Oops…Emergency Appendectomy!

Sometimes completely unexpected events just…happen.

So it’s been two months plus, going on three and suddenly I found myself back in the hospital, undergoing surgery, and spending nearly four days in recovery. Wow. Emergency appendectomy. Two weeks before I was in the emergency room for stomach and chest pains which they diagnosed as gallstones, but my nephrologist thought it could also be ulcers since my stomach was still upset. The pain continued quietly for those two weeks when suddenly it flared. I thought I pulled a muscle or something because it was that stabbing kind of pain, but when I started to run a low grade fever, I called our kidney transplant team. The transplant protocols probably saved my life. When you have a transplant, they give you a list of possible rejection symptoms and two of them are pain in the transplant side and fever. I called just to be safe. They told me to come in just to be safe. And after hours of exams, blood tests, and consults the results came back – appendicitis. But with my recent kidney transplant surgery, what was best for me?

Me in the Stanford Hospital two weeks prior to the appendectomy

Normally, it wouldn’t even be a question; immediate appendectomy. But because Three, my new kidney was positioned right on top of the appendix, they were worried about accidentally damaging it. After consulting with the transplant team though, the surgery doctors decided to go in. The risks were worth it. And I’m so glad they did. At some point, the appendix ruptured and spread its infection inside my body. And as you know with my immunocompromised state, that could have been really bad – potentially deadly. The protocols are there to save your life and it did mine. They were able to pull it out through laparoscopic surgery even partially ruptured. They did have to create an extra incision because of the positioning of my kidney but still that was way better than having to open me up. After removing it, I had to stay in the hospital for a series of antibiotic regimens and to monitor me for signs of infection. Most people would be out in a day or two but because of my situation they definitely wanted to be on the safe side.

Cassie has had to take care of me and Emma and the dogs while I’ve been out of commission

Thankfully, I’m recovering at home. It’s been five days since I left the hospital and while much of the pain has subsided and most of my bodily functions have returned to normal, I’m still in pain. Most of the time it’s a very dull, throbbing pain (like a 1 or 2) but at times it flares up to a 6 or 7 and I have to take pain meds to control it. I don’t like to do that and try to take as few as possible, but being in pain is also not good for my recovery so it’s a fine balancing act. At this critical stage, we’re watching blood pressure, temperature, sudden weight gain, and swelling as indicators of infection or something not working right. Thankfully, all signs are pretty normal. My pain is getting better day-by-day, but I can still only walk around for limited amounts of time before it comes back. I’m not sure exactly why it hurts, but it is definitely coming from the area where the appendix was. We go back on Monday for follow up. Keep me in your prayers as we traverse this bump in the journey and I’ll let you all know how it goes.

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