Posted on December 27, 2017December 28, 2017
. That’s the date I’m going back into Duke Medicine for the surgery that is going to fix my leak, and get me on the road back to wellness. I’m a couple months past the original surgical date.. and the postponement was a bit abrupt- I had my presurgical CT scan, and when I sent in for the pre-op appointments I was told there was “an anomaly” spotted on my scan, and surgery has been postponed until all has been figured out. Maybe it's Crohns.. and if that's the case then a new surgical plan has to be created. It was disappointing to say the least- frustrating.. I was ready to be fixed. I was ready to be done with the pain… and to be told I’m back in the limbo place of waiting... and now with a possible NEW diagnosis!! I struggled. But I do want my doctors to be the most aware of what they are getting into before they get into it.. to know what they are dealing with when they open me up.
Another colonoscopy and then multiple labs and appointments with a new GI specialist and a new colon/rectal surgical oncologist, to which the esult is I have an Advanced Crohn’s diagnosis. The surgery has now become more than just "fixing my leak", and now includes removing the section of small intestine affected by the Crohn’s- which they now know is where leak actually is, to put me into Surgical Remission. Depending on the scar tissue left from the first trauma, he may have to take the entire chunk of midline, with my colon, small intestine and bally button.. He will also take the lymph nodes closes to the cancer just to make sure there was nothing else they missed. He has booked the entire day in the OR and has told my family to expect surgery to last anywhere from 6-10 hours. There is a 30-40% chance I'll be left with an ostomy bag, though I'm trying to focus on the 60-70% I WON"T be left with the bag. This new surgeon is very honest, and just doesn't know what he's going to see when he opens me up.
Timeline wise.. I’m now looking at 7-10 days in the hospital.. NG tube, the whole exciting shebang. With surgery 12/28, my New Year Eve should quite the hospital room party... I’ll get to clink my glass of ice chips!! Hopefully the additional infection will be low so I’m out in less than 10.. but I”m bringing plenty of fiber with my espinner, and yarn with my Ashford Samplet loom to keep me occupied for closer to 2 full weeks.
Then once I"m out of the hospital, I'm back on an 8 week no lifting more than 15lbs along with a travel restriction. I'm pretty much back to "normal" just in time for my week teaching at John C Campbell in mid March.. I'm quite lucky that my contracts worked out with the surgical schedule. I wish I could just hibernate for the winter and wake up healthy and strong.. but I know that recovery is a journey and I still have a few more mountains to climb before I can close this chapter.
So, that’s the current state of things.I get to enjoy Christmas with my In Laws here, and I was lucky to be able to celebrate Chanukah with my family back in Chicago. I am grateful for these days I get to spend with my family and friends. I am every day overwhelmed at the messages I get from my community of strength, encouragement and prayer.I am terrified to go back into the hospital, both knowing what to expect and not knowing what will come.. but I know that my community will be there.. cheering me on, lifting me up and blessing me by their donations that help with our bills. My words are insufficient thanks, but know you have my eternal gratitude.
I'll see you in the New Year.. from the healthy side of my path.