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I don’t have a lot of concrete surgery details, just a lot of vague, scary shit. Here it is. Happy Birthday to me!

I had my consult yesterday with the bowel surgeon…the guy who, as far as I knew, was just going to cut scar tissue off of my bowel and free it up so that I could poop properly.

I just turned 30 (I’ve been trying to write this post since like, 1:30am, but I keep dozing off, though I can’t stay asleep).  I get to open my 31st year (think about it…you’re not born a one-year-old, are you?) with some wonderfully vague surgery information!  YAY!

I’m really tired (my uterus is having a last hurrah, and it’s wearing me out), so let’s just do this in list form.  Until Monday, when I call my insurance company and also hopefully get my colonoscopy appointment set up (yes, you read that last part correctly), THIS IS WHAT I KNOW:

1.  The surgery is going to last “however long it’s going to last.”  Literally, that’s a direct quote from the surgeon I saw, today.  My guesstimate is between 4 and 5 hours (add more money to the anesthesia charge-barge!  toot toot!), but there’s a complication.

2.  The complication is that there’s a lump, bump, nodule, SOMETHING between my uterus and bowel, literally stuck in all that scar tissue, that’s actually pushing into my bowel.  It’s low enough that a simple physical exam (yes, I basically had a prostate exam, and the nodule is located about where a prostate would be) detected it.  It’s also so tender that when the doctor pushed on it, I nearly threw up.  I think we found the major source of the referred pain…we just don’t know what it actually IS, yet.  This tacks on “exploratory surgery and possible biopsy” to the list of chargeable surgical procedures.

3.  As a result of that anomaly, the surgeon said he’d feel better if I had a colonoscopy.  Hooraaaaaay.  So that’s being scheduled, hopefully very soon (so I can get it out of the way), because…

4.  My surgery date is anywhere between 2 and 8 weeks from now.  No, I’m not shitting you, that’s an actual range given to me.  I will have my boyfriend proofread this and confirm it if anyone doubts the utter vagueness of everything the surgeon said to me.  It was infuriating.  But by the end of September, I should have the surgery.  (This vague-answer is the one I chose to harp about that point with, but it’s the only one of these where the vague-ness is justified, as the surgeons have to find a date they can work with me at the same time.)

5.  Rather than the “belly button to pubic bone” cut I’ve been expecting, apparently they’re just going to cut me open “as much as [they] need to in order to do what [they] need to get done.”  Just a fun fact, and another direct quote, with pronouns changed to fit my sentence.

6.  I was told that this was a two-night stay (3 days, basically) in the hospital, according to some medical professionals.  According to the bowel surgeon, I should be prepared to spend up to a week in the hospital.  I know he has to say these things to cover his ass, but dude, GIVE ME SOMETHING CONCRETE, PLEASE.  Also, a week?  O.o

7.  Oh, here’s something concrete:  I will be unable to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for THREE MONTHS.  Why?  Because of where they’re cutting, not only on the abdomen, but internally.  We must avoid herniation, after all.  My question is this:  Can’t you just put hernia mesh where you’re going to be sewing up my abdomen?  I mean…an ounce of prevention, am I right?  I know why he can’t put the membrane over the stitches on my bowel (it’s the same reason you stop wearing band-aids as soon as the bleeding has stopped – so the wound can breathe and heal more quickly), but I don’t see why the abdominal closure can’t be reinforced.  If someone could explain this, I would be much appreciative.

8.  However, I should be “up and walking around” within a few days.  So, in other words, I’ll be able to get to the bathroom and whatnot by myself within a few days, but because I can’t strain myself with lifting or pulling, I will have to be pushed everywhere in my wheelchair, should my issues with walking/weakness continue (and I’ve been given no reason to suspect that they won’t continue, given that they’re caused by my Lyme treatment, which continues pretty much the first day after surgery).

9.  Regarding point 7, yes, I asked if the lifting limitation was actually that long, and he said yes, and repeated the time period:  three months.  At least he’s certain about that.


HERE’S A POSITIVE, BECAUSE I HAVE TO FIND ONE IN THERE, SOMEWHERE:  the lump, bump, nodule, whatever – the thing that’s sticking into my bowel wall – is likely the cause of the majority of the pain and whatnot that’s happening.  The hysterectomy and stuff has to happen, anyway – but the bowel excision went from “decision I’m making to ensure that future surgeries are much less likely” to “thing that has to happen,” alongside that hysterectomy.

The positive from that is that I know “what” is causing the majority of the referred pain issues.  We just don’t actually know WHAT it is, and likely won’t until the surgery.

ANOTHER POTENTIAL POSITIVE:  I’m pretty sure I’m already nearing my out-of-pocket charge allowance for the calendar year, so if more money is needed because hooray for more complicated surgery, it shouldn’t be much more…and most of it would be needed for living expenses while I am apparently able to do nothing more strenuous than make cereal.


With that, I’m going to take my birthday-havin’ ass to bed, now, despite it being nearly 6:30am.


42 comments to I don’t have a lot of concrete surgery details, just a lot of vague, scary shit. Here it is. Happy Birthday to me!

  • That’s all something I’ve not dealt with in my adult life. The one surgery I’ve had since 3rd grade was appendicitis, and that was wierd as hell. I went into my GP because it felt like I’d been doing situps for a month straight and 4 hours later, I was in surgery. In fact, they loaded me up with dilauded when I walked into the ER (GOOD s***, by the way!). I never had the chance to think about what was happening before it was over with. That sucks, and I’m so sorry that you have to go through that. Good news is, once you go, it’ll get knocked out and you’ll be feeling much better quickly.

    • Hey Ed! I see that you are a Memphis native. I need one of those for a special project I’m doing for Bonnie. Please send me an email at erin.palette AT so we can discuss the specifics. Thanks!

      • He’s not just a native, he’s a friend. You can contact him through my facebook, but rickn8or is also local, and may be able to help, as well. Email me, Erin.

    • Dilaudid gives me migraines, but it DID get rid of my pain earlier this year when I got food poisoning and my body went “NOPE NOPE NOPE”…heh.

      The recovery period only makes me nervous because I don’t want more adhesions – that’s what caused all this trouble in the first place. Hernias are a close second, but only because the doctors are worried about them. I’m not even really nervous about the surgery – even financially, I mean, we can work something out if we absolutely have to with the surgery, it’s the daily bills I’m going to fret about. The surgery itself? I’ll be out. I won’t give a crap. I’ll wake up and probably be about as alert as I was last time, asking questions and whatnot, but it’ll probably hurt more, and I’ll have to be in a room to make sure my bowels don’t leak (YUMMY).

      I’m glad you’re around…Forrest is going to need support through this, as well, and when my mom’s visiting to help take care of me, he might commandeer you one day to take a break. In fact, I encourage it, and hope you and Robert will be around to help him de-stress. This is going to be rough on him, probably moreso than me, because he’s gotta worry about everything else, whereas I just have to worry about my body and my medications.

    • Instinct

      Happy Birthday… I think :)

      I’ll share my appendicitis story since you did, Ed.

      I had been having a mild pain in my right side for a few days and thought that I had overdone it at the gym and pulled a muscle or something. Well, girlfriend at the time starts getting all worried about it and finally on a Sunday demands that I go to the doctor. This, of course, means going to the ER for service as an Urgent Care visit.

      The doctor comes in and pokes me for a bit asking ‘Does this hurt?’ to which I answered ‘Not really.’

      Finally the doc has had enough and decided to just do the damn MRI and get it over with. First they have me drink the nastiest tasting crap on the planet. Seriously, I think the military developed it because they are masters at making inedible crap that you can eat and still not die. Once I do that and wait for an hour they did their thing and guess what – the image quality sucked so they decided to load me up on the wonder fluid from the other end. Yeah, real fun.

      Finally they shove me in, make the thing hum and clank for a while and when I came out the doc looks at me and says “Congratulations, you get to stay with us for a while.”

      “Really? My appendix is inflamed huh?”

      That was when I discovered my pain tolerance is apparently higher than normal.

      “Oh, your appendix isn’t inflamed at all, it’s ruptured. You should be on the floor rolling in pain.”

      Yep, for a few days I had been walking around and hitting the gym with a ruptured internal part. God does watch out for children and fools.

      • DUDE. You are incredibly lucky. Jeeeeez.

        And thanks for the birthday wishes – the fact that I found this out near my birthday doesn’t make the wishes any less appreciated, it’s just the irony of the date.

  • Tam

    Uh… It feels really weird to say “Happy Birthday” after reading that, but try to have a happy one anyway?

    (What’s the emoticon for “nervous smile”?)

    • I usually go with this one: :-/

      Thanks, though…I appreciate the well-wishes and everything else you’ve done for me. I’m glad you’re doing better, as well. :-)

      I spent most of the day sleeping, in case you’re curious, then closed out my official birthday helping someone out with a charity gaming stream. All in all, it was a pretty good day, in general, which makes it a great birthday, because nothing went wrong. :-D

  • ‘Vague, scary shit’ is what the medical profession specializes in.

    When my appendix decided it did not like the neighborhood and desired to leave, while I was laying in the ER after being poked, x-rayed, etc., the doc finally came in and informed me “Well, you’re missing one of the classic symptoms of appendicitis, but if it’s not that we’re going to have to look in to see what it is, so you’re going into surgery soon as possible.”

    • Yeah, but even the vague-ness is usually not THAT vague. I mean, not being able to give an approximate surgery time? “Fewer than 8 hours” would have been less vague, and accurate enough for me.

      I’m mostly worried about what the hell the nodule is, and how much it’s weakened my bowel wall. That’s kind of a big deal. Everything else at this point is just getting things out of the way to see what in the hell that nodule is…heh.

      You doctor said you were missing one of the classic symptoms, but they were going to cut you open, anyway, just in case? Seriously? WOW. What a DOUCHE. Glad you make it through, okay.

      • Firehand

        At that point, it was pretty much “If it’s NOT the appendix, we have no idea what it is or what to do until we take a look; so get ready for perforation!”

        Be it said, at first they made the little incision the normally use for such today; but mine was so bad they were afraid it’d rupture if they tried to pull it out that way. Which is why I have a 5″ scar.

        What really annoyed was that the day after, when I said “Yeah, it’s aching a fair bit”, they gave me Tylenol. Then, the day I checked out, the doc gave me a prescription for demerol; BIG caps. Why, I inquired? “In case you have any pain, we want you to be able to rest.”
        “Then why, the DAY AFTER YOU SLICED IN, did you give me over-the-counter Tylenol?”
        Never did get an answer to that.

  • Eh…happy birthday fellow Leo! One of these days this will all just be an amusing story.

    Until then…when you can’t run anymore you crawl, and when you can’t do that…you find someone to carry you.

    • Thanks, Larry. And yeah, it’s already turned into a “dude, you are NOT going to believe this…” story, so we’re halfway there.

      I’m looking forward to the day when others don’t have to carry me, but I’m so glad I have so many willing to do so. It makes me all emotional. Thanks.

  • Wai

    You’re going to be fine. Surgery these days is state-of-the-art (could it be otherwise?). Let’s hope that lump-bump-nodule isn’t the sex toy you lost up there a few years ago. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants, though? LOL!! Don’t laugh. It might hurt when you laugh.

  • Like Tam I feel a bit odd wishing you a happy birthday given what’s going on – but regardless, Happy Birthday! AND I hope that the coming year does bring a resolution of your health issues and that by next birthday you’re feeling a lot better!

    • Yeah, I was a little bitter about the dates, but here’s the thing…IT’S JUST A DATE. So…yeah, my 30th birthday came with a rider about stupidness added to surgery. That’s not going to represent my entire year, though, just part of it. And I AM hopeful that things resolve more this year, and that, in that way, it IS a happy birthday, despite the discomfort I’m going to have for a while. So thank you. :-)

  • rickn8or

    Happy Birthday Bonnie. Know I’m late, but I got a really good excuse; out of town playin’ with th g-kids. Any cake left?

    Anyway, you’re now one of “us” instead of one of “them.” (You know, the ones that can’t be trusted.)

    And if you find yourself in need of a strong back, questionable legs and a weak mind ‘tween now and surgery time, don’t hesitate.

  • rickn8or

    Left the birthday wishes before I read the blog and can only add: “Don’t sweat the colonoscopy; the worst part of it is when they start the IV.

    And if a whiney, five year-old crybaby candy-ass like me says that…

    • I’m actually probably going to need you to drive me to it, Rick…lol. I’ll email you when I know the details…I should know Monday or Tuesday, because they want to do it ASAP. And IVs don’t bother me – the worst part, for me, is going to be the night before. :-P

  • Old NFO sent me.
    Happy Birthday.
    You’re getting prayers, like it or not :)

    • You think I mind getting prayers? Pssshhh…I’ll take happy thoughts however I can get them, and it really does help me to know that people are wishing me well. :-) Thank you!

  • Aw, crap, honey. I’m sorry about the rough times. Sucks. Just the same, I hope your 31st year improves with time. *hugs*

  • Sorry hun, no fun. Happy Birthday, anyway :-/
    Yeah, it sucks, but this is one of the steps towards getting better. That’s a pretty decent birthday present, right? We’ll celebrate later. With booze!

  • Joseph

    A belated happy Birthday…Really wish you did not need the surgery, but I sure hope having it improves life for you. Hmmmm….maybe you can autograph copies of that paper they are going to write and charge for it….lol.

  • Eric Ford

    Came here from Tamara’s blog. Went through something like this a year ago. Mine was aortic bypass. Tell them you want a “wound vac” for the external incisions. It accelerates healing time.

  • Jim R

    Tam and Roberta and AD and HOTR and I don’t know how many other people have been putting up signs saying “This way to Squeaky’s” that I figured that might be a hint I should swing by. Happy birthday and here’s to a quick recovery from your surgery.

  • Another belated happy birthday!

  • CMac

    Surgeons don’t want to use mesh on females (or males either) anymore due to “poor results” and lawsuits. The mesh does NOT stretch like real tissue (muscle etc) and unless put in very carefully so the surrounding tissue’s aren’t stretched and/or compressed leads to discomfort and pain. Think of having internal clamps pinching you, tied to rubber bands stretching and pulling on the clamps. Hernias also tend not to heal properly because the mesh prevents the muscle from being stretched, the mesh taking all the strain until the mesh rips out – this is what they call a “poor result”.

  • Ain’t got no bucks to send, but prayers already on the way for a fellow bandsman.