Wednesday, October 1, 2014

GRS: One Week Post Op

Today marks one week since I had my GRS surgery here in Montreal.  When I left off in my last post I had just arrived here at L'asciepiade, the recovery house right next door to the hospital.  A lot has happened in these last 5 days of recovery and I will have to catch you up on the all the details in upcoming posts.  Things move at a seemingly fast past here, as the staff moves us through the recovery process and gets us ready to go home.  I will be leaving L'asciepiade tomorrow at 9:50 AM for our 12:55 PM flight for Raleigh/Durham.  Actual arrival at my house should be 9-10PM tomorrow night.

The biggest events here at L'asciepiade were removal of the sewn in bandaging around my vagina, removal of the "mold" or stent which was placed in my vagina during surgery to hold it open for a few days during the initial healing of the wound, and removal of the catheter which was used to drain my bladder.

Sunday was he day the gauge bandage was removed from my vagina.  This was first of three removals and each brought a new level of relief.  With the gauze bandaging coming off, Sunday was the first day that I got to see my vagina.  Seeing myself there for the first time brought a smile and a nice sense of relief.  Even though it was still a fresh surgery sight, it didn't look as bad as I expected it might, and to me it is truly beautiful.  Because I'd been having phantom itching and feelings under the gauze, there was also a relief that the surgery had indeed brought big changes.

The stent was removed Monday, which brought Great relief.  That was also the day of my first dilation.  When my stent was first removed there was bleeding and the nurse had to quickly insert the number 3 dilator for a few minutes to stop the flow of fresh blood.  This was a bit of a scary moment, as she told me that if the first attempt to stop bleeding with the dilator didn't work she would try one more time, then I would have to return to the hospital if it continued.  I've gotten through surgery and the first week of recovery with no complications, but this was sort of a close call.

Yesterday the catheter came out, which also brought great relief and gave me the first opportunity to urinate with my new vagina.  With all the swelling and being so soon after surgery, urination is far different than it will be or what most people are used to.  The function now is more like a sprinkler head and it is a little messy to say the least. 

The nurse wants to measure the first urination, so we are given a bowl that fits within the toilet to collect urine.  If the first urination is not 200cc, they begin giving you medication to make you urinate more easily and if the function does not soon return, the catheter can be reinserted.  She also told me if there was too much blood clotting around the catheter I'd have to leave it in for a week and have it removed back home.  Neither of these were positive scenarios, so I was more than relieved to get the catheter out and produce more than 200cc urine.  We also had to track all liquids consumed and all urination amounts throughout the day yesterday. 

Having gotten all of the "foreign equipment" off of and out of my body over the last few days, I am beginning to feel somewhat normal.  There is still swelling, blood clots (more like scabs of old blood from the surgery) and fresh sutures to deal with but at least I am now all me, albeit with a Lot of healing left to go. 

Blood has been a constant presence.  I am not really crazy about blood, or the sight of my own blood.  My red nemesis is everywhere all the time and it's something I have just had to deal with and get used to.  As of today, there seems to be a slightly less bloody situation, but only one week from such a major surgery and rapidly returning to somewhat normal activity, I am going to be dealing with some degree of blood for a good while longer.  At least most of the blood is "old blood" or blood from the surgery that is coming back out and not new fresh, red blood.  Lots of fresh blood is a problem that could result in me going to an emergency room or a doctor when I get back home.

I really look forward to writing about All the details of this experience when I get back home.  It's been an ordeal to say the least, and I have stayed busy with self care tasks most of the time.  Each day has brought enough relief and progress to keep the overall mood pleasant.  In fact i find myself smiling a lot of the time, with many giddy moments, especially now that the pain level is down and my body is free of foreign objects. 

My spirits have been high the entire time, buoyed by the excitement of finally starting this new part of my life.  I'm finally getting a chance to be myself, fully, and I've never felt better about anything in my life...

Visting with Mama here yesterday at L'asciepiade.  She's very ready to go home and now I feel I am too.  I look forward to telling you All about this journey in Montreal and the one I am now embarking on, the rest of my life...:)

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