Well…I made it through another angioplasty! I tried skimming through my notes of all my doctor appointments in Iowa City and this looks to be about my 13th angio since 2013!! That is crazy!!
Anyway, we arrived at the hospital and when I walked in I was happy to see familiar faces! It seems like once in awhile I will get a whole new team of techs and nurses but some of the old gang were there this time! They always greet me with enthusiasm yet sadness saying “you’re back again” yet they are excited to hear about my life and especially how our kids have been doing! They also question if I’m working on a second book yet haha.
I got prepped for surgery and then we waited.
Usually anxiety kicks in once I’m hooked up to IVs and have so many wires attached to me. It’s when reality sets in that I will always have these procedures…a temporary fix to keeping me alive, yet nothing that cures me. Since finding out I was going to have this procedure last Thursday though…the Lord just bombarded me with comfort through so many of my family, friends and pastors praying for us. We also heard a great sermon on Sunday regarding comfort from Isaiah…
Psalms 34 readings in my bsf bible study and my daily devotion the morning of my surgery!
I felt God’s presence so strongly this time that I was able to laugh with the nurses and not get irritated by the slightest of things! I didn’t even give Tim any kind of “look” when the nurse was going to put my IV in a different spot than normal haha. I also gave my anesthesiologist Luke, a hard time when he came in and said “long time no see”. I told him I had been getting this done every five months recently so didn’t know what he was talking about. He apologized and said he’s obviously been slacking and taking too much time off.😜
Luke has been on my team since receiving my very first set of stents back in 2007, I think he was just an intern at the time but not for sure…either way, he was so young and just getting started in his profession! The relationships that I build with all of my nurses and doctors and technicians are so amazing and help all of these procedures to be a little less stressful!
I did, however, catch the look of concern on my husband’s face while I was waiting to go back, a look I see at every procedure…and as much as I love my husband…I hate this look!!
He usually keeps the atmosphere light with his stupid jokes because he knows I’m nervous but for some reason, this time he struggled. I think the fact that Christmas is just around the corner made him concerned because we know the risks involved with any surgery, especially since I’ve had so many of these procedures done…and to do it right before Christmas.
And my heart aches more for him because he has to sit and wait. Not knowing if everything is okay until the doctor comes out to inform him of how I did. And then to wait and hear if the procedure was even successful. I know he just wishes he could fix me so that I didn’t have to go through this anymore. My husband is passionate for those he loves and it tears my heart to see him like this…the worry I cause him!
Once I was back to the surgical room, I had a couple of new techs who introduced themselves. They were very thorough in what they were doing to me as they stretched out my arms and began covering my entire arms with that terribly ice cold sterile soap. As they were apologizing for it being so cold, I heard another familiar voice say, “don’t worry about her, this isn’t Rebecca’s first rodeo” and I couldn’t help but smile. Ryan, a tech who is almost always in the room every time I have these procedures joked that I had been here even longer than he had. Once the tarp was in a tent like position over my head it was go time.
The meds kicked in but I still felt a tremendous amount of pressure from all the ballooning they did to open the stents back up. I giggled a couple of times as I felt the catheter move through different areas of my arms and sometimes I fought back tears from the intense pressure in my chest. I resorted to wearing oxygen again, something I normally didn’t have to worry about before, but the last few procedures, it has been required. Another reminder that my body just isn’t as strong as it once was. It seemed like this procedure had taken a lot longer…and it had.
I was wheeled back out to the recovery room where the nurse asked me if I wanted a meal. I always get a little nauseous after these procedures so I simply requested some crackers and a diet sprite. He joked if he should get my husband first or the snacks and I said “well, I am pretty thirsty” haha! The nurse returned with my crackers, pop…and my husband all at the same time😜
Finally the doctor came in and visited with us about the procedure. Apparently my left SVC stents were closed 90% and my right stents were closed 80%!! I was thankful I at least had a reason for feeling so lousy this past few months!!!
Instead of six months, they would now like to have me start coming back every three months for ct scans and possible angio so we did discuss if I will ever get to the point where they say the angioplasties are not worth the risk anymore due to the stents closing so frequently.
The doctor did point out that was part of the reason they struggled so much this procedure. He said my arteries in my arms are pretty much shot from all the angioplasty I have had, however, he does feel that we should do whatever we can to make sure and keep the stents open and reported “we know what will happen if they stay closed”. For this reason, he said they plan to start going through the groin. Ugh!! You all know how much I do not like that haha!
This time I had to stay two hours in recovery and I was really getting anxious to get out of there! I was able to talk the nurse into letting me leave five minutes earlier is all haha. He told me they had done a lot of work and I had been given a lot of medication and suggested I take a wheelchair to my car. I got up with my coat, told him I had to get my steps in then he shook his head saying he didn’t think those devices were very adequate and pointed out how stubborn I was. We wished each other a Merry Christmas and then Tim and I were on our way home!!
I couldn’t help but observe my colorful arms with so many incisions.
Once home, I hung out with the kids a little bit to hear about their days then Tim took them to church and I went to bed. I noticed that one of my incision sites had started bleeding but thankfully it stopped and I did not have to go back in to the hospital!
I have been able to notice relief in some of my symptoms already but my arms and chest are still sore from them doing so much digging! I stayed in bed all day and then forced myself to get moving. Our town had Christmas on Main which we do every year, where the downtown businesses decorate their windows and then there are fun activities, snacks and hot chocolate!
And this year…we got in line early to actually do the trolley ride!!
The kids had a lot of fun doing some of the activities that were provided…
And of course eating some goodies while checking everything out downtown…
It was a beautiful night for a walk and I felt pretty good getting some fresh air. I was definitely exhausted by the time we got home and was able to go straight to bed!
But, the whole point of opening my stents, every few months if necessary, is to be able to keep doing things…and I was not going to miss one of our family traditions!!
I love my family and this beautiful life more than enough to do what I have to do to keep living it!
I just need to get through my eye injection on Monday and then I will be all fixed up to celebrate the holidays! Thank you all for your continued support!!