Yes, I’m making good progress since my big surgery on November 30th. It was slow going for a while but now I feel more and more like myself.
The not-so-fun part involved getting my intestines to consistently move. When you have a trauma to the bowels like my surgery, the intestines can shut down (called an ileus) where the continuous motion of moving things through the pipes can stop. Needless to say, there were several times when this happened. My belly would become very distended and then I would eventually toss my day’s intake of food, no matter how little I ate. So I would have to back up and eat very soft foods again and work my way slowly up to regular food.
One night I was in such pain at 1 a.m. that I begged my husband to drive me the three hours back to MD Anderson so I could have an ER doctor look at me in case they needed to open me up again. I didn’t trust anyone locally to do this since they would take a look inside and probably say, “What train wreck happened in here?” Just a little anxiety showing through. Needless to say, we did not go to Houston and I felt better the next day. Seriously, there is nothing more distressing than not being able to move your bowels for three weeks without medication. Makes one a little panicky. But then suddenly, everything started working consistently on Christmas Day. Whew. TMI, I know.
I am consistently sore in my lower pelvic region from all the digging around in there. It’s starting to lessen now but I still have to choose which pants I wear to minimize the discomfort. My incision is healing nicely. Just have a hard ridge of scar tissue underneath it which should eventually soften up.
My energy level is getting back to normal as of Friday when it seemed I made a big leap. I went sailing in the Red Eye Regatta on New Year’s Day and tried to just sit on the boat without pulling any lines! Not easy for me. Had to be satisfied with just coaching my daughter who was in charge of trimming the jib.
This morning I went for a 3-mile walk around Austin’s hike-n-bike trail. Made it without too much difficulty except for soreness but I walked at a nice slow pace. Ironically, this is the same walk where I first noticed the pain in my lower right pelvis which drove me to the doctor back in February. My, what a difference a year makes! I am determined to walk every day in order to build myself up before chemo starts later this month. I will find out my exact future plans when I return to MDA for a CT scan, tests and doctors visits on January 19th and 20th.
Meanwhile, I occasionally have a hard time believing I don’t have cancer (or at least “any visible evidence of disease” is how it is put). It’s a faint anxiety that I have to figure out how to deal with. Just have to focus on the present and rejoice in the moment!