Two Weeks Post-Surgery

Tomorrow will mark two weeks since my surgery. (You can read about the condition/procedure here and the 2 day post-surgery report here.) It has been quite a roller coaster, for lack of a better metaphor. My initial recovery was quite speedy, and I was able to have all the tubes, etc. detached early and leave the hospital sooner than expected, which I was SO thankful for. But I feel like now I’ve hit a bit of a wall. I keep telling myself, “Your surgery was only ___ days ago!” (today 13 fills that blank) but I still hope and pray for a slight improvement in the pain I’m experiencing. At least once a day, while sitting up or standing, it will get to be too much and I think, “I need to lay down. Now.

I guess when your rib cage is in a specific spot for 26 years and then it gets moved, it doesn’t accept that well. It hurts. I think that’s why my back is aching terribly as well. Things are just not where I’m used to them being, and that’s incredibly uncomfortable. Also, I’m supposed to either lay flat or sit up at a 90 degree angle for the next few weeks, and as someone who’s pre-surgery posture was something like this:

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… it’s been uncomfortable. This has been the main difficulty (and literal pain) since the surgery and the one thing that is keeping me from “feeling better.” I’m trying to be thankful and trust God’s timing though. Patience is a difficult thing to learn.

The incision hasn’t been too uncomfortable, just itchy, although parts of it are still numb. According to my family practice doctor, nerves grow back at a rate of 1mm per day, which explains why I can’t feel parts of my chest still. It’s an odd sensation, but one I’m thankful for, as it might be keeping more pain at bay.

One symptom that caught me by surprise is the weight of the bar on my chest. I hadn’t really expected to be able to feel the weight. The bar, I believe, is about 6 inches long, and it is made of steel, but I don’t think it actually weighs much. Nonetheless, I can feel the weight, especially when I lay on my back. It feels as if my cell phone is lying flat on my chest, in fact I’ve reached for it a few times, only to find nothing there. I suppose I’ll get used to it over the 9 months I’ll have the bar in. For now, I just have to keep the kitties off of it as they try to sneak-attack at night.

For the last four days or so, I’ve actually been trying to get up and get dressed. Sam had to help at first, but yesterday I got dressed all by myself and it felt like an accomplishment, even though it hurt a bit. Getting ready at least makes me feel a little more active, even if I am still stuck in the house most of the day. I was beginning to tire of pajamas and this:

It’s amazing how just changing from sweats to jeans and putting on some make-up can help. Oh make-up, that reminds me of one more thing… my right arm is a little weak and shaky still from the surgery. I don’t have my normal muscle strength in that arm – a mug of coffee feels incredibly heavy – and my right thumb feels constantly asleep. My family doctor assured me that’s common and it should improve as I recover. For now, I do my granny arm stretches and hold my coffee in my left hand. Not too terrible to adjust to. Although I am definitely not ambidextrous when it comes to applying make-up. It is veerrryy hard to put on eye make-up with my left hand, so please excuse me if I look like Tammy Faye Bakker for the next few weeks.

My back and ribs are telling me I’ve been sitting up for too long, so I’m going to go lay flat until I can take more pain medicine. Hopefully when I look back at this post in a week, two weeks, a month, etc. I will see some real improvements. Until then, I do ask for your prayers, for both my physical symptoms and that I remain focused on Christ and the joy that comes from Him. Cheers!

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4 thoughts on “Two Weeks Post-Surgery

  1. Leslie, all of this sounds so familiar. Ten years ago when I had open heart surgery, they cracked my chest open as well. Around the two week mark, when I had assumed I would start to feel slightly LESS horrible, things got worse. My ribcage throbbed and the pain was unrelenting. After a couple of weeks you’re really anxious to get off the pain meds, but your pain level seems even worse than it was when you first got home from the hospital. I know it’s discouraging, but believe me it begins to get better soon. Every time you sneeze or cough will hurt for at least six months, but day to day stuff improves dramatically after four weeks. Hang in there dear!

  2. I know it probably doesn’t feel like you are making much in the way of improvement, you are. Each day that you are able to dress yourself, each day that you can sit up for a few minutes longer, each day that you regain a tiny bit of strength, you are making huge strides. Having a major surgery is taxing on the body and some days you will feel pretty good and other days, you will feel like the process is never going to end, but it will. One day you will be amazed at just how much better you feel and the memories of all of this will be in the distant past. Take it slow, rejoice in even the most miniscule improvements, and keep your positive attitude. I think you are doing great and I will be praying for you!

  3. I’m so sorry you are in so much pain! You are in our prayers every day. By His stripes we are healed. Love, Nanny

    Sent from my iPad

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  4. Pingback: Surgery #2 – Looking Back | Adventures in Anglia

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