Gorgeous gift from Janine at Middlemost
I don't want to bore crafty peeps with lots of medical info, but I've been asked lots of questions about the transplant, so I thought I'd answer them here for anyone who may be curious.
I have what's known as a clamshell incision. It's a cut from side to side under the breasts. There's also a cut through my sternum, which has been wired closed with a box like structure, and four smaller incisions where the drainage tubes were placed. Everything is healing up nicely.
The first three months is dedicated to recovery and rehabilitation. I have to attend the hospital every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I have gym three days a week, plus dressing changes, blood tests, education sessions and clinic on those days. Extra tests are booked around this, so this week it's lung function tests, BIPAP clinic, a chest ultrasound, and just to top it off - a bronchoscopy.
I have some damage to my diaphragm which means that I can't yet get air into the bottom of my lungs. It also means that I can't lie down without using a BIPAP machine. This may take a year to resolve itself, so I'll need to use BIPAP at night until then.
The transplant has given me what's known as 'steroid induced' diabetes.
There are a LOT of meds to take.... morning and night. I also have to check my weight, temperature, and peak flow daily.
All of this is hard work (I need an excel spreadsheet to keep track of everything), but I wouldn't change it for the world.
Check out the cankles!
I still do strange things like looking around for my oxygen tubing so I don't get tangled up.... and then I realise that there is NO oxygen tubing.
I feel so free without it. I can get out of the car and walk straight into the shops without having to lug about an oxygen trolley. I don't have to worry about how much oxygen I've used towards my monthly quota. People are not staring at me anymore, or tripping over my trolley, or asking me akward questions at the supermarket checkout. I'm still not used to it.
I've rediscovered singing. Before the transplant, I couldn't sing along to the radio or iPod as I didn't have enough breath. Now I can sing along (even if I'm tone deaf). I apologise to anyone within earshot when an INXS song comes on the radio.
I've been told by nearly everyone I've spoken to so far that they didn't realise that I talked so much. Apparently now you can't shut me up! It was just that beforehand, I didn't have enough energy or oxygen to breathe and talk at the same time.
My phyisotherapist tells me it takes six weeks to break a habit - in her case, she's trying to teach me to breathe normally (rather than the shoulders forward puffing type of breathing that I'm used to), so that's my challenge for the moment.
I'm looking forward to getting fitter and fitter and eventually buying myself a new bike. Michelle, Angie and Brianna have made sure that my new bike will be totally pimped up (yes check out the spokie dokies) and ready to roll. That's going to be my reward once all of the rehab is finished.
That's all I can think of for now. If you have any questions, ask away!