Thursday, September 9, 2010

Three Weeks Post-Op

For some reason, by the time we got home from the hospital, it looked like my recovery was going to be one of those rare quick and dramatic recoveries; a sharp contrast to the long and drawn out recoveries that I'm used to.

For ten days, my body surprised me. Besides the surgical pain and the post-surgical "quirks," I was symptom-free. Really. No headache (again, besides localized surgical pain). No nausea, no facial pain, no POTS symptoms. I was amazed.

I certainly wasn't expecting this when it happened. It seemed too good to be true. I tried not to get my hopes up. But it really seemed the the surgery had very quickly solved all of my major complaints.

Then, Tuesday happened. Blackouts, collapsing, low blood pressure, pupils not working, tachycardia, palpitations, arrhythmias, the old headache, body aches. They all came back, and have persisted.

Now, I never expected to be symptom free, at three weeks out, or ever, really. But for ten days, I was. It's hard not to wonder why I was doing so well.

Especially something like pupillary constriction. That was immediate after surgery. It was perfect. And now, it's sluggish and incomplete. What changed to make this happen, along with other symptoms coming back so abruptly? My blood pressure hadn't been noticeably low since surgery. Now, it seems to be constantly low.

However, I know to expect a long recovery. I expected not to see symptom relief for a long time. Twelve months is a good guess for recovery time from symptoms for this operation. POTS recovery can take longer than that, and it is not expected to be complete.

But for those ten days...I had such a feeling of well-being. It felt like I had a new body. I just wonder what that was about...


I had my first physical therapy appointment on Wednesday.
The script from Dr. B only had one instruction: "Optimize neck ROM" (range of motion).
So, when I went to my appointment, that's what we started doing. Stretching. I left with quite a headache. I wrote to my nurse, to find out if this was okay. She said that no stretching is to be done. Just massage, warm compress, and later, ultrasound, and TENS. Quite a contradiction to the script. Hopefully, we'll get this straightened out.
I also hope I can find a physical therapist that can give a good massage. He seemed to be scared to touch me. I need to get to a massage therapist, and fast!


I really wish those ten days hadn't happened. They got my hopes up and left me disappointed with my current condition. I'm actually having a good recovery. I'm still in pain (between 4 and 7). I have a lot of trouble finding a way to rest my head on a pillow at night. But I'm getting out for daily walks. I'm able to get in and out of bed easily. I still have a lot of fluid. Once that is absorbed, the pain should decrease. It's still much better than I expected. I know it's good. I'm working on readjusting my expectations. I knew it was too good to be true. That's why I didn't want to admit just how well I was doing. I didn't want to admit that my headache was gone. But I was really ecstatic. Now, I've actually been crying for three days straight. It doesn't make sense, because I know how lucky I am, still. I guess I just really got my hopes up that things were really going to stay so drastically better so early on. I wish I could stop crying. I know it's ridiculous. Oh well, I will adjust my expectations again, in time. I've done that enough times in my life; I'm sure I can do it again.