There hasn’t been a whole lot of changes going on for me, so I haven’t been posting much. Today marks 10 weeks since surgery, and this will likely be the last regularly scheduled photo update….
Last week I noticed those yellow spots that look like old bruises. They are still there, so I have no idea what they are.
The incision scar continues to fade, and now that my chest/belly hairs are growing back the scar is partially hidden just a bit. Just a bit.
Last week I got my Rx for celecoxib (Celebrex). The first night was stellar. The next day or so, not so much, but I’ve been taking it twice a day as prescribed and have been virtually pain-free in my hip and knee. Excellent! I am happy to have found something that actually stops or blocks (probably just blocks) the pain I’ve been living with for years. 🙂
I actually did some dyeing over the weekend – a small custom order. It took altogether far too much longer than it should have. But it is mostly now done, hanging to dry. I can process it tomorrow or Thursday, and ship on Friday. And then I can start another cycle.
I am learning which steps of the dye process I need to modify or slow down. I knew that would happen, of course, but actually trying to dye forced me to see additional areas of changes I need to make.
Not much else to report for the moment. Both my blood glucose and blood pressure numbers remain fairly steady and quite with healthy range, so I’m happy with that. But I really do need to start eating more.
Yesterday, UPS brought my new Rollator, the Drive “Nitro”.
It most ways it is easier for walking, and the big wheels roll over small obstacles that confounded my previous walker. And it is a good size for moving bins of wet yarns from the soaker tubs into the kitchen for working, and from the steamer to outside. I count it a good purchase.
Early this morning I took my walk to the corner. A little while ago, I took a walk to the corner and then down the street to the next corner. Yeah, I felt it.
I also get my new Rx yesterday, celecoxib (generic Celebrex). I took one last night and within an hour I had a truly painfree evening and overnight. I took one this morning after breakfast, and I hurt sooooo much in my hip and knee again. WTF?? I’ll give it a week and see how things change, but for right now, post-walk, it is too painful now to walk around and do things. Bummer. I’ll rest a bit and see if I can start pulling yarns so I can dye some tomorrow. That’ll be nice.
So today marks nine weeks since surgery. The scar is beginning to lighten a bit, AND my chest/belly hair is growing back in to help disguise part of the scar.
There are a couple of yellow spots about an inch left and right of my navel and up about an inch. They look like old bruises or something. Not sure what they are from. Also, in the picture, it seems like a dull faded bruise above the yellow marks as well. Oh well….
So, how am I feeling? Generally, I am feeling more and more like my old self, except that my hip continues to give me a lot of grief. I should be getting the Celebrex in the mail tomorrow or the next day. I’m also supposed to be getting the new walker later this week. Once that is here I will be more able to be moving yarns here and there as I need to, so that will be a good measure of progress when I can start working. I’m looking forward to that.
This morning, Harris County Judge Hidalgo issued a “stay-at-home” order for the county. Not strictly a lock-down, and various essential businesses will be allowed to remain open. But for the most part people are being advised to work at home if they can, and only leave their homes for essential errands like groceries or doctor visits. For me, this isn’t a big deal since I hardly ever go anywhere at all, but it will definitely impact a large chunk of the population.
Today will be the last day for the visiting nurse to check me over. Last week was my last PT visit.
Okay, so today marks 8 weeks since my surgery. It is hard to see the difference from the picture two weeks ago, but I can feel a difference in the scar.
I’m still not sure what that little dogleg jog to the left was all about. I was told that the discoloration is greater below the waistline is because it wasn’t open to the air as much. I don’t know. Maybe that’s where they had to go back in to install the drainage tube in the second surgery; the actual opening for the tube itself is barely a tiny line.
Yesterday was my last visit with the PT. I appreciate his efforts, and I think he did his job well, encouraging me to walk as well as to do my leg exercises when I could. I pretty much think some of those exercises aggravated my hip too much. I didn’t do any of them today and I’m nearly pain free in the hip. 🙂
Yesterday afternoon, I was going to package some things to send to my granddaughter. I thought I could fit them into the large Priority Flat-Rate box. Sadly, my large boxes were under some other things. I had to lift and move all those things, and then move and lift the box of priority boxes. Just doing that much wore me out and seriously set my hip and knee and sciatica pains to screaming. And, it turned out a large priority flat-rate box isn’t half big enough for what I need to send. Dammit. So I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening practically crying in pain. 🙁
Clearly I am not ready to get back to working just yet, not if a few minutes of shifting things put me down so quickly. Obviously, of course, I am well aware of what is required for a reqular dye session, and it has nothing to do with shifting boxes around. What I need for dyeing is fairly straight forward, so next week I will try to begin working. Slowly, cautiously, carefully, but I have to start somewhere, right?
My glucose numbers seem to be doing fairly well — no super high or low numbers, although sometimes the numbers confuse me. I’m still learning how to eat, I guess.
Friday I put in a grocery order at Kroger and the soonest delivery window was 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. today. I’ve been hearing that other people have been having their pick-up orders at Walmart cancelled, without reason or warning, so I was concerned. But my delivery was made just about 4:30, as promised. I asked for six 5-oz cans of tuna, and she brought me two 12-oz cans, and she couldn’t find my cereal. But otherwise I am happy with Kroger delivery, using Instacart shoppers instead of in-store personnel.
Slept sorta okay last night. A couple hours, then awake for almost an hour, then several more hours of sleep. Still not a good eight hours, and still waking up to pee several times. But when I got up this morning I realized I am actually starting to feel almost normal. Almost.
And when I took my glucose reading, it was only 90! Very nice.
The hip and leg still hurt, but not quite as much. My general overall body is pretty good, and the occasional aches and pains I’ve been feeling are starting to subside as well, so I’m guessing that is part of the healing process and not a bunch of new problems cropping up to worry about.
Tuesday will be eight weeks since surgery. I’m not naive enough to think there is anything magical about that (or any) time marker. It just means I’ll be able to do a little more than I’ve been doing.
All this coronavirus panic is crazy, but understandable. Schools are closing, grocery stores are cutting back on their hours, and all sorts of public gathering places are shutting down.
I have no idea what I did, or what might be causing it, but my right hip is giving me SO MUCH grief and pain this morning!!
Actually, I suspect it might have to do with doing the leg exercises with the resistance band. But that doesn’t really make a lot of sense — the band I use is very light-weight and the exercises are supposed to be strengthening muscle to better support the joint.
I truly do not know why this is happening, but I DO know that there is not a single position in which I can sit, stand, recline, walk, or anything without the hip firing off pain signals constantly. I can’t even sit on the toilet without severe pain interfering with why I’m sitting there. On a side note, however, now that I’ve stopped taking the iron supplements, I don’t have to sit there forever practicing my Lamaze breathing just to make something happen. But still, how crazy stupid is that when I can’t sit on the toilet like I always have done? 🙁
An hour later (and 3 ibuprofen later) the pain is beginning to calm down. Sheesh!
Mid-Afternoon — So I went to Kroger this morning, ordered meals from Mai Thai (their House Special Lo Mein, and their Chicken and Broccoli). Ate half of the Lo Mein for lunch; actually I ate most of the goodies and hardly any of the noodles.
Took an hour and a half nap, and just now took my walk to the end of the block. Oh good golly, my legs feel so heavy and tired and sore; I could barely walk today. Very strange, since I’ve done that walk 2 or 3 times a day previously.
I’m guessing it is just one of those ‘down’ days on the road to recovery. And possibly not enough sleep. And possibly using the resistance bands for my leg exercises. Or a combination of it all. Hell, I don’t know. It all just hurts. Tomorrow is another day, I suppose.
Today marks seven weeks since surgery. Things are improving, and I continue to work on getting even better. Some days it feels like I will never have the strength or endurance to do what I want, but I know that is an illusion. I push a little more each day and I can see results.
I took two walks to the corner today, and did two 10-rep sets of the leg exercises, both times with resistance bands around the ankles. I can feel it in my legs even now, so I know it was good but tiring. I hope that contributes to some sleep later this evening.
I really don’t have a lot to say right now, but I did want to mark time as it has been another week.
Yesterday I went to see the endocrinologist about my diabetes numbers. I took my daily food/insulin log and my meter. He didn’t look at the meter, but flipped through my log. He said it looks like I’m eating enough, and he was really pleased that my A1C has come down so much.
As a result, he has modified my insulin routine. I’ll still take the Lantus in the morning, but now I am to do a finger-stick before each meal, and only use the Novolog if my reading is over 130. Lantus is the long-acting, all-day insulin, and Novolog is the fast-acting insulin that gets to work in about 15 minutes and peaks at about 2 hours.
When I saw my PCP on Monday, I weight 156. Yesterday they weighed me at 147. So I seem to still be losing weight and I’m not sure why. I suspect it is because my intestinal tract continues to give me grief and I don’t always eat a lot like I used to, so I have some work to do in this regard. Part of it requires getting more exercise, burning calories, and replenishing my system more regularly. I do still tire quite easily, so getting lots of exercise is difficult. Plus, as I discussed with my PT yesterday, a LOT of the exercises for strength-building involve my abdominal area. He showed me an anatomy picture of all the layers of abdominal muscles that had to be cut for the surgery. I had no idea it was that involved. So I really need to be careful with picking up more than a few pounds, and probably will need to exercise caution for many months to come; probably more careful than I’ve tried to be even now. UGH!
For the last week or two I’ve been working on a Feather-and-Fan type stole/scarf, using up sock yarn. I have made LOTS of errors along the way, usually involving missed yarn-overs. I just correct the stitch count on the next repeat. But one big error, I repeated rows 1 and 2 before doing a row 3 and it is a really noticeable welt. So last night I ripped out the 2nd color completely and today I will rip out on the black down to that problem area and start over. It will be a challenge to pick up all 100 stitches, but since it is entirely knits or purls along that row and no yarn-overs there, it shouldn’t be too horrible. Just need a lot of light. And patience.
So, yesterday I went to see my primary care physician. To start the day, I took a LOT of energy to fight with my scraggly appearance and get back to my normal self.
It took quite a bit longer than my normal grooming routine, but this is how it ended up:
After a nap I was able to dress myself and get to clinic in plenty of time. I was way early, so I got in some knitting time; so early that my Dr. actually came out, saw me, and said he was out to get his own physical done. He was back in plenty of time, since his nurse took me in and began with the preliminary stuff.
When the Dr arrived, we discussed the pain in my hip as well as the peripheral neuropathy and the pain/burning in my feet. He extended my Rx for Tramadol, and also gave me a Rx for Gabapentin for the neuropathy. Then he sent me off for a blood draw to check my A1C as well as having some X-rays done on my hip.
The X-rays weren’t fun. I had to lie on a hard cold metal table, for starters. Because I’ve lost nearly all my butt fat, my tailbone had zero padding and that hurt. Then the technician had to move my leg to various positions and that hurt some more. And I had to take off my pants and put on a pair of paper ‘shorts’, looked like over-sized granny panties. Sooooo fashionable! LOL
And then the blood draw for the A1C. She hurt me inserting the needle. Usually these things don’t hurt me much. Oh well.
And then I had to wait for the new Rx and old Rx refills to be filled, so I got to sit and knit some more while waiting. I ended up spending over $300.00 for all the meds and stuff. I knew that would happen, though — start of the year, so I had to pay this year’s Rx deductible ($100.00). And while I came home with three months of insulin injector pens, they failed to included the disposable needles that are used with the pens, so I had to call and request those be mailed to me. Thankfully I have enough needles for several more days.
I took the Tramadol and Gabapentin in the evening, and managed to get some sleep. I still woke up a few times in the night, but at least I wasn’t thrashing about in the bed from the various pains and stuff, and didn’t get up and stay up until almost 5:00. Nice.
So this morning I received several emails announcing results from yesterday’s blood draw and X-rays. First was about the X-rays: “Your results showed moderate arthritis of the hip and narrowing of the cartilaginous surfaces. This arthritis or degenerative damage is wear and tear that has happened over the years.” That’s not much different from what a rheumatologist (specialist — $35.00 per visit) would be able to tell me, and I can go online to find various exercises and other coping skills to deal with the pain so I can stay mobile. That’s fine.
And then I got another message a couple hours later, regarding my blood draw. “Mr. Whiting, Your a1c has gone down dramatically-I would shoot Dr. Thomas a message if he hant refilled your insulin yet and see if he wants to decrease the dose.” Then I looked at the numbers below: In November my A1C was 12.4%. Yesterday it was only 5.8%. Holy shit, that’s a dramatic drop!
A couple hours after reading that message, my doctor’s office called while my granddaughter was here, in order to personally announce my A1C and to congratulate me on such improvement. Yayyy for me, eh?
So it was a good and fruitful Dr. visit. I still need to see my endocrinologist with my new A1C number, and show him my daily log book with my finger stick numbers and what I’ve been eating each day. I assuming he will tell me to continue as I have been, OR he may revise my insulin dosing or something. I will likely always have to monitor, and possibly take insulin, but if I remain diligent and don’t get cocky I may be able to prevent further damage to my body caused by out-of-control diabetes.
Meanwhile, today I am feeling quite tired. Devyn accompanied me on a walk to the corner, and I did some of my leg exercises, but mostly while she was here I sat on the couch, hurting in my hip and leg, but I did take 3 ibuprofen and now it’s not so bad. I also took an hour and a half nap soon as Devyn left. 🙂
I had a really REALLY rough night, didn’t get much sleep AT ALL, just a few random hours here and there. Finally quit trying around 9:00 this morning, after a particularly deep but brief sleep. Got up, showered, and went to Kroger. I appreciate Kroger delivery service, but I had coupons for coffee and rotisserie chicken and delivery doesn’t process coupons. 🙂 My Lyft ride there was smooth and easy; the one coming home seemed rather distracted and unsure how to drive.
My blood sugar this morning was only 85, so that’s a good thing, I guess.
I’ve always been conscious of my body’s appearance. I’ve never been particularly studly or anything like that, of course, but only now that I have a scar down my front I am really not happy. Taking a picture from above as I lay back makes it quite visible. I’m hoping this will eventually fade into barely visible white lines like my hernia surgery scars, visible in the picture. They said in the hospital that the section below the belt line has the darker discoloration because it isn’t as open and uncovered, so I’m trying to spend as much time uncovered as I can now. The incision went from just at the tip of my sternum to down just above the pubic bone, roughly 12 inches altogether.
Looking at it like this, I can see it really was pretty major surgery. I have no idea just how much of my innards they had to move aside in order to reach the aorta, nor do I really want to know. Someday I might look it up, but I’m not ready just yet.
Recovery is not at all as easy as I had anticipated. I still tire so very easily after just the slightest exertion. Tomorrow I see the Dr. for pain meds for the peripheral neuropathy in the feet, and hopefully do something about the hip/leg pain that has dogged me the last week or so. It is difficult to do my exercises when there is pain there making it difficult to even walk at all. 🙁