Pressing the reset button on life

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I am just over 2 weeks post-partial nephrectomy and starting to feel like a human again. I think getting back into a routine has been helpful. The past two months have been a blur full of so many emotions.

So let’s get the drama out of the way. I had my post-surgical appointment with my surgeon at UCSF on Monday (gosh, that was just a few days ago but feels like forever!). She walks in the exam room all smiles and hands me the pathology report and she says, “I have great news! It wasn’t cancer!” Imagine my dumbfounded look.  I have spent the last two months waiting to have a cancerous tumor removed from my kidney, so this was the best possible news, yet it’s still sinking in.  In my last post (almost a month ago), I mentioned that there was a 75% chance that my kidney mass was renal cell carcinoma, just like it said on my MRI report. Turns out after the pathology, it was something called an angiomyolipoma, which is a benign tumor made up of vascular, muscle, and fat cells. The short story is I didn’t have cancer, I don’t need to be monitored for cancer, and I’m basically done with anything over at UCSF!

I did, however, have a chunk of my kidney removed, so I still have a bit of recovery to do from that. No lifting anything more than 10 pounds until after September 3 (6 weeks post-surgery), so my workouts are on hold. The whole experience was a bit traumatic. The hospitalization was difficult. I was in so much pain, even for a few days after I was released, and then the pain meds made me dizzy and nauseous, so I discontinued those as soon as I could. I’ll spare the details but let me just say I no longer take the simple act of peeing for granted. Ugh.

So here’s the path forward: I’m still on leave from work for one more week but have been logging a few hours a day to catch up and figure out what I missed. I’ve been dealing with migraines for the last 10 days which has been a bitch, so I am off to my primary care doctor to see what’s up with that (since I’m out of my meds that I only get 12 of per month!). I have been working my way up to walking a couple of miles a day on the treadmill. I was so exhausted and realized I needed to push myself a bit to get my stamina back. It’s amazing how quickly you can lose it! I’m a bit out of sorts with food. Nothing has been sounding awesome and I’ve been slacking on food prep (I have an excuse, I think), so this week I will be doing some planning to get back into that routine too.

There’s so many lessons to come out of this ordeal. Believe me, I know how lucky I am and will never forget that. 

151 Days

151 Days. That’s how long it took. For what? For me to really find out how much my stomach can hold. 

I’ve definitely felt full before — got that tight feeling in the middle of my chest, then stopped eating to let it pass. Some food goes down easier but some takes time. Might be a texture thing. Might be just the mood of my bicycleta (the South Park-inspired name for my pouch). My bicycleta was feeling angry I think. 

Last night I decided to make a big batch of roasted Brussels sprouts to have with leftover crockpot chicken that Mike made. We had the chicken Friday and it was awesome. Chicken thighs with fresh rosemary and thyme. Very tender. Didn’t anticipate any issues. 

I noticed that full feeling halfway through my leftover meal. Did half of the chicken first (protein first rule), then had a few Brussels sprouts. Felt immediately full. I stopped. Waiting for it to pass. I sat at the table making pained sounds for about 15 minutes while Mike made his dinner. It was hurting more and more. Waited some more. Decided to pack the rest into a container, then I realized just how big the portion was. I figured the Brussels would be okay…maybe they were denser than I thought. (Note to self: yes, you are good at ball parking portions, but stop that now!)

I set my 30 minute timer to wait before liquids, thinking I could make some peppermint tea and that would help. Skip ahead 45 minutes. As I went to make the tea, the felt a familiar feeling. I was sure I was going to hurl. I stood over the sink and that feeling passed. I went into the living room to watch TV and another 30 minutes later, I made a mad dash to the bathroom and threw up for the first time since surgery. It was scary because I don’t actually know where my stomach is and how that would work since it’s like a straight path through to the intestines. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s pretty much what you might expect. I definitely felt better afterwards. Came back to the living room and after a little while, I took a sip of tea and made the mad dash to the bathroom again and this time barely made it. The tea I drank came out first but I think I expelled whatever was causing my distress the 2nd time around. 

Not sure what the heck happened. Could be the reheated chicken had too much of a texture change, or the volume of food. One thing I know for sure is that I do not want that to happen again.

Today’s going to be a protein-yogurt-soup kind of day, just to give my bicycleta a break. 

Again, another example of me thinking something would never happen to me. Another lesson learned. Good times.