Monday, June 29, 2015

Expectations vs. Reality

Expectation: I will need assistance after surgery
Reality:  I definitely need assistance after surgery.
I am so thankful for the great assistance I have had.  My wonderful husband took a week off work to help me with surgery and follow up.  My mom came to spend some time with me and will be handling the assistance I need while my husband goes back to work.  I"m so thankful for great family and friends.

Expectation: I will have no use of my arms for an indefinite period of time
Reality:  I can move both arms to shoulder height and have almost 100% usage of my left arm and more of my right than I expected at this point.
Stretching and twisting is not possible, but I don''t think that is really a indication of arm usage.

Expectation: I will never need to wear a bra again if I don't want to
Reality: I have to wear a post surgical bra to help protect my incision as it heals and provide pockets to hold my drain bags. 
I guess I have some more waiting to do before I can choose to go bra less.

Expectation: I will manage after surgery pain with no prescription pain meds
Reality:  I've been taking pain meds as prescribed regularly
I have a history of managing pretty serious medical issues with over the counter pain medications by choice because I tend to have annoying side effects from prescription pain meds.  I would generally much rather deal with pain than side effects.  PTL there have been no annoying side effects this time around.

Expectation: I will not be up for visitors for awhile
Reality: I am not up for visitors for awhile.
I expected to not be up for visitors.  I did not expect being quite so exhausted.  The beginning of the week I could only manage to be awake and fully functional for about 30 minutes at a time before it was time to sleep again.  I am now able to manage a little longer at a time, but still needs lots of naps all day long.  Part of the reason I am not up for visitors is that I can't stay awake.  Part of the reason is that I just want to stay in pjs all day and not do my hair.  So, I just don''t feel "dressed for company" and don't really want to get that way.  Love you all, but I'm still not ready for visitors.

Expectation: Taking care of my drain bags will be annoying
Reality: Taking care of drain bags is annoying.
Taking care of my drain bags is super annoying.  This is something I definitely need help doing.  I was so concerned with how I would possibly manage drain bags and wheelchair usage/transferring.  I'm so thankful that my surgeon took my concerns seriously and made my tubes shorter so that I carry them in drain tube bags attached to my surgical bra so there is no interference while transferring etc.  But, they are still annoying.  My son was a bit concerned about what exactly is draining out of my body.  A little gross to think about.  Drain bags remain in place for 1-4 weeks after surgery.  I'm praying for closer to the one week mark.   Drain bags are so annoying!!!  Plus it's extra annoying that I need bigger sized shirts to button around the drain bags.  GRRRR!

Expectation:  I will have a scar when this is all over
Reality: I will definitely have a scar when this is all over.
I can't imagine I won't have a scar when this is all over.  My incision is 26-27 inches long from armpit to armpit.  More on this later.

Expectation: I will need button front shirts for awhile
Reality: I need button front shirts for awhile.
So thankful I had done some research about what I would need post surgery and had some already purchased.  Thanks mom for getting me some really soft ones to help get me through this initial healing phase.

Expectation: I will not wake up from this surgery
Reality: I woke up in recovery
I woke up the day of surgery nervous, unsure of what I was about to do, but feeling like I was making the right decision for myself and my family.  I did some final preparations around the house and then checked my Bible Gateway verse of the day.
"The Eternal will keep you safe from all of life’s evils, From your first breath to the last breath you breathe, from this day and forever."
Psalm 121:7-8
My interpretation of that Monday morning was God would keep me safe until my last breath, which would be later that day.  I didn't tell a sole that was what I was thinking and I went through all the pre-surgery prep as planned.  So my expectation was that I would not wake up from surgery in this world.  Imagine my surprise when I did.  I then told my husband my interpretation of that verse and he thought I was silly for thinking that.   It obviously means God will be with me through whatever I am facing, including surgery and recovery.  :)

Expectation:  Aggressive cancer treatment will help me live a long, healthy life
Reality:  That is still my expectation, but we'll have to wait awhile to find out reality.

Expectation: Dealing with "What Is" is better than dealing with "What If"
Reality: Dealing with "What Is" is always better than dealing with "What If"
I can stop imagining worst case scenarios and start dealing with reality.  Reality is not exactly fun, but it is better than some of the crazy scenarios I had created in my head.

Expectation: I will not be able to eat or sleep normally for an indefinite period of time
Reality:  I have no restrictions on eating and have been sleeping well all day and night (until Saturday  night)

Thankful thoughts for the day:
Reclining couch
The Selection Series
View of my backyard

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1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you are really doing well, Angel. Glad to hear it. Love reading how your mind works :) You do remain in our prayers.


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