Monday, August 08, 2011

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today I was in intensive care and my family had been summoned to my bedside to say goodbye.

On August 1, 2010, I went to the ER for nausea and weakness. While looking via ultrasound for possible gallstones, they saw a suspicious shadow on my ovary. I had surgery that night, and yes, it was cancer.

I developed a blood clot in my lung due to the surgery, which then caused my heart to stop beating a few days later as I was being wheeled to physical therapy.

Two days later I had another arrest. Then my lungs failed and my kidneys crashed. I have been told several times that I could not have been any closer to death.

To sum it up, my kidneys came back, then crashed again, came back again, and then in October failed permanently. I was on oxygen and in a wheelchair until the middle of November when I went to rehab. I could barely stand by myself and fell out of bed twice and did not have the strength to get up on my own. No one knew how far my recovery would go.

Flash forward to today. I can walk a reasonable distance quite well. My breathing is fine. I'm not able to work because of the dialysis schedule, but otherwise fully participate in all the things I used to do.

It feels really weird to reflect back on this. Sometimes it seems like it never happened and I've simply been on a long foggy vacation. Other times it's very scary, because I know that PWD's do not do well on dialysis. I've explored with my therapist the question that if my life is drawing to a close, how would I like to live out my last days? I think I should make a bucket list. And, other times I find within myself a deep soothing sense of peace. That everything is as it should be.

Last week I had an appointment with my shrink. As I was leaving his office, he said that I could be very proud of my recovery. I said, "but I really didn't do anything".
He replied "oh yes you did - you chose to live". I guess that about sums it up.

I was fussing and fretting all evening in trying to take a closeup of my bracelet. Thinking maybe I should march to Target tomorrow and get a better camera. Well, when all else fails, consult the instruction manual (something about aperture size and shutter speec). Yes, I can follow directions...



13 comments:

Colleen said...

You are truly an awesome woman.

Kelly Booth said...

I didn't realize how much you had been thru Kathy. Yes, you did choose to live! All your friends here are very glad that you made that decision. I love the bracelet.

Rachel said...

Lovely bracelet with such a meaningful word :)

Wendy said...

Wow.

What a profound story you live to tell.

A message of hope and happiness. A message that life can still be joyful if you choose it...despite the circumstances.

I wear a bracelet that says "courage" also. Warm Fuzzies.

Zazzy said...

It's weird to look back. You do what you have to do at the time (if you don't give up) and I don't think it feels all that unusual or heroic while you're going through it. But for those of us on the outside, it's pretty damn amazing. So glad you are still here.

Pearlsa said...

You are strong and courageous

Kevin said...

So happy you're still here.

Keep punchin'!

Kerri. said...

I didn't realize how much you had gone through in the last year, Kathy. I am so glad you are here, and know that you are much loved!!

Auntly H said...

So glad you made that choice!

Anonymous said...

You are amazing!!!

karend1

Katie I. said...

Kathy, you are an inspiration with your positive attitude. My prayer is that you never, EVER have to go through anything nearly as difficult as that, ever again!!!! I also pray your peaceful moments will out-number any negative thoughts, by far. hurray for your courage!!!!!

Reyna said...

Yep...the bracelet sums it up. I am inspired by you and always get excited when I see your blog up on my dashboard. xo

Hannah said...

Hi, MN! I just read your comment on Zazzy's blog. I was completely unaware of your kidney failure. My older brother was on dialysis for 18 months before I convinced him to let me donate a kidney to him. That was in July of 2006 at UAB Hospital and we are both fine! It was the best experience of my life. I would be happy to talk to anyone who might have questions about the process.