Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Season of Introspection

It's been three years since my friend Jana's life was taken from her by leukemia at the age of 21. Twenty-One. Jana touched so many lives and the ones she has affected will never be the same. Those that were closest to Jana are some of the happiest, most charitable and most motivated people that I have the pleasure of knowing and they are that way because of the memory of her. Even three years after her death, Jana is still exuding grace, beauty and strength and I know that I personally would not be in the mentally sound place I am today without her. Every time I am wheeled into the OR, put in an ambulance, or given bad news regarding my health, I think of her, and even in those moments I feel like the luckiest person alive.

The more issues I run into with my health, the more I am able to appreciate the delicacy of life. Now that the holidays are here, I feel this even more acutely. I spent Thanksgiving in a hospital bed, in pain, unable to eat or even drink water. But it was the most meaningful Thanksgiving of my life. As my beautiful husband and faithful parents sat by my bed last Thursday, all I could think of was how lucky I am that I am still here, that I still have my father after all of his health issues, that I found the most amazing man on the face of the earth that stands by my hospital bed through thick and thin and that I have a mother to go home to to nurse me back to health.

I have also been so lucky to have so many friends and family come to visit in the hospital and here at home as I recover yet again. It's hard to feel sorry for yourself when you have a support system the size of the Third Reich (although mine is much more well-meaning). And now that it's almost Christmas time I want to ask those closest to me for the most meaningful present I could possibly ask for. Take care of yourself and cherish what you have. Change what you can. Accept what you can't. I hate seeing people watch my pain and then walk back to poisonous lifestyles. This Christmas, I want more than anything for my pain to not be in vain. Let's turn it into something beautiful; a gift like the one Jana has given to so many others. Perche la vita dovrebbe essere bella. (Because life should be beautiful).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Discharge Today?

I just ate a bagel. Holy sh&t. After 11 days of NPO (no food or water). And so far it's staying down. The past eleven days have had their ups and downs (mostly downs, unfortunately), but things are FINALLY looking up and I am really hoping to be out of the hospital today. Thank god the piece of bowel that they may have needed to re-operate on seems to have revived itself. Awesome. I am keeping food down. Awesome. My spirits are up. Awesome. I ate. F(*^&g really awesome.

My reintroduction to liquids went poorly, I have a urinary infection and have been having some super serious dehydration issues because of my lack of large intestine (your large intestine absorbs water for your body, so when it is missing hydration can be very tricky). I have spent most of the past eleven days with an NG tube, no food, no water, not able to move much at all, and only being able to speak minimally. Today, I am up and about, rapping in my chair (yes, rapping like Biggie Smalls) ha!, and feeling really optimistic about my prognosis.

Because I had this obstruction and because they had to open me up again, I am more prone to this happening again in the future. There is nothing I can do to prevent it. This means, of course, that I will worry. But it also means that I am going to hold onto every moment I have more preciously. Every time I get to gorge myself with brie cheese, swim in the ocean, walk home from work, or be at home with my dog and my husband will be cherished. I truly believe that only people that have had serious struggles with their health are able to obtain this kind of gratefulness for life, and for that I feel very lucky.

Now, let's hope for a good night's sleep in my own bed tonight and then back to work at healing another incision and rebuilding my sense of security. Because, hey, who knows when the Rapture is really coming, so it seems illogical to worry. But this whole thing sure did come as a shock.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 2 Post-Op

Day Two Post-Op:

I woke up from surgery on Monday afternoon, so happy to have lived through the procedure. They did a CT Scan on Sunday night and found some "disturbing" results and moved up my surgery to an emergency slot. It's a good thing they did, I had a piece of bowel that was dying.

My doctors and family let me stay blissfully unaware of this problematic piece of bowel for most of the day Monday. I was told by my doctors on Monday night that they will have to keep a very close eye on me, because around Day 5-7 Post-Op we may run into more troubles again. They were able to get rid of the adhesions that were causing the blockage (it was a High-Grade Complete Obstruction), but there was a piece of the bowel involved that was purplish, almost black and may require a resection of the bowel. He was not able to resect while operating on Monday because my bowel was much too distended, rendering the procedure too dangerous to perform.

So, while I am starting to feel better and hope I am on the road to a full recovery, I do nervously await Days 5-7 Post-Op because I REALLY do not need any more surprises. I have also been told that I am at higher risk for obstructions in the future because of this one, so I think this surgery is going to be perhaps the toughest one to tackle mentally. But, hey, I could be hit by lightning tomorrow so worrying doesn't seem logical (although much easier said than done).

Will update again when any significant strides are made. For now, I am still NPO (off food and water) and it has been one week now so I am starting to feel a bit grumpy. Looks like I will probably be NPO for  Thanksgiving too. Oh well.

Well, have a Happy Turkey Day everyone….and, please, be so very thankful for your health!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Damn, all I wanted was some damn turkey!

I was rushed to the hospital via ambulance on Wednesday night and diagnosed with a high-grade complete bowel obstruction. The nasogastric tube has been unable to resolve the issue, so I am headed to the OR around 11 o'clock today for an exploratory laparotomy (they will open up my old scar, so it will be an open surgery and they will correct the obstruction). Since they cannot be totally sure of what is going on until the open me, the surgery will be anywhere from 2-4 hours. Sounds like I will be in the hospital another week or so and the recovery will be around 1 month. Will write more detailed blog when in better shape.

F8*k. I really wanted some mashed potatoes and turkey on Thursday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Post from the new Mrs. Pearce!

As I sit here, writing my first blogpost as Mrs. Pearce (it's official, I got my SS card today!), I can't help but feel a bit of nostalgia for Ms. Boccard. This past year has been marked by a slow metamorphosis into the person I have become today; beginning as the single girl who lost her large intestine, rectum, and pretty-looking abdomen, and ending as a most satisfied, healthy, and utterly happy wife. All of the well-wishes and love that have been sent my way throughout this past year were beautifully immortalized by a most perfect wedding day, shared by our most cherished friends and family on an unseasonably warm and sunny October weekend (check out a lovely short video put together by our wedding photographer here). A big thanks to Dr. Procaccino, Dr. Eskreis, Dr. Krishnasastry, Dr. Vomero, Dr. Meekan, Dr. Collani, and the countless other doctors, nurses, interns, residents and fellows who made our day possible.  From my "anti-wedding diet" to dress-fitting advice a la Dr. Procaccino, there was not a moment in that six month-long battle where my team of doctor's did not have my wedding day in mind as the ultimate goal. I knew they wouldn't let me down.

Now, for that next stage in life and the continuing road to a full recovery. I am due for another health-related procedure early next week and the news that I would need such a procedure has come as a bit of a shock. Just when you think you've finally put your good health on cruise control, some motherf&*ing rubbernecker makes you slam on the brakes. It's time to get back in survival mode, because we know the road can be bumpy, but an optimistic outlook is key. Billy and I are very much looking forward to starting a family some day and this newest news could potentially complicate these goals (my surgeries could also have a potentially negative affect on my fertility, so it's like a double-whammy). But just like J-Pouch surgery, I firmly believe that fertility has a lot to do with frame of mind. On March 31 2011, as I walked into a brightly lit and bustling OR and laid down on that crucifix-shaped bed, I pictured myself walking down the aisle on my wedding day, in my father's arms, as I approached my beautiful husband-to-be. Now, I just have to believe that my new husband will have that very same priceless opportunity to make that same stroll with a daughter of our own someday.

To be continued….