Grateful For the Small Things


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I have learned, during a very short period of time, to be grateful for the small things. My surgery went well (meaning I didn’t die) lol. No, really, The doctor was unable to remove any of the adhesions (bad thing) but he took lots of pictures and a video of what it looks like in there (good thing). By not removing any adhesions my pain level will not change (bad thing) however, by not removing any adhesions, or even by not making a second cut, the risk for further complications was avoided (good thing). I think you get the point. the doctor was unable to remove any adhesions because it was simply just too bad in there. Everywhere (except the one place he cut-tell me our prayer didn’t work)had bowel glued to the abdominal wall by adhesions. The majority of the adhesions weren’t “bands of tissue” like the internet explains. Don’t get me wrong , I had some of those and they were pretty ugly ones, but the majority of them were like “sheets”. It was like my insides are draped in white sheets made of adhesions that keep them from moving…No, that imagery is all wrong. Have any of you seen the move “Arachnaphobia” (yes I know it’s old). If you haven’t, think of some movie you’ve seen where there are super-powered spiders trying to take over the house (or town, or whatever). So you remember in that movie how the webs were woven so thickly and so strong (and so big) that a person could run right towards it thinking they can break through but they end up bouncing back and landing on their butt. Then there are the scenes where people are wrapped up in these webs. You can still barely see them behind the white of the web and the only thing they can move is their eyes because they are wound up so tight? Yeah, that’s what my insides are like. And for those of you who don’t do spider movies (Come on, “Arachnaphobia” is STILL one of those movies I could watch anytime- I’ve probably seen it 15 or 20 times over my lifetime) then we could use the more medical imagery of everything being covered by sheets of ice, hence the term “frozen abdomen”.

So, now that we know that I have a “frozen abdomen” what does that mean? Well, for the most part no surgeon in his right mind is going to touch me unless it’s for some life-saving procedure like a bowel obstruction. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you guys that the surgeon who bowed out of repairing my hernia “because it was more dangerous to me to have it repaired now than to repair it if/when it becomes blocked later on down the road” actually spoke to my doctor (the one who did the surgery) and told him he was damn crazy for trying in the first place. That the only way he would touch me is if it is a life or death situation. Nice. I have now officially been blackballed by the surgical community at large. Does that upset me? A little. What I do know is that if the day ever comes when my bowels or especially that hernia get obstructed and Dr. L comes waltzing in the room saying that he is going to save my life I am going to look him straight in the face and tell him that it’s too damn late. He could have fixed it before it became a problem but no, now I would rather wait for however long in excruciating pain for another surgeon to fix it. A surgeon who cares about his patients and doesn’t blow them off like countless other doctors have done. Let’s see how the super-doctor swallows that pill, huh?

Ok, I feel some anger issues here, so let’s talk about my other options for what the heck I’m supposed to do now. I can go on an internet search for what I call the übersurgeons (the ones who specialize in adhesion removal) send them all copies of my medical records and wait for one of them to bite. Assuming one does, then I would find out what insurances they take, move to their state of operation and acquire said supplementary insurance so that the surgery is paid for. Or, I could drop the supplementary insurance I have now, allow Medicare to pay, and then be responsible for the other 20%, which I am assuming on a surgery that massive would be at least $20,000 which I, my dear friends, do not have (so I guess that option’s out). Or, I could learn to live with the pain and take each day as it comes. Whoa- did I just say that? Yes, I told you at the beginning that I have learned to be grateful for the small stuff. Why would I want to move away from what little family I have and all that I have ever known to have a surgery that everyone is telling me could very well kill me. I have a life here (uncomfortable and lonely as it can sometimes be) but it’s mine. I would rather look for other ways to deal with all of this stuff before putting myself on the butcher block again. There are tons of things I haven’t tried; and until I try all of them I don’t intend to make any drastic moves. There is meditation and yoga. I know that my mind is never quiet even for a nano second but that can change. I have already acquired a book or two on the subject and intend to teach myself the art of meditation to temporarily relieve myself of the pain and to relax enough that it might not hurt as bad anyway. I intend to teach myself yoga, which is basically stretches, the same thing my physical therapist always wanted me to do anyway. There is occupational therapy that can teach me, well, I guess how to clean my house more efficiently so that I don’t make myself hurt anymore than I already do, which is why quite honestly I tend to clean house as little as possible. For you see, if I clean, then I hurt. If I hurt, I don’t clean. If it’s not clean, I’m not happy, M’s not happy and usually starts to bitch about me being here all day and the house is still a mess which stresses me out, which makes me hurt more…starting to see the cycle here? Also, there is something called biofeedback which I don’t really understand completely yet, but from what I do understand is that when you hurt in one area, you unconsciously over-correct somewhere else and then you hurt there. They teach you how not to do that. Lastly is hypnotherapy. Part of me is still a skeptic about this one, but hey, there’s no reason I couldn’t try. Hahaha I guess that gives whole new meaning to my sister-in-law telling me that when I hurt to just tell myself that I don’t. Someone else will be telling me that I don’t hurt and it will be up to my subconscious whether to believe it or not. Sorry, it just struck me as funny. Basically what I want to do with all of this is to get to a point where I can quit taking the pain medicine. Why you ask? I’m sick. I can’t change that. I have no control over when my body gives me a good day or a bad day (except for when I do too much and then I am just asking for a bad day). So, if I have no control over my body I want to have control over my mind. The whole reason I had to quit school in the first place was because the pain medication left me so “foggy-headed”. If I can get the fog to go away there’s no telling what I could accomplish. But as I am now, sometimes even the simplest statements I have to ask to be repeated if I am not paying complete attention. I hate how the medication makes me feel even as it’s taking the edge off of the pain. This is really the deciding factor for me here, guys. If I can survive without medication then I will survive. If not, I will have to go under the knife one more time. I just pray that God helps me to find the right surgeon for the enormous task at hand at the right price (free). That’s a pretty tall order, but something has to give. I want my life back. At 32 I am way too young to lay wasting away in bed all day every day. I get excited when I am able to wash a couple loads of clothes and wash dishes. Sometimes I can sweep the floors, but what about mopping them? What about washing the windows and dusting and cleaning the bathroom and just being able to move around enough to de-clutter? These are things that get overlooked because by the time I was dishes and wash clothes, maybe sweep the floor I am completely and utterly exhausted and the rest gets put on hold for the day I can do it. I’m tired of waiting. I am ready to cook again. Forget sandwiches. I want to be able to cook a meal, one made completely from scratch the way it’s supposed to be done. I love to cook. The times I am able to cook I’m either hurting too bad to eat or am in tears afterwards. I just have to get my body to agree to let me do it. I’m tired of my body being in charge. I’m ready to take control back and if it takes someone or a team of people to teach me how to do that, well I guess I better start looking for them. I at least had better start reading my books!


4 thoughts on “Grateful For the Small Things

  1. Oh Joy, my friend. So sorry they couldn’t do anything. I know I’m full of adhesions and probably endometriosis, again, but I’m in the same boat, no one will touch me because I’ve had so many abdominal surgeries and they say the adhesions will just come back and they will only do something if it becomes life threatening. Last time the adhesions attached to my intestines and drug them over and attached them to the bottom of my stomach, which could have caused a blockage had they not removed them and put my intestines back where they belonged. The abdominal pain is so bad, I’ve begged them to just go in and take a look around, but they will not. It would be worth it to me to even get temporary relief, waiting for the adhesions to return. NOPE! I also pay the price for any bit of movement I do. Cleaning the refrigerator out, along with some other cleaning and laundry, landed me in my bed for 3 days straight and the only reason I’ve been getting out the past few days is because I have appointments that I must go to and like today I have to take my son to his doctor appointment. Sigh………………………………………………………………… I feel like such a big burden on everyone. I just wish I could help out around here. Hang in there and remember you have my e-mail address, so vent away, anytime you feel the need. Try to have a better day. I know that’s a bunch of BS, but I really do wish you a better day. HUGS No giving up.


    • Thank you so much. It really does help knowing you’re not alone. I do have a question for you, though. How does your husband handle his role as caregiver? For example when you are not able to do things around the house, does he just do them without complaining, or does he sometimes throw it up in your face? M does that. I don’t know if he does it just because he needs to vent, if he means to make me feel worthless, or if he thinks that if he makes me mad enough the adrenaline will kick in and I will do it (which is what happens sometimes, and then later I’m in tears and he feels bad…hasn’t stopped him from repeating it, though). If you’re more comfortable talking about this in email, that’s fine. I just wanted to respond to you on here so you knew I got the message. Thanks sweetie.


  2. Dang, I know that feeling: “Because it all of a sudden hits me that I am going to be in incurable pain for the rest of my life.”

    That’s a dangerous thought for me and I do my best not to believe it. I keep hoping that some of the new medical advances I read about (and post) will finally enable doctors to control our pain. If I really believed I would feel this crummy and limited The Rest Of My Life, I’d truly go nuts.

    I believe in a Higher Power, but also that it acts through the Real World, meaning through Science – and not just Medicine. The latest research in physics is bringing us closer to all kinds of other mysterious forces, and I wonder if that’s where a “cure” for pain will come from.

    I also have a hard time with meditation, and what works for me is to start with very short intervals: only 4 minutes. I’m sure you’ll agree that 4 minutes is a very long time for us to “not think” and I figure 4 minutes of doing it fairly well beats a half hour of “failure”. I read a book that suggested 8 minutes of meditation daily could get you many of its benefits, and that seems much more doable than the long sessions prescribed for “normal” people 🙂

    Hang in there


    • I completely agree with you that it is a dangerous thought. Once you let it enter and grab hold it tends to eat at your very soul until you’re distracted by something else. I am still counting on some kind of intervention. I am grateful for the fact that I have a doctor who will prescribe pain medicine for me (many don’t) but it doesn’t work like it’s “supposed to”. They give you the medicine so that you can function, and I admit, it takes the edge off the pain (something that I am very grateful for) but then the side effects are such that you still are left unable to function because you’re knocked out asleep or groggy. I agree with you that someday they will figure out how our brains are wired and figure out how to stop the pain. I just pray that it’s during our lifetime.


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