Sunday, January 11, 2009

Blog #2 Pectus Recovery

As mentioned in my first blog on the issue I have been having a lot of pain. I believe this pain is caused from a nerve being pinched. It only occurs when I lay down at night to sleep. I spent about 2 months in our bed and now I have moved back to the recliner. The nerve is starting to bother me so bad that I now have to sleep sitting up in the recliner. Try that one out and see if you can sleep. Anyway, I'm not getting any sleep. I'm tired, exhausted actually but I keep pushing. I'm in bed by 9:00 each night so I can at least try to get more hours of sleep. I'm trying everything aqua aerobics, which has truly helped with my movement. I'm now trying a dancing workout which is tons of fun and really not that bad at all. I'm sore today but going to continue. I am seeing a massage therapist every 2 weeks. Nothing is really helping. I do not want to go back on narcotics so I'm just searching the internet for answers. I was looking on the Pectus Forum website and noticed a post today called Physical Therapy for Pain Relief. Another woman on the forum is having the same problems that I am having except she stayed on narcotics. Anyway, she has been receiving a different kind of therapy I have never heard of before called Myofascial Release. Their is a treatment center in PA but it's down near Philly. Since my massage therapist was a RN before she decided to help people with pain management I am going to take this website to her and see if she has heard of it before. I am willing to give it a try.

I do not regret having this surgery at all. I'm just looking for relief from the pain. The bar will be out in another 1-1/2 years. If I have to deal with pain that long then so be it. I can do that but, if I can find another solution to my pain then I'm all for it.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Pectus Excavatum - Nuss Procedure - Part 1

Pectus Excavatum - Nuss Procedure - Part 2

My friend "Runs Like a Chicken" decided it would be a great idea to create a blog for the both of us to read about our progress after the Pectus Repair surgery. She had surgery July 16th and my surgery was July 17th. She's several years younger than I am but I have enjoyed her friendship and getting to know her as we sit back and talk to each other about what's going on in our lives and how we are feeling these days. It's very interesting to hear how she's progressing and how far she has come. I'm an old lady so I'm healing much slower. Ash - I'm totally looking forward to doing this. It was a great idea and I can't wait to look back on our journals and read about all that we have been through.
So, here goes with my first post.

As stated above my surgery was July 17th. I spent 1 week in the hospital and then spent 2 months off work healing. The whole time off work Ash and I would talk every day about how we were doing and how it was so nice having each other so we would not go insane with bordom.
I am now about 6 months post op. I still have a lot of pain/burning at night and stiffness/soreness during the day.

It's hard to describe how it feels but here goes:
Days: During the day most of my soreness is with my back. I truly believe it's because I am not able to arch my back like I used to. Also, with us older folks I read that since our posture has been corrected that our backs start to ache. The pain is very minimal throughout the day. It's mainly just sore. Every now and then when bending or twisting a certain way I feel a pinch. The pinch isn't bad at all, just reminds me that I have a steel bar inside my chest. Maybe I get this pinch because my incisions are right under my boobs. Good thing they are not that big. :-)
Nights: I spent about 2-3 months in a recliner. I then graduated to our bed. I spent about 3 months in bed. Every now and then I would have slight pain and would move to the recliner. Starting about 1 week ago I started having a burning sensation on my right side. My right side has always been my problem side. The burning sensation feels like someone has a torch on my insides. It's a little below my incisions. The first night I had the burning sensation I tried laying in bed. I didn't get up right away because I wanted to see if it would go away. I laid in bed for about 1 hour with the fire feeling on my chest and decided I could not lay in bed any longer. I needed to get some sleep. So, I moved out to the recliner. The second night, same thing. I laid in bed this time for only 30 minutes before I went back to the recliner. Third night was a good night. I had slight pain on my right side. When I would start to feel the burning I would roll over on my left side and the pain would go away. Once my left side started to hurt because of the bar I would roll back over on my back. Laying on my back and then rolling over on my side continued for most of the night. I didn't get much sleep. The next night I had a good nights sleep. No pain at all and I laid on my back the whole night. The last 2 nights have been very bad. I tried the bed first, like usual, and then moved to the recliner. Now the recliner was becoming uncomfortable. So, I would then move to the couch. I laid in the couch for a hour or two and then started to hurt so I moved back to the recliner. I don't know how many times I moved from the couch to the recliner. I can feel myself becoming very tired and cranky from lack of sleep. Last night I took some of my valium hoping that would help and it didn't. Normally it knocks me out since I take 2. Tonight, who knows. I have been sore all day today. I will try the bed first and see what happens.

I was in such a bad mood last night when talking to my mom she asked me for the first time if I regret having the surgery. Although I'm annoyed that I am not 100% better I never regret having it. Before my surgery I had heart problems. I couldn't stay up late and had to have close to 10 hours of sleep each night so my heart would not hurt. Since my surgery I have not had problems with my heart at all. I will take the pain and discomfort knowing that my heart is in it's proper place and not hurting anymore. As for my breathing, I can tell a slight difference in my endurance level however I cannot tell a different in my breathing. My poor lungs have been squished for 29 years. I can't expect them to start working properly after 6 months. I just need to keep exercising my lungs and my capacity will increase.

What I wish I could do now that I can't:
1. I wish I could play basketball. I'm not very good at shooting but I love to play defense. Right now if I was to get hit or knocked around a bit that would be aweful. Jason plays with a bunch of guys on Mondays and Wednesday. I go to all the games. I sit and watch wishing I could be out their playing.
2. I wish more than anything I could finally lay in bed without any pain or discomfort.
3. I wish I knew what was going on inside of me. I sent an email to my doc and she said that I should be feeling back to normal now since I'm an active person. I do aerobics twice a week, sometimes 3 times a week. I hike on the weekends and hardly ever sit down. I'm anxious to hear what she has to say tomorrow.

Well, that's it for my first post. If you are curious about my condition and want to know more about it Ash and I are members of a Pectus forum. Warning....most people on the forum are young males and all they care about is how they want to build up their muscles again. Every now and then though you get into some interesting conversations. I am also going to publish a video I found from youtube of the pectus surgery. (pretty cool.)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Wow, it's been almost 1 month since I have last blogged. I'm becoming a horrible blogger. Sorry for those out their that check it to see if I have updated. For 2009 my New Years Resolution is to blog more.

Anyway, so let's catch you up on the McKenna Happenings.

Mainly the holidays is all that's been going on. Jason was on call this year so we had to spend Christmas home. I have to say, it was quite relaxing not having to travel. I think we're going to start telling family members they have to rotate traveling home or we're not coming home anymore. Traveling both Thanksgiving and Christmas back to back is hard. I also didn't have any time to take since my surgery so well, needless to say, the holidays was relaxing. I wouldn't mind spending the holidays home again next year :-)

Anyway, Christmas we decided to go to NYC. My friend Caras from work just moved here from Hong Kong so she didn't have anyone to spend Christmas with. We had a snowstorm the night before so we thought that the roads would delay our trip but we made it. Our normal transportation means was closed on Christmas day so we had to drive into the city. Traffic was light so it was no problem at all. Now that I know exactly what street the Lincoln Tunnel ends at I can navigate better than the first time we drove into the city. We parked a few blocked past Times Square for 15.00, which is unheard of in Manhattan. We went to Times Square where I hoped to see the Naked Cowboy but he wasn't out (boo hoo). We went to lunch at our favorite restaurant Ellen's Stardust Cafe. Caras LOVED it and will bring her boyfriend Chung back when he returns to the states in February. We then went to see the tree. It wasn't very crowded so I was finally able to see the ice rink. It was so pretty and cool to see. OH yeah, the weather was nice too. Then we walked all the way down to the Empire State Building, over to Macy's and back up to our parking garage. For those not familiar with the city that's like 30+ blocks total in walking. My legs were sore. We also visited St Patricks Cathedral, which is beautiful.

New Years Eve it was 18 deg outside. I left work early and went down to help my crazy neighbor with the bonfire. He didn't need help but I figured I would give him company. Crazy Donna and Jason were still at work. We couldn't sit by the fire because of the wind. It would change directions and the smoke would follow. Mainly the smoke followed me everywhere so everyone just didn't stand near me. My friend Dori and Gerald came over for the bonfire as well. I have pictures of everyone but only Gerald and my crazy neighbor were looking. The others are LOSERS! Oh yeah, check out my marshmellow that's on fire too. UMMMM.....

Other than that, that's been about it. I've been having a lot of pain lately in my side so I'm back in the recliner again. I told Jason I should just have the doc write a perscription for me for one of those motorized beds that I can adjust. Pillows just do not do the trick. I sent my doc an email. We will see what they say.

Enjoy our pictures....

My Snow Angel

Silly Hat Christmas Lunch

Wanting to steal from the candy dispenser.

Ever seen Felicity?

First I traveled through the seven layers of the candy cane forest. Then through the sea of swirly twirly gumdrops. Then I went through the Lincoln Tunnel