One week ago, I had ureteroscopy In other words, I had a kidney stone removed and was sent home from the hospital with a stent. On Friday, the stent was removed and YIKES, the days following the stent removal, I experienced the most intense pain I have EVER, EVER, EVER felt. Worse than any childbirth or recovery from my other surgeries. I was not prepared for such a long, intense, painful recovery. At one week, I feel like I have turned the corner and I am healing. Throughout the past weeks, I have been blessed to get in to Doctors and have excellent medical care. I have had many people praying for me and have felt the love and support of my friends, family, and Heavenly Father.
I received this stunning floral arrangement from my PTA "Squad" Pictures just don't capture the beauty.
Below the photos, I will document some of the experiences over the past weeks, mostly for my own future reference.
- October 1-2 General Conference Weekend- severe pain in my side and lower back. I was pretty sure I had a kidney stone and that it was trying to pass. Spent the weekend in pain, running to the bathroom several times per hour feeling like I needed to get rid of 1 gallon, yet could only get out a few drops with great effort
- Monday, October 3- Spent the day researching what type of Doctor I needed to see...looking up Doctors in the area, but just in a lot of pain and not able to focus on choosing a Doctor or making a plan.
- Tuesday, October 4- Drove Megan to school and ran in to one of my PTA mom friends. Told her I wasn't feeling well, thought I had a kidney stone, etc. She said, let me call one of the moms from school, her husband is a Nephrologist. Within minutes, I had 1:45 appointment for that afternoon with one of the best Nephrologists in the area. We chatted about Dreyfoos and that our children have classes together. He explained that it is generally a 4 week wait to get an appointment with him but he had a cancellation that morning and was happy he could work me in. He sent me directly to have a CT Scan and by 5pm it was confirmed I had a .06 mm (a little more than a half of centimeter) kidney stone stuck in my ureter, blocking my bladder. Oh yea???? Plus a few small stones remaining in my kidney. He referred me to a Urologist, telling me that the job of the Urologist was to get the stones out and that his job would be to figure out why I have stones, what they are made of, and how to prevent future stone growth.
- Wednesday-Friday, October 5-7 Enter Hurricane Matthew preparation and frenzy=no Medical offices are open. No follow up care can be scheduled. More pain during the storm days but grateful to have down time and be able to rest and run to the bathroom in my own home. Very grateful the storm turned and did not hit us so I could pursue the needed medical care sooner than later
- Monday, October 10, I called the Urologist's office to make an appointment. The receptionist told me that she could make an appointment for me in about 2 weeks. WHAT??? I then explained that I was in a lot of pain and Dr (Nephrologist) referred me. Immediately, the receptionist said, oh, I can get you in tomorrow morning at 9 am in the WPB office. WOW!!!!!! Oh just WOW. Thank you! Later in the day, I picked up the CT Scan CD and written report to have for the Urologist at 9am the next morning. (so thankful I did not procrastinate having that test because of the approaching storm)
- Tuesday, October 11, 9am, met with Urologist who reviewed my reports, interviewed me, examined me and told me I needed surgery immediately. He looked at the possibility of performing the surgery later that day but there were a few things that needed to happen before I could be cleared for surgery. He was concerned about finding a surgery room for the next day as there was a back-up in surgery appointments due to cancellations from the storm the previous week. He tried to get me in to the Jupiter Hospital Surgery Center where he would be all day, but there was not a room available. (Secretly I was hoping to have surgery at Good Samaritan where my dear friend is an anesthesiologist, but I would take wherever there was space at that point). When he confirmed that Jupiter was not an option, he told me that he could be a room at Good Samaritan Hospital first thing the next day and that I would be his only case at that hospital. Once he finished my surgery, he would plan to leave leave and spend the rest of his day at Jupiter Hospital. WOW! I almost cried. It was a win-win. Surgery the next day at the location I hoped for with my friend, Alex as the anesthesiologist who knows my history of severe nausea with any type of anesthesia. The Urologist gave me a few last minute instructions and I was off to do my part of making this surgery possible for the next day.
- I spent the rest of Tuesday doing hospital pre-op admitting paperwork, blood work, and surgery clearance from my Primary Care Doctor. Then on to making sure we had groceries and any other necessary details covered for the balance of the week. The day ended with Ron and Levi Baker giving me a Priesthood blessing.
- Another detail that fell in to place- I had already scheduled Seminary to be off for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday due to days off and late start days. One big load off of my mind as I was rushing around preparing for surgery.
- Wednesday, October 12, 7:30am Ron, Megan and I headed to Good Samaritan Hospital for my 9am procedure. It went well. Coming out of anesthesia was rough and I was in so much pain. So much pressure on my bladder and I just wanted to go to the bathroom. I did not realize I had a stent that was directly draining everything straight from my bladder so no need to rush to the bathroom.
- Wednesday-Friday morning at 9 am (Dr appointment to have stent removed) I spent the time sitting up in the big chair in our bedroom, taking my heavy meds, changing my pads and the bed (chair seat) liner pads at least once per hour. I was seriously not prepared for this stage of recovery-literally sitting in a puddle for 36 hours. (Sorry to be graphic but I want to remember this)
- Wednesday-Friday morning, I lived on apple slices and buttered toast. I just did not have an appetite but had to keep something in my stomach as I was taking pain meds and antibiotics that would rip my empty stomach up.
- Bright spot in all this process: ***Katherine came home from Gainesville and announced that she is moving home. We are so grateful for this. It is wonderful to see her making positive choices on her own. She also was home at a time I needed her so much. She cooked and baked and kept us fed with a multitude of healthy, delicious options.
- Friday morning at 9am could not come soon enough. Ron took me to the Urologist. I was literally counting the minutes until that stent came out. When the Dr removed it, I got the choice to see it or not. Of course, I wanted to see it and I am so glad I did. It was much longer than I thought but then I also understood why it was so painful to have over the past few days.
- The Dr explained that a small percentage of people experience severe pain AFTER the stent is removed and that my bladder, ureter, and kidneys are in defense mode with inflammation and they may react to all of that. Well...REACT they did. OUCH. I expected to be a little sore but NOTHING like the severe pain I experienced Friday afternoon through Sunday night.
- Friday afternoon: Nothing was touching the pain. NOTHING. I was walking around the house trying to fight the pain, crying, no-sobbing, and Katherine was wanting to help me but there was nothing she could do. I went in my room and had a strong impression (from the Spirit) that came to my mind, almost spoken, "Do you believe the things you are teaching your Seminary students?" ( We had just completed an intense discussion on the pain Christ experienced in Gethsemane and the role of Christ's Atonement in removing ALL pain from our lives, not just sins, but all pain, heartbreak, physical pain, etc.) immediately, I asked Katherine to send out a text to our family group chat and ask everyone to unite in prayer for me to be relieved of this intense pain. A few people responded with support and I knew everyone was praying for me. I am not sure of the time frame, but it seemed very soon, my body went limp, the pain subsided and I was able to sleep for 3 hours. It was a miracle I needed and I KNOW prayers were answered. I know Jesus Christ took away my pain.
- I spent the next 3 days taking heavy prescription pain medication supplemented with Extra Strength Tylenol in between doses. I would set the timer on my phone so I knew when to take the next doses of medication and I learned to stay ahead of the pain. I would count the minutes when it was getting close to the need for more pain medication. I developed a greater compassion for those who suffer with chronic pain.
- Sunday- Megan spoke in Church and my parents drove down from Orlando to hear her. I heard many great reports about her message and delivery, all of which, I know were accurate. She presented her initial message to me on Saturday night and I was very impressed with her preparation and delivery. After Sacrament meeting, everyone came home and had Katherine's homemade soup, took naps, and enjoyed being together. I was still weak and uncomfortable but hoping the worst was behind me. Bishop and Sister Kelly stopped by and Ron and the Bishop administered the Sacrament to me, something I was extremely grateful for.
- I arranged for a Seminary substitute for Monday and Tuesday with the hope I would be able to teach on Wednesday and Thursday (no school on Friday) By mid-day on Monday, I knew I needed to have a substitute for the entire week so I was able to arrange for someone to cover Wednesday and Thursday.
- Monday, Cheryl N brought lunch to me and it was a breath of fresh air. I felt so good that I stayed up all afternoon and evening with very little pain medication and no nap.
- Tuesday, I was a little wiped out so I took it easy.
- Wednesday, my PTA friend, Stephanie, stopped by with lunch and the gorgeous floral arrangement pictured above. It was good to see her and she made the visit brief as she did not want to wear me out. I appreciated that consideration. I knew I needed to pace myself as Thursday is the first day I need to go out. First thing in the morning, I have to go have blood drawn. Later in the day, it will be time to celebrate Ron's Birthday with our dear friends, Jan and Don, at our usual spot -Okeechobee Steak House. It will be my first big adventure and I am looking forward to it.
- So many people have called to check on me. I have especially appreciated and enjoyed the daily calls from my mom.
- I have been humbled by the many offers of prayer and to have my name put on the rolls of various LDS Temples around the world. I feel the strength and support of prayer.
I am grateful for my family, faith, and life.
This has been a humbling week for me, strengthening my faith, love, and compassion.
*** Update-Katherine decided not to move home.
*** Update-Katherine decided not to move home.