It’s been almost three weeks since I went into the hospital for surgery. I had a urethroplasty (there is a great video of the procedure on YouTube – I won’t link to it so you can’t blame me for your nausea). 😉
I am going to write a small update each day until I am able to return to normal life (probably near the end of November). This way, anyone who cares can stay up to date on my health even if I’m not able to answer texts/emails immediately:
Friday, December 2
Today was another tough day at work. I woke up and it was so hard to even get out of bed because I was so sore and fatigued. My shoulders were really hurting, but at least there was no bleeding from the surgical site today.
I felt so drained while at work and even though I walked around a lot, it didn’t help much. However, since it is Friday, at least I don’t have to deal with these long days for 2 days. Well, my weekend days are always long and packed, but at least I’m working on things to improve my life at home, serve my wife, or serve my church for the most part. Those things give me joy!
Thursday, December 1
Today is officially 1 month after my surgery. To be honest, I am feeling about how I thought I would feel. I think I am at around 60% of full strength and the improvements that I will be experiencing will be gradual and drawn out. It’s going to take a long time before my perineum feels normal again.
What I didn’t expect was the intense back and shoulder pain. After my back went out a few weeks ago, I have been dealing with daily pain – some days it can be crippling, and other days it’s just noticeable. I am going to see a doctor next week about my shoulders to make sure it isn’t anything serious. Since I had rotator cuff problems in the past, I want to make sure I do all I can to get in front of this.
It’s been 16 days since the catheter was removed and I have not experienced any of the pain that caused the need for surgery! So once I get past these other issues, my quality of life will have improved due to this surgery.
I have much to thank and praise God for!
Wednesday, November 30
Yesterday (yes, I am writing this on Thursday) was grueling. By the time I came home, I ate dinner and got right into bed. I was exhausted, fatigued, and in pain during the entire day and sitting up and walking around at work only made things worse. I was in such bad shape in the afternoon that I wasn’t even able to go to a weekly meeting at church that I was looking forward to attending.
These long days combined with sitting for as long as I have to for work are really taking a toll on my body. I’m sure it will get better over time, but I may have to add in a few rest days over the next week or two.
Tuesday, November 29
I am feeling exhausted and fatigued as I sit here and write this. I have definitely pushed my body pretty hard over the last 2 days (I actually hit my normal steps goal yesterday on my first day back to work lol) and my body wants to shut down.
It would be great to take off tomorrow or at least work from home to avoid the drive and other unnecessary activity, but since my coworker is going to be out and I am still catching up on work and new procedures, I’ll most likely go in.
I had a very long day – I left the house around 9 and didn’t come home until around 9:30, and it’s almost midnight and I am still doing work around the house! I did experience some pain in the surgical site while sitting, but nothing out of the ordinary or unexpected. I’m going to have to take a day soon where I do very little sitting in order to allow my body to heal.
Monday, November 28
Even though I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, I was able to wake up and get going this morning for work. My shoulders were very stiff and somewhat painful (a reversal of other days). Fortunately, there wasn’t much pain at the surgical site, just a little bleeding.
I was able to drive to work and stay there for about 9.5 hours! I did have to get up a lot and I did a lot of walking, but I felt that it was a pretty good day physically. I was exhausted and sleepy, but I am hoping that my stamina and sleep improves during the week.
I’ve been sitting for a good part of the last 14 hours and my body is telling me that I’m done, so I’m heading to bed and looking forward to seeing how my body rebounds from this long day.
Sunday, November 27
This was such an odd day. Because of the shoulder pain, I wasn’t able to fall asleep until 7am. Of course, I wasn’t able to go to church and got up in time to take a drive to PA. After we came back we went over our friends’ house to hang out.
The combination of the drive and sitting down for hours after caused a considerable amount of pain, but I was still happy that I was able to drive. Once we got home I had to get everything read for Monday because I am due back at work in the morning. My body doesn’t feel ready but I am going to push, while at the same time, listen to what my body says.
Saturday, November 26 (Birthday)
Today was the culmination of “rivalry week” (college football fans will know what I’m talking about) and my birthday! So the plan was to watch college football, do some work on the laptop, and then go out to dinner with friends. My shoulders made the “working” part of the day impossible.
I’m not sure how much the refs got paid in “The Game”, but it must have been a lot for them to claim that J.T. Barrett got the first down in 2OT. Anyway, after being devastated we left to meet our good friends for dinner. We had a really great time and the kids made it even more fun.
After about 2 hours of sitting in the restaurant the nagging pain came back and it still hurts now (about 5 hours later), but nowhere near as intensely.
The main thing I am learning is that if I sit up for a number of hours one day, then my body will definitely need to recover on the next.
Friday, November 25
Today looked a lot like yesterday (didn’t I write that yesterday?). I woke up once again to excruciating shoulder pain on both sides. I didn’t even bother taking drugs because I knew nothing would help. I just tried to keep my arms still as much as possible.
We drove up to my father’s house and the 30-minute drive wasn’t terrible, but definitely not comfortable. I sat down on his comfortable couch and only moved to go to the bathroom! After a couple of hours, I started feeling pain, but it was tolerable. I was more worried about my shoulders.
The drive back was bad because of the pain and pressure around the surgical area, but that is probably something I am going to be dealing with for a couple of months.
Thursday, November 24 (Thanksgiving Day)
Today was a lot like yesterday. I woke up in a lot of pain – shoulders, mainly – and I took drugs that didn’t help with anything except knocking me out. I stayed in bed for the entire day until about 10pm. I was able to sit up for a little while; the pain and discomfort aren’t as strong, but they remind me that I had surgery recently.
We have to leave the house tomorrow and I’m not looking forward to that drive or sitting around for a few hours…I’m wondering if I should bring my perineal cushion inside.
Wednesday, November 23
I woke up with ridiculous shoulder pain and wasn’t able to move around much at all, so I took some drugs and slept for much of the day. Nothing is working to help with the pain, so I am just trying to rest it as much as possible.
My sister came over after work to cut my hair and we had a good time talking and eating with her. Besides that, it was just pain medication, a muscle relaxer (that didn’t work), and sleep.
Tuesday, November 22
Last night was the first night that I have been able to sleep on my stomach in 3 weeks! I consider that to be a major accomplishment and I think it helped with my left shoulder. Unfortunately, the right one was killing me today and it I felt a sharp pain every time I took a deep breath – so that almost confirms to me that it is muscular. I am going to try rest, heat, and frequent massaging to help with the pain.
Sherrian was feeling somewhat better today, so that put me in a good mood. I hate seeing her suffer, especially when I am limited in how I can help.
I had to take care of another item for work so I sat in the office again today. After about an hour I had to lay down because of my back and a little pain in the surgical site. I came back in the evening and things are a little bit better. I just have to learn the proper intervals of sitting up and laying down in order to push myself while still allowing for healing and true recovery.
I am hoping to be able to go into the office next week. I’m not sure how long it will be before I can sit in a car for 30 minutes and then sit at a desk for 8 hours, so I’ll have to figure something out with work. I’m not even sure if I can make it to church on Sunday because of these limitations. I’ll try but I won’t push too hard.
Monday, November 21
I woke up to the same intense shoulder pain as yesterday. I did notice that flexing is better than contracting, but I’m still trying to figure out how to rest it (trying to maneuver around the surgical site makes it tough on my shoulders) and not make other things worse.
The good news is that the area that opened up yesterday wasn’t bleeding today. I also tried sitting in the office chair at home and it was rough. It took awhile to figure out how to feel the least amount of pain, but it was still very uncomfortable (the pain showed up after about 10 minutes). I guess it was a good thing that I took an extra week off of work!
Even though I was off, I still had to log into the system because of a few bugs that we weren’t able to work around.
Outside of sitting at my desk for a little while, the day was full of rest as I try to fight my natural urge to push my body to the limits. The nature of this surgery is that it requires real rest (inactivity) to recover.
Sunday, November 20
Today I woke up with excruciating shoulder pain! I’ve been having this pain off and on since Monday, but now it was very intense and happening in both shoulders. The pain woke me up out of my sleep and I wasn’t able to go back until I took a muscle relaxer.
When I woke up again it was 3pm, and even though the pain was less, it was still significant. It got a little bit better as I stretched it, but it still hurts even now (9 hours later) depending on how I move. I also noticed that a section of the surgical site is now open, so I am trying to be careful with that.
We’ll see what things look like tomorrow. I was supposed to return to work on the 21st, but I am not even close to ready for that yet. I’m not even sure if I will be a week from now!
Saturday, November 19
Today I got a good reminder that I just had two surgeries and am still in recovery mode. I woke up feeling exhausted and haven’t been able to shake that feeling all day. Also, I wasn’t able to sit up for long today because I was having a lot of pain around the surgical site. Due to the nature & location of the incisions (both internal and external), I am going to be dealing with pain for a long time. However, I was still seeing slight improvement each day until today.
I don’t think I went backwards today, it’s just that I pushed myself to (read: over) the limit over the last two days and I had to take it easy today or risk making things worse. Let’s see what my body allows me to do tomorrow.
Great News!!! I realized last night that I never took time to assess whether the surgery was successful. I was so worried about the catheter, the incisions, and protecting against infection, that I never even thought about the pain that sent me to the doctor in the first place. Well, as of today, I no longer have that pain!
Because it hasn’t even been a full week since the catheter was removed, I don’t want to get too excited about the absence of pain, since it could be a function of having the catheter in for two weeks. I’ll make sure to focus on that as I recover.
Friday, November 18th
I woke up today feeling pretty bad, so I stayed in the bed until the early afternoon. Once I got up and started moving around, I realized that I was sore from sitting up for so long the day before. However, the sharp pain from the surgical site is almost gone. Now what I am dealing with is the deep bruised feeling around the entire area of the surgery.
Sherrian is feeling a little better, but she is still not doing well. I am just thankful that I am getting better as she needs increased rest.
I was able to sit up for about 3 hours today before the pain got to me and I had to take a break. I am going to try to sit in the office chair tomorrow to see how long I can take that (it may not be long at all since it’s not cushioned like this one).
Thursday, November 17th
Today was an odd but good day. I laid on my back until about 5pm because my back got tight after a few minutes of trying to sit around noon. Sherrian had a really bad day – so bad we needed our sister (it was soooooo encouraging to see her!!) to pick up her medication from the pharmacy! I am praising God that I was able to walk a little bit today so there was less pressure on Sherrian, plus I was able to warm up some food for her for dinner.
Another big plus from today is that I was able to sit up for a few hours in the evening – in our comfortable armchair, but it’s still progress.
I’m praying for another day of progress tomorrow and for Sherrian’s body to recover!
Wednesday, November 16th
So I woke up to a good amount of pain at the surgical site and some new areas. I’m not sure why I am having this new pain based on this latest procedure, unless it has to due with my body position during the surgery. One thing the doctor told us is that the area that was bleeding the other day is missing the stitches that he put in. So now we know why it’s been so irritated and I know that I have to be extremely careful with my movements and it’s going to take even longer to be able to sit up.
I tried laying on my side just to change things up a little (and take some of the stress off of my shoulders – oh, I forgot to mention to muscle strains lol) and with the help of towels and pillows, I was able to for a few minutes. I’m pushing for little bits of progress daily for now.
Tuesday, November 15th
I love spending time with my wife! It was great driving through the rain with her to the hospital this morning. I think today was one of the first times that it hit me that a surgery or procedure could not go the desired way. I didn’t get a feeling of doom, but it was on my mind a little more than normal.
Once we got to the hospital, they were rushing because the doctor wanted to start the surgery sooner than scheduled – about 90 minutes early! I think that they took so much time preparing me that the doctor got restless and left the operating area; so by the time I got up there, they had to page him and we waited for about 20 minutes to see him.
He let me know everything that he would be looking for and we talked about some of the finer details of the procedure (he knows how interested I am in gruesome medical stuff) before they put me out. I woke up feeling more alert than usual and was thrilled to see that I no longer had a catheter! Actually, the nurse told me I didn’t have it, but I still had to check for myself.
So my uretha is healing and I no longer need the catheter. I’ll wait until tomorrow to see how everything else goes.
Monday, November 14th
I am supposed to have the next (hopefully, last) part of this surgery done tomorrow. If I am healing well enough, I will be able to go home without a catheter! Between my back and the incisions, I am still not able to sit up for more than a few minutes at a time.
Sunday, November 13th
Besides the bleeding from the surgical site, the day was pretty uneventful. I laid on my back for the entire day and watched our church’s Sunday School and main service from my phone.
Saturday, November 12th
I woke up with pain in the surgical area and that combined with my back make it impossible to sit up for more than 10 minutes at a time, however, the catheter is causing less discomfort than previous days. I haven’t taken any more pain medication since yesterday morning, but I had to take one today right before my shower.
On a somewhat unrelated matter, I am feeling encouraged because the scale at my appointment yesterday showed that I’ve lost 11lbs in the last 3 weeks! To counter that enthusiasm, I just opened my email on my computer to see that I have about 170 in my personal inbox and another 85 in one of my business inboxes! I pray that I am able to do some work this week so I can get ahead of things.
It’s almost 3 now, so I’m about to watch some college football with my muffin and try to ignore this pain. #goblue
Friday, November 11th
I had to go for pre-admission testing today and it was a tough trip. The surgery site was feeling a great deal of pain, so trying to sit down for the 30 minute ride and then sitting down at each station in the hospital was very difficult. I was in the hospital for almost 90 minutes and all they did was draw blood and do an EKG!
After getting back home I was in a lot of pain and needed to go to lay down right away. Since my back went out the other day, it’s been hard to eat because the odd sitting position (due to the surgical site being where it is) and impossible to sit up long enough to do anything else.
Even though I am in a lot of pain and it’s hard to do anything other than lay in bed, I am not feeling down in any way and I find myself laughing at my limitations at times.
Thursday, November 10th
I woke up with my back extremely stiff and in lots of pain. However, I was able to roll over and eventually get out of bed for a few minutes. I took medication, including the ineffective pain pills, and will probably fall asleep.
I’ll update this page again when I wake up.
I woke up feeling pretty much the same. So now I have intense pain in 2 areas – my back and the surgery site – and the catheter is very uncomfortable and adding to the immobility. It still hurts to sit, so all I can do is lay on my back.
My wife is taking such great care of me and is a huge comfort. I’m looking forward to getting healthy and this being a memory.
Next Surgery Date:
We received the dates first both the 2nd phase of the surgery, and the pre-admission testing. I have to go in tomorrow at 3pm for testing and will have the other procedure done next Tuesday (the 15th) at 5:30am ???!
Wednesday, November 9th
Because of the pain, I spent much of the day in bed. About 5:30 we had some great friends come over and brought pizza. We had a great time talking to them and it was definitely a bright spot to our day.
Unfortunately, I threw my back out (the last time this happened, I was carried out by an ambulance on a stretcher to the ER). I wasn’t even able to lift my head up enough to take a drink. This combined with the pain & discomfort from the surgery made it a tough evening.
Please pray for me to get some relief for my back so I can be somewhat mobile and do a little more on my own the next day.
Tuesday, November 8th
So today marks one week exactly since I was sliced open. I went from not being able to move at all (and taking about 10 minutes to get from the car to our bedroom) to being able to take a shower with minimal help.
However, I have also experienced a great deal of pain and discomfort since Friday. It could be because of the increased movement (nothing major – I only left my bedroom once to go to the doctor today) or just twisting/turning a certain way, but either way, the doctor felt it was normal.
Because of this increase in pain, I have been stuck in the bed for more than 99% of the time and haven’t been able to get on the computer until tonight.
Update from the Doctor
Going to the doctor’s office forced me to walk around, sit, stand, and get in/out of the car a few times – all things that caused great pain! The good thing is that the doctor said that I am healing according to the timeline and that the pain I am experiencing is all normal from the surgery (they cut very deep and it lasted 3 hours!).
I will have to go back to the operating room – probably next Friday (November 18th) – for a cystoscopy, x-ray, and removal of the catheter.