Monday, October 29, 2012

The Last Winner

As most of you know, my life has been a little "exciting" this last month... and I don't necessarily mean that in a good way.  But don't get me wrong, there have been plenty of good things happen too.

First off, let's start out with some of the un-fun stuff.  Most of you know I went in to have my tonsils out a few weeks ago.  Here I am in all my pre-surgery glory:
 I totally rock this look, don't you think?
Here I am all hooked up and ready to go!

Now, I have NEVER had any kind of surgery before.  This was a whole new adventure for me.  I remember being knocked out, I even had a dream, and then I was awake and my throat was a little sore.  Well, turns out, surgery didn't go as they thought, when they got the tonsils out there was so much infection that they removed that, along with several stones.  Then they checked my adenoid gland, because they had a sneaky suspicion that it might be having issues too.  And it was SUPER infected as well... so out it came.  When I came to, my first thought was that I had more space in my head and I could breath better.  Ben was a little agitated because the surgery took longer than they had told us, and he was worried until the doctor came in and explained to him what happened.  He also told us that because off all the infection and stuff, that it would probably take 3 to 4 weeks for me to recover fully.  Oh, great.  (Hence, my lack of blog participation)

My mom had come down to help, so the first week of recovery went pretty smoothly.  It was the second week that really sucked.  With the scabs coming off and my throat feeling super raw, even the strong pain meds only helped a little.

But I decided that I needed to be tough because Ben had school and Army/ ROTC responsibilities  and I have 3 boys who need me to do things for them.

But those two weeks of recovery were nothing compared to what I have been going through the last 5 days. Now, what I am going to share isn't something that I am proud of, but it's my hope that I can share with you what I have learned from this experience.

My doctor prescribed to me Oxycodone.  I knew it was some powerful stuff and it even scared me a little to use it.  I didn't seem to have much of a reaction to it, except that it made me a little itchy and tired.  It did take the pain away nicely.  I was really careful to keep a log and recorded when I took it and the next time I was due.  I was really careful and responsible.

On day 14 of recovery, I woke up and my pain was totally manageable.  So I decided not to take the pain meds anymore, just some regular Tylenol.  About 2 hours later, I started having these flu-like symptoms.  I was going between sever hot flashes and cold sweats to extreme shakes.  I thought, "Oh great, just when I am feeling better I get the flu bug!"  My throat started hurting a bit late in the afternoon and so I took some more of the Oxycodone thinking maybe I wasn't ready.  Not even 5 min passed and all the flu like symptoms were gone.  I feel like such a flake, but I didn't put two and two together until the next day when I didn't take the stuff and I starting having these crazy symptoms.  Suddenly it hit me, oh my gosh, I am going through withdrawals! The minute I thought it, was the minute the rest of the meds went in the trash.  I wasn't going to allow my body to control me like this.  Dealing with food addictions my whole life was enough, I wasn't doing the pain killer thing.  No way!  I was quitting cold turkey and that was that!

It was some of the most painful 5 days of my life.  I am not going to sugarcoat it.  Getting over the painkiller addiction and detoxing it out of my system was HORRIBLE!  But I did it.  This morning I had the sweats so bad that I soaked our whole bed!  I got up and drank a ton of water, I was worried I had dehydrated myself.  But I felt great!  I felt like it was finally out of my body and I had conquered it!!

I have learned one very important lesson from this experience:  to be patient, loving, and understanding to others who go through this.  It is not a "suck it up" kind of thing.  It's painful, literally your whole body aches like nothing else.  You can't stay warm and you can't cool off.  You have NO energy.  There was one night, that I literally could not move, my husband had to move my arms and legs around on the bed because I was so weak.

But a little of it was my own fault.  On day 3 of detox, I did something not so smart.  No, I didn't give in and take the meds, I decided to go run a 5K with my husband that we had signed up for a month ago.  The doctor had only okayed me to exercise the day before... meaning to take it slow and maybe start out with walking.  But I figured, well, I "mostly" ran a 10K a couple weeks before surgery, and then the night before surgery I ran an easy 5 miles... what was a little 5K then, right?  Besides, I really wanted to do it because it was for the Wounded Warriors, one of my all time favorite causes.  Well, I was dumb, because I was weak, my asthma wasn't liking the cold weather, and I couldn't stop sweating and shaking.

But I really wanted that t-shirt....

And to support my husband and the cause, of course.

When we got there I looked around.  First off, I was the only chunky person.  Secondly, everyone else looked really athletic.  I just knew that even on a good day, these people would kick my trash.  I knew I was going to be the last one in.

I could have quit.  I could have told Ben I would wait in the car.  I could have just even decided to walk it.  But I have a fighting spirit.  And I told myself that even if I came in last, I was going to cross that finish line jogging if it killed me.

It almost did.

I don't think I have ever used my rescue inhaler so much in my life!!  I started out the race jogging and I was able to jog a little over a mile before my first asthma attack.  I walked it out for a min or two as I used my inhaler  and was able to continue jogging.  Everyone but two walkers had long passed me and finished the race when I came to the last mile.  My chest was burning and I could hardly breath, my legs were starting to feel numb and the thought kept crossing my mind what a freaking idiot I was.

Just when I thought I was die on the side of the path, Ben came running toward me.  He had finished the race, and had turned back to run with me to the finish.  He could tell I was struggling to keep going and gave me some encouraging words.  When I had 1/2 a mile left, another of my friends joined us to help me out.  Everyone knew that I had only had the surgery a couple weeks before, and they figured that was my struggle.  But it was really the detoxing and asthma and that was killing me.

We came around the last corner and I was jogging pretty slow, but still going.  It was a slight incline and it was on grass.  That was really tough!  But I told myself, that even though I was almost the last one in, I was not going to walk across that finish line... I was going to run!  I was a little embarrassed, but touched when I got the big cheer as I came in 3rd from last.  I couldn't feel my legs, and my lungs were so swollen I couldn't talk.  But gosh dang it, I earned that t-shirt!

When I got home, my boys asked me I won the race.  I said, "Yes, I did!  I was the last winner!"  They looked at me funny and Sam said, "So you lost..."  I just smiled and said, "No, losers are quitters, people who don't try.  I gave it my best, I ran across the finish line!  I was the last winner!"

And I do feel like a winner.  Not only did I conquer that physical battle (I am still paying for mind you), but I have kicked this drug addiction and made it out stronger than ever before.  I may not be the fastest, but I am not a quitter... and that makes anyone a winner in my book!

Update:  The t-shirt (the real thing looks even better!  I will take a picture of myself wearing it once I wash it!)


Samantha Kay said...

Oh wow. That sucks about the addiction thing. I'm glad you were strong enough to quit it though. Congrats on your 5K run. :)

I've missed your blogging. I hope you'll be around more.

Cat said...

Thanks! You know I am feeling so much better now, that I am pretty sure that I will be posting often again :) I have a lot of catching up to do!!

Anonymous said...

wow......what a story and success! So what does the shirt look like?
Kelly Gish

Stephanie said...

Cat! I knew exactly what you meant when you said everyone else running was super athletic- I totally felt like that when I ran last year. Great job! And what a good husband you have! 3 cheers for you, well deserved!

Ruth said...

Once I had to take Pseudophedrine to get rid of a sinus infection and the doctor told me, when you start feeling like you need to take it stop. I kind of laughed, because I thought, what are you talking about. Sure enough, when I was feeling better the urge to just keep taking the medication was there. But I stopped. I always joked that I could sell that pills for extra money. But I never did. I am glad you are feeling better. You are such a good mom and wife!

Annie said...

You are amazing, Cat!

Terra said...

Hi Cat, just catching up on your blog. Congratulations!!!! You really are super women on many levels:)