Archive for November 9th, 2009

First things first: I’m finally feeling better!!

It took a few days before I was willing to say it out loud as it seemed like every time I dared to utter those words before, I’d immediately get smacked down with some new crisis. But I think I can now safely report that I’ve been steadily improving. I’m able to talk again and swallow without difficulty, so I’ve finally begun eating again. Once I was able to swallow normally, it still took some days before I could get more than just a few spoonfuls of food down without feeling ill – my digestive system seemed to have shut down completely and simply would not accept food easily. However, with the help of my “angels” Shawn and Natasya, who kept preparing and delivering meals, I’m back to regular amounts of food now. I’ve even gained a couple of pounds back (although that’s not really saying much – I was only up to 106 today).


Karen at 106.0 lbs

In the midst of all of this, though, the universe provided a rather miraculous gift: Only hours after my last post about wanting to find a new surgeon, but thinking how unlikely it would be, it actually happened!

It turns out there is a private group of four doctors in Albuquerque who do nothing other than colon and rectal surgery. I gave Dr. Fekrazad their info late last Wednesday and he immediately contacted them on my behalf. Their second-most senior surgeon, Dr. William Brown, agreed to see me the very next day! Tasya drove me down to Albuquerque early Thursday morning and sat with me while Dr. Brown took nearly two hours to go over every detail of the surgery itself, what I could expect during the hospital stay and then the recovery at home, the possible problems that could arise, the education and adjustments I would need in order to live with my new “appliance” (referring to the colostomy), and much more. We even discussed genetic testing, nutrition, wound healing, and a few other topics I wasn’t even aware were an issue for me.

To say I was overwhelmed with all the information he provided is a bit of an understatement. It’s taken me several days to absorb all that I learned in that meeting. But, despite being somewhat shocked by it all, I’m also grateful to finally know with more certainty what I’m facing next. I had told myself during the weeks of chemo and radiation treatment that I would get through that part before I started letting myself worry too much about the details of the surgery. But, once the treatment was over, I knew it was time to start preparing myself for what would come next. Then, unhappily, I kept being put off by Dr. Rajput’s office at UNM whenever I requested an office visit to ask my questions about the surgery. So, when Dr. Brown’s office responded so promptly, and he was so thorough and direct with me about everything, I was at least relieved to finally get my questions addressed.

I’m impressed enough with Dr. Brown to believe that he would be a very good choice to handle my surgery. The only tiny detail to be worked out now is a date. It looks like it’s not possible to do it before the first week of December, and after much discussion about timing (it will end up being about nine weeks after my treatment ended), I’m getting more comfortable with the time frame. Besides, it looks like I could use every minute of the next three weeks to regain some strength and weight in order to have the best chance of a smooth recovery. So, assuming Dr. Brown’s office can get the surgery date scheduled during that first week of December, I’ll be going with him instead of the folks at UNM.

Stay tuned for more (but let’s hope it doesn’t get any more dramatic than it already has…). Also, keep a good thought for me as I try to stay well enough in the coming weeks to add a few pounds!

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