Thursday, August 28, 2008

First Day of School - Start of a New Era

Monday, August 25 was the first day back to school for our boys. I can't believe it is already that time of year. I felt so unprepared - thank goodness for Shamma because if it wouldn't have been for her taking the boys school shopping, who knows what supplies & clothes they would have to suffer with.

Our oldest son is officially a Junior High School student. So far, he loves it. He likes changing classes and not having the same teacher all day long. Jerry wakes him up at 6:00 am so he can be ready to catch the bus at 7:00. So far, so good - there have been no complaints about having to get up so early.

Austin has football practice everyday after school from 3:30-5:30. He likes practice & told us he thinks he made the varsity 7th grade team. We don't care which team he made as long as he is having fun. On nights that Aidan has football practice from 5:30-7:30, Austin doesn't get home until Jerry & Aidan get home from practice so that makes for a long day for him, but you know Austin, he doesn't complain.

Aidan started second grade on Monday. He likes his teacher, although on the second day he came home complaining of a headache because his teacher talked too much. Oh the life of an eight-year-old. I wish I had his problems.

Football is going well for Aidan (Jerry gives me the play-by-play each evening after practice). He had his first scrimmage on Tuesday evening against Schuylkill Valley. Jerry said he was great.

In the following pictures, you can see him (#98 - far right side) get the ball and run it up the side. It kills me that I can't go to these things, but I have to devote my energy to getting better.

I went to see the surgeon yesterday for a follow up appointment & he said the incision looks good & I probably will only need to have the wound vac for another two weeks! Woo Hoo! He took out my other drain, but said the feeding tube will need to stay in until he sees me again on September 15. I feel so much better knowing that there is an end in sight. When they originally told me that I would need to have this contraption on me for four to six weeks - UGH! To say I was depressed is an understatement. I would definitely have to say that it is all the prayers I have been getting that is making this happen. Thank you so much to those of you who have been sending your prayers my way. It means so much.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Home - At Last!

I am typing this from the comfort of my very own living room & after a 10 day stay at the luxurious Reading Hospital & Medical Center let me just tell you in the immortal words of Dorothy - "There's no place like home!"

For those of you who weren't aware that I was in the hospital, here is a brief overview of what happened.

Starting right around my birthday in February of this year, I began to experience a slight pain in my abdominal region. I (having earned my PhD from the Bowmansville Technical Institute) just thought it was indigestion. I self medicated (Tums, Naproxium Sodium, etc.) and just continued on my happy existence.

I, the great and powerful Oz, uh, Tracy did not have the energy nor the time to be sick.

Fast forward to about a month ago. I had been happily medicating along, not thinking that there could be a greater underlying problem, or that I could be creating one.

While we were on vacation in Potter County the week of July 25 through August 3, I experienced excruciating pain in the middle of the night that almost sent me to Charles Cole Memorial Hospital in Coudersport. I made my way through that night, but I knew my body was telling me that something wasn't right.

I guess my body had finally had enough. In the wee morning hours of August 11, 2008, I awoke with a pain like no other. I tried to lay on the floor in our bedroom & stretch out - "Maybe it's just a cramp!", but there was no relief.

I awoke my sweet husband & told him - "I have to go to the hospital, it hurts so bad.".

Let me just make this disclaimer: I have the most wonderful, sweet, understanding & amazing husband in the whole world. You can argue with me all you want, but he has just been my rock the past two weeks.

We arrived at Reading Hospital & most everything over the first few days is just a blur - literally.

Initially, I was diagnosed as having an ulcer. That was totally understandable to me. Stress + Naproxium Sodium=Ulcer. Naproxium Sodium is terrible apparently to people who have had bariatric surgery. Simple - right? WRONG!

They began running a series of tests which also indicated that my hemoglobin was really low and that I would need a blood transfusion. That indicates internal bleeding - FANTASTIC!

Well, they started me on some medicine for my ulcer, gave me one bag of blood & decided to admit me to the hospital. I received another bag of blood once I got to my room. Over the next day and a half of poking & prodding, my pain level had not gone down from a "10". The doctors could not understand why I was experiencing such high levels of pain.

It was then decided that I would have an endoscopy to see exactly what was going on in my digestive region. Jerry has also told me that sometime over these two days I had a cat scan, but I have no recollection of this.

It was discovered that I had a perforated ulcer located exactly at the point where my small intestine meets my stomach & that by taking the Naproxium, it had created an ulcer that had eaten away approximately half of the connection. This created an emergency surgery scenario which then placed me in the intensive care unit for two days and then to a "regular" room for a week.

I had X-Rays, cat-scans, swallowing tests, blood tests and the most miraculous thing of all...a Wound Vac. I currently have attached to my stomach a vacuum device.

As of today, my wound on my stomach measured 18 cm long (below the breastbone to the belly button), 4.5 cm wide, and 2 cm deep. The nurse came in and removed the wet-to-dry pack they had sent me home from the hospital with and packed the wound with foam (think air-conditioner filter foam), placed a thin layer of plastic on the top and then attached the wound vac, turned it on and Voila! it sucks fast and creates a seal that germs cannot get through. This encourages healing from the inside out. I will have this little treasure for the next four to six weeks - until it is healed. This also means I am home bound for the next four to six weeks - unless I go to church or go to get my hair done - those are the only two exceptions that I am allowed to leave the house. It could get mighty interesting around these here parts. Hopefully as each days goes I will feel stronger & able to do more around the house.

My mom came down on Monday, August 18 & has just been amazing. She came over (as did Tricia) and then proceeded to clean Austin's room, do laundry, cook, run the boys to football practice - I have the best parents in the whole world.

The week before, Jerry's sister Merry & her kids kept the boys for the entire week while Jerry was stuck at the hospital with me.

I cannot say thank you enough to all of these wonderful people who came to our rescue. I love you all so dearly, words cannot express.