Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Giveaway

I am very excited to announce I will be hosting my first giveaway very soon. I was fortunate enough to find this fellow Etsy seller via Facebook and I tried one of her products and I loved it. So when she was looking to do a giveaway I knew I would love to do it. And lucky me I was one of the bloggers she picked! A review and giveaway will be coming soon. My package came in the mail today so as soon as possible I will use it and review it.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

My not so little girl likes her big girl bed. She adores it in fact!

Both naptime and bedtime go even better than before (not that we had much of a problem to begin with). And honestly I think she sleeps better too.

Share your Wordless (or wordy) Wednesday right here.


Nina's Mama

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Two steps forward, one step back

Yesterday I had a fabulous day. For the first time since my surgeries I felt like things were going to be okay. I had more energy and less anxiety. I didn't need to take a Xanax during the day. And physically I felt the best I had in ages. Still knowing I can not push myself I took it easy. I did cook an easy dinner and did the dishes. I even ironed but I was careful to alternate arms so that I did not constantly use my left arm in a repeative motion as I was told not to.

I thought the worst of this was behind me. But as my hubby and I watched The Fighter on DVD I noticed the uncomfortable stressed feeling I dread. I waited a few minutes to see if it would pass but it became evident it was going to get stronger if I didn't address it. I took a Xanax and felt defeated. It isn't that I expected to be able to stop taking them completely that bummed me out. It was that I couldn't go 24 hours without NEEDING to take them. To be clear I have been okayed to take up to three a day if needed. And I have on my really bad days...I've even taken four once or twice.

So I did what I seem to do a lot these days, I cried and my husband supported me. I was able to fall asleep but I did not sleep well. I woke up several times. When I heard the Bub on the monitor I was not rested and would have loved to fall back asleep for another hour.

Unfortunately when I woke up I was experiencing new uncomfortable sensations I had not felt before. FABULOUS. I had a weird feeling in my neck, like a twitch or pulsing and my left shoulder was very sore. And once again my anxiety level was high and I was very on edge.

I called my doctor's office in Philly to make sure everything was okay or if they thought I should see someone. I spoke to the PA and she said they what I am dealing with is normal and a lot of people experience it. I should have been able to take comfort in this but instead I just obsessed over every itch, twitch, ache or feeling that felt abnormal to me.

Sigh. I'm tired of this. I want to go back to work. I want my life back, you know the one that having these procedures was supposed to allow for. It will be three weeks tomorrow since the ablation, three weeks Friday since my pacemaker was put in.

I need a real party, not the pity party for one that I seem to be having every other day.

For the record not being able to give my baby girl a bath because I can't pick up her to put her in the tub and take her out is getting to me. I feel like such a crappy parent that she has to wait til tomorrow morning when hubby is home.

Nina's Mama

Sunday, March 13, 2011

2 weeks down...only 4 more to go

I wish I could say my recovery has been no problem. Unfortunately that has not been the case. My anxiety levels have reached new heights and I have had some of the worse panic attacks I have ever had since the surgery.

Honestly I don't know what I would do without Xanax. It has been a lifesaver for me.

My hubby used his two weeks of vacation time to stay home while I was recovering. We were hoping that it would be okay for him to go back to work after the first week but physcially and even more so mentally I was not ready.

I will have a good day and then the next will be awful. A day will start strong and then I feel the walls crashing in on me later in the day.

The first night we were home I was able to get some sleep. The next morning we went to my parent's house and picked up the Bub. I couldn't wait to see my little girl and I wanted to see my family. I quickly found out later that day that Oxycontin and I did not get along. At All. The pain was fairly managable until the late afternoon. I took one of the painkillers and the day went crashing down from there. I felt horrible and the pain was no better. My head was spinning and I could not sleep. I made the decision to no longer take the Oxy and to only take the regular Tylenol and Xanax.

A rollercoaster. That is the best way I can describe the recovery since then. I have had so many highs and lows it is ridiculous. The one good thing is that I am finally over the shock of having a pacemaker. Wrapping my mind around that took a lot for me.

My appointment to have the doctor check the incision and everything was Monday (3/7). I got a call around 1pm asking us if we could come in sooner than the 4pm appointment. Since the Bub was napping the most I was able to offer them was 15 minutes earlier. At no point in time did they tell me I would not be seeing the doctor....or ANY doctor for that matter. We got there exactly at 3:45pm and of course we waited to be seen anyway. I got weighed and an EKG. Then a nurse came in the room and said "Aren't you a little young for a pacemaker?". Um excuse me? Who says that to someone? Mind you I didn't know she wasn't a doctor at the time. She looked at the incision, attempted to answer questions for me with little confidence and wrote me a prescription of Xanax that was hardly even worth my time to fill. I overheard one of the woman in the reception area talking to someone on the phone that the doctor was called away due to an emergency and wouldn't be able to see them today and they had to reschedule. That is how I found out I wasn't seeing the doctor. Unprofessional if you ask me. They should have at least told me that this half-assed nurse was going to be the only person I was going to see. I left the office and a panic attack ensued.

I broke down and the tears started to roll. I knew it was silly but her words bothered me. I AM a little young for a pacemaker. It shouldn't have happened. But it did and this was the end result and there was nothing I could do about it.

Yesterday was the most time I spent out of the house. We ran some errands and then went to visit my Mom. I haven't seen her in two weeks. We normally see each other M-F at work so to not see each other for two weeks straight was hard. Not to mention she hasn't seen the Bub for two weeks either. Although I didn't do anything just being out and about took it's toll on me. I didn't feel great after we got home and my nerves were shot. Then last night I woke up after an hour or so and felt uneasy. My throat was tight and I felt claustrophobic. After coming downstairs for a bit I still wasn't feel right so I settled in on the couch and I tried to take my mind off of everything. My wonderful husband came to find me and sat with me until I was ready to try and lay down again. Thankfully I was able to fall asleep.

I have four more weeks before I can lift my daughter using my left arm. Just four more weeks before I can lift my arm up and over my head. And only four more weeks til I can reach my arm behind my back. Obviously I am most excited about being able to lift and hug my little girl. I miss picking her up and spinning around. I miss the bear hugs she gives me when I pick her up in the morning.

It seems that now that my SVT is gone my panic attacks and anxiety are worse than ever. If it's not one thing it's another right?

Two weeks from tomorrow I see my doctor in Philly and hopefully everything will look good and I will get a few questions answered that I have. I am hoping by that time my energy level has improved. If not it is something I will have to address and I don't even want to think about what the solution will be.

Four more weeks. I am hoping in four more weeks my life will resemble the one I had before my SVT, maybe even better.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Part Two - My Surgery

I lost count with how many EKG's I had overnight. There was one right after another at point because the doctor on call didn't like the way something looked. The second one appeared better to him so I thought everything was okay.

At around 2am I was finally able to get up. It felt amazing to finally move. I had severe back pain as well as my left shoulder issue and the Tylenol 3 they gave me did nothing except make me a bit sick.

Then at 5am the nurse woke me up by turning on the brightest light EVER. I got two hours of sleep at this point and couldn't go back to sleep after having blood pressure, temp, EKG, weight and blood taken.

By 7am I was starving. I had not eatten anything except for a few bites of the dryest (but most delicious) turkey sandwich in 36 hours. I couldn't wait for breakfast to come. Shortly after my primary nurse came in and mentioned something about my sinus rhythm continually going below 60 all through the night. At this point I still thought things would be okay. But quickly found out the reason I was beeping all night was because each time my pulse rate went below 60. In fact there were a few times it was in the 40's. Not good.

A few minutes before 9am, incidently a few minutes before breakfast was going to be brought in, they came in to do yet another EKG. Immediately after they finished hooking me up my Cardiac Electrophysiologist (CE to save me typing it out in future), PA, and another nurse came in the room. The PA turned off the television, the CE said the EKG could wait. Uh oh, this wasn't going to be good. Then my CE sat down across from me and explained my rare case again and how the second SVT was that lucky 1-2% that is close to the junction box and it was indeed damaged when they did the ablation.

I would need a pacemaker.

At that moment I felt like my world was crashing in on me. I knew this was a 1-2% chance when going in but I wasn't fully prepared for it at all. My husband was still in Jersey taking care of a few things before coming in to pick me up to take me home. I warned him I thought something may delay me going home that day but I had no idea it would be this. My CE was amazing and was able to get me in for the pacemaker procedure immediately with another surgeon he worked with. He also called Bart to explain everything. After everyone left the room I called my Mom. My Dad answered the phone and all I could get out was "Can I talk to Mommy?". He asked if everything was okay and I told him no and I needed a pacemaker. He put my Mom right on the phone. I don't know how she even understood me through my crying. I was devestated. After I spoke to her I called Bart. I was being brought down for prep in a few moments so we didn't have much time to talk. We both were crying and he was going to get to the hospital as soon as possible.

Within minutes they were wheeling me back down to the prep area. I spoke with a whole bunch of people, saw some of the amazing team I did the day before and in mere moments I was being moved into surgery again. I called my husband to tell him I was going in and that I loved him and would see him later.

There was a different vibe in the operating room this time. They had music on while they got me prepped. I found that after the procedure I would be able to sit up right away and walk shortly after. This time I was under twilight sedation but I fell asleep. In fact I found out after the procedure I was snoring. I woke up as they were stitching me up.

I felt much better initially after the pacemaker was implanted than I did after the ablation. I was able to sit up and get onto my bed to be moved to my room. One of the wonderful people that worked with me (I can't remember his name or title) had music playing as they got me unhooked and had the most fabulous personality. Honestly he made the experience feel so much less stressful.

Seeing my husband right after was amazing. I was so relieved to see him. We went to my room and got settled in again. A little time past I sent hubby out to get me some food. I was starving. Unfortunately I was only able to eat about a third of my sandwich but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The hours past, more EKG's were taken, antibiotics given. My CE and PA came in the room and did an interrogation on my pacemaker to make sure it was working properly. All I had to wait for was an X-Ray to get me cleared to go home that night.

Just around 8pm I got my next round of antibiotics and found out my X-Ray came back good. The PA came into the room to go over all of the details, wrote me out a precription for pain meds and gave me the option to stay the night or go home. I opted to go home. I wanted my own bed, to get puppy kisses from my beasties and to get some sleep.

Recovery was going to be much longer than with the ablation. For one week I would not be able to lift anything over 10lbs with my right arm. That was pretty much it. Now in addition to that I would not be able to shower for 5 days, lift my left arm up or behind me for 6 weeks. Oh and no lifting anything heavier than 10lbs for 6 weeks....umm that would be a challenge with a 32lb toddler at home.

After the antibiotics the only medicine I needed to take is Tylenol once a day for 30 days. And my Xanax as needed. And oh boy in the upcoming days would I need it.

Getting the IV's removed felt wonderful. The nurse allowed us to take home one pain med since we were not going to be able to get them filled until the next morning. Hubby helped get me dressed and then we just waited for the wheelchair.

They wheeled me down to the entry way and told Bart he was allowed to wheel me to the parking lot and leave the wheelchair in the doorway.

We were on our way home and I was on a very bumpy road to recovery.

Nina's Mama

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Surgery --- one week later Part 1

**I started this last Friday and never finished or posted until now. I am clicking the publish button tonight as I have hit a brick wall with so many aspects of my life I feel the need to get this out there to move on.**

Honestly I don't remember the last time I logged into Blogger or went directly to a few of my favorite blogs.

Since the procedure I have sat down to write about it for myself over a dozen times and I just haven't been able to. I'm awake early, the house is quiet so I figured I would try again.

Last Wednesday (2/23) was the first time in over two years I left my daughter to stay with Grammie for a few days while I was in the hospital. I've never been away from her for more than a few hours so this was really hard on me. Before I drove away I let myself have a good cry. Then calmed myself down so I would be okay to drive home.

Thursday morning the traffic getting to Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) was much heavier the first time we were there. It took nearly too hours and we arrived moments before my check in time. Little did I know that the appointment time meant nothing and we would be waiting hours after getting there.

After waiting to be admitted and getting lost IN the hospital we found where we needed to go. They had me change, asked for a urine sample and got an IV set up (not without incident, my veins do not cooperate). Roughly 3.5 hours later they were ready to prep me for the ablation. I hugged and kissed my husband and got wheeled away.

It felt like I was on the table forever. There were these long stretches of silence during the procedure which I hated. I could hear something but not enough to know what was going on. A few times I asked if everything was okay and sometimes I got a response but once I know for sure I did not. Throughout the ablation people did ask how I was doing or told me I was doing great. I remember two occassions specifically when they made my heart rate so fast it scared me. Even with my worst SVT attacks I never felt like that.

Roughly six hours later from start to finish I was done. The doctor told me I was one of the rare patients, he said he sees cases like me once ever 4-5 years but both (that's right folks TWO sources of SVT) were taken care of and I would never suffer from it again.

Once in the recovery area I found I could not move my left arm at all. Apparently I had frozen shoulder, which hurt like hell. Honestly it hurt more than anything else did at that time. One of the nurses moved my arm into a different position and placed heating pads on it. That helped a ton. A bit later after they got me unhooked I got to see my husband. I broke down after seeing his face. I was so relieved. I had some cranberry juice and then I was taken to my room.

I had a private room and Bart had the option of spending the night. I told him to go home so he could take care of the pups and get a good nights sleep. Lord knows you don't sleep well in a hospital with all the noises and beeps. Ahh the beeps, little did I know what the beeps from my room meant. I thought it was the same as when I was in the hospital giving birth. Nope, but I will get to that in a moment.

to be continued....

Nina's Mama