The last week has been one of the most helpless and humbling of my life. Following the egg retrieval (of which 32 eggs were retrieved – see earlier blog for a photo), I ended up in the hospital with what has been diagnosed as an arterial bleed in my abdomen. I spent five nights there. Here’s a quick synopsis of my hospital journey and the lessons I learned while there.
My hospital journey
The pain began as I was returning home on the ferry, and got progressively worse through the night. It radiated through my abdomen, back, shoulders, chest, and head. Eventually it became so intense that I could no longer withstand the pain and dropped to the floor. Fortunately my housemate was home and we rushed to Emergency (Thank you Trevor!). It was an excruciatingly painful ride!
Upon arrival at the hospital I underwent a battery of tests to figure out what was going on. I also received regular shots of narcotics (dilaudid and morphine) to help dull the pain. Eventually a CT scan revealed that there was vessel bleeding into my abdominal cavity. Initially, I was informed that they were going to operate to stop the bleed and possibly take out the ovary, yet the doctor instead decided to watch and wait before proceeding with surgery! Fortunately my vitals were relatively stable and my hemoglobin levels were dropping slowly, so the decision to operate was put on hold.
The next day I moved upstairs to my own room, and spent the next four nights there. For the first two days I was confined to my bed with a catheter and copious amounts of painkillers, unable to do much for myself. I felt awful and incredibly vulnerable. Fortunately I received many hospital visitors to raise my spirits. Thank you to Trevor, Mom,Teresa, Tiff, Renee, Rebeccah, Willem, Everest, Deb, Suzanne, Dan, Kelda, Philip, Michele, Robin, Ian and Maggie for coming to visit, the many people who called, texted, and emailed, and the many doctors and nurses who cared for me. I love you all so very much! I also received two units of blood from an anonymous donor. Thank you for this gift!
Fortunately after receiving blood, my condition improved, and on Tuesday I was released from the hospital and returned home. Tuesday afternoon I then received I a call from the Internal Medicine Specialist to inform me that they found a spot on my lung and it may be pneumonia. What a journey it has been!
Lessons learned – asking for and receiving help
As I mentioned earlier, through these five nights in the hospital I felt both helpless and humbled. Given the state I was in, the only choice I had was to ask for and receive help. This was difficult for me as I often think I can do it alone, and feel uncomfortable, terrified, and/or vulnerable asking for and receiving help. In fact, I realized early on that one of the many lessons for me to learn through my journey with lymphoma is to ask for help and graciously receive the support from others.
Laying there in that hospital bed I had absolutely no choice but to reach out and ask – I had to push that little red button. When I did, the response was anything but negative or judgemental. Rather, I was flooded by love and support in ways and means I didn’t even know were available and possible. I felt (and continue to feel) such gratitude and appreciation for these moments, and experiences. I feel incredibly blessed to be held and supported by the many family, friends and strangers who are here with on this journey.
And while pushing that little red button may be difficult for me, I realize that I need to put out myself out there and ask for what I need. I also realize that I can’t walk this journey alone and I need your love and support in any and all ways to learn, grow, and heal from this experience. I need you!
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you are. I feel deeply grateful and blessed to have such an amazing web of support in my life.