Surgery 2 and a Dance with Recovery.. The End of this Chapter is in Sight!
So here we are, almost 4 weeks post surgery, and things are going amazingly well- especially compared to the last time.
Surgery itself was long. 6ish hours. The surgeon was able to take the damaged piece of my small intestine, while also finding some deep infections and additional fistulas that he somewhat expected. He felt the best way for me to heal, and safest for my insides was to leave me with an ostomy bag for a few months. Once I’ve healed completely he’ll do one more surgery and put me back together, so I can go forward with my life, as a healthy person. He also felt the best way to close me up was with a WoundVAC machine. This is an amazing device that keeps the wound dry, while also pulling the red blood cells to the wound, to encourage healing.
The hospital stay was not easy. I have so much anxiety left over from the trauma the first time.. and I admit I am not one who enjoys being out of control. I had brought things to make my stay easier.. a suction cup thing to keep my toothbrush, and a clip on light for my bed. I also had my Questionable Orgin Espinner, and my Ashford SampleIT loom- both really helpful in passing the time, and working through my anxiety. It was also helpful to have what I consider normal, in the most not normal place. Now every doctor and nurse said that was the least normal thing they had seen someone bring. So I love to be unique! I had my Ipad for movies, my audible and kindle. .
It’s True.. who really LOVES to be in the hospital over the holidays.But we made the best of it. I was never put on an NG tube.. My husband brought some delicious Sushi for dinner from a restaurant a spit from the hospital (My surgeon was even eating from the same restaurant for his NYE dinner). We even watched some webcasts of a couple of our favorite bands in concert.. (well.. I dosed through most of that..)
There was some really tough stuff though… How can one of the world’s greatest hospitals never succeed at making a grilled cheese sandwich? On top of that, they had a difficult time figuring out adequate pain management. So I remember some of the most mind-numbing pain I have ever experienced. It took awhile to determine what worked, and I was lucky to connect with an amazing Pain doctor who stayed with me through recovery and has really been a savior in this path through opiates. Also, there is a lot of mental shit that comes with waking up with a new ostomy that needs to be processed (HAHAHA.. that’s really funny.. because poop jokes are WAY more hilarious now..)
Yesterday was the 4 week post surgery appointment. The surgeon said pathology cleared all 4 lymph nodes as clear, so the cancer DID NOT metastasize. I knew from my last bloodwork, that my cancer marker is only 2%.. which meant that there was no more cancer, but getting the definitive from the lymph nodes is still great to hear. I’m off the WoundVAC, and the surgical incision is healing incredibly. I’m feeling stronger every day. I can gently lift my legs above my head, and have the core strength to climb a flight of stairs. I still am under “restriction” for 2 more weeks, and can return to work in 4. My wean schedule has me off the morphine next week- which is awesome because then I can drive again. I am working on all the ostomy stuff. Journaling, meditating.. it’s all kind of shitty (SEE how funny that is… ) but I’m getting through it. I don’t like it- but it’s allowing me to heal in a way that after it’s reversed, I will be healthy in a way I haven’t been in over 15 years. And that’s amazing. SO YES- Yesterday we scheduled the reversal surgery for April 23. So 87 more days, and I loose my extra baggage. Which fine.. I can manage with this for 87 more days. I also got my official Crohn’s disease diagnosis. So the next step is to figure out which medication I will go on and when (before reversal surgery or after) to keep me in this Surgical Remission.
So that’s where we’re at. I’m healing. I’m getting stronger and I see the end of this journey. There’s still one more hill to climb.. but the finish line is in sight.. and then I have the rest of my life ahead of me. Ready to live, healthy and alive.