Wednesday, July 4, 2018

My Fun-Filled Colectomy

In 2010 I developed abdominal pain and discovered I had diverticulitis. You can read all about that fun-filled ER trip where I had a pelvic exam. By a 20 year old male doctor. In a curtained room in the ER. When I had my period. Yeah, I know, but what can I say? Not everyone is as lucky as me.

Fast-forward to 2018. I've had multiple diverticulitis attacks. I'm tired of being hospitalized at inconvenient times. Or you know, any time. The bout I had last month was especially severe, almost necessitating emergency surgery, so after consulting with two surgeons, I decided it was time for surgery to eliminate the problem before it became a life-threatening emergency.

Here's a quick run-down if you aren't familiar with it. Diverticulosis or diverticular disease is when little bulging pouches form in your colon (large intestine.) According to research, about half of all people over the age of 60 have it and for most, it causes no problems. For some people, however, these pouches can become infected (diverticulitis.) Diverticulitis can usually be cleared up with a clear liquid diet and antibiotics. Sometimes, the infection causes perforation of the colon or other complications that necessitate emergency surgery.

So, to that end, I head to the hospital tomorrow for a laparoscopic bowel resection. I'm super-looking forward to it, and I'll tell you why.

1.  The colonoscopy-like prep involved. Today, the 4th of July will not include a BBQ for me. I'll be partaking of delicious foods like broth and jello instead. There won't be fireworks for me tonight, but never you worry. I will have my own explosives. Out of my butt. Locked in my bathroom all evening. You can read those enchanting details here. Into the Tunnel of Darkness: My Colonoscopy

2.  The weight loss. Not eating for a few days and consuming only clear liquids for a few others should garner me a loss of a couple pounds. It's probably unrealistic to hope that my sigmoid colon weighs 30 pounds, huh? But any loss is a loss, amiright?

3.  No cancer. When I wake up from the anesthesia, I don't have to worry if the doctor was able to get all the cancer like so many people who have this surgery for colon cancer. This is why it's so important to get regular colonoscopy screenings. Just do it!

4.  Being lazy. I can lie in my hospital bed (which is as comfy as a slab of cement or a bed of nails) all day watching SpongeBob without feeling guilty.

5.  The surgery itself. Because I am completely stupid was curious, I watched six one videos of the surgical procedure on YouTube. I understand that they'll make 4 or so incisions to do the laparoscopic surgery. I'm down with that. Once the diseased portion of bowel is removed, they have to attach the two ends of healthy colon together some way. I get that. What I did not know until I was enlightened by this video is that they attach the two ends together by going through your butt. Just another added layer of fun!

6.  The possibility of a poop bag. Although, because this is a scheduled surgery and not an emergency one, the doctor doesn't anticipate me needing a colostomy, he did caution me it was a possibility. Sure, life will go on if I have to empty my bowels into a bag instead of the toilet. This little gem will just be one more reason for single men to line up around the corner for the chance to date me.

7.  The tubes. I was told I'd have a catheter in my bladder that would stay there for a day after surgery. I was also told I'd have a tube down my nose into my stomach that would be removed after surgery, but is oftentimes reinserted because of vomiting. And let's not forgot the IV for fluids and medicine. I'm thinking with all these strings attached, I can pretend to be a marionette. That'll be fun.

7.  The possibility of clots. Because I have a clotting disorder and a history of blood clots in my leg and lung, I'm at greater risk for this complication after surgery. But, I do get to wear super-sexy compression devices that will squeeze my legs as I lie there watching cartoons and reruns of The Office.

8.  The vacation. No kids to care for. No dinners to make. No errands to run. No groceries to buy. No bathrooms to clean. I mean, why do you think I had 6 kids? For the mini hospital vacations, of course! 

9.  The visit with my parents. Little do they know this surgery is just a ploy to get them to come visit us!

10.  Vomiting of epic proportions. Anesthesia makes me sick. Let me clarify. Anesthesia makes me so violently ill that I retch from the tips of my toes. You guys know how I feel about throwing up. I mean, I'm sure no one really LIKES to vomit, but I absolutely detest it! I pray fervently whenever I get that stomachache that tells me its contents are about to be evacuated. "Please God, I beg of you, keep me from throwing up! Pleeeeeaaaaassssseeee! I'll do anything! I'll move to Africa and be a missionary. I'll give up chocolate, wine, and guacamole forever! I'll stop yelling at idiot drivers! Just say the word, God!'

Now imagine doing it while you're completely groggy and in pain from abdominal surgery. Of course I'll talk to the anesthesiologist before the surgery. But I know what's going to happen. He'll promise to give me top-of-the-line, heavy-duty, anti-nausea drugs. He'll swear I won't get sick this time. He'll assure me he'll take care of me so I don't get violently ill. In other words, he'll lie. And after my surgery, when I'm forcefully expelling my intestines into the ridiculously small barf tray they give you, he'll ask if he can include me in his article about weird anesthesia reactions.

So there you have it. Honestly, for a good week I was waking up every night, my heart racing with anxiety about the whole thing. But I've been praying and I feel peaceful about it now. There's no reason to worry because God is with me. :)

Still, if you're the praying sort, say a prayer that I don't throw up. I don't care about pain or needing a colostomy. I just don't want to vomit!


noexcuses said...

I will pray for you, my friend! You will get through this! Be happy about the won't have to get up in the middle of the night to pee. Milk this thing as long as you can, honey! I survived mine and you will, too!

StampingJoan said...

Will be thinking about you tomorrow Dawn! Sending good thoughts and prayers!

Laura G said...

I'll be praying for you from Chicagoland, Dawn! You managed to be funny in the face of not so funny. Dawn the hospital marionette, now that's an image to make me smile! Hang in there, how I know the whole colon cleanse thing. You'll be asleep for the rest of it, and especially praying for the no barf. In fact, I'm gonna ask my 165 prayer group ladies to start praying for you right now. We're on it.

Valerie Robins said...

Hi Dawn, praying the surgery is successful, that you get anti-nausea drugs that DO work, and that no ostomy bag will be needed...ever.

Debra Turowski said...

I will be praying for you!! Our God is awesome and in control.

dianne said...

Bless your heart. It is not a fun surgery but not as bad as they have to make it seem. They tell you more than enough just so they don't get accused of not explaining everything. My procedure involved an incision from belly button to as low as you can go and I promise it really wasn't TOO bad. There isn't that much throwing up, either. Things have probably changed in the years since mine, but I just know you will do birthed 6 kids!!!! Prayers from Birmingham Alabama.

Kim said...

Dawn, you have my sympathies. I'm hoping there's no vomit in sight for you and nothing but boring routine surgery and recovery.

Cindy said...

I just read this at 10:30AM PST on July 5 and I will begin to pray right now. You're right, God is with you and He will see you through this.

Debbie Roth said...

You are awesome and funny! No one describes a medical procedure like you! You are on my mind and in my heart. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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