Thursday, July 2, 2015

Post-Op with Dr. Sal Lettieri

This past week has been hard, not because of the pain from the surgery.  Staying home and not being able to drive has been difficult. Today I had my post op appointment with Dr. Lettieri.  Sonya was so sweet to take me to Mayo I don't like anyone to go with me because it is not a fun way to spend time. This time I was forced to ask for help, Eric could not go because my appointment time was changed at the last minute. I wondered what she would think of Dr. Lettieri and hoped she would love him as much as I do.  I warned her as soon as I introduce her as my sister Sonya, he would have a smart comeback about Monya-Sonya. I was right, he asked why "I said it was the 60's"  he laughed asked if we had another sister named Tonya, and of course I said "oh no, that would be too easy her name is Kris.
Today he had a young resident with him Dr. Deep very cute and very young. Immediately Dr. Lettieri announced he was not happy with the eye surgery.  We're going to wait until all the swelling goes down then he will decided how to proceed with more surgery.  My eye started to open yesterday and it is dripping more than ever.  He said it was just going to get worse, and that he wished he had been a little more aggressive with the bottom lid, it's drooping more than Dr. L wanted it to be.
Dr. Lettieri was really happy about my nerve cross graft he did in February, it is even better than what he had expected.  I am hoping I can wait on the eye surgery and have him do that at the same time as the nerve surgery.  I didn't bring that up with him today, I will be seeing him again in a couple weeks.
Heather came in and took out the rest of the stitches in my eye while Dr. Deep and Dr. Lettieri talked doctor talk--way over my head.
Today was good news about the nerve, but surprising news about my eye.  I could tell he was disappointed.  I told him "it's ok" he said "not for me"  I made the assumption he was being hard on himself because he's a perfectionist. He said "No, that has nothing to do with it, I just want you to have it working at the best it can, and I know it won't so I want to fix it" he continued to tell me I would have more drainage than I had before if I didn't get it taken care of.
Many people have questioned my choices, guess what? that's ok I realize you are not living my life you are not the one who has to kneel and ask what to do.  I feel completely comfortable with the decisions I have made. Many have given me natural path choices and questioned my choice to go medicinal, it's ok too. Everyone has a different thought process, these choices were made by relying on the Lord to answer me and lead me to the right places.  I can honestly say the only time I doubted a decision was when I went to Cleveland Clinic, I felt rushed to make an answer and Dr. Lettieri was out of the country when this all happened a year ago.  We made a fast reactive choice, based on the fact we were told with a nerve we only had a small gateway--because I didn't know a "small" gateway didn't mean I needed it taken care of within a week or two. I could have waited for Dr. Lettieri.  I don't look at things that way, my mind doesn't process that way. If I hadn't gone to Cleveland Clinic I would not appreciate and love Dr. Lettieri like I do, I wouldn't appreciate Mayo Clinic like I do.  So to those skeptics who like to give me their opinions, I will not apologize for  following my heart listening to the spirit and doing what we thought was best at the time.

Surgery with Dr. Sal Lettieri

Eric and I waiting to be called back--we are now frequent
flyers here at Mayo--I think I should have a punch card with some
great reward after X amount of surgeries. When the registration
nurse knows you by name and nurses remember you by name
it's a sign, you've overstayed your welcome.

June 24th 4:45am on our way to Mayo Clinic.  I talked Eric's ear off trying to keep from taking any anxiety medication--hey, who worked? While entering the Clinic I refused to look to the left, intentionally I jabbered to Eric about what a positive experience I was having with Nerium.  I wanted----NO I actually needed to keep my head in a good place for at least a few more minutes while we got registered.
Just over a year ago was a dreaded day.  I'd been discharged from this same hospital with a disfigured face.  Hearing a doctor tell me "you need to get used to the new Monya, your face will never be the same" If I were to look to the left I would have a vivid remembrance of being wheeled out in a wheelchair and while waiting for Eric to bring the car around I watched a woman fall to the ground have a massive heart attach.  I listened as "code blue" echoed through the corridor. I watched as healthcare professionals did all they could do to revive her life.  They were unsuccessful, and I felt nothing but jealousy.  I wouldn't necessarily say this was my lowest point of my life, but it ranked up in the top 5.
I've seen and felt tragedy, separation anxiety, depression,  heart ache, enormous unexplainable pain, loss of hearing, sight, smell, both breasts and all my hair. I've had temporary loss of feeling in my hands and feet. I still look back at all of this and know the positive out weighs the negative.  I'd do it all again, feel every ache and pain to know what I know now. What I know to be true is there is life after this earth life, it is beautiful and peaceful there is no pain, hurt or jealousy. It is a place like no other place you have been here on earth. I want to go there again, I will accept and take on all that happens to me hear on earth to have that feeling for eternity.
After being registered Eric and I headed up to the 2nd floor for surgery.  When I got into the elevator
I couldn't help but look at that spot, it was empty; too early in the morning for visitors. The rush of reality came flashing back of that day a year ago.  Eric asked if I was OK, I responded "yeah, sure I'm good" After checking in with surgery, they took me right back. I guess Dr. Lettieri is on time.  After vitals, question after question about allergies and when was the last time I ate or drank anything, I started to dose off.  My thought was "Read my chart, can't you see how many times I've answered these questions? this is not my 1st rodeo" I saw Dr. Magtibay walk by and into the patients room across the hall, I suddenly sat up and wanted to talk to him.  The nurse continued with her questions, but I keep asking her to ask Dr. Magtibay come see me when he's done.....she was looking at me like really?  I said to her I will answer all your questions, you can start my IV really fast if you promise me you'll get Dr. Magtibay.  This time the IV only took a one time poke, that's new it usually takes several pokes then they have to get a different, more efficient RN to poke me.
Soon Eric came back and just after that came Dr. Magtibay, I just love him.  He hugged me wanted to know about my surgery. I asked about his children and wife, then Dr. Lettieri came in.  I didn't have to introduce them they knew each other. Dr. Magtibay excused himself, turned smiled at me and wished me blessings on a great outcome.
ready to go, Dr. Lettieri took this picture so I could see
the difference of my smile

Dr. Lettieri smiled at me and when I smiled back.....he said "do that again" not knowing what the heck he was doing I said "why?" he said "quit being difficult just do that again, that thing you just did with your face" I shook my head and said with a big smile "this?" he smiled big, he said "where's Heather?" "I haven't seen her yet" Dr. Lettieri went out to find her, but she was walking in at the same time. "do that again for Heather" I smiled as best I could they both in unison said "It's working" Dr. Lettieri asked me to do that same thing over and over.  Apparently the surgery he did in February with the cross nerve was starting to show.  By their responses I could tell this was good news, he was happy.  Heather has been with me from my 1st diagnosis with breast cancer, and we have become great friends.  I can honestly say she has been a true to the end friend.  She watched as I suffered through chemo, radiation, expansions numerous surgeries she has assisted on for me.  She was there last year when I was rushed to the hospital in horrible pain, curled up in a fetal position losing all control of my bodily functions.  She stayed with my sisters and helped them to understand what was happening to me.  I love her like a sister, I really really love her.  She was happy for me, truly happy for this bit of HOPE I was finally feeling.
Dr. Lettieri, Me, and Heather
I love them both
After Dr. Lettieri gave his pre-op assessments on me he walked out and I yelled "I love you" he answered back "I love you too" I was rolled into the OR,  and off to my Happy Place in Paris. I seriously don't remember a lot about recovery.  The only thing I can remember is saying I needed to go to the bathroom.  In the past I have not been able to have outpatient surgery because either the surgery required me to be observed for more than a few days, or my bladder didn't work because I was under anesthetic for so long. The recovery nurse helped me into the bathroom, when she went to shut the door I said "no don't shut the door" "honey, don't you want some privacy?" "Heck no, I want you to hear the stream of pee his the toilet, and all those people in recovery are on drugs they won't remember"  she laughed I immediately pee' was long and it was loud, and I was proud--she said "you didn't take anytime at all"  She helped me back to bed and I slept for three days.  Some funny things that happened; that night Eric woke up and I wasn't in the bed so he went looking for me, 1st the bathroom, then he went downstairs no Monya.  He said he walked upstairs again to check the bedrooms, but there I was asleep in the hall closet.  He got a picture of it but I'm not posting it.  The next morning I went to the bathroom, Eric said "a man is coming to fix our cable in the bedroom" I told him ok but I needed to lay in the bed if that was ok with him.  The doorbell rang, Eric brought the man into our room I could hear he and Eric talking. I was sitting on the ground with my head in the toilet throwing up.  Eric came in and said "are you ok? the guy will be done soon"  I don't remember any answer I just remember continuing to throw up.  I guess I fell asleep sitting on the floor in front of the toilet with my head on the toilet seat. He got a laugh out of that one, and no I'm not posting the pictures.  I'm glad to be home, but never want to fall asleep on a toilet seat again.