Kidney Surgery: 1 Year Later

Time sure flies! I can’t believe that this time a whole year ago I had kidney surgery! If you are new to my blog, this might be the first you have heard, but I had a floating kidney (technical terms: Nephroptosis, Renal Ptosis) aka wandering kidney, kidney hernia, kidney prolapse.

What is Nephroptosis?

Basically it means that the kidney slips down from where it is supposed to live and leans on the organs below, such as the bladder or stomach. I had this big old mess where my medical insurance refused to cover my operation so around about this time last year I was waking up from surgery, 5,000€ worse off but at least my kidney was in the right place.

Nephroptosis

These are my results from the renograms, taken 2 days apart. The first one was taken laying down flat and the other I was sitting on a stool.

When you have nephroptosis, the kidney works normally when you are laying down flat as it wanders back up to it’s normal position. When standing or anything other than laying flat, it drops and causes all kinds of fun. Sometimes people are asymptomatic and have no problems, only finding out they have a floating kidney by accident.

Nephropexy

I was suffering UTI’s, bladder pressure, my stomach was badly affected (diarrhea and terrible colic pains) dizziness, fatigue and nausea. What a fun illness! My kidney Dr was fantastic and sent me for Isotopic renograms to diagnose me before performing a laparoscopy. I have 4 holes in my abdomen and 14 staples after surgery. My kidney was stitched to my back with 3 stitches and some special mesh, technical term for this operation is ‘Nephropexy’.

The Hospital Stay

When I woke up from anaesthesia I was pretty distressed. My BF was there waiting for me even though I was babbling garbage and I was more worried that I thought I had something in my eye. For 5 whole days I didn’t leave my hospital bed, not even for the bathroom (and he didn’t leave my side). I was put on a catheter and stayed on that until I was discharged on Friday.

nephroptosis

The first night the nurses brought round some food on trays, one for me and the other for my BF. I wasn’t feeling too hungry but they said I should eat. Let’s just say ‘Exorcist style projectile vomit’ and leave it at that. I will never drink peach juice EVER again. My kidney Dr was very annoyed that the nurses had given me food the same day as surgery and I was terrified that all the vomiting and heaving would ruin my stitches. I was ok, but my appetite was all over the place. My niece came to visit at one point eating a packet of Tuc crackers and drinking a can of iced tea and it was all I could think about for 3 days.

nephroptosis

If you ever wondered what it’s like to be on a catheter, there is no feeling really. UNLESS, one of your visitors leans on that side of the bed and then you will feel a full bladder feeling, or if there is a kink in the cable and you start feeling like you need the toilet, tell the nurse. I remember looking out of the window a lot at night and unable to sleep, my BF was allowed to stay with me on a fold out bed in the corner so most of the time I just looked over to him or watching the moon. There was free wifi in my room but I only really used my iPod for FaceTime with my parents or quick Facebook updates.

Time went very slowly during my stay and the worst time of day was when the nurses came to give me my sponge bath, although I felt so much better afterwards.

After 5 days I was allowed to go home, in an ambulance! This was actually quite fun and because I had to stay in bed another week after my hospital stay (to let my kidney heal to it’s new place) I was wheeled out of my room and then lifted into the ambulance like in the films. My BF was allowed in the ambulance on the ride home. All I could see was a lovely blue sky and so many palm trees. When we arrived home I was put into a special wheelchair and the ambulance guy and family member lifted me up 4 flights of stairs (apartment style building, no lift) to our house where I was put straight into bed.

Recovery

I only got out of bed to use the bathroom (either showering or to use the toilet) for the first 5 days at home. After that I was allowed to take a few steps about the house, so I aimed for the balcony. Little by little I shuffled about the house, but always laying flat in between. I managed to marathon the whole of Breaking Bad from start to finish during the first few weeks. It wasn’t until May that I was allowed to start exercising again and get back to what’s classed as normal.

Since my original post last year, I’ve made some ‘kidney friends’ who have been through or are planning on having the same operation. I’m here for support if you need a friend to talk to about this as I know it can really mess with your head and cause a lot of upset as it’s hard to diagnose and recovery is quite tough.

Right now I’m feeling great, hardly any pains in my back (on the left kidney) walking on average 8,000 steps a day and living a normal life. :)

There is going to be a second part to this post, why? Because my other kidney has dropped and isn’t working properly so it looks like I will have to go through this all again! Doh!

Read more of my kidney posts here:
I Have a Magical Floating Kidney (Nephroptosis)
Health Insurance Sucks!
Kidney Surgery: 18 Days Later



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February Book Haul

Often I pick up book suggestions from Twitter chats and blog book reviews. So a couple of night’s ago I decided it was time for a book haul.

February Book Haul

Isn’t it so cool that you can download free kindle books? I love browsing, finding new authors and genres. Amidst my free book download spree, (ever had one? It can be crazy) I bought two books that I’ve been wanting to get for a while. One was How to Fall in Love by Cecelia Ahern, the other I Was Here by Gayle Forman.

I Was Here

The latter was suggested to me on Twitter and although I have read If I Stay and recently watched the movie, I was expecting I Was Here to be a follow up book. It isn’t. It’s about a topic very taboo and one that affects me more than I care it to. Suicide. This is how I lost my sister, so I was very hesitant but also wanted to tear it page by page and read it all. I’m currently at about 38% and so depending on how I feel, I may do a book review. At the moment it’s hard to put down but also hard to pick up if you know what I mean.

Free Kindle Book

On a lighter note, Amazon noticed my crazy spree and rewarded me with a code to get a free book. I had six to choose from:

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • The Next Always by Nora Roberts
  • Sleepyhead by Mark Gillingham
  • The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
  • The State We’re In by Adele Parks
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman

At first it was a toss up between Larsson and Gaiman because I enjoyed the Stardust film and currently really into the Fairytale genre, especially with the series Once Upon a Time. When I read a book I like to be surprised so I went with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as I have no idea how it ends or the story. I noticed that Daniel Craig was on the book cover, I didn’t know that it was a film too! It’s already reduced down to £3.99 in Amazon Uk.

Here are the other books that I downloaded and are currently free in the UK Kindle Store:

Hopefully I’ll be able to do a few short book reviews and get them up on the blog while I’m in a reading mode. I can’t believe it’s my first time reading Edgar Allan Poe’s work. I read The Tell-Tale Heart before bed last night and I was so freaked out but loved it at the same time. You fancy me mad?

What are you reading at the moment? Have you read any of the books I mentioned in this post?



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How to Improve Facebook Engagement

I’ve been with Facebook since the early days, since when the ‘Like’ button was the most important thing for a Business Page. Facebook engagement and reach is the new thing and since they are famous for changing their algorithms, it’s not easy trying to build a community online.

How to improve Facebook Engagement

With 1,600+ likes on my fan page for Cuteek, you would think I’d get at least a few likes on content that I share with the page. Nope, zip diddly. It is slowly on the increase, but engagement is what I am keeping my eye on as opposed to actual page likes.

I will say I’ve used Facebook ads to boost posts around Halloween last year, but I have never paid for page likes. So where am I going wrong?

A few years ago I used to play an online Facebook game called Sorority Life. I was really into it and used to post tips and tricks on my blog, which I would then share onto my facebook page. Because of the success of the game, I gained a lot of followers in a short space of time and had a nice amount of traffic to my blog.

Not long ago, there was an announcement on the Sorority Life fb page that they were closing the game down and that’s where my problem started.

Think about all those gamers that clicked the big like button on my page because they wanted more updates about Sorority Life. Some people had multiple Facebook accounts due to the nature of the game and the gifting system. So when the game ended, those ‘fans’ didn’t necessarily like the rest of my blog and so became dead weight, no longer interested in what I’m posting, so they aren’t engaging. Facebook’s algorithm sees this and doesn’t let my content display to other fans.

The other reason I had uninterested fans was because I hadn’t found my blogging tribe. (I have since found them and feel like I belong at FemaleGeekBloggers)
I was using the super helpful tips from SITSBlogging and they would often announce on their page to follow other bloggers. Page likes would increase and everyone was happy, or where they?
No offence to anyone here but this meant I was following tons of Mommy Bloggers and Food Bloggers. I’m not a mother and I’m not really into cooking, so this is actually bad for those bloggers too! I’m not their target audience.

Why I Deleted My Facebook Fans:

Well it might sound harsh but I started to delete people from my page. This is very time consuming as you have to do it one by one, but I began with anyone that had Sorority Life in their username. For example ‘Vikki SororityLife Addme’. If you delete anyone by mistake they can always come back if they are really interested.

I also logged in as my page and unliked any pages to do with cookery or Mommy blogging. While I was there I went ahead and started to find my tribe’s pages which are full of things that DO interest me. I gave some of them a shoutout and posted a Sherlock meme, which went down well.

So with this in mind, go to your Facebook profile and unlike any pages you are no longer into or interested in. You will be doing the admin a favour.

Here’s an example of a Batman meme I posted in October last year. I thought it was pretty hilarious, but not everyone would. So 1,600+ likes and not one person clicked like? The reach was only 28! This means Facebook showed that image to 28 of my fans, none of them responded and so they don’t show it to any one else. What if those 28 people were dead accounts or people no longer interested?

I’m going to give this a few weeks but I’m already seeing an improvement in a few days. The scheduling feature is going to be my new friend and my page’s newsfeed is going to be full of interesting content that I will enjoy and be able to share to my page. Slow and steady wins the race with this one, it’s not going to happen overnight.

How to improve Facebook engagement

If you have any tips on how to improve Facebook engagement, success or failure stories from your own experience I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

You can find me on Facebook here: facebook.com/cuteek ;)



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