It has been a little while since my last update, but I’m now 14 weeks out of surgery. I have been busy wrapping up the school year with my students which has been fun, but unfortunately I have not been feeling well in the middle of it all. Weeks 12 and 13 were very rough with particularly bad bouts of stomach cramps and nausea. There were a couple days in there I was considering going to the ER to make sure everything was normal. After talking to the gastroenterologist on call, he determined from my symptoms that my case was not an emergency and I just have to let it pass. The only thing the ER would do is control the pain, which I can do myself with Norco, and a CT scan which would tell me what the doctor suspected I had, a bowel obstruction. I did not know this, but apparently during the digestive process my intestines can get “kinked” like a garden hose called an “abdominal adhesion” and cause some discomfort until it all passes through.
Karen from No Stomach for Cancer read my last post and called to tell me about some complications that her nephew had with the scar tissue where the esophagus now meets with the small intestine. She told me after doing really well her nephew started having complications and the surgeon had to go back in and use a balloon to stretch out that scar tissue which gave instant relief. After talking to Karen and the suggestion of the doctor on call, I had a follow up appointment with Dr. D. to see if this was my issue yesterday. Unfortunately, he thinks it is a bit too soon to go back in there to do this procedure especially because I’m not vomiting (spitting up) anymore and now my chief complaint for the past two weeks are the cramps. He suspects most of my cramps are due to the abdominal adhesion and the nausea will honestly be chronic for a while as my body is getting used to living without a stomach. He recommended that I control the pain with belladonna (an anti-cramping medication) and the Norco when the pain gets really bad.
The other fun development has been waking up in the middle of the night with acid coming up and cause a burning sensation in my esophagus. It is impossible for me to sleep through this and I’ll usually eat 4-5 Tums to try and control it, but it takes about an hour for the discomfort to go away. The one-two punch combination of abdominal adhesions the past few weeks put a little dent in my weight and I’m now under 160 lbs for the first time probably since I was 10. People always think I’m exaggerating about my weight as a child, so let me just prove it here:
Bad news aside, it could be easy for me to stop with the #realstrugs and feel sorry for myself or I can just move on and enjoy life when I can, so I’ve been choosing to enjoy life when I can. I’ve started my regiment of B12 shots once a month which, thankfully, Kate can give me since she’s a nurse. I want to get to the point where I’m brave enough to give myself a shot, but the location of where it needs to go gets me a little nervous. Not quite sure how Jose Conseco did it all these years, but maybe I can pick up tips from a re-read of “Juiced”.
Speaking of juiced, I’m getting back into working out again, although I take a break if I’m not eating well. Eating well for me means at least 1800-2000 calories. The fact that ice cream, by God’s grace is still on the menu, the calories are getting easier to build! Fueled up and feeling well, I’m back on the bike, running and doing push-ups every night to keep my arms from looking “cyclist” skinny. Towing Evangeline around in the Burley is getting my legs back into shape so I don’t have to be self-conscious about my jeans looking so baggy.
Tomorrow I turn 30 years old and I’m pretty sure in the past 6 months I have aged 3 years… My face has gotten younger by 3 years, but my soul feels the +3 for sure. I’m thankful I do not have to work real hard to remind myself that I’m alive, eternity has already started, I’m blessed with a wife that is my best friend, a daughter that loves me, and a vocation I enjoy. I can’t tell you what life will be like 10 years from now, but I do know I’m going to enjoy every minute of the next decade.
Enjoying the ride.