Friday, August 23, 2013

Surgery and Musings In Recovery

As some of you know, I recently had surgery on my right lung.  To be exact, I had to get half of it removed.  Going into the surgery I didn't even really understand what they were doing.  I knew they had to remove a "mass" from my lower lobe because it was infected and increasingly getting worse, but that's all I really understood.  After the surgery, I found out more.

Each of our lungs have 3 lobes (top, middle, lower) and each set of lobes has one air passage way.  However, my right lung had a 4th lobe with it's own passage way - a defect found in a very small percentage of people I guess.  This was attracting all sorts of bacteria, was inflamed and beginning to cause a number of different issues.  The surgeon was confident that it would've eventually become cancerous.  So, they went in to remove this extra "lobe" and cut off the additional passage way to it.  But once they removed it they realized my lower lobe (the biggest of the lobes) was also infected and had to be removed.  So they did so.

I came home recovering pretty well.  Sore of course, but I was getting better each day it seemed.  But after 6 days of being home I had a set back.  I woke up one morning in extreme pain and not able to move.  I obviously didn't know what was going on with my body.  My wife called 911 and I was brought to the hospital my surgery was performed at.  They discovered that my chest was filling with fluid, which was putting all sorts of pressure on my nerves and muscles - causing them to cramp and spasm.  They drained the fluid through a "chest tube," which they insert between your ribs and it lies on the inside of your ribs, draining the fluid out.  To say this is painful would be a gross understatement.  And I still can't believe they put it in while I was awake.  It was honestly one of the worst experiences of my life, if not the worst. But they obviously felt like it was something that had to be done.  After two more days in the hospital, I was able to return home once again.

At my most recent doctors appointment they discovered some more fluid.  I may need to get that drained next week, but we will wait to see.

In the meantime, I'm home resting.  It's tough to just lay around.  But there is one thing I have time to do...think and remember and reflect.  Here are a few things I've learned or have been reminded of or have realized after my surgery:

  1. I have tremendous friends who have stepped up in some amazingly kind ways.
  2. My family at Colossae is even more wonderful than we realized.  And we thought they were pretty great before this!
  3. The television series LOST is pretty good - at least season one.  Not sure how much further I'll get into it, but it's helped me pass time and keep my mind somewhat occupied so I don't get up and do things I shouldn't be doing.
  4. Blessing has nothing to do with the absence of pain or the presence of material comfort.  Blessing is the fact that God is with and for us through it all.
  5. Pain causes you to do weird things.  Sometimes it causes you to want to give up and it certainly caused me to lose some motivation.  I got irritated pretty easily (and often) and I certainly got overwhelmed with people being around.  But really, it's a reminder of our mortality and the fact that we all have limitations.
  6. I've been reminded of how amazing my wife is.  There are no words.
  7. My neighbors have been absolutely amazing.  One neighbor came over to just give my wife a hug, another brought us fresh fruit and veggies, another watched our girls for two afternoons in a row, another has watered my lawn and has asked for a list of things he can do each night, another has watered our gardens for us...and yet another has watched our kids and helped me with a number of odds and ends around the house.  We have tried to invest a lot of time into these relationships and we have discovered that we live amongst some amazing people.
  8. I realize how much I love to hold my girls in my lap and hug and kiss them.  Since the surgery I have not been able to do that.  I miss it more than I thought I could.