Saturday, December 10, 2011

Overachiever

The wait is on now for Mike's bowels to start working.  In less than 5 hours following surgery he walked to the door of his room.  Six hours after that we walked down the hall together.  When the docs and day nurses did their rounds this morning and told him he would need to walk today there was some surprise that he already had.  I guess he's above average, but of course, I already knew that.

I am not the least bit surprised that Mike is determined to get better as quickly as possible.  If moving around more will kick things into gear then that's what he's going to do despite any pain he feels.  As he puts it, "there are sick people here" and he doesn't plan on sticking around any longer than necessary.

Being an hour from home is tricky.  I have two hotel rooms in town for my Dad, Mike's mom and the kids.  With Mike's last surgery I stayed overnight in his room every night, but the room here is so tiny, that although I would be allowed to stay I'm not sure there is actually room for me to sleep unless it's in a folding chair.  Instead I stayed until about 10pm, went to the hotel for a few hours of sleep and returned to the hospital at 5am.  I am quite thankful there is a 24 hour Starbucks between the hotel and hospital!

Today the kids will visit in the morning and then Dad will take Cal back home for a birthday party.  Not sure what the rest of the weekend will look like for them, but it is such a huge help to have Dad and my mother-in-law here to help with the kids.  Just another one of the many things I am grateful for.

I've also thought about my Mom a lot.  Yesterday was three months to the day that she was taken off of life-support.  I've wondered about the concept of having the person that died "with you" or "watching over you".  It sounds good in theory, but I have never really had a tangible feeling of Mom being with me.  I think was expecting something more concrete rather than simply a sense of her being here. Like an obvious shift of some kind that she's making an "appearance".  I've come to the conclusion, at least for me, that Mom being with me is a constant not something that just happens when I face a difficult situation like Mike's surgery.  She's with me when I am relaxed and happy just as much as when I'm anxious or worried.  I guess it's similar to the same sense I have that God is always with me.  I miss Mom and wish so much that she was still physically here, but I'll have to accept on faith that she IS still with me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Good-bye colon

What an immense relief that surgery is over and everything went perfectly!  Turned out that the surgeon did not construct a "j pouch" after all.  Apparently the way Mike's small intestine was "tethered" during his first partial colectomy prevented it.  Fortunately, the surgeon was able to keep all of the rectum and could attach the small intestine directly to it, which he feels will serve Mike better anyway.

Regardless, it will be a rough 3-6 months while his body adjusts to life without a colon.  Nothing we can't handle though.  While the threat of colon cancer gone, Mike will still have to be screened regulary for other Lynch Related cancers. However, none are anywhere near as high a risk as the 80% chance for colon cancer.  I still feel the same way I did 18 months ago when we were first told Mike had cancer.  If this was all going to happen to someone, it might as well be us.  We'll be fine.  We will get through this together.

I don't know how many times someone has told me that we have had more than our share of crappy deals over the last two years.  Sure, there are days I want nothing more than to crawl under the nearest rock and stay there for a really long time.  Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to not shut down and there are days I know I'm struggling to keep it together.  I also know, even when things are at their worst that it WILL get better.  The saying "one day at a time" just doesn't always cut it.  Sometimes it's "one hour at a time" or even "one minute at a time".  But, it does get better eventually.  I also know that someone else always has it worse than I do.  My life is blessed in so many ways and when I'm in the middle of my own pity party I have to remind myself of that.