06 August 2007


A slow month

As of today, it has been one month since my colon cancer surgery. It seems like much longer. In that time I have been in the hospital for a week, out for a few days, back in for another ten days, and now home again for a little over a week.

A community health nurse visited again today. He examined my bedsore, which is healing fine, and generally checked me out. He reminded me that healing and recovery will be very slow—that with my ileostomy, I am absorbing food less efficiently than before, and after my spring radiation and chemotherapy treatments, tissues take extra time to mend as well.

So it feels very slow to me, and I feel guilty sleeping much of the day, but the medical professionals think it is all normal. My body has been through a lot, and I am gaining weight gradually. Each day I try to walk a bit, and to eat heartily, so I will get better very gradually. I still do not feel or look like myself, but I will come back. I know it's hard on my family too, but it is reassuring to know that nothing is seriously wrong.

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Of course you LOOK like yourself. :) Don't be so hard on you. It sounds like you are doing a great job. We're all raised that we have to have the things we want RIGHT... NOW... when really it just takes time. A little bit better each day. Two weeks ago, a good friend of mine had a stroke, and he could barely mumble a sound to me on the phone; now two weeks later I can have a conversation with him, and he can walk with a brace a few yards down the hall. Baby steps. Things do get better.
So do they leave you a lot of time to recover, or do they plan the next surgery in a near future ?

JH has an appointment on September, 3rd with his surgeon. I am not going to be able to go with him, because it is the first school day of the year. The "nice" surgery, the "reconstruction" one, is supposed to be scheduled about then, after an IRM check.

He sleeps a lot too, but it only seems natural to me, nobody at my knowledge ever found a better way to recover than sleep... good medicine, no secondary effects, no overdose risk. And no addiction !

Our thoughts are with you.
Before I have any more surgery, I must gain some weight and get healthier, then have more chemotherapy for two or three months to deal with my lung metastases ("lung mets"), then recover from that, THEN have the reconstruction surgery. So I have a long way to go yet!
If the medical team say you're doing well, internalize that. They have seen a lot of these cases. It's remarkable the extent to which cancer patients' experiences vary, but doctors see enough that they can form opinions and the good ones are never blithely optimistic. If they tell you you're strong for someone in those circumstances, you have my congratulations.

I was otherwise healthy, strong and young when I was diagnosed with cancer, and it took four months after treatment before I could return to work of any kind, and another six before I felt normal. It was two years before I got the spring in my step back and found myself humming a mindless tune like I used to do.

You are still dealing with the cancer. After that comes healing from the treatments. After that comes rebuilding your vitality. It is a long, slow process, but you are well equipped for it by your inherent vitality, your medical team, your character, and your supportive community. "Have faith" sounds trite, but if you don't always have it, some of us will carry it for you.
I just wanted to say I hope your treatments go well for you. Stay upbeat and strong. Take care. Caro