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Sick Baby Girl

The last few days have been pretty brutal. My sweet little 2-year old girl spent MLK day with a  high fever feeling miserable. Her fever has been coming and going ever since, including some very long nights. Her “Mimi” aka my mom was visiting because she wanted to attend my doctor’s appointment with me on Tuesday. She ended up staying until this morning (Thursday!) as seeing our sweet girl all sick just broke her heart.

On the bright side, my little one is feeling better today. My doctor’s appointment on Tuesday was a success as well. While I’m still using the catheter twice a day (first thing in the morning and last thing at night), my bladder is starting to work a lot better on its own. I’m thrilled to be free of them during the day and feeling much more confident that the surgery was successful. Apparently, it’s pretty common that patients with anxiety sometimes struggle as I have. Given all the pressure and build-up I put on this surgery, I was primed for a stressful start. So, as I’m learning to relax more and more, the urinary retention problems are subsiding. Whether it’s primarily physical or psychological or some combination thereof, the more recovery time that passes after the surgery, the better I’m feeling.

I’m also really honored that my close friend has decided to start a blog too! Check out Tina at I Can’t Run Anymore…you’ll be inspired!!

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Helluva Day! (And WAY more TMI)

Not a banner day to say the least. Day 12 post-surgery and I’ve now been to the ER twice and been prescribed 3 antibiotics. On Saturday, we tried again to take out the catheter. Suffice to say, after hours, I couldn’t pee. Called Kaiser. They said ER. We went. They gave me another catheter and more drugs. Ugh.

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This is a photo of my sister and I singing our dad’s favorite song on Christmas morning before breakfast. If you look closely at my waist, you can see the freaking catheter bag hanging out of my hoodie pocket.

Today it’s Monday and I was determined to be finished with the damn catheter. That was an epic fail. We took it out at 7am. I took my son to see “Frozen” at 10:30am. When we got home at 1pm, I was already in agony. I figured I’d be able to power through it if I took 2 Norco and a 600mg Ibuprofen. (Not so.) My Mom (and resident RN) had an appointment from which she didn’t return until 5pm. By the time she got home, I could no longer speak or stand up straight. I was not aware before this experience that not being able to “void” is as painful as transitioning from 9cm to 10cm in birth. It was freaking unbearably excruciating.

As I type, it is 8pm on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. I’ve had a catheter since 5:15pm and I’m no longer in pain. My big decision earlier tonight was whether to take more Norco or to start drinking wine. I went for the wine and thankfully the pain has subsided.

I’m still hoping this surgery (mid-urethral sling) was a good idea. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that I haven’t broken any sutures and that all is good on the inside. If you’re considering have a similar surgery, I hope you’ll go forward with it – maybe you won’t have such issues and HOPEFULLY I, too, will soon forget how crazy all of this has been and be grateful to be relieved (hee hee) of all my bladder issues. In the meantime, I just hope that my recovery continues, that I will run again with real abandon and that soon this will all be a distant memory.

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Recovery?

So today is post-surgery day 8 and things have not really improved substantially. I assume that somewhere inside, my body is healing. Outwardly, things aren’t progressing to my impatient standards.

Things were going really well until Sunday. Saturday night was super awesome. My husband planned us a holiday/birthday date night (months before we knew about my surgery) and it was so much fun. We shared a lovely steak dinner and then went to a local production of “A Christmas Carol.” I found a skirt that was long enough to hide the catheter (just barely!) so I felt pretty cute.

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Not bad considering a bag of my own urine was strapped to my leg, right?

The next day we were supposed to lay in bed and catch up on all of our TV shows. Instead, I woke up feeling a little funny down under. I quickly realized it was a urinary tract infection. After about an hour on the phone with the advice nurse, it became clear our only option was to visit the ER. That was 9am. You know how this story ends, right? We got home 7 hours later with only a bottle of antibiotics and less a $100 copay to show for our time.

Instead of leaving first thing the next morning for my mom’s house where we were to reunite with our children and begin our holiday merriment, we decided to indulge in a day of relaxation and television. The ER visit and subsequent failed “voiding trial” at the doctor’s office left us too tired and me too disappointed (with the catheter’s continued presence) to pack and get going.

Christmas Eve brought us to our children, a beautiful Christmas mass, a lovely dinner and 2 hours of our 2-year old screaming before finally collapsing to sleep. We seriously thought about putting her on the naughty list and scrapping all her gifts. My husband managed to assemble all the Santa toys while I watched from my couch perch with my feet up like a good girl…ignoring the shrieks from the other room.

It’s worth mentioning that the ER changed my catheter and repositioned the tubing on my leg. (Yes, I realize how nuts I’ve become that I’m sharing this TMI publicly…I only wish I’d read something similar when I was considering this surgery – even if it’s been tricky, I’d love to have known someone who already went through it.) The tubing repositioning meant the only clothing I could wear to Christmas mass (that didn’t include sweat pants) was a pair of jeans I bought at a thrift store for a quarter. Skinny jeans don’t exactly work with medical tubing.

Fast forwarding through our beautiful family Christmas and my renewed pain, a doctor from the ER called to tell me that my infection required a different antibiotic from the one I had been prescribed. I sweet-talked my older (sober) brother into picking up my prescription from the hospital pharmacy (which is where everyone wants to be on Christmas night, right?!?).

Still being in pain 5 days after the onset of the infection and 8 days after surgery, I’m starting to lose my positive attitude about this whole experience. I’m trying to remind myself of the great lessons in patience I’m gaining. I keep trying to tell myself that after this surgery I’ll be able to run without concern and that I’ll be able to throw away all the incontinence pads in my bathroom. All the weight I’m likely gaining as I gorge myself on holiday food like someone who runs 5 miles a day will vanish once I can again be the person who runs 5 miles a day.

Apparently writing is the answer because just getting all of this down is making me feel stronger and more confident that these short-term setbacks will all be worthwhile when I don’t have to worry about peeing my pants! 5 more weeks and I’ll be ready to run and ready to rock.

In the meantime, here’s a selfie of one of my holiday gifts…

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A BFF is the best gift in the world…especially when she gets you EXACTLY what you wanted!
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TMI, Over-sharing and The Post I’ve Been Too Embarrassed to Write

I’m pretty far behind on posting. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and I guess I didn’t feel great enough about running to write. Things have been a little weird.

On Sunday, I completed the Walnut Creek International Half Marathon. It was also really cold and I just didn’t feel quite right. I was feeling very anxious about the upcoming week and couldn’t bounce out of my funk enough to really enjoy the race.

The holiday season is always a little crazy but add to it a half marathon and an elective surgery and things get really crazy.

My 39th birthday was on Tuesday, was it definitely the high point of this crazy time…it was absolutely lovely. I celebrated with a family dinner after the race on Saturday, with bubbly happy hour with the hubs at the Press Club in SF and then again with my mom and a close girlfriend at Alta CA, also in SF. All the events were lovely and my heart was full of gratitude and joy. Now I’m 39 and that really doesn’t feel bad at all.

The next morning, my husband’s alarm went off at 5am. A little stunned from getting home at midnight, I stumbled out of bed, pulled on my sweatpants and brushed my teeth. I stored my wedding ring in the jewelry box, threw on my coat and then waited patiently while he got a chai latte at Starbucks. We got to the hospital for check-in promptly at 6am and I was taken into prep for surgery very quickly.

You see, the biggest impediment (besides running slowly) to my BQ has been my post-babies bladder. To put it plainly, I “leak” a lot. It’s been humiliating to wear incontinence pads during my runs, hoping no one notices the huge thing and further hoping it doesn’t fail me. For a while, I used a crazy device called a pessary, which is a small silicone cup designed to hold all of the girly parts in the right spots, alleviating the pressure on the bladder.

Running is the worst culprit of leakage for me, but don’t get me laughing too hard and heaven help me if I have to sneeze! After a pessary-assisted run ending with pee streaming down both my legs, I determined that the pessary wasn’t working for me. I came home to my son and nephew (5 and 8, respectively) who said, “WHOA! You PEE when you RUN? I gotta tell my Dad!!” That was a low point.

I tried doing daily kegel exercises prescribed by my “pelvic health Physical Therapist”. I did 6 months of Pilates. Between running and Pilates, my body has transformed and I’ve been so excited to wear smaller sizes. But my bladder? No noticeable change…particularly when running.

So I spent the first day of my 40th year under general anesthesia having a “mid-urethral sling” surgery. I now have a piece of mesh tape holding my urethra into the proper position to enable my pelvic floor muscles to do their jobs. Apparently it’s pretty common that the urethra swells during the surgical procedure which makes it impossible to pee. In that event, you have to wear a catheter until the swelling goes down. Guess what? I’m in the unfortunate position of having to wear a catheter. Banner day…let me tell you. Here’s hoping I’m able to pee on Monday during my “Voiding Trial” appointment at the doctor’s office. If not? I’ll be sipping my Christmas eggnog with a rubber tube attached a leg bag. Upside? I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to pee.

So keep your fingers crossed! If all goes to plan, 6 weeks from now I’ll go back to running and start kicking ass toward qualifying for Boston.