12 July 2011

changez in attitude, changez in latitude

The best helpers ever!!!
My how things have changed! You may not be able to make a u-turn while driving in Richmond, but you can certainly make a U-turn health-wise.

The “endoscopic” procedure that I was getting on my birthday was actually a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which is a mini-colonoscopy. They had told me after the CT-scan that I did not have a blockage, but when they tried to do the flex sig they couldn’t get through even with a pediatric endoscope. That’s how bad the blockage was. What did get through was air that puffed me up and created pressure in my abdomen which in turn made me start throwing up. They were able (and did) take some biopsies.

They decided to put a stent in to open up the blockage. For the weekend they told me to drink some Lactulose which is a nasty gluey thick laxative, but it wasn’t helping. I was throwing up every night after taking my dosage of it.

Monday was Stent Day. They explained it was like a spring wound really tight that they would put into the blockage and when they let go it would expand and open up the blockage. Unfortunately, I was blocked around a corner, so they couldn’t safely put the stent in.

This led to a consultation on Wednesday (coincidentally also the day that my high school friend Alex was arriving). Doctor B explained that the cancer had spread to my colon and contributed to the blockage and that the next step would be a colostomy. This did NOT make me happy. Jeff was with me so that helped a bit. But still it’s hard to hear that you’re going to be pooping out of your belly.

My doctor initially scheduled the surgery for Tuesday but she was going to be out of town and a different surgeon would be doing the procedure. He came in and said he would do it Friday morning, which is a good thing because...

A normal colon                My swollen colon

A typical colon has a diameter of about an inch. Mine was under so much pressure that it had the diameter of 4-5 inches. If this had gone untreated over the long weekend it probably would have ruptured and I wouldn’t have made it. So when you look at the options (poop out my belly or not be here at all, I’ll take pooping out of my belly. Yes it’s gross, but I can handle it.

They kept me in the hospital over the 4th of July weekend. I wasn’t allowed to leave until I was able to clean and manage my stoma (the new opening in my belly). That was the difficult part because basically it is part of your intestines on the outside and it’s gross. It looks like a tomato. Click here for a bonus blog about my heirloom (s)tomato.

Another big change that has taken place is that Jeff and I decided that it would be best for me to go live with my family in South Florida. Jeff works 12 hours a day which leaves me at home alone 12 hours a day. With no car and limited mobility, that’s no picnic. Hopefully by the beginning of August I’ll be healed enough to make that journey. It’s not an easy decision but we both agree that it’s the best thing for right now.

So if you wanted to visit me in Richmond, get a move on. Time is running out. Otherwise, see you in Florida!

“If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.” - Jimmy Buffet


Anonymous said...

super love. And thanks, I'll skip tomatoes for a bit....

Anonymous said...

L I N D A,
B E I N G.
Thank you for sharing, and will see you in Ft. L soon...
Much Love from MT J and M

Anonymous said...

You are so unique and weird and loved. Hope you have a safe trip down to FL. See you there.