Things Happen for a Reason

We had a busy weekend. Doctor appointment, Select25 Award Luncheon in Salt Lake, First Friday Art Stroll, June Thirth party, softball game, wedding rehearsal lunch, the 3rd annual neighborhood BBQ (or barbie-q, if you are Debra who wears a sequin shirt and rides her skateboard to the library), and the big wedding.

It was partly because of the upcoming busy weekend that I decided I needed to go see Dr. Steppacher. The little spot on my incision wasn't healing up and every time I started hurting, I worried I was getting another infection. I figured if something was wrong, it was time to find out. Dr. Steppacher saw me on Friday morning and told me I would need to have another little surgery on Tuesday to fix the problem. The stitch had popped through and I had a "wound sinus" he called it. (Don't google that because it pulls up all sorts of awful pictures that will horrify you.)

We spent eight hours at the wedding in Millcreek Canyon. The setting was gorgeous, the ceremony was fascinating, and the food was divine. I'm quite confident that I ate twice as much food as anyone else there. (I suppose most of the others drank their calories in alcohol.) While we were eating dinner, Alan, one of the managers from Sonora Grill, asked me what I missed most that I haven't been able to do since having surgery.

That's easy: lifting and carrying the kids. It has not only created inconveniences and required lots and lots of help, I miss carrying my kids and holding them close without worrying about them hurting me. (Next on the list was not being able to vacuum the stairs.)

The wedding was a long day, and I ended up sitting in the car reading a book for the last hour or two of the night. I was tired and sore and kept thinking of more and more things that I haven't been able to do. Like stand up straight for an entire day or participate in things without having to go hide away in the car. Although purely unintentional, Alan's question was really getting me down.

As soon as we dropped everyone off I started crying. I knew the surgery was supposed to be quick and easy, but I was upset that I even had to go through it again. I didn't want to go to the hospital for my pre-op labs. I didn't want to have to get another IV (which can be quite a process and often involves fainting). I didn't want to wake up from surgery nauseous. And I didn't want to have to try to stand up and walk around without passing out and pretend to feel better than I do so the nurses would let me go home. And what if something went wrong or he opened me up and found another infection and it was a big deal?

I went to the hospital on Monday morning for my pre-op. Chelsea, the registration nurse, came out to the waiting room to call my name. She was beaming.

I met Chelsea when I was registered and did my pre-op for my original surgery back in March. Like everyone else, she was curious about my surgery and asked a few questions. She suffers from chronic stomach problems and after listening to her symptoms (which were more similar to mine that anyone I have ever talked to before), I told her she needed to get a gastric emptying study because it sounded like she had gastroparesis. I assumed it was too unlikely that she had MALS, but told her all about it and gave her my contact information.

Two weeks later, she took the stomach emptying test, was diagnosed with gastroparesis, and was put on a super bland diet that sometimes helped and sometimes didn't. Her doctor ordered a CT scan, but wasn't looking for the right thing and scanned the wrong area. Meanwhile, Chelsea misplaced my contact information, couldn't remember all of the details of our conversation, and couldn't figure out which Dr. Robert Moesinger had diagnosed me. (There are three in Ogden.)

We talked about my surgery and I encouraged her to call Dr. Steppacher, adding a caution that recovery hadn't been easy. But she was hungry and hopeless and kept saying it didn't matter, she would do whatever it took to get better. She asked me more than once if I could really eat whatever I wanted. Steak, really? With watery eyes, she told me that I was a godsend; she hadn't ever talked to anyone else who had given her so many answers. And hope.

That night, when I was back to crying again, Steve reminded me that everything happens for a reason and maybe, just maybe, I needed to have this little surgery to help Chelsea find an answer to her problems. It was less than six months ago that we felt those same feeling of desperation. It gave me a much better perspective and made me feel better about having to go through this again.

Chelsea saw me walk by when I arrived at the hospital on Tuesday morning. She has an appointment with Dr. Steppacher on Monday. And she is so excited. Before surgery, I talked to to Dr. Steppacher about her and asked if it he thought it was likely for her to have MALS, even though it is supposedly rare. He said he has learned that Utah has a bit of an "island effect" and issues that are rare in other places can be more common here, and vica versa. And that whether she had MALS or not, he would help her get taken care of.

Dr. Steppacher also told me that my case has been the most fulfilling surgery he has ever performed. He said as soon as he opened me up and saw the artery, he knew the operation was going to change my life. He is just thrilled with the outcome. (We are too. . . it will just be easier to enjoy once this incision is completely healed up.)

Surgery was easier than ever. The nurse got my IV in on her first try. There was no infection. My fascia has healed up well. Surgery took less than an hour. The problem area was fixed. I only needed two stitches to close up the small incision. I woke up without any nausea. And stood up without any dizziness. I was in and out of the hospital in five hours.

And I learned another important lesson.

"Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God?" Mormon 5:23


Stephanie said...

Man, I have chills. I'm on the verge of tears. This is amazing. I love that you ended it with that scripture. Powerful. I'm glad to hear it went so well. I can't wait until you are 100%. Feel better soon and come vacuum my stairs for good measure!

i'm h.mac said...

this made me teary. you are a good woman emily.

Rebecca said...

That was so beautiful.


P.S. I will be over to vacuum your stairs:)

Rebecca said...

& maybe I can design a new blog header for you while I'm over there:)

Julee said...

You are one tough cookie Emily, I don't know how you've done it!

Min said...

Glad the recent surgery-ish went well.

I want to hear about neighborhood-party-Debra because Jed couldn't remember all the details. She sounds deliciously entertaining.