Set backs are not something I totally prepared for during this process… At least not to the extent in which I would have to come back to the hospital. On Thursday afternoon I experienced some of the worst abdominal pain I’ve felt since I got my stomach removed. It felt like I had gotten stabbed and could barely stand. I knew had a rough week in terms of food and pain, but had no idea it would lead to this getting admitted again… I just thought I was having problems with bread!
Our CT scan showed that I had two problems. The first was a small bowel obstruction which keeps food and liquids from being able to pass through the bowel. As you can imagine, it quickly builds up a lot of pressure and causes a lot of nausea and vomiting (check) and pain (check). This happens because a little bit of the scar tissue is pulling on a piece of my bowel, called an adhesion.
The second problem is what landed me back at Stanford. One of the arteries and veins that supply the intestines appears twisted on the CT (you can actually see a spiral on the CT). The blood flow is fine right now, but the debate is whether or not the blood flow is getting blocked intermittently. This could explain the weird pain I have been having since surgery off and on or whether my problem was just the bowel obstruction. The doctors believe that an adhesion is causing this too, but it is unclear of how to proceed. It is possible that they we need to go back in to fix the problem. The draw back to this approach is more surgery could mean more adhesion’s that could cause me even more problems. So for right now we are going to watch me this weekend and decide based on how I am doing what the best course of action should be moving forward.
Being back in the hospital after feeling generally so good for the past six months is a bit discouraging, and the thought of going back into surgery makes me feel like I’m starting from square 0 again, but if you can do it once, I guess I can do it twice. This time, thankfully, I’m not going to be re-learning how to eat all over again.
Ironically, I was scheduled to speak at a local ministry called Insite around the topic of “weathering the storms of life”. One of my points, “little graces, one step at a time.” I usually get the opportunity to practice what I preach, but I did not know it was going to happen that day! I have experienced many little graces throughout the past 6 months, and I think it’s even more important to cling to those now. I have to remind myself that I’m really not starting over, just taking a step back, which is a huge difference.
Kate and I are probably the most disappointed about not being able to compete in the triathlon on Sunday, especially after raising $1100 to benefit No Stomach For Cancer. Either way, after the race ends on Sunday, we will be donating on your behalf! Thank you again for all your support and prayers, again!
-Steve and Kate