Four weeks ago today, I had my kidney removed. That still blows me away.
My recovery is going well. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t have continuous pain.
Last night I annoyed Jerry by singing the Armour Hot Dog Jingle….the 1967 one that now seems a little mean. (Here is a link to a YouTube video of that commercial: https://youtu.be/3fQwJdXFQlU) Now you may be asking why I was singing that jingle because I felt good and it’s funny.
Did I mention I had my kidney ripped out? hehe…okay, not ripped out but it is weird that all this stuff has happened. I wish I could be an optimist and say that I’m not waiting for the other shoe to drop. I do put on a brave face but inside, I’m freaking out still.
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There are some things I have learned over the past 3+ weeks and this whole “let’s have our kidney removed” situation. Asking for help is hard but necessary.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved being pampered. But there is a difference when it comes to recovering from surgery. Too many things on the “that’s too heavy for you right now” list that drive me crazy. Sure, I want to go to the store and go grocery shopping. I can get one of the baggers to load up my car, but what happens when I get home. I can’t carry the bags as they are on the “too heavy for you right now” list. I could Instacart my groceries but putting them away right now is a little painful. I’m super lucky to have a husband who is patient with me and doesn’t mind doing all those little things that I want to do but shouldn’t yet.
Our house needs help too. I used to have a maid service once a month to keep things in order. That was over a year ago. Jerry and I are horrible at keeping house. Last week I had an unfortunate experience with a cleaning service from Amazon Services. Lesson learned. I went back to what I do best and researched local services and have them in my house right now. Yes, I’m hiding in the computer room while they scrub my shower. Again, something I can’t do right now but let’s be honest, I suck at it too. I’d rather pay someone.
Why is it hard to ask for help? Is there some kind of prize we win if we do everything ourselves? NOPE! Is there pride in knowing you did it yourself? Maybe, but if I don’t clean, do I really care anyway…
I feel fortunate that I can get help in my life. I should probably ask for help more often but I really do think it’s a “pride” thing. I don’t want to seem weak or vulnerable. If I have learned anything being in the hospital is how kind people can be when you are at your most vulnerable.
Today I walked for about 20 minutes at the grocery store. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but for someone who for seven days only shuffled from a hospital bed to the bathroom with assistance, I’ll take it.
The ten days at home have given me the most healing. Seriously, at the hospital, I took about ten steps to the bathroom. Here, I’m making sure I get up to check on Nutmeg. To put something small, because I can’t lift anything for the next month-ish, away. To just stand up, because I can. In the hospital, I had to have permission/assistance just to stand.
So the grocery store…Ours is small. Thank goodness. We did most of the aisles, most. By the end, I was super tired and headed over to the chairs near the pharmacy while Jerry checked out.
Two weeks ago today, I had my left kidney removed. There was a 6 cm Renal Cell Carcinoma (Clear cell) inside my kidney. I had cancer…inside of me. WTF!
May 31st will now be the day that I became cancer free (or I hope that I am). The experience of having your kidney removed is not a fun one. I checked in at 5 am, around 6 am I finally went back to the surgical area. Met with the surgeon, met lots of really nice people who would be with me during the surgery and then met the anesthesiologist. There was a discussion about doing an epidural catheter for pain management, but they didn’t have the right lab work for the epidural. More blood work, a rush was put on it which means my surgery wasn’t going to be at 7:30 but probably around 9. While I was thankful for the epidural afterward, going in, was not fun. Some of the most intense pain I can recall.
The next thing I remember is getting onto the surgical table, and then recovery. The rest of the 31st was a hazy memory.
I spent a total of 7 days in the hospital. It wasn’t a pleasant experience, and I prefer not to ink it’s existence so that it can fade into a dull reminder.
Jerry was great during it all. I wasn’t always kind to him. I suck at times. He did get me this plush Kidney, which of course is named Martha. She has become an excellent source of comfort the past two weeks.
So yeah, cancer. How long was I living with that? Will it come back? The doctor says that the size, type, and location of the tumor means I’m at low risk for reoccurrence.
So what happens now? I’m recovering from having the kidney removed. I have three little port incisions and another at my belly button where they reached in and pulled the kidney out. I got out my staples out earlier this week and asked if I could drive yet. Give it another week, was the answer. I can get around very slowly but even making a grilled cheese sandwich is exhausting. I guess if I can’t make a sandwich without being tired, driving probably isn’t a good idea.
I’m missing Silent Weekend this year because of my recovery. I’m bummed. I was looking forward to attending workshops and honing my interpreting. I need to accept that it’s going to be a slow going recovery and that it will be okay, because for right now, I don’t have cancer in me anymore.
It’s funny how life can change in an instant. This blog post spans over a month. Sorry, it is a long one.
My advice this week, drink your water, and if anything looks unusual in your urine, go to the doc!
Easter weekend I had blood in my urine and thought to myself that this must be a really bad UTI. I wasn’t having all the symptoms as I was fine while I urinated, but there was some flank pain.
I went to the doctor. They found blood in my urine. Duh. They put me on an antibiotic to treat the UTI. A few days later the doctor called to say that the specimen they sent off didn’t grow so that it wasn’t an infection and they were referring me to a urologist. Okay, maybe it was a stone, that would explain the pain.
The first appointment is always a waste of time. The old, we’ll set you up for these test, please pay your copay, BYE! So appointments set for a few weeks later, a CT and Cystoscopy. …A what? Cystoscopy? I googled that. I shouldn’t have, because I was freaking myself out. They were going to stick what up my where? And why did I have to wait three weeks for this “not so fun” procedure to happen?
Three weeks pass, I’m still having slight pains, but everything else is alright. I think about canceling the appointment, but I don’t. I show up in the afternoon, get up on the CT scan table and go through all that. No biggie, and let me tell you the technician was amazing. She was able to give me the contrast without that feeling of “did I just pee myself?” happening. I gave her kudos of course. Then they stuck me in a room and said that they needed to review the scans, and maybe I wouldn’t need the cystoscopy. Tick tock, tick tock. I hear the doctor tell the nurse, go ahead and prepare the room for the cystoscopy. Gulp.
It wasn’t horrible at all. The nurse slathers you up with cream that is way too cold, let you sit there for a minute so it can start numbing up the joint and proceed. It was cool. I got to see inside my bladder. It was uncomfortable but not any worse than a pap smear. I did feel like I had to pee the entire time but that is because they were filling my bladder full of liquids so they could get a good look. I think they used five buckets when they drained it. The doctor said he didn’t see any problems in the bladder, but he wanted to talk to me about my left kidney. Ummm….okay.
Jerry didn’t drive me to the appointment. In fact, I thought I would see him at home, but I got text messages that he was there. I asked the nurse to get him so he could be there when the doctor talks to me. I don’t know what brought him to the doctor’s office that day, but I’m more thankful than I could ever express.
“You have a mass in your left kidney”…You know how in movies when someone gets bad news you hear that high pitch static, and that glazed look comes over the person’s face? Yeah…me….I remember having to shake my head and ask for clarification. “There is a mass in your left kidney. It’s about 7 cm in size…” Okay, this was real.
Have I mentioned how lucky it was that Jerry was there, he was smart enough to ask all the questions. What did it mean, what was the next step, is it cancerous…
I snapped back into reality and remembered him telling us that the best course of action is to remove the kidney, I would keep my adrenals as they have found that if you can, it’s best to keep them. Okay, okay…losing the kidney, keeping the adrenal glands. Once they have the kidney out, they will send it off to pathology, and we’ll go from there. Not all the answers I wanted, but I guess I have to be comfortable with that…
My coworker and I were talking about how my mass/tumor was really a vestigial twin, and he named her Martha. It’s actually easier to talk about Martha being evicted than what it might be. Coping. Everyone has been great. I know my demeanor and energy haven’t been the typical Jeanne, so I appreciate them silently forgiving me for that.
I had my preop. EKG, Blood was drawn, instructions. Two showers, one the night before, one the morning of…and Nutmeg can’t sleep with me the night before. WHAT? I’m not happy about that. Sure, there are nights she chooses not to sleep with us, but of all the nights, I didn’t want the one before I lose my kidney to be one of those nights.
It’s the day before my surgery. I’m tired all the time. I have to struggle to say up past 7 pm. I am freaked out. I wish Mom or Dad were around so I could talk to either one of them. I miss them. Jerry is terrific and a great sounding board, but there is something about your parents that make you feel super safe.
I need to get in prep-mode. I have clean towels ready for my showering antics. The linens for the bed are in the wash right now. The Keurig order showed up so I can have my Chocolate Glazed Donut coffee with Peppermint Mocha CoffeeMate. YUM!
Phone rings, it’s the hospital calling confirming my 5 am check-in time. It’s getting real. Jerry needs to get home from work soon so I can laugh.
Today the chapter finally closed on my LuLaRoe adventure. I received my refund check from the inventory I sent back. They did keep some of my inventory, and I’m trying to get a receipt so I can claim the donation that they are making. I think if I buy the inventory, and then send it back, but you don’t pay me for it, you can’t get the tax write off for donating it. Just sayin’! I’m happy that for the most part, that part of my life journey is in the book.
I’m off today for Good Friday because I live in the south and that’s how they roll. It gave me a chance to deposit the check immediately, so I’m not complaining. I also got a load of laundry out of the way.
This morning I watched the show Rise. LOVE IT!! One of my friends at work said it was a cross between Glee and Friday Night Lights. Spot on! I’m looking forward the next episodes. Why can’t they just release all the episodes at once so I can binge…oh yea..not everyone operates that way. *shrug*
Easter weekend is weird now. I’m really not a churchgoer and since we are orphans we don’t have family obligations. I miss my mom and dad at these times. I’m sure they would be sad that I don’t attend mass on a regular basis. It’s not that I don’t believe, I’m just not sure how I believe. I do like that Catholics don’t discount science. Ya never know….right? I just want everyone to be kind to each other. You know, that whole “Do unto others” thing.
If you are gathering with family, I hope you all have a grand celebration. Happy Easter!
London. Across the pond. Our first European trip. We decided to postpone our trip to the United Kingdom until fall. I’m happy we did too. A good friend kept sending me snaps of her snow-covered walks and below 0-celsius temps. Brr!
Instead, we played around in Central Florida. First up, Kennedy Space Center. Jerry booked a Launch Control Center tour that was pretty cool. I wish they would let us see more but you know….secret stuff and all. A full day wasn’t enough time to do everything. I really thought it would be, but we didn’t see all the exhibits, the Imax movies, or the “Legends of Space” or whatever it’s called.
I think we’ll be heading back there “soon.” It would be cool if it were for a launch. They kept talking about the SLS rocket, and it would be fun to do another tour that talks more about that. Why didn’t I become an astronaut? Oh yeah….that’s why.
After spending a few days in Titusville and enjoying some local cuisine, we headed over to Orlando to play at Universal Studios. After four days in a Universal resort and three days in the park. I’m a Disney girl. Don’t get me wrong, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was AH-MAZING!! I would live there if they let me, although they would have to open up a few more of the shops in Diagon Alley. I guess I just prefer not to see the majority of the customers in the park Starbucks were employees of the park. Meh…maybe I’m a snob, no…I am! It’s okay; it’s good to know your flaws.
Highlights: NASA, SpaceX, Margaritas, Bubba Gump restaurant, swimming in the pool, all things Harry Potter, Jerry being a full-on tech nerd.
Lows: $35 parking for CityWalk, low tech park amenities, I-4 traffic, waiting over 20 minutes for a dinner check.
Spring break is just about over. The last quarter of school is a rough one. Lots of tests are coming up. Spring break was just what I needed to refresh before pushing through to the end. …and who doesn’t love coming home to a crazy cat.
Oh yeah, I also turned fifty-one over break. WHAT?!? 😀
Hello, 2018! I’m ready for you. Last year was pretty good though, lets recap, shall we? (tee hee hee)
The year started out with a bang and a cruise with Jerry’s company management team plus significant others, or as we call ourselves “plus ones”. It was a great to spend some time getting to know the other “plus ones” and no one will forget the karaoke night.
February welcomed a new challenge in my life. I started a LuLaRoe Independent Retailer business. I have since closed that business as it was way more time consuming than I had originally thought. Don’t get me wrong, I love my LuLaRoe clothes and I loved sharing that with others but I didn’t care for the time that it was taking away from my time with Jerry.
March (birthday month), of course, is the best month of the year, we did a Disney cruise that included a private cabana on their Castaway Cay private island. If you ever get the chance, do it. We spent the day reading, lounging, and staring at the ocean. Perfect day!
Spring was rounded out by a regular event watching the Wildcat softball team play. Great time cheering on Jerry’s co-workers and getting to know everyone. (I miss you, Mel)
Summer was smattered with concerts at the new Daily’s Place amphitheater downtown. We saw some great concerts and look forward to more in the future. We also went to St. Louis, MO in June for Jerry’s work conference. I haven’t been there since my senior year of high school. That’s 1985 for all you keeping score. I got to catch up with my college roommate as well as meeting her daughter for the first time. Next time, better seats for the Cardinals game for sure. Summer also included my first trip to the state capital, Tallahassee. Neat city. Love seeing the capital and other historical sites. Will definitely make another trip to explore more of the city.I love traveling and anytime I get the chance to explore a new city or one that I haven’t been to in a long time, I’m happy.
If I had to blog about negative things from 2017, it would be that I put my interpreting professional development on the backburner. I really tried to make my LuLaRoe business a success and my interpreting suffered for it. I really missed continuing my craft and that is one of the reasons I decided to close my small business. I love interpreting, especially in the school setting and have already set up workshops for 2018.
One of the highlights of the year was our trip to Chicago. Again, Jerry had to work and I tagged along but I made sure we had time to play tourist and even scored some tickets to Hamilton. Oh my goodness, this was one of those shows that it life-altering. I know, so many people say that but it truly was one of the best shows I have ever seen. Phantom of the Opera in Toronto earlier in my life was pretty amazing too. Chicago will now always hold a special memory for me.
This post is way longer than I intended. I didn’t really think a lot happened in 2017. It’s funny how our brain forgets things. I looked back at my photos and was reminded of how much fun I had last year. I mean, even the Jaguars played great, so well that we have a playoff game next weekend.
So now some quick updates (list style):
Work – Started the new school year in August and is going well. Love my team.
Health – started out strong was losing weight. Started to stress out and hit a plateau. Fell and bruised my knee/leg to the bone and am just now able to take stairs the normal way. Gained some weight back but determined to not let that continue.
So yeah, that’s it. I really need to keep blogging. There is no “focus” on this blog as it’s more of a cathartic release for me than anything else. Remember the “Christmas Letters” you would get, yeah, that’s my blog in nutshell but all year long.
I had a check up for my knee today. Things went great. The doctor was really pleased with how well I’m recovering. I asked about some exercise but he wants me to wait a couple of weeks before I start that doing that. He gave me a prescription for Physical Therapy although he said he doesn’t think I will need it.
Slow and steady seems to be the plan right now. I pretty much elevate it every night from the minute I get home until I’m out the door the next morning. I have my cane with me pretty much all the time but it has been folded up and out of sight for the past few days.
I’ll follow the doctor’s words as he said to me today “Keep doing what you are doing.”
In other news, I have left LuLaRoe. With my knee and interpreting, I was feeling overwhelmed and had to reprioritize things. I love the LuLaRoe brand and continue to wear it pretty much daily, I just won’t be selling it anymore. If you need help finding stuff though, I know a few people that can help.
This weekend will be yet another weekend of staying in the house. Not because of the knee but because of weather. Hurricane Irma is headed to Florida and pretty much going to rain for everyone in the state. whee… We are off Friday and Monday due to the hurricane. I wonder if it does come to Jax on Monday if we truly will be headed back to work on Tuesday. I guess we’ll see. Be prepared for boring rain pics on my social media accounts.
Tomorrow will be four weeks since my fall. My knee is doing great. Still discolored and swollen. My legs and ankles are huge by the end of the work day so I end up coming straight home to put my legs up. Elevation is my friend.
My HurryCane has been my constant companion. We have a love hate relationship. I don’t want to use it. It gets in my way. Have you ever tried to carry a lunch, coffee, keys and use a can to try to get down four steps to leave your house. It is a pain. I have to leave the coffee on the railing, go down the stairs and then lean over to grab my coffee. I’m usually fine in the morning and don’t need the cane but by the end of the day, I’m happy for the extra steadiness.
Other than my knee, things are going well. The school year is finding its groove and the team of interpreters I work with is great. We get along swimmingly. There isn’t a day that they don’t make me laugh.
Jerry and I haven’t been doing much due to my knee. I’m resting up so I can make sure to go the Jacksonville Jaguar opening game. I missed both pre-season games. Also, we have a trip coming up to Chicago. I’m so excited because we are going to see Hamilton! “Not throwing away my shot!”
Anyway, looking to the long weekend to keep resting up my knee. I see the doctor next week and I’m actually looking forward to doing some physical therapy to get my full range of motion back.