
so nonetheless that is the whole process to simply "laying down" and taking a nap. exhausting huh? oh and we all know that by the time you go thru that whole process you are wide the crap away! :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

fast update before sleep

i'm home from the hospital. TONS of labwork, ultrasounds, HUGE IV antibiotics etc. Finally sent home for the night to call surgeon in the morning. Im sore and tired and in a decent bit of pain from this damn drain.
more tomorrow just wanted to let everyone know that i'm home.

Headed to Hospital

My right leg and side have been getting a bit tender today around my drain. By this afternoon it's all swelled up and painful and I can literally feel the line of the drain by the pain. I'm now running a fever. I'm really hurting. All docs paged. Headed to hospital. Guess is admission on antibiotics and replacing of drain. We shall see. I will have someone keep you all updated on what's happening.
Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers!

Friday, December 5, 2008

1 week post op

today is 1 week since my surgery. i'm doing pretty good. i'm getting up and down by myself mostly and i'm doing better on stairs. i'm still bent overr 5-10 degrees according to my engineer hubby. all i know is i'm still not upright yet. my tailbone is killing me from sitting 24 hrs a day. i still can't lay down so i sleep sitting in my chair. my muscles are also hurting alot from always being in this bent over position to the point i was up half the night with muscles cramps last night. i'm hoping by monday that i will be upright!
here are my 1 week post op pics! looking a bit better! :)

Parenting an Autistic Child

Ben woke up yesterday in one of his moods. Eyes dialated, freaking out for no apparent reason. I've seen it before and I know that only 1 thing will fix it. I was in the rocker, perfectly safely situated with all my pillows. I quickly resituated myself with a thin pillow across my front and called him to come to me. He walked up to me looking as sad as could be crying away. I told him to climb up. He looked at me for a moment and then did. I will not lie, it was not what i truely was wanting, and it was probably one of the most painful pieces of my recovery so far. I was able to mostly situate him so that he wasn't on my drain lines and pump, and so that he wasn't putting to much pressure on my incision. But lets face it, I've been cut the entire way around my body, there was no way i was going to keep him off the incision! He was able to curl up with his head on my chest and he immediately stopped crying. He laid there on me for over 20 minutes. It was the sweetest time i think I've ever had with him. My mom snapped a photo. A friend said that's exactly what a parent of an autistic child looks like! :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

102 lbs lost!!

today was my 1st doc appt. He took out the pain pump and both tubes for it! He also took out 2 of my drains and my staple! I only have 1 drain pump left, and it will either come out friday or monday! YEAH!!! it's so nice not having all of that pulling on my skin and having to drag it all around. I'm still not sleeping well, and still having alot of trouble getting comfortable! Doc said I looked great though! This afternoon i hit sheer exhaustion, and for the 1st time since my surgery I slept. For like 3 1/2 hours. it was great. i'm hoping for that to hit tonight as well!
in other good news. yesterday was my day! 100lbs lost in this weight loss journey! 92 on my own and 8 so far from the surgery! i lost 2 more lbs today taking me to 102 lost total! i'm sooo excited about that! it's a major milestone!
anyways i'm headed to bed. more tomorrow.
love to all!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 4 Post OP

I got to take my first shower today. wow that was nice. photobucket has been acting goofy so the pics will now be posted directly on my blog as it's hard to keep individually sending them. i fixed the before pictures as well a few posts down!
i have the pain pump with 2 leads, and then 3 drains. the incision is obvious, and then the big marks on my upper back are a bad reaction to the tape used to secure the epidural. it ripped and blistered my skin. Excuse the pictures but right now it's the only way to get a good picture AND i can't wear anything but a big tshirt right now as everything gets hung up in my drains! :)
i'm actually doing pretty good. I've been moving around without my walker today and have done pretty well!

Monday, December 1, 2008

discharge today

home. i'm home. got here a few hours ago. super exahusted. pics will have to wail till tomorrow.

i'm getting discharged today for sure. doc came in and said everything looking good and healing well. 1 of my drains has really slowed down, and the other 2 have slowed quite a bit too.
i didn't sleep too well last night. i turned down a dose of pain pills and really regretted it later. also the room next to us has a gentleman who is hard of hearing and these walls are pretty darned paper thin. fun fun.
once i'm home i will get some pictures uploaded. definately not for those with a weak stomach

Sunday, November 30, 2008

quick update

i finally peed. was quite the process after having a catheter for 3 days. i'm doing a bit better with walking and am sitting up in a chair at the moment. i'm still walking with a walker, but i'm atleast moving. i'm exhausted and will be going to bed for the night soon. i will be discharged tomorrow. i'm pretty darned sore, and the epidural was removed and has definately worn off. the pump pump helps but i'm definately needing the pills as well.

its me

hi. bri has his laptop so i'm here for a few. its been a long few days ive had alot of dizzyness and nausea. walking is pretty painful. he removed 18 lbs of skin.
i will update more later

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I taalked to Brian and he said that Heather was doing okay. She was a little dizzy probably from the anesthesia.I will continue to update as I get more information.

Friday, November 28, 2008

here is the latest update on Heather. She is out of surgery and heading for recovery. Brian said they removed about 17 pounds of tissue. Every thing went well. Thank you for your prayers.


My mom will come and always update this thread. check back.

today is the day

WOW. today is it. my surgery. i can't believe time has gone so fast. Last night I had a bit of an emotional time. After dinnerr and all that it just hit me. There was nothing else between that moment and the surgery. All of my friends and family were amazing and a HUGE support system. I appreciate all the phone calls and texts and encouragement last night! We will be leaving in less than 2 hours. WOW. i will add to this post some pictures taken this morning of all of the lines and markings so you can see what will be done. The pictures are nude, because that is the ONLY way to see all of the markings.

love to all!
Here are the photos. the vertical lines are guide lines and will not be cut. the horizontal lines that go all the way around my body are the lines that will be cut. EVERYTHING between the horizontal lines will be taken away. AGAIN don't click the link unless you are completely ok with what you will see!

My doc showed us the areas where we could write messages to him. i kept thinking of something brilliant to write. this morning i just passed the marker around and each one got the opportunity to write or draw whatever they wanted! Jace drew a picture of me! :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!! *updated with photos*

We hope everyone has a super great thanksgiving! I will update our day in photos on this post so check back in! :)
Here is our turkey! 20lbs!
Here is our turkey all prepped and stuffed and ready to go in the oven!

the turkey was so big we had to take out all the extra racks and the bottom rack is sagging under the weight of the turkey. oops! :)

we just finished decorating the tree! 2500 lights and tons of ornaments. it is only 10ft this year but looks great! :) The kids had alot of fun going thru all of the ornaments and talking about all the stories and memories behind them! I even have mine all the way back to my first christmas!

turkey completely done! it turned out beautifully!

all the food, NOT counting 4 pies! :)

our thanksgiving group. the right side got blurred but we couldn't get everyone back together again to retry! :)

Missy and John, my SIL and BIL

Bri and I! I hate this photo. I was definately not ready for the picture to be taken! hehe

My parents

our good friends connie and bob!

we had an amazing day and thank all of our family and friends for that!!!