Posts Tagged ‘apple crisp’

So, today is my third full day back at home after having major colon surgery. I have to keep reminding myself of this fact because my recovery has been going so smoothly! I’m up and around all day – not bedridden as I imagined I might still be at this point – and I’m able to do all kinds of “normal” things like showering, eating (anything I want), and evening sitting at the computer for short stretches of time.

My lovely friend Kate is here. We originally arranged her visit so she could help take care of me during my first days of recovery at home, but it turns out her job seems to be trying to keep me from doing too much! She scolds me when I forget to let her fix the tea or make the bed. But I have left all the cooking to her (I’m no fool) and we’ve had yummy homemade chicken soup, a delicious pasta dish with leeks, shallots, onions and tarragon, and a spectacularly cheesy chicken casserole of the combined leftovers. We’ve also had the good fortune to enjoy another of Shawn’s wonderful apple crisp dishes (it could well be the most mouthwatering dessert on earth!).

You can’t really be anything other than joyful when Kate is around. She’s always singing or laughing or simply enjoying the beauty of life. I had a few “woe-is-me” moments when I first got home, and after she listened with deep compassion and wiped away my tears, I somehow found myself smiling along with her in no time. Yesterday, we brought home a beautiful Christmas tree and set it up in the living room. Tim laid one of his amazing fires in the fireplace, as only he can do (really, he’s got a talent at building the best fires). We played Sting’s new CD If on a Winter’s Night and I watched from the couch as Kate began working her magic stringing lights on the tree. As I sat there listening to her hum in harmony with the music, I realized once again just how much I have to be grateful for.

I am, of course, still adjusting to my new “appliance” and waiting for my body’s rhythms to settle into some sort of recognizable pattern. I’m told that, because I have a sigmoid colostomy, I will eventually have completely normal stool (I still have all of my large intestine so my digestion functions just like anyone else’s), but for now I’m still experiencing very loose, watery bowel movements that make it difficult to empty my ostomy bag without making a pretty big mess of things. During my first shower at home, I got brave and decided to use the opportunity to “clean the bag out” with the shower spray. I ended up with shit sprayed all over the shower walls and shower curtain. I had forgotten also that my bathtub drains slowly and so found myself standing in watery shit. For a few minutes I came close to throwing a little temper tantrum, but then I heard Kate call from the other side of the bathroom door, “Was your shower wonderful?” I paused a moment, took a deep breath, and replied, “It had it’s moments.”

A home healthcare nurse came by yesterday to check on me, too. We spent much of the time she was here doing paperwork. She took my vital signs, looked at the incision on my abdomen, and talked to me about my comfort level with caring for my colostomy. We agreed she’d visit again next Tuesday to observe me as I change the bag on my own for the first time. She was actually about to leave when I said, “Did you want to take a look at the wound on my bottom?” Her face registered surprise as she realized I’d also had my rectum removed during the surgery (many folks with colostomies don’t require a total removal of the rectum as well, but since that’s where my tumor was it had to go). She said, “No wonder you were being so ginger about sitting down!” She took a look and echoed what everyone else who has examined my incision has said, “Wow! They did a beautiful job!” (Apparently Dr. Brown’s partner Dr. Dudley, who assisted in the surgery, is quite an artist with his wound stitching.) I haven’t personally taken a look yet myself, but one of these days I’m sure I will.

I’m sure there will be more gory details to tell over time, and in the spirit of being authentic about my journey I’ll continue supplying honest reports as I adjust to this next phase. Thank you once more for your constant love and support, without which this would have been a very different kind of experience.

Next week I have an appointment with Dr. Fekrazad again. I’m sure the main topic of discussion will be the results of my pathology report and whether or not I will undergo another round of chemotherapy. Fingers crossed that I may not have to do that again…

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