Monday, May 30, 2016

30 Day Blog Challenge. Day 29: Have I ever had surgery/been hospitalized? If so, why?

Duh. If you have read my blogs then you know this to be a fact.

There is a list, small one thankfully, but there is one.

So let’s go in a particular order.

I was able to survive my childhood with never breaking a bone or having any significant issues. 

1.  Post high school I snapped my left ankle pretty good so I still have problems with it to this day.

2. I had a motorcycle accident in college and punctured the lower left leg and calf muscle.  It left a nice scar and my left calf muscle is about half what it normally should be.

Now stuff gets real.

3. January of 2007 was the heart attack. It was vicious. I had a Stent procedure done and half my heart was stented. 

4. February of 2007 was the second half of my heart’s stent procedure.

5. August of 2007 I had 4 wisdom teeth cut out. It was an outpatient surgery where they put me under to cut them out.

6. January of 2008 was a weird moment for me.  I was walking out of a Walmart and when the door opened my right ear starting ringing and it would not stop.  As I was driving home, I started to get dizzy and the noise grew louder in louder in my right ear.  Got home and tried some ear wax remover to see if that was it. It didn’t work.  I started to freak out so I told my mom I needed to go to the hospital. I was having a panic attack and thought it was a heart attack.  I went to the ER and my heart was fine. They checked me and said I was having vertigo. At that point I lost hearing in my right ear.  After a CAT scan it was determined that a nerve snapped in my ear and the hearing is gone forever. It sucks.

7. April of 2009. I was overweight… a lot over.  My cardiologist, PCP and Endocrinologist suggested I take major action to lose a lot of weight rapidly. It was serious as my heart was not enjoying trying to work with such a big ass.  So I went to a weight loss doctor and went thru a 90 day process and determined the Lap Band was the best method.  So under direction of all my doctors I had the procedure done.  Well it never worked.  I either had it filled and could not eat, literally starved, or it was loosened and it never restricted food. Turns out the doctor set it too high so it had no impact. I ended up getting a large needle and jammed it into the port and emptied the band completely so I could function.

Now this is where SHIT REALLY GETS REAL…

8. Last summer I decided I wanted to have the lap band removed because it caused physical pain.  If I bent over too far the port would flip and it was like having a stomach cramp with needles attached.  I would have to physically reset it and that was worse. A friend used a weight loss doctor and suggested I go to him.  So I went.  They were pretty strict on their process due to my prior heart procedures, so they did stomach x-rays where I had to drink barium and all.  It was gross. Next I had to do an Upper GI.  This is where the issues started. 

So I went in for the Upper GI. It was quick.  When I woke up and waited for my ride they had me sign forms because they found tumors and needed to biopsy them and needed my approval to get them tested. They said if there were any issues, they would call.

The Thursday of the following week was my last day before PTO as I was flying to NYC the next morning for a weekend getaway with a friend before my Training class the next week in Hartford.  So I am at work and on the phone and get a local call. I could not answer it and whoever called did not leave a message.  So when I got off the phone and googled it, it was the Forest Park Medical Center where I had the MRI done. I called and said I missed a call. The lady said there should have been a voicemail message but there wasn’t. So I called the fat doctor to see if there were issues and was told that they have not received my results back so as of now, no issues.

I went to NYC and then Hartford for the following week.  When I got back almost another week passed when I decided to call my fat doctor.  They told me they had been calling me daily and I said I had never received a call or missed call. I confirmed my number and they had transposed 2 numbers.  I was like “really?”  So anyway, they put me on the phone with the Tech and I was told I needed to come in ASAP.  I was like, “I am at work you can tell me now.” She said no and told me again that I needed to come in. At this point I am getting pissed.  You cannot transpose a contact number and have some apparent important info and not at least email a brother.

So after almost cussing her out she finally gives in and tells me “The biopsies came back positive on your tumors.”  So needless to say I drove right over. So I get there and they show me the results and pictures of what was going on and we started the process to get to surgery.  I had to do a sleep study then a stress test before things could be authorized.  They told me they could remove the band and do chemo/radiation to get the tumors dealt with since they were in a small cluster and it was very early in development. I had uncles die from stomach cancer so I declined that option and went for the removal.

So under the direction of an oncologist and my fat doctor, they removed about 90% of my stomach via surgery similar to the gastric sleeve procedure.  They were able to leave just enough to form a tube so I could have some relatively normal functions.  They tested all the tissue cut out and there was no spreading or growth outside the cluster so there was nothing further that needed to be done.  It has caused a lot of negative side effects.  I have to take a zillion pills a day and if I eat sugar I get seriously sick. I have to drink a lot of liquid protein daily and water.  I have lost a lot of weight which is ultimately the healthiest path for me.

I did not let many people know about all this as it was something that I figured would not be as big of a deal as people would make it out to be plus too many people in my life freak out over little crap. I told my job since I was going to miss work. It cost me a ton of money. Between the $2500 deductible and around $14,000 in non-covered bills, it has been difficult.  But all in all, I am alive and that is the point.  

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