A lot has happened since my surgery in March. I recovered well, or so I thought. Eight weeks after surgery my husband and I took a much needed trip to one of our favorite locations, Longboat Key, just across the bay from Sarasota FL. We spent almost six full days enjoying the sun and water. I walked on the beach in the mornings taking in the peace and beauty, feeling so alive and optimistic. But that was not to last. On our last day, in the afternoon I became very ill and in terrible pain…blockage! We rushed off to the ER at Sarasota General Hospital and I was operated on about midnight to clear blockage and repair a perforation. It was a tough surgery and I spent a day in ICU before moving to the surgical care floor. In the meantime, hubby had to pack the condo in the dead of night as we had to check-out the next morning. What a fiasco! I spent 10 truly miserable days in Sarasota General. I was very sick, had e-coli in my abdomen, a nicked bladder and just a lot of pain. I was on TPN (IV nutrition) with no food or water by mouth for eight days. I was finally released on orders to stay on a liquid diet until I followed up with my surgeon at home. Bob and I started our journey home, splitting the eight hour drive in two days. I felt the most miserable I think I have ever felt. I was home a week recovering very slowly when I began having a lot of pain to the right of my incision. Of course it was a weekend and in fact a three day weekend, Memorial Day. Monday afternoon my tummy opened up and began leaking…from intestine. The next morning I was in my surgeon’s office and he put me in the hospital. I had the dreaded fistula, a fairly common surgical complication especially when there have been multiple surgeries. Apparently my bowel perforated again but this time tunneled to my skin and out. That was actually lucky. The body does some weird and amazing things. I was put on TPN, no food or drink again, in hopes of the fistula healing on it’s own. Surgery was a last resort if even that. Another big surgery to repair the fistula carried too much risk of doing me more harm than good. After several days, it appeared that I was healing. The leakage stopped and I advanced through clear liquids and full liquids and was released home only for the damn thing to open back up the first night home.
Oh jeez, I just need to shorten this story. Under the care now of my oncologist for this and after a long discussion of my condition and desired quality of life, I will manage my naturally formed colostomy, not repair it and not go on TPN. I will learn how to manage this hole in my body and continue to eat and live my life with some adjustment. I think of it like a colostomy except mine is naturally formed instead of surgically formed. That makes it different and a little harder to manage because it’s not placed or designed as well as if done surgically. It is just what it is. This is hard but I will adapt. I also understand that this solution may have a timeline and not work forever, as a surgical colostomy might. What it may do for me in the meantime though is work like a pressure release valve and protect me from another perforation anytime soon. No promises, but maybe.
It has taken me a while to write this blog. My head has not been in a good place and I was waiting for that to happen. I think I am beginning to gain some perspective though. It’s hard to put a cherry on top of this pile of poo, so I won’t even try.
I question again my motive for this blog. My hope was inspiration for others and I still want it to be that. I have changed, adapted and accepted things that I thought I never would. I am now working on acceptance of my declining health as a result of cancer and want to live as lovingly and gracefully as possible. I have terrible moments, but I try to come back to what is important. I’ve had several tell me that it is all part of God’s plan. I don’t think this is part of God’s plan, only because I don’t think he is orchestrating to this low a level. I do believe he knows me and is with me through this, but he didn’t put this on me as part of a plan. It is incumbent on me to look for my purpose in this life through all this and I’ve come to believe it is simply one of learning and growing. I’ve grown up. I’ve slowly let go of the impossible ideal life with picket fence and happily ever after and “Bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan and never let him forget he’s a man” (you remember that!) and know that it’s the impact that I have on others, especially those close to me, that is my purpose here. I think I would still be chasing some Facebook worthy ideal of life if I were not walking this journey.