Well, actually a bit of "non-woohoo" first: I had a CT scan on my aorta 4 weeks ago. They found a small leak around the upper end of the stent. I'm going in on April 6 to get the stents reinforced--almost a repeat of January's surgery.
On the up-side, not only have I not regained any of the fluid weight that drained out of my leg while I healed up from that last surgery, both legs are emptying themselves of excess fluid the way they're supposed to thanks to the much-improved blood flow to my kidney and other innards. My legs are starting to look normal for the first time in years. Where I used to wear an 8-1/2 shoe before all the medical stuff started, I was stuck with cheap canvas size 12/13 shoes from the dollar store because no one else had anything I could stuff a hoof into. I've lost maybe 3 sizes on the right, 2 on the left. My lower legs are amazingly smaller.
Ten pounds total so far.
I've walked farther and better in the last three months than I've managed in nearly five years. First there was the 15 minutes spent at Lowe's getting a new bedroom door and doing it alone. Yeah, I got help loading the door onto a cart, but loaded it in the car, unloaded it at home, and maneuvered it into the house on my own without much trouble.
Haven't installed it yet. Got the flu a few days later, kept that for about a week, and haven't really felt like doing a damned thing since.
I'm all healed up from the two surgeries to reroute some pipes and shore up the inside of my aorta.
Gotta say, I'm feeling better than I have in a long time. Where I couldn't even take a shower without breaking it into stages with rest stops (room to bathroom, sit & rest, shower quickly, sit & rest, bathroom to bedroom...about 30 minutes), a few days ago I did it all in one round without sitting or huffing & puffing, all in about 15 minutes.
I made the 500 foot walk to a friend's house without having to stop and recover. Didn't crash onto the couch, either--though I did have to catch my breath.
My kidney doctor says my protein levels are much better, my other numbers very good, and he'll see me in a year.
My blood pressure is the lowest I've ever seen it. Still runs a bit high on the top number, but the bottom number is almost always below 100 instead of running between 105-118 all the time.
Been a rough three weeks since Jan. 5th's stent surgery.
The surgery itself went without any troubles. The recovery, though, has been a pain in the ass.
Incision's healing up nicely. Staples came out on the 22nd. I had about 2 weeks of "reflected" pain across my shoulder blades caused by the aortic aneurysm reacting to being bypassed by the stents. Percocet took care of that.
The major complication? Ever since the original aortic tear in 2010 and my bad kidney removal in 2011, this body of mine became a freaking sponge and collected about 100 pounds of water weight, especially around my waist and down both legs. Ever since the evening of Jan. 6th, when I tried to bandage the incision site right at the top of my right thigh, I started leaking like a sieve from there.
I ended up in the Emergency Room with a fever and got sent to Interventional Radiology to have a drain put in. I've got a 4th session with them this afternoon to see how things are progressing. They've treated the site with ethanol and Betadine to scar up and close off the lymph channel that's pushing all that fluid up into the incision area. The upshot of this is that I carry a collection bag, keep the incision clean, and hope that the next session will finish this off.
I have drained 6 quarts of "cellular fluid" (lymph?) since Jan. 6. Six freaking quarts. Fortunately most of that has been managed by the drain and baggies, so I'm not washing a dozen towels at a time trying to keep ahead of this crap.
The fluid loss comes up to about 8 pounds. Take THAT, Weight Watchers.
Here's a neat vid of the "AAA"
stent/endovascular aneurysm repair I'm scheduled for. Liking the
spacey-sounding terminology--they "deploy" the stents and anchor them.
The stents look like cat hairballs on a stick before they're launched,
Some surgical squick, though, for the squeamish...
First half of the aortic repair was this past Monday. Everything went well. The doc snipped my left subclavian artery where it joined the aorta and rerouted it over to the carotid. I'm left with a couple of 3" incisions on my neck and collarbone. The doc went with glue to close everything up, so I'm hoping to stay out of Wound Care--unlike with my kidney (staples) and hydrocele (stitches) surgeries.
I did an overnight in the hospital to make sure I wasn't going to stroke out or something. I was pretty bored, very boring. I had a nice room (I got to see it the next afternoon, when I was dressing to leave) with an interesting view up 9th Avenue and across the airport. Couldn't see any of it. They warned me not to turn my head (might tear the glue holding my neck shut) and not to use my left arm (might stress the new arterial joint?). I was wired utterly awake but too tired to read, couldn't write (left-handed), didn't feel like moving or anything. Still better than my usual 7 or 10-day stays.
The next half comes in early January, when a stent will be run from my thigh, up the aorta, and positioned to close off the damaged inner liner of the aorta, and so closing off the full-length "pocket" that runs all the way from the aortic arch down to the south end somewhere.