War, What is it Good For? Absolutely Nothing, or Perhaps Something?

Sharon Coyle Saeed’s monthly blog post is up and ready for you to read! In this post Sharon discusses her recent surgery that was anything but simple. WEGO Health is so pleased to report that Sharon is now home and recovering.

Dive into Sharon’s world by reading her post below.  If you’re looking for her previous post, click here.

War, What is it Good For? Absolutely Nothing, or Perhaps Something?

By Sharon Coyle-Saeed

Since April 5, I have been at war….kind of sort of…..well, it sure felt like it. Not that one could know truly what a soldier goes through, and never to diminish that experience, however, when hearing stories of soldiers returning back from combat, it sure feels familiar, and relatable.

It all started with pre-surgical preparation or what happened before I entered the minefield. I tried to prepare as best as I could. Packed everything I may need, said my apologies and good byes to loved ones and friends (just in case), and equipped myself with talisman from almost every religion, lucky crystals, and of course, prayers.

24 hours after pre-admission, I received a battle wound…..a 12 inch abdominal vertical opening with staples running through it like train tracks holding my guts in. The pain after surgery is intense. It is brutal. If this wasn’t challenging enough, and this was my 11th surgery so definitely not a newbie in experiencing and understanding that this is part of getting through the war, the night of my surgery, the unexpected happened.

I was very close to losing my life. The worst part of it all was I, along with my mother, and nurse watched it slowly drift away within 5 minutes. It all began with, “Mommy, I am feeling hot. Something is not right.” She called the nurse in to take my vitals, and this is what was revealed. 102 fever, 120 heart rate and blood pressure of 90/55. Very low for me and the temperature very high for me (my baseline is 97.1). She took it again. 67/52. Frantically, she took it again. 57/41. All I remember was her standing by the door and yelling, “I need a rapid response in here.” I was going under. The last thing I recall was six residents and about five nurses and techs working on me.  Injections, pumping fluids, the resident telling my mother to leave the room, and then, I must have fainted. I woke up  to having three residents working on me. My IV hydration was now being pumped in at a maximum 999 rate. I was awake. This soldier was not ready to go yet.

They said I had the onset of sepsis. I was treated with four different antibiotics. More complications came soon after. Being in the moment or on the frontline, I armored myself with a brave face…ain’t nobody got time for feeling sorry for one’s self or tears when you are in fighter mode. There was the blood transfusion, the “collection of fluid” found which led to another procedure under general anesthesia with Interventional Radiology where I had a drainage tube placed, the C-diff scare, and the ileus which lasted for more than 3 weeks.

When you are in a slaying the dragon situation, you just swish swish with your sword, you are not really processing what is happening. Perhaps it was a 47 day stay of being in a flight, fight or freeze mode(poor adrenal glands), and I was fighting which sometimes felt like a losing battle.

Finally, I was released. The first thing I always do is my ritual bath. It just makes me feel better (see a previous post Sharon wrote on this topic here) As I laid there in the quiet, alone, I instinctively hugged myself around my abdominal area, and I cried. No, I sobbed. Not a pity party. It was almost a release. I just felt like I have been strong for so long….putting up the good face…keeping it all together….and finally, in the dark with only 3 candles lighting my way, I let it go.

But, did I? Soldiers have a hard time acclimating back to “normal” life. I have been going through this lately. Much more so than my shorter stays. When you are in life/death or painful situations, it is very intense and in the moment. I am used to the battle and the atmosphere of the war. These every day life “small’ battles (shoot ran out of bread)  others around react so intense to feels like in my misconstrued perception of life,  like really sweating the small stuff.

Two things have been helping me.  One is from a lightworker friend I met at an Open Center workshop in NYC, she recently commented on a facebook post about my frustrations towards my body not doing all the things I want it to do right now. She said, “Sharon, don’t do, just be.” That is really sticking to me. The other is from my holistic doctor. He keeps drumming in my head that this is not your normal stay for a small bowel obstruction. It was major surgery and 47 days. He keeps using the word, “recovery”.  These two phrases, “Don’t do, just be” and “recovery” are helping me not to be too hard on myself.

So, why in the title do I say that  perhaps going to war, or battling a surgery or a chronic disease may be good for something? I just feel that I truly am living every moment. The other day I was just mesmerized by a caterpillar on my front porch. It is the little things of wonder that become magnified. I am grateful for so many things…..especially being alive and breathing.

Finally, I would like to allow myself to have time mentally and emotionally to process and catch up to what happened physically. They say time heals all wounds. I sure hope so.

Have you ever felt this way? Would love to hear your experiences.


IMG_9124Sharon Coyle-Saeed was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 1990. She has three Associate degrees in Psychology, World Language, and Theater.  Sharon’s Bachelors is in Journalism & Mass Media with a Middle Eastern Studies minor from  Rutgers University. She is currently a graduate student of Clinical Social Work at Rutgers University with a focus on Aging and Health. Sharon just completed an internship at Robert Wood Johnson/The Steeplechase Cancer Center. She is a Reiki Master Practitioner, a freelance reporter for Gannett NJ, an IET Intermediate practitioner and holds certifications in EFT (Level One), Angel Card Reading, Angel Realm Reader and Aromatherapy (Stress Management, Essentials and First Aid). To help others is her sole and soul’s desire.

1 thought on “War, What is it Good For? Absolutely Nothing, or Perhaps Something?

  1. Hi from another social worker! I have been a surgery warrior 3 times for endo with nasty partial colon obstructing adhesions. Though never like this! You’re strong for getting through it. This is kinda a surgery worst nightmare, I am sorry you had to go through it.

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