Warning: Major Pity Party About To Happen. You may want to turn back now
It has been a rather harsh winter, with many more days of sub-zero weather and more snow than we’ve had in a while. I know I am a New Yorker and live in the Northeast, and I should probably be used to this by now, but this has been beyond what I’m use to experiencing and it has taken a toll on my psyche.
In an attempt to help push through the winter blues, and since this was the year we were to finally become debt-free (not counting our house mortgage) after 5 years of hard work and discipline, I (and my loved ones) planned a few excursions to look forward to in the upcoming a year:
- a long weekend trip to CT for Jim’s (my BF’s) birthday and a bowling fundraiser while we were there, in early March;
- a trip to Delaware for the 2nd Annual Bloggerpalooza in mid- March;
- a trip to Vermont with my Au Naturel social group in April;
- a trip to NYC to see Broadway Bares in June;
- a trip to Provincetown for Carnival, with friends, in August.
Oh, wouldn’t that all have been wonderful?
But things have taken a drastic turn. During a recent routine check-up, I admitted to my GI PA (Gastro-Intestinal Physician’s Assistant), “Phil”, that I had been dealing with constant intestinal blocks and discomfort on a monthly basis. This concerned him and he had me go for some X-Rays and CT scans. Those tests revealed two things: I had large clusters of kidney stones in my right and left kidney, and my intestines appeared to be twisted and contorted to a dangerous degree. He called me with great concern, urging me to speak with my Surgeon and my Urologist ASAP.
First I met with my Urologist, who had me do a second round of X-Rays and an Ultrasound, and confirmed I had a 2 cm stone in my right kidney, and a 2.5 cm stone in my left kidney. He went over my options for treating them, but opined that my best and safest option was surgical removal of both, so he referred me to a surgeon in his practice for a consult.
In the meantime, I met with my GI surgeon, who concurred with my GI-PA that surgery was needed to clean up scar tissue, sever adhesions, and try to untwist my innards; unfortunately, he also discovered two (and possibly three) hernias that need repairing, as well. So he referred me to consult with a Hernia surgeon that will work on me while he has me opened up to do intestine repair.
Then I met with Kidney Stone Surgeon, who agreed surgery was the best – and probably only realistic -option for me.
So, the end result of all these tests, consults and discussions is: I have to have 3 surgeries.
The first surgery (which will take place next Tuesday) will be to remove one set of kidney stones, which will require an overnight stay in the hospital and a week out of work recovering.
4 Weeks later, I will have the second surgery to remove the stones from my other kidney, which will be another overnight stay in the hospital and another week from work for recovery.
No sooner than 4 weeks later, on an as yet undetermined date, I will have a third surgery to clean up my intestines and repair my hernias (which will be done during the same surgery by two surgeons) that will result in a 5-7 day hospital stay and a 6-8 week recovery time.
Assuming it were possible to have these surgeries back to back, that would bring me into mid to late June before all my surgeries were complete and all essential recoup time has passed. Realistically, it will probably be August or September before it’s all said and done.
This is why, after discerning all the surgery, recoup and time requirements, I had to systematically cancel all of our reservations and plans and inform all of our friends and acquaintances that all our pans were now off the table for the duration.
This is hitting my harder than I was prepared for. The support of my bosses, co-workers, blogger buddies, friends and loved ones aside, I am reeling from the havoc this is all going to wreak on my professional and personal life, not to mention my body.
I am going to miss, bare minimum, 10 weeks of work in the next 5-6 months (assuming there are no complications and I heal super-quickly.) This is at a job I just started in December, where I was hoping to promote as soon as possible. It also means, once I return to work after the final surgery, all of my time will be completely wiped out and I will have to start from scratch rebuilding my time bank…again…for the umpteenth time in my 16 year career with my agency. Also, I don’t have enough time to cover all of this, so I will be relying on the kindness of co-workers to donate time and/or seeing what my short term disability will cover, if anything, and/or going without salary for whatever time I can’t cover with the time I have.
So, no vacations or trips for us this year, beyond weekend trips, at best. But the bulk of summer will have passed before I can even think about possibly doing something besides working or recuperating.
So I’m pretty upset, disappointed, dejected, angry, frustrated and downtrodden.
But I know this is the genetic mess I was born with, and all the things I’m having done need to be done. And, if all goes well, I may just come out the other end feeling better than I have in a very long time.
I get that. I do.
And I’m sure there will be a bevy of people all too happy to point out to me how lucky I am, and all the wonderful silver linings I should be seeing in the grey clouds hanging over my head. And they’re probably right.
But, for right now, I’m taking a moment to sulk and pout about all the things I am missing out on, trips I won’t get to take, and people I will not get to see because of this, and the possible negative ramifications on my career. Pollyanna has left the building…..for now.