November was "Take your sister to Denver" Month! Taryn was my partner this time around, and Cyndi was also in Denver at the same time with her sister Celia!!!
I want to start out the day before we left on our trip. Taryn came down to spend the night and we took her to our favorite Thai restaurant in Folsom, Thai Paradise. Paul and his family own the place and we have followed them from their previous restaurant, Infusion, where we used to get our favorite sushi! Little Auntie still teases us with our old regular order of Veggie Artishaw and Red Dragon! As we were getting ready to leave we told Paul that Taryn and I were on our way to Denver the next morning for treatment. As he came back with our bill, he also brought me a beautiful little jewelry box made of sparkly gold cloth that his family makes as a good luck gift for my trip!!! i was sincerely touched by this kind gift and reminded again of all of the wonderful people that I have in my life. I say it over and over, but I am a very lucky girl and so thankful for everyone who supports me!
The flight was early the next day! We were at the airport by 4:30 in the morning. Yikes! We almost didn't get the front row (i get very nervous with the seats so close to my face and the inability to get up if needed) but a very nice gentleman moved for us with very little prompting from Taryn. Thank you sir! We got our luggage, rental car, all of the regular stuff and headed over to the condo. Relaxed a little since it was still so early, and then we got a call from Cyndi. Turns out her trip was not going quite according to plan! Instead of having a treatment the day before, they found out she had a very high fever and a very bad infection. She'd had a swollen eye for weeks now and had been on antibiotics to try to help. Unfortunately it was worse than they thought, so she was admitted to the hospital for antibiotic treatment through the IV. So instead of coffee or lunch, we planned to stop by the hospital to see her.
By this time, my poor sister was starting to show signs of a cold. We headed out to pick up some groceries, cold medicine and stop for lunch before heading over to see Cyndi and making our appointment with Dr. Reed. Well, of course, with all the running around and different places we were, I got a little lost on the way to the hospital! Stupid Neverlost! It isn't supposed to let you get lost. I guess I can't blame it though! :) Once there we knew we were seriously running out of time to hang out with Cyndi & Celia if we wanted to be on time to Dr. Reed's. So we ran inside and up the elevators. Only to come upon the crazy elevator situation that is Swedish! There are only certain elevators in certain parts of the hospital that take you passed the 3rd floor. We of course didn't get on those! So back down, out to the right ones, and finally we made it up to Cyndi's room. We only had about 15 minutes to hang out, but did get time to take some pics with all of the sisters. Be sure to check out Cyndi's blog to read about her trip!
So we ran back down stairs (literally) with me trailing behind like LaVonne (sorry mom!) as I couldn't exert too much energy without making my lip feel like it was going to explode. And we were off to Dr. Reeds NEW office and spa. We were of course a little late. But honestly it was more because we just couldn't find the place! It is located in what appears to be more of an outside mall type area, but once inside the building it is offices and a nice bakery. The office was still getting put together, but they seemed happy in their new home. No singing this time, and just a very quick looksy at what was going on. My lip of course has a new little broken area and I've been having bleeding from my gums which are swollen. So a little set back from last trip when we were all so excited at my healed lip! But still, in the grand scheme of things...we are doing well. We picked up a "menu" of the spa treatments on the way out and I hope to get a massage in next trip!
We were going to head to Watercourse for dinner, as Taryn is vegan and they have wonderful vegan foods and desserts, but we had some time to kill. And then out of nowhere...the heavens opened up, the angels started singing, and the light shone on the "DSW" sign. So I had to stop in and go shoe shopping! It was actually part of a promise I had made to some of my friends over at the AVM Survivors Network and I had to follow through. Got some cute peep toe heels (on sale of course!) and we were on our way to Downtown for dinner.
Unfortunately by this time, Taryn's cold was kicking in and she couldn't even enjoy her meal. Such a shame as she was really looking forward to this dinner. I have to say that she was a total trooper the entire trip. I know she felt awful, but she did everything she could to try to stay healthy, to pretend she was ok, and to take care of me. I never doubted that she would be a great care giver (she is two years older and has always looked after me very well) but I know that this trip was a struggle for her. Thanks Tear-Bear!
So the next morning, off to Swedish we went. Got checked in, went into pre-op, chatted with Rhonda and Julie. One of the CNA's Derek was there as well and harrassed us the whole time! He is great and was really working hard that day, pitching in all over the place as they were very busy!!! Jill was my nurse again and was busy running the show, directing everyone else. She's quite the little multitasker! Of course, we got the IV in...at two pokes! :) We didn't have to wait too long before it was my turn to go in. I had the waterfall room again and a familiar face for my anesthesiologist (don't know his name!) Happy juice in...faded out...and that was that!
Apparently I was in for about 2.5 hours. So it was a good procedure. When I woke up and was back in pre-op area, I was the only one left! I had another angio, so that meant lying flat for the 4 hours. Honestly I think I slept alot of that time cause I don't have alot of memories of any of it. It was really quiet since there was nobody else there, and I felt rather good, although I didn't feel quite as energetic and "good" as the last two times. The nurse did notice that I was looking a little swollen and decided to give me some more steroids through my IV. I'd never had that happen before, but ok. Eric came in, we chatted a little. I believe he said that my treatment consisted of 10 cc's of alcohol plus some coils. But don't quote me on that! We got the prescriptions, I ate some strawberry ice cream and chocolate pudding (it was like a sunday!) and got ready to leave.
That night was one of my harder nights in Denver. I woke up and seriously couldn't swallow and barely could breath. My throat was so swollen inside and my little "puching bag" was crowding my throat and just sitting on my tongue. I was miserable. I went downstairs to try to drink some water and Taryn suggested I take my first dose of prednisone to see if that would help with the swelling. I couldn't swallow the pills though, and we ended up crushing the prednisone and a Vicodin into some water. It was the worst drink ever and I almost couldn't get it down. Went back to sleep and hoped that I would be ok. Of course, the drama queen that I am, I had nightmares of a trach and not being able to breathe...
The next day, neither of us felt well and we pretty much just slept through the day until it was time to go to the airport. I was able to eat some noodles (well at least I could swallow them!) and drink some juice. So everything was fine. The flight back was late, we were both tired, and as we pre-borded the plane we could see that there were TONS of people left from the previous flight and it didn't look like there were any front seats open. I was so upset and just wanted to cry (such a small thing for me to freak out about!) but my sister was ready to fight for me to have a front seat and it turns out there were two available...everyone was just "hanging" out up there to use the restroom! So we flew home, Josh was waiting for us in line at Starbucks getting us both hot apple ciders!
The next few days pretty much sucked. I didn't feel well at all. My throat was still completely closed up and very sore, I couldn't talk, my ear was plugged, everything was swollen, and I was having arterial bleeding from inside my lip. Not my favorite recovery. It definately took me much longer to recover this time than any other. I had to skip the next three days of work, which seriously stressed me out because it was month end and there were things I needed to do! But you just can't plan for things like this... Josh and I canceled our Thanksgiving plans at Grandpa Mickey's and just stayed home where I could relax and not worry about the bleeding. We made our own little dinner (the first time we've ever celebrated on our own) and really did have a nice day. We were thankful to be together and for everything good we do have in our lives.
It is now Saturday, a full week and one day after treatment and I'm still not 100%. But I am feeling better. No bleeding for two days, although I'm anticipating that this area is not going to just heal and may be a problem for a while. Most of the swelling is gone, although the inside of my cheek is still a bit puffy and being irratated by my teeth. I have a new "puffy" area around my temple. Not sure if that is from where they treated, or just a migration of the AVM going up the side of my face. So that's that. This was a good trip, but a hard recovery. It is so crazy to me the different experiences that I have after each trip to Denver. Some are easy as pie, others a little more of a struggle. But I continue to feel like we are making progress and that the trips will all be worth it in the long run.
We are skipping a trip in December so that I can celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary! What an accomplishment that is and we are having a big party with lots of relatives and friends coming in from all over. So that will be a wonderful event this year and we are all very excited.
Denver Trips- >