Sunday, June 14, 2015

Birthday...Surgery..and everything in between

 We try, very hard actually, to keep our lives private. We have never been ones to openly share our life trials and tribulations with everyone. Since Josh's diagnosis though, we have decided to be open with people and to make our lives an open book. If anyone has questions about cancer, we answer them. If anyone has questions about chemotherapy, radiation, how to treat nausea, how to get your patient to eat, the nitty gritty details of our "new normal," we answer them.  I really struggled with this. How much was to much? How would people react to certain things I tell them? Most people, I hope, know us and know the kind of people we are. But, people judge. Every person is different. Every experience is different. There is no manual on how to feel, act, or handle situations. What we do, say, or think is completely different than the next patient. We don't try the new latest and greatest cancer treatments. We stick to what our doctor tells us and go about our business. We try everyday to make the right decisions for ourselves and each other. I try to paint a picture of what we are going through. To not sugar coat things and to really tell how it is. I try to make people aware of the different things we go through on a daily basis. But in this forth coming way, I still try to keep private things, well, private.  So I struggle and I don't over share, I only give the bare minimum. If people ask, I will tell, but otherwise I keep it to myself. My husband however, is a walking open book. Nothing is off the table with him, especially now more than ever. If any follow me on facebook, you will know that Josh had surgery last Tuesday. I haven't said anything about it and I thank all of you for kindly respecting us by not asking. But, I figured the blog is the best place to lay it all out.

For the past six years Josh has been dealing with pilonidal cyst. If you don't know what it is, and can bare nasty photos, look it up on Google. If not just know that it's basically an abnormal skin growth that contains hair and skin which is located on the tailbone. It is very common with people in the military and those lucky men who are basically as hairy as a gorilla. My husband, is both. He has had five different surgeries over the past six years, the last one being in 2010 while on deployment in Spain. The way to treat it is to cut it and then pack it with a wound vac for a month or so. My husband is a veteran in this, he's done all the surgeries alone, without me there to care for him. I'm glad he's been through it, but it was a little nerve wrecking for me doing it alone with him. About three months ago this lovely cyst decided to show it's ugly head. I was surprised, and annoyed, that along with all the million of other things Josh is dealing with at the moment, this stupid thing decided it was the perfect time to come back. My husband being who he is, has taken this all like a champ. He's been in pain, he's dealt with bleeding, and he's been insanely uncomfortable at times so,  we had to get it dealt with. We showed it to his primary care doctor who then referred us to General Surgery. We had an appointment on June 4th, his surgery was that following Tuesday. We had a small window to get this surgery done. He had to have it done after his last session of chemo and healing up before his next session. In order to do this, they had to act fast and since Josh is on chemotherapy they have to be extra careful as he is a bleed risk. 

Being that we live at a hospital, I have overcome my 
fears of them and I actually was pretty good that day. Josh of course was joking around. He made it through with flying colors. I met him in Post OP where the nurse told me he woke up after anesthesia, looked at her confused and said "You're not my wife!" haha. I brought him home, he popped some pain killers and went to sleep. The next day I was strong, confident and cool in caring for him UNTIL I had to change his dressing. The day prior, the nurse went step by step with me on how to do this and I was good. I could do it without a problem. I always tell myself, I'm all he's got so I have to do it. But this? This was different. This was something I couldn't do. I'll be frank, the wound is nice. They did an amazing job. But, it's literally a hole in him. I couldn't get over that. Teaching in the past years I have been thrown up on, pee'd on, and pooped on, but this? No way. I have a brand new respect for anyone that has to take care of these things...and the medical field in general. So we walked to the hospital, desperate for someone to pack his wound. We went to General Surgery and Josh was able to get a temporary wound vac attached to him. No more packing changes for me! YAY! So he's had a temporary vac since Wednesday. He had it changed out on Friday, but we are still waiting for the more permanent one to come. This surgery has been very well. Josh is in minimal pain, though it is hard for him to walk long periods of time and to comfortably sit down. Fingers crossed, this surgery is going to last him a while and silly 'ole cyst stays away!

Well...what else happened this month...hmm...OH! My lovely husband turned 28! We have drastically changed since last year. I remember bits and pieces of his party as we both were incredibly intoxicated. We had spent the day at the beach and then threw at party with around 20 people at our house later that night. We were always known as the "party house." People were constantly at our house and we were known for always having a good time. This year however, was different. Neither one of us had a drink. We didn't have a wild party. Instead we went to Gettysburg. Pennsylvania and drove around learning about the civil war! So wild, haha. It was nice though. It was rainy and cold, but we were determined to have a good time. We were able to drive around and do an audio tour which allowed us to get out and take pictures when we wanted. Josh was able to experience it all without getting completely exhausted from it. So it was educational and some might say it was a boring way to spend your 28th birthday but he loved it. He loves history and is a very good (and patient) teacher on telling me random facts and stories from the war. After driving around Gettysburg park (the tour was supposed to be 90 minutes...ours went on for about 4 hours!) we decided to try local restaurant and then end the day with some ice cream from Dairy Queen. Driving home we reflected on our day, comparing it to the days in the past where we would have planned this elaborate party and drink until we were extremely drunk. This year, it was different. Dare I say, we have grown up?! We still love to have fun. We still love to have people over, play games, and drink. But driving home that day, my husband looked over at me and said "Thank you, I had the best day" made all those partying days a distant memory. 

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