Thursday, April 2, 2009

Okay, here it is, my first blog! (Not sure if I should laugh or cry)

I've got to admit, I never thought I'd be a "blogger". I've never had anything against the idea, just didn't think it was for me. But as the title of my blog says, I needed something to help me keep my sanity. My life had gone along pretty well for the first 30 years. Good childhood, met and married what seemed like a good steady guy, had 3 great boys and even went back to school and got an education (I'm an RN). But somewhere along the way, my life became a soap opera. My husband started cheating on me with my brother's wife (honest!), and as he obviously liked variety, he checked out a few other married women. So fast forward a few months, and he finally moves out of the house, on Father's Day! But life did go on, and after some adjustment, I found out that my boys and I were actually happier without him living with us. We settled back down, I kept working (thank goodness for that education!), and of course taking care of my boys. Fast forward a few years, and I find out that my oldest son is not just depressed, but is bipolar. While this did explain so much about the problems the poor kid was having, it was still a pretty traumatic event for us. But again, we hung in there, adjusted some more, my son took his meds and life evened back out. Now along the way, and I can't imagine a woman out there who would not understand this, my weight kept climbing. I had gestational diabetes with two of my pregnancies, and was told then that I would probably become diabetic within 10 years. The prediction was unfortunately accurate, and so I added diabetes to the growing list of health problems associated with obesity that I already had such as high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. Fast forward again to 2005. I start having this lovely happening after meals: if I stood up or was too active after meals, I would throw up, repeatedly, until it was only dry heaves. Needless to say, not something I wanted to keep doing. After a false diagnosis at my small local hospital, I finally found out I had a large ventral hernia. For the hernia repair surgery to be successful, I needed to loose weight. I weighed 425 pounds at the time. My insurance, of course, wouldn't pay for gastric bypass surgery. I finally meet a surgeon who agreed to do the hernia repair, and to basically "throw" the gastric bypass in for free. But, as we all know, things could not possibly go smoothly. A week after surgery, although I was having no problems as far at the gastric bypass surgery is concerned, I started to notice an odor, sort of like rotted broccoli, around my wound. Yup, major wound infection that leads to the wound, which stretches from sternum to pelvis, being reopened and debrided. Then the wound was left open to heal from the inside out. The wound required dressing changes (long, complex, tiring, painful) twice a day. Before I had the surgery I had been working for a home health agency, so of course they are the ones I had called in to take care of me. Only problem--my home health agency was not covered by the insurance I had through that home health agency as an employee! Believe me, was confusing to me, also. By the time I learned this, the nurses had been coming out a week, and I found out that I was going to have to pay for all that time out of my pocket. Eventually, once I knew I wouldn't be able to go back to work anytime in the near future, I had to resign my position at the home health agency and apply for Medicaid and my nurses and supplies were again covered. Okay, fast forward again, to a year later, fall of 2006. I get to have another hernia repair, this one more permanent as I had lost 125 pounds. But guess what? The first surgery wasn't just a fluke--I again end up with wound infections and a huge abscess that led to 3 other surgeries. It again took a year for the huge, gaping wound to heal, then in the fall of 2007, a plastic surgeon takes off 18 pounds of excess skin from my abdomen, the loose skin from where I had lost weight. Unfortunately, I still had trouble healing, but at least that time, it's a more closed wound and not nearly as large, so I could at least handle the dressing changes alone. But I was also left to deal with chronic pain that the surgeons think is due to scar tissue from the many surgeries. And to make life even better, I learned that perhaps I'm not just depressed, I'm also bipolar, and all these stressful events over the past few years have brought it out. So I got to add some more medicine to my already overcrowded medicine box, and just wait to see what the next even will be in my soap opera life. To make it through all this, and to keep my hands and mind busy, I had to find something that I could do while recovering. (Next blog: what I've done with my time over the past few years, since I'm still unable to work, and no, I haven't turned to a life of crime)

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