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Posts Tagged ‘weight gain’

Well, you’re hardly going to believe this: although I made it up to a whopping 112 lbs. over Thanksgiving weekend, looks like I’m going to head into tomorrow’s surgery at about 109. Honestly, I’ve done my best to “bulk up” but I think my nervous energy of the past few days has been burning up calories as fast as I can eat ’em.

Yesterday, Tim and I went to Harry’s Roadhouse for breakfast and I purposely chose the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes AND the Homemade Turkey Sausage in an effort to put on a final pound or two. However, after breakfast, we bought a truckload of pinon and cedar firewood, and I helped unload it and stack it on the back porch – which was more energetic than I’ve been in months. It felt great to be able to do it, but I probably burned up all the calories from breakfast in the process!

I’ve also had a bit of a creative streak unexpectedly hit recently. I awoke in the middle of the night a while back with an idea for assembling some old junk (what real artists might call “found objects”) into birds or angels or art dolls – I wasn’t entirely sure what the outcome was supposed to be. I tried to get back to sleep, but finally gave up and went into my little studio/office and began putting bits and pieces together. Over the next few days, I raided Tim’s wood scrap pile, pulled an old box of doorknobs and rusty escutcheons out of the attic, and dug out some vintage watch faces I’d picked up somewhere over the years. A few beads and buttons, plus scraps of stained sheet music, and these “assemblage angels” began to unfold.

I’m delighted with the results, and I think it’s been a wonderful way to channel my nervous energy about the upcoming surgery (even if it meant a little less sleep and more burned calories). I’m reminded by this experience that if you’re willing to listen to some of those crazy middle-of-the-night notions, occasionally you get guided to an unexpected gift.

My latest creative effort: a few more angels to watch over me!

So far I’ve completed six of these “angels” and I have six more in various stages of the process (with ideas for so many more!)…but it looks like everything is going to have to go on hold for a while now. Today I’ll be running around doing last minute errands in preparation for going into the hospital tomorrow. I’m back on a clear liquid diet today and this afternoon I’ll have to begin taking the “Go Lytely” (what an ironic name for that vile stuff) in order to be completely cleaned out for surgery. My best guess is that after today’s ordeal, I’ll be down to 109 lbs. by tomorrow morning.

But the best part of today is that Alison arrives! In addition to being my chief hand-holder for the next week, she’s also agreed to post an update or two following my surgery. I figured you’d want to know how I’m doing, and since I won’t be in any shape to sit at the computer (for quite a while probably), Ali is going to be my “spokeswoman” for a few days.

Okay, it’s time to make the most of this day. And thank you everyone, in advance, for all your prayers and healing thoughts as I go into surgery tomorrow (scheduled to start at 12:30 and last for about 3 hours – that’s roughly from 2:30 to 5:30 for all you folks “back East”).  I love you all!

"love you yet...beautiful memories have no regret"

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I had another wonderful gift this week: my dear friend Kelly surprised me with a visit! Last Sunday morning, I picked up the phone to hear that Kentucky accent say, “Can you pick me up at the airport tomorrow?”  Umm, you bet I can! What time?

Turns out we haven’t seen each other in over two years (shame on us!), so it was quite the reunion. I was really happy her visit coincided with me feeling pretty good – not to mention that she and I have a long history of dining out together and loving to eat!  So, since I’m still trying hard to gain weight before surgery, she was the perfect person to inspire me to eat (and eat, and eat).

Our first stop was The Shed for green chile enchiladas. I was a tad nervous about putting green chile into my system again, but I decided just to go ahead and live on the edge! That first bite was a little shocking (I haven’t had anything remotely spicy in months) but the rest of the meal was so delicious I nearly finished the whole enormous plate! And, thankfully, I didn’t seem to have any trouble with the green chile later either!

We proceeded to eat our way around town over the next few days:

  • Back Street Bistro – phenomenal Hungarian mushroom soup and (for later) amazingly delicious sour cream nutmeg cookies
  • The Tree House  – breakfast burrito (made with local farmer’s market ingredients) – plus a cinnamon roll to go
  • Whole Foods – St. Andre cheese, country pate, grapes, olives, crackers, and pasta salad as a “picnic” while watching chick flicks on DVD
  • India Palace – chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, samosas, rice, and garlic nan
  • Downtown Subscription – Mexican hot cocoa!

On top of all that, there was Thanksgiving dinner! My mom fixed a super-moist (organic) turkey with stuffing and gravy. We added homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, asparagus, Waldorf salad and – of course – a pumpkin pie. So, as you can tell, I didn’t exactly go hungry while Kelly was here…

St. Francis Cathedral Labyrinth in Santa Fe

We managed to squeeze in some other fun besides eating. We walked the labyrinth at St. Francis Cathedral on Thanksgiving morning. We discovered some sweet Christmas gifts at one of my favorite consignment shops, Recollections. We watched movies, read magazines, and chatted by phone with our Kindred Spirit goddesses (Carol, Michelle, Karen H, and even Clare – in Ireland!). All-in-all, it was a lovely visit, with a good balance of recreation and relaxation. Just what the doctor ordered!

Thank you, Kelly, for the truly wonderful and very healing visit. Sure do love you!

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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).

Scale(sm2)

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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