Saturday, July 30, 2005

Boring, Boring, Bored

I would like to say my sense of humor, or even just my sense of equilibrium is returning, so I can begin to get on with life a bit, but alas, it has not happened yet. I wait with baited breath, and believe me, so does poor Rene. She is very tired of what she sees as my over neediness, and I just feel sad and lonely. 

But I am doing somewhat better, thank Goddess. I have the pain under control-both old, chronic pain and the new stomach pain, and life always looks slightly rosier when I am not hurting so much. I went to my surgeon on Tuesday, and got a clean bill of health, as far as the surgery goes, and had lost 29 pounds. In two weeks. How incredibly bizarre this whole process is.  

I am now allowed six ounces of soft food a day, along with all the sugar,calorie free fluids I can force down, My drink of choice is water-ice water-which has always pretty much been my drink of choice anyway. I am not getting enough yet, but am working up slowly.  

As for food, I am eating two tablespoons of cottage cheese, with a bit of unsweetened applesauce for breakfast. Two tablespoons of yogurt for lunch, and one egg, scrambled, for supper. So far I have kept it all down, although it is running right through me, if you know what I mean. Am I hungry? Sort of. It's head hunger, the desire to eat even though my pouch does not really want more food crammed into it.  

We went out and bought an exercise bicycle today, because I simply cannot walk outside in the heat and humidity, dragging my oxygen tank behind me-I get chest pain and shortness of breath. I absolutely have to start an exercise program, however, so tomorrow it is five minutes on the bike, twice a day.  

Am feeling as dull as this entry tonight. Sorry, surely sometime life will become more interesting and well rounded. Please be patient with me!  

Blessings, Margo

Friday, July 22, 2005

Eleven Days Post-Op

For the last week I have been living and healing, way too slowly, in Southeastern CT. I am still having more pain than I expected. but have enough meds to cope. I am still trying to work up to the amount of liquids I must ingest, but am getting slightly closer each day. And ten days after surgery, I am still trying to figure out what the hell I've done to my life, and have decided I still have no clue.  

Warrior Woman was extremely useful to me while I was hospitalized. I called upon her energy and spirit when I needed to and I am very proud that I was not a patient patient who suffered in victimized silence, nor was I an inconsiderate bitch. I handled the situation fairly well, and am grateful for WW's courage, so available when I needed her.  

Now Warrior Woman has hung her axe up over the mantle, folded her robes around her, and settled back into my psyche. I am left feeling stuck in my recliner, and in my new life, without the next image necessary for movement forward. I am not worried. I know a new image or concept will rise from deep inside me, will arrive from somewhere outside me, will emerge from somewhere. These interim times are very trying, however.  

I am overwhelmed by the unknown (Have I recently mentioned I struggle with change?). I don't yet know how Rene and I will work out meals. Right now she is quietly making and eating food as inconspicuously as possible, but not secretly. I stomped up one side of her, danced on her head, then stomped down the other side when she told me she'd eaten at MacD's. And I had asked her where she ate. Plus I don't even like their food. Overreaction, perhaps?  

Acquaintances called to say they were too busy to drop by, but suggested "doing lunch" soon, and I quietly put them off, then slammed down the phone( after I was sure they had hung up) and screamed what part of loseing 150 lbs did they miss? I won't be "doing lunch" with them again, if they are too busy to support me now, when I need support. Moody, perhaps?  

The truth is that I have to change to accommodate the world. Just because I had my stomach made into a pouch the size of my Chihuahua's brain doesn't mean I should expect the world to stop doing food just for me. Rene will eatout without me until I can go along and nibble something. Acquaintances and even close friends will forget and ask me to meals for which I am not yet emotionally prepared. And I will rage and cry and struggle and still put on a smiling face when well meaning people ask how I'm doing. A few real friends get the truth, of course. I'm doing shitty day by day, but okay overall.  

My whole world has revolved around an unhealthy relationship with food. It would be a little much to expect to form a newer, more healthy one without trauma and struggle and mourning and self-pity and rage and hopelessness, tempered by no more than a pinch of earnestness, a golf-ball size stomach pouch, and the eternal sipping, sipping, sipping of ice water. But I am working at it.  

Blessings, Margo  

Friday, July 15, 2005

So Far, So -So Good

I am alive and doing well-or as well as can be expected- at home, thank Goddess. And all of you. I truly felt surrounded by light as I went into surgery, and I am profoundly grateful. The hospital experience was not an easy one, but I got down right demanding, and eventually got the pain under contril. At one point, my drain moved, causing pain to rise to a level 9. and while the nursing staff tried to pacify me, I called Rene collect and told her to call the doctor's office. He arrived within 15 minutes! Empowerment!

Being home is a real blessing, although it's still and hour by hour struggle to get water down, to get my meds in, to keep pain at bay. I am not sleeping for more than an hour or so at a time, but my own bed, and my recliner, are wonderful.

Will try to write more tomorrow. And thank you all so much, again.

Blessings, Margo


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Home from Hospital

Hi, Margo is home and she will make an entry as soon as she is up to it.

Thanks for all your prayers, messages of strength, and good thoughts.


It's me again

It's me again I had hoped that by now that Margo would be home and be making this entry.  But... sad to say you have to settle for me (maybe for another couple of days).  As I told you before the surgery went well, actually textbook case.  However Margo's there was one compulation with the drain in her side.  It seems that when she was moved for a test that the drain inside moved and was causing a lot of pain, and the staff did not pay attention to it at first.  At was only after she called me at home and asked me to call the doctor in New Haven at his office that the gave the pain the attention that was needed.  The end result was that she received the pain meds that were needed. Then they removed the drain and the pain level dropped.

She is still in a lot of pain, which the staff doesn't seem to want to address -- they, I am sure are not use to Margo's unique situation of being on a lot of pain meds for the pain from her arm and shoulder as well as all of the compulations that have resulted from her fall in the summer 2 years ago...  Of course all of this has stress and in turn a difficulty in her breathing which becomes labored at times.   

The good news is that they have been able to manage the "upset stomach" and she has been able to keep the 2 oz, an hour up.   In any case she will not be home until at least Friday, and that I think will be subject to day by day results.

Please keep her in your prayers and thoughts and continue to send her energy and strenth.


Monday, July 11, 2005

Margo's Surgery

Hi Everyone,

This is Rene (Margo's life partner) writing for Margo, she asked me to update you on her surgery.

She came through it WONDERFULLY.  The procedure started around 9:30 am and the doctor spoke with me at 12:30 pm.  Everything went exactly as planned.

About the only problem that they had was a very long delay in getting her up to her room.  So they kept her in recovery until about 5:30 pm..  I saw her at 5:45 and she was awake, alert, (as alert as you can be after surgery) and in good spririts.

She is in a step down unit, which means that she is in a room that is not as serious as ICU but they want to watch her more closly than if she was in a regular room. If all goes well she will be placed in a regular room some time tomorrow, when they are sure that her O2 levels, sugar level and all else is going well.  She may be home as early as Thursday. But that is if everything is at its best.

Margo asked me to thank all of you for your positive energy, prayers, and thoughts that you have sent her way.  Needless to say we both appreaciate them very much.

Be assured that as soon as she gets home she will fill you in on all the details. Until then I will do my best to keep you all informed.



Sunday, July 10, 2005

Surgery, Anyone?

  I am down to one sleep and a wake-up before surgery, and doing okay. I was actually more anxious yesterday and the day before; now I just want it to be over. We have spent the weekend being sociable. We went to RI to see Rene's brother Kevin and his wife, Betsy. I went out to breakfast with Peggy, my best friend from childhood, and we've had manyl friends drop by, or call to say good luck. It's all been a bit of a shock after two weeks of solitude, but quite heart warming. I am grateful for my friends.  

I have to be at Yale-New Haven Hospital at 7:30 AM, and surgery is scheduled at 8:30 AM. If you read this before then, send energy, a thought, a prayer, whatever works for you. I am going in surrounding myself, the doctor, anesthesiologist, and the whole room with light. If you read this later, you can still send get-well thoughts, etc. 

 Am I scared? Yes, I am, but I know that I can be afraid and still act- and be- courageous. Warrior Woman for Her Health lives! This will be my mantra to get me into surgery, then I don't have control so I won't have to worry. Afterwards I'll have the strength to cope with whatever. I know this from all my previously surgeries!  

I have asked Rene to post a note here to let you all know how I'm doing. I will probably be in the hospital till Thursday or Friday, and then it'll take me a while to catch up a bit and post, but I'll be back eventually. Have a great week, everyone, and thanks so much for your encouragement and friendship. I value both.  

Blessings, Margo  

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Warrior Woman

Rene is home, full of wonderful stories of her trip, the places they went, the things they did, the others on the tour. She is the most amazing traveler, bright-eyed and child-like, interested in everything and everyone, and most people enjoy her presence. Just hearing her stories makes me smile and know why people are drawn to her. As, of course, am I!  

I am working to turn my attention to real preparation for the surgery. The hospitalization after my fall in '03 was a nightmare of unregulated pain, over worked, and at times uncompassionate nurses and aides, and pompous doctors who didn't give a shit. (Except for my PCP, who saved my life because he knew not to make the same assumptions others were.)  

This hospitalization will be different-and at a different hospital. I am girding up my loins(so to speak, and in a variety of ways) to become an Amazon, a Woman Warrior for my own Health. Not the kind of man-hating, battle-axe carrying cartoon Amazon of TV or movies, but a Warrior who is on an individual Journey of development and growth.  

I plan to use the labrys, or battle-axe, to cut away the scars of  years and years of abuse by judgmental, thoughtless, uncaring  doctors and nurses, the stupidity of the whole medical system, and my own willingness to accept this treatment as normal. I will be courageous in accepting the necessary indignities and pain, but I will ask for help, good pain control, caring treatment, whatever I need. If it is not forthcoming, I will ask again more firmly, then move on to demanding. I will use the hospital ombudsman, if necessary.  

I will also be appreciative when I get what I need, and tell people so. I will get up and walk the first time I am asked to, or at least give it a Warrior's try. I will not whine (too publicly) about nausea; after all I am choosing to have this surgery in the first place. And choosing to use The Woman Warrior as an archetype. On the other hand, I am not stepping into the archetype completely.  I'd prefer to emerge from this part of the journey relatively unscathed.  

So I am meditating on what Warrior energy I haveto call on, where it will come from, what it will look like, how it can be helpful.. And still whining and feeling sorry for myself now and then, too. It may be a difficult weekend, but I will muddle my way through, as always. And write a lot, too, I suspect.  

Blessings, Margo      

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Cranky and Struggling

  Some people, I have been told, respond to pain by becoming somehow crystal clear with a pellucid concentration that take them out of themselves and into another plain of existence. Not me, I get muddled and cranky and have night sweats and can't sleep and stress eat, and feel sorry for myself. That's what happened last night.    

My pain management Dr took me off percoset, and halved my fentanyl pain patch in preparation for surgery, so I am going through a bit of withdrawal. This process always makes me think of the women at the prison who have to withdraw in a entry cell, with three bunk beds, an open toilet and five other women, most of whom are also withdrawing. Not a good experience, but one some repeat over and over and over. I remind myself that at least I am not going cold turkey off massive doses of heroine or cocaine. It helps a smidgen.    

I am grateful that I had the freedom of the whole house. I came downstairs and played solitaire for a while, made popcorn, found some stale cookies, took them back upstairs, ate them all, and still couldn't sleep. I lasted about 45 minutes with my CPAP, then tore it off and said the hell with it. I tossed and turned and second guessed all my recent decisions, felt terribly lonely and needy, dozed on and off for a bit, then turned my light on and reached for my book. I read from 4:00 AM till 6:OO AM, then got up. Thank heaven fore the escape of reading.   

 I am still hurting and cranky and feeling miserable, and of course, now I am whining as well. I no longer feel clear enough to let the crying jags wash through, and I wanted to clean up a bit around the house before Rene comes home tomorrow.   

I feel sorry for Rene, arriving jet lagged, but full of stories to share, to a partner who is in pain, whiny and completely self absorbed. Not to mention the messy house and humid, rainy weather! I am going to encourage her to sleep a lot over the weekend. Then-whamo-surgery on Monday and a whole new set of issues to deal with, including hospital, increased pain, and nausea.    

I am also feeling sorry for myself, I can see. And scared. I can live fairly normally on meds, even though they make me fell logy and tired and I won't drive after taking a percoset. On this lowered dose, I can barely function. It is a discouraging recognition. On the other hand, I am up and functioning at least somewhat, and in five sleeps and a wake-up it will be surgery day, and I can at last begin my new life.   

 I also want to add how much I appreciate and value the comments and support I get from my readers. You have been very helpful in making me feel less alone in the universe and more valuable than I sometimes see myself. I thank you for this.  

Blessings, Margo      

Friday, July 1, 2005

Crying Jags, Anyone?

I have been very sad the last few days. This is not depression, but feelings which roll over me in big waves, leaving me a crying, sobbing mess, but feeling oddly better. And nearly anything will set me off.  

Roxy, my Chihuahua, loves it. She lives to lick salty tears off my face. I, however, find it unpleasant to cry while wearing a nasal canula; I feel as if it is blowing snot back up my nose! (sorry, I know it's gross.) If I take the oxygen off too much when I'm crying, though, I get shortness of breath, which is also unpleasant.  

I am mourning a lot of things. One is the way of living which will disappear the morning of July 11th, surgery day. I know too well I am crossing a threshold I cannot retreat back over. I'm looking at a life of the unknown, over which I will have no control, and with which I will have to cope. This is scary. I am choosing to have major surgery that will change my life. Have I mentioned recently that I have trouble with change?  

Now, don't get me wrong. I have researched this surgery to the point of absurdity. I have read dozens and dozens of profile blogs on I have haunted message boards, gone to the local support group, followed Connie's saga in Thought Salad, and come to the conclusion that while one can be over prepared in some ways, one can never really be prepared for the reality of any big elective surgery like this.  

Don't take this the wrong way, but I am very glad that Rene has is gone . She is very uncomfortable when I cry. She wants to fix things, make them better, and gets frustrated quickly when there is nothing she can do to "cure" me of my tears. So I self-edit when she's around, or go upstairs, or down to the river, or don't cry at all. 

And I have found that, for me, a period of sadness feels healthy now and again. I am free to let the emotions come up from deep inside, collect like dark clouds on the horizon, roll through me like a storm-sometimes quiet, sometimes tumultuous- then pass on, leaving me spent, but cleansed, and free, until the next storm rolls in.  

These storms appear over such little things as marmalade on toast-something I won't be able to eat post-surgery, as well as over big things like Sophie, my neighbor's beloved Rotty-mix dog, being diagnosed with bone cancer, and everything in between. Friends crazy busy? I cry. Weather too humid? I cry. Feeling house bound? I cry. Have to go out? I cry.  

This all sounds very distressing, but I came from a family whose unwritten rule was "never show emotions." It took me years in therapy to let myself feel sad and cry, and tears still seem therapeutic to me(up to a point, of course. If I was crying and couldn't get out of bed, that would be another thing.)  

And yet, despite this I also wish Rene were here to offer a little comfort (before she got mad at me for crying so much!) Human beings are such complex and contrary beings, aren't we? Sometimes I do make myself laugh, despite the tears.  

I have planned some events for the weekend. Dinner out tomorrow with Peggy, a drive and lunch with my daughter Meg on Sunday, and then I better start house cleaning( a very small bit at a time) because Rene comes home on Thursday. By the time she recovers from jet lag, it will be surgery day, and then I will have much more concrete things to cry about-like nausea and pain!  

Meanwhile, I'll try to accept the tears as an odd gift from the universe and enjoy the hard won freedom to feel joy as well as pain.  

Blessings, Margo