Let's Catch Up: 2019 Review, part two

My first 2019 review got longer than anticipated, so I divided the year in half. Be sure to check out the first half of 2019 in this post.

Both summaries include links to my Instagram posts (where I’ve remained active) for further details, when they’re available. A few items, especially in part one, also include links to blog posts. All links below are to my own material.

Now, without further ado, let’s get to the summary! This post starts with July 2019:

July

  • As you probably noticed in the first half of 2019, I ended up ovulating at the beginning of every month. July first, we did our fourth medicated intrauterine insemination (IUI). Once again, I tried letrozole to induce ovulation and progesterone for two weeks after the IUI. Again, we got a negative.
  • I shared the first bowl I made in my wheel pottery class. It turned out gorgeous! My class ended in mid-July.
  • My mother-in-law’s cousin’s husband and son both do drag racing, and were participating in a race at the local racetrack. So we got to go see drag racing for the first time! It was fun!
  • The cortisone injection wore off, so I was back in agony. Once I got the negative test for the IUI, I called the surgeon to schedule my surgery. Instagram post about it here.
  • July 22nd, I heard back from the surgeon’s office. My surgeon had moved offices (which I knew) and I was going to be her first patient in the new practice. My surgery was scheduled for August 13th, two hours from our house. Less than a month to prepare for my biggest surgery to date!
  • Before surgery, I redyed my hair so it was vibrant for recovery, and got it cut really short so it would be easy to care for and shorten my shower time.
MRI of my right hip before surgery. You can see the tear at about 10 or 11 o’clock on the circle.

August

  • The beginning of August was spent on surgery prep. Dan was starting school back up the week after my surgery, and this was definitely going to be my biggest surgery ever. I’d had three “real” surgeries (four if you include my wisdom teeth removal) before the hip surgery, progressively getting more involved each time: ovarian cyst removal, left eardrum repair, and my cubital tunnel release surgery. My house is not accessible, so the recovery from hip surgery was daunting.
  • I explained in detail what was going to happen in my surgery, here. We drove up to Vail (two hours from our house) the day before my surgery. I had my pre-op appointment, and then we spent the night in a hotel because my surgery was incredibly early in the morning.
  • Thankfully, my original understanding was incorrect. Instead of needing to use a walker for three months, like I’d originally thought, it was three weeks! Those three weeks did feel like three months sometimes. I was very grateful that my surgeon approved the use of a walker since my hypermobility causes my ribs to dislocate if I need to use crutches for an extended period or time.
  • My main nightmare prior to surgery was my pain being uncontrolled immediately after. All opioids give me awful side effects, and because of my fibro, I get amplified pain post-op. We were going to try a different pain control method that some of my friends with opioid allergies use. Unfortunately, my nightmare came true and I didn’t even feel the non-opioid medication. I was in the most pain I’ve ever felt in my life, and could barely form sentences. (So much pain, in fact, that my memory just stored my emotional/mental reaction to the pain, and not the pain itself.) The nurse was rushed and slightly panicked. We figured out the “safest” opioid for me to use (based on side effects) and got it started as soon as possible. I was in post-op almost all day because it was so hard to get my pain under control. Post-op Instagram post with (non-graphic) pictures here.
  • Initial recovery was difficult. I was on Aspirin (blood thinner) due to having done infertility treatments, and it made me feel awful. Instagram posts about the initial recovery and Aspirin: one, two.
  • I had my first post-op appointment with my surgeon, where she showed me pictures she’d taken inside my hip during surgery. Eleven days post-op, and I was already feeling infinitely better than before surgery!
  • I progressed surprisingly quickly in my initial surgery recovery! I was very excited to have my body finally doing what it was supposed to, after it’s track record of not recovering well.

September

  • September started with me walking for the first time unassisted post-op!
  • I was doing hip physical therapy twice a week, acupuncture once a week, talk therapy once a week, and maintenance physical therapy once a week. Dan was having to drive me to all of my appointments, as I couldn’t drive yet. (We did have someone offer to help us with driving me around, but I felt awkward asking them to drive across town to take me to a 30 minute appointment.) Dan was doing one class twice a week and one class three days a week, across town. It was stressful for both of us, and I worked hard to start driving as soon as possible.
  • When I’d woken up from surgery, I had some sinus/nose irritation and pressure. They’d had me on oxygen, which always aggravates my sinuses, and Colorado is so dry I thought it was just taking a while to heal. By the middle of September, it was clear it was a sinus infection. The sinus infection ended up needing two different antibiotics to clear.
  • September 27th, just six and a half weeks after surgery, I was able to walk more than I could walk (pain-free) before surgery!
Six weeks after surgery, after walking more than I could pre-op!

October

  • We decided to try another medicated infertility cycle. I was down to only pregnancy-friendly medications (Tylenol only), and had most of the range of motion back in my hip. We were hoping that the significantly lessened pain in my hip would allow us to conceive. Our IUI was on the thirteenth, and unfortunately it failed. I had been so certain it would succeed, I even made them do a blood test (my clinic has you do home tests after IUI) to confirm. This failure hit me hard.
  • I was struggling, even before we knew the cycle failed. There were a lot of reasons, that I explain in this Instagram post.
  • At nine weeks post-op, I wrote out a list of what I could and couldn’t do. I was still getting intermittent bone pain, especially with changeable weather.
  • I was overly amused that one of my plants had grown to over seven feet long, when we thought it wasn’t even going to get a foot long! The tag said six inches, but we discovered that meant height from soil, not length of tendrils!
  • Not sure if this post, from October 30th, was foreshadowing for what would happen in the beginning of November, or just a terrible coincidence.
  • Happy Halloween!

November

  • November 3rd, we went to an event called Pumpkin Nights! It was a nice distraction from the pain of the failed IUI. I posted about it a second time, with more pictures: here.
  • November 4th was my baseline scan for another cycle. I had developed another cyst that was producing estrogen, so my cycle got cancelled. While I was bummed, this ended up being a very good thing.
  • November 5th, I woke up and ate my breakfast. I was tired, but thought I was still recovering from Pumpkin Nights (a lot of walking). Within an hour I was doubled over in pain, then hobbled to the restroom as fast as possible to vomit. I have emetophobia from medical trauma, so the fact that I actually vomited three times was concerning and terrifying. Eventually, I got a hold of Dan, and we went to the ER. There’s more details on this Instagram post.
  • The ER diagnosed me with infectious distal ileitis (a gut infection that inflamed the end of my small intestine). I was put on two extremely strong antibiotics and told I should feel better soon. Unfortunately, I never started feeling better. We were hoping once I came off the antibiotics, I would start to feel better…
  • I was not improving. I was almost done with my antibiotics. I was weak, in pain, exhausted, dizzy from lack of food and drink. My gastroenterologist was booked, but I got in to see a nurse practitioner there. She decided I needed a colonoscopy (all normal), blood work (also all normal), and to return to the ER to get the symptoms under control. (The incidentals I mentioned in the Instagram post were not concerning to my doctor, so no further follow-up is required.)
  • I was still not feeling well, but decided to repaint a giant flower pot we have. Painting it took quite a while, and it was nice to have the distraction from how sick I was feeling.
  • Mid-November, I read an article about postpartum anxiety. The article made me realize that I not only “sometimes” had anxiety, I was dealing with life-controlling anxiety and had been for most of my life. Great. Thankfully, I was able to talk to my therapist about it and we started working on it in therapy.
  • November 26th, we got FOURTEEN INCHES of snow! Fourteen inches is over 35cm. I’ve never seen that much snow in a single snow storm!
ER trip on November 5th

December

  • December 4th was Dan’s 31st birthday!
  • My gut was still causing me a lot of agony (spoiler: still is). My gut on top of everything else was making it extremely difficult to get into the Christmas spirit – not something I usually have trouble with.
  • Because I was still having so much trouble with my gut, my gastroenterologist decided to order a small bowel follow-through. The test was unpleasant, to say the least. Anatomically, my small intestine was completely normal. It took only forty-five minutes for the solution I drank to go from my mouth to my colon, which is extremely rapid and was definitely why I was having so many systemic issues: I wasn’t able to absorb most of the nutrition from anything I ate.
  • A few days after the small bowel follow-through, I had a repeat of the events of November 5th: ate breakfast, collapsed in pain, ended up almost vomiting in the bathroom. I lay on the floor for hours sobbing in pain, and wrote a letter to my body.
  • Merry Christmas!
  • My family came to visit for a few days over New Year’s. Dan and I gifted them Blossoms of Light tickets for Christmas, and we went to see them on the first. I posted two pictures from that night on my Instagram: one, two.

That’s the summary of my 2019 – phew, that sure was a lot! As you can tell, I’m far more active and detailed on Instagram than on my blog. Now that I’ve had a nice long break from blogging, I’m hoping to get back into it (consistently) this year.

What kinds of content would you like to see on my blog for 2020? Let me know in the comments below!

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.