Home Sweet Home

I want to start off saying sorry for the disjointed last post, being in a morphine fog will do that to one…

Well I am finally home; after 14 long days of being in the hospital I can finally get back to some semblance of a routine.

Last week was pretty tough, I was able to move from clear fluids to pureed food easily on Tuesday though Thursday, but on Friday they moved me to a post gastrectomy diet. Needless to say that didn’t turn out well. I ended up wretching Friday night going to bed feeling some what better but on Saturday morning after toast (which was tolerated well on Friday) the pain in my upper abdomen grew exponentially. It was cold sweats, tons of pain, and general uneasiness. I was in rough shape, lost all colour and thought that I couldn’t take it any more. I have NEVER been in that much pain in my life.

I ended up having a CT (in which I think I got 250ml of telebrix down instead of the 2L they gave me) and x-ray that night, showing inflammation in my new connections, which was the cause of not being able to get anything down. I was put back on no intake of anything for another couple days to allow the swelling to go down.

On Tuesday they let me start back on clear fluids which went good, since nothing was vomited up. *Happy Dance* Wednesday my Doctor bumped me up to full fluids and advised that’s what I would be on for nourishment for 2-3 weeks to allow continued healing.

It was nice to be sent home on April 29, it was happy though emotional because of the few crappy days and the compassion and warmth the nurses and nursing assistants showed during my stay.They do such a tough job and cannot be praised enough for what they do every day!

I had enough stamina yesterday to go to the grocery store after being released and picked up what is needed for the next few days, no sugar added ice cream and popsicles, broth, canned soups, yogurt, juices, protein drinks (so far the only one that I found that’s tolerable and doesn’t make me want to vomit more is the Carnation Breakfast Essentials – Chocolate) pudding, and apple sauce. I have a new appreciation for looking at the labels, because prior to this I really didn’t! It’s so important without a stomach that you get enough protein and watch closely your sugar intake.

The next two weeks until I see my surgeon I hope will go fast. The liquid diet will be difficult to reinvent each day and make sure I am getting enough calories, protein and other nutrients to prevent extreme weight loss and lack of energy.

The first day so far hasn’t been too bad, made from scratch cream of potato soup (that we had to blend to smooth) with my mom and relaxed. We will see what adventures the next week brings.

Wishing you all happy and healthy days!

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5 Days Post Op

Well it went off without a hitch and I was in my room around 6 pm. 

The epidural is only working on the right side but the pain management team here is taking good care of me. It’s only been at a 2-3 level. On Friday, the day after surgery my pain pump stopped working, those were nearly the worst couple hours of my life! I was so close to tears and was exhausted the entire day because of this. I still got up 2 times and walked on Friday. 

Saturday was a much better day, had a few visitors walked the halls 3 times and my pain pump didn’t crap out. 

This infor is TMI for the men but I felt would have been good information Prior to getting in here…I didn’t realize that surgery could make a lady have her monthly cycle early..not great! 

The hydro morphone makes me itch and meds can be given every 2 hours to my relief. But it doesn’t really help that my incision is starting to itch like crazy! 

I have been walking but not enough sometimes it’s really important that as the days go on you are walking every couple hours to ensure bowel activity stays. 

Today I get my swallow test and hopefully start with a liquid diet then tomorrow epidural and catheter out (which is super annoying for me because I have never had one before) but YAY!!! 

I was really scared about pain after the surgery, and how it was going to cope. But it’s been not as bad – everyone eesponds differently to pain and meds but I am glad for the ease. I Feel quite tight throughout my belly sometimes and it’s uncomfortable but not unbearable. 

Be prepared to be woken up every hour for the first night (the nurse practically stays in your room until morning) and so long as everything is going okay it drops down to 4 hours after that. It’s usually clockwork they come in (and if you are what I call lucky) you might wake up right before they get there. 

Well it’s tiring you will spend a lot of time in bed but again make sure you are getting up 

The incision

  

my coworkers bought me puzzle doesnt fit on the try but its a difficult one

 

My coworkers are amazing they sent me off with some games, cards from each of them, puzzles and a doctor who blanket and pillow. Also some nail stuff for at home. I had a great day on Wednesday because of them! 

Will update with the swallow test results and getting back to eating. 

Have a great day!

Tomorrow A New Chapter Begins

Well tomorrow is the day, I will be admitted at 6:00 am to have my surgery completed and start this new chapter of life.

Today was a difficult day, but made so much better by my lovely co-workers.  They made me a geeky basket including a Tardis blanket and pillow, the Harry Potter movies, puzzles and activities and a wonderful cake as well. It was quite touching and their support is so amazing, my day wouldn’t have been as great without them.

I had my last junk foody meal today – a burger and fries, needless to say I got my fill of the foods I wanted to eat over the last couple weeks.

But I’ve been a bit anxious and was up at 3:30 this morning, it’s bed time now as we need to be up at about 4:45 to be out of the house on time.  Good thing traffic won’t be so bad first thing in the morning.

I want to thank each and everyone of you for your support over the last few months, I greatly appreciate it! May you all have a wonderful weekend and I will post as soon as I am out of my morphine fog.

Nicole

A Few Extra Days as Friends…

Well, yesterday I got a call from my surgeons office “We need to move your surgery to April 16, is that okay?”

It’s going to have to be I guess…the last week or so has been pretty stressful to say the least. I know the weight of what is going on has been taking a toll on everyone in my family. I have been having a bit of cold feet just because of the whole surgery thing; I haven’t broken anything before and haven’t needed to stay in the hospital other then when I had my daughter. I think that is the biggest thing that is making me bug out a bit still. I just need to keep reminding myself that I am doing this to be healthy for my family!

On the bright side I get to have a couple extra days at the gym and get to enjoy a few more good meals before I part with my stomach and a bit more time to finish the blanket I am making for my daughter. We had a nice weekend away at Lake Louise; ate some amazing food in Banff (hot rock cooking and fondue at The Grizzly House) and in the village of Lake Louise for breakfast at the Hostel. This weekend we are planning on cooking a turkey for Easter, and being able to have company is nice and will help to keep my mind off of what is ahead.  The next 2 weeks will sure be busy trying to get together with friends for a drink and some food, and to just enjoy the time together.

I can never say enough about how much my significant other has supported me through this; I know this isn’t easy on him and we definitely have been struggling here and there but we pull it together and work as a team after a brief period of weakness. He’s awesome at helping me talk through my emotions; and work things out. I am so thankful to have him here!

Well goodnight all, take care and all the best until next time.

One Month

Wow, the last 6 weeks have flown by and I cannot believe that surgery is a month away.  A lot has been going on in the last six weeks.  I have started going to the gym for circuit training.  Seeing amazing results every where…except my tummy where I really need it.  Guess I better work on the abs a bit more, but it has definitely helped with my mind set and being happier.

Rob and I are planning on going to the beautiful Rocky Mountain area of Banff/Lake Louise for the weekend at the end of the month. It looks like it may be a while before we get out for a weekend again so might as well take advantage of it now. I am excited to go because I’ve been but it has been a very long time, and I look forward to the scenery.

The weather is starting to get really nice here, above average temperatures and close to record highs, we’ve had so much nice weather the tulips and iris’ are coming up. I need to also start getting the zucchinis and some flowers started inside to prepare for planting in May. I can’t wait to get out there and be able to enjoy the weather and getting back to doing what I love. My daughter is going to play baseball this year which I am excited for because Rob and I are both ball junkies, plus Rob is going to coach the team. I am looking forward to watching her play, and hopefully this helps to keeps her mind occupied.

Only 3 more working weeks as I took a week off to do some Spring cleaning before this little disruption. Going to have some me time and some time for Chloe and I to spend together. I am very much looking forward to our couple of days together.

Right now we are just trying to keep busy, get into good habits, enjoy the weather and not think about surgery. Live each day and don’t worry about tomorrow, embrace the now!

Have a wonderful weekend and our thoughts are with each and everyone of you to stay happy and healthy each day!

It’s a Date!

Well, the big day has been set…April 13, 2015.

I received the message when I got home from work a couple weeks ago and immediately thought “this just got real!!” The only good thing about this being prophylactic is that I get the choice of when, so it can fit well with my schedule. April/May is a good time in Calgary, it’s warmer so I don’t have to worry about traveling somewhere to walk inside.  The neighborhood we live in has many walking paths that are easily accessible, with or with out an incline so I can get out and about during the day.

The last couple weeks have been very emotional for me, and I think it’s the accumulation of everything. Having to plan and make sure that all the bills are paid, some dinners are made to make Rob’s life easier during that time so he can bring Chloe to the hospital as often as possible and trying to sort out my Short Term Disability with my employer. I have recently become aware that I am OCD about planning with financials and getting things taken care of around here (this does NOT make things easier). I know that this is going to be extremely hard on Rob and Chloe while I am away and I want to make things as easy for them as I possibly can.

Well, the count down is on…10 weeks. All of the stories I have heard/read have been extremely inspiring and have really put a lot of my fears at rest as you have all done well so far. All we can do is hope for the best; keep active, healthy and strong!

I keep you all in my thoughts and hope that everyday is good to you!

The Waiting Game is on…

It’s been two months since I said okay to surgery. I have not at any point thought that this stage of the journey was going to be easy. I don’t feel that I have been naive (at least about some things) when it comes to knowing what to expect after surgery. But one can’t know everything, though one does strive to.

After starting the process to proceed with surgery in November, my “Mommy” clock started ticking again. Since then Rob and I have really struggled with the decision to have another child. There have been a few sleepless nights trying to decide whether to wait on surgery and have another child or to just do the surgery right away.

This truly has been the most difficult decision of my life. The accumulation of stress just trying to commit to an action was unimaginable. Causing sleeping, digestive and acne issues. Stress can do some nasty things to you, and hopefully this stress along with the normal everyday stresses in life (work, children etc) hasn’t caused other issues.  I find over the last few months I have been burping A LOT. It is excruciating, annoying and gross, and it would be nice if it would just stop already. I know that burping after surgery is going to be more present, but I hope not like this!

On January 7, I finally met with my surgeon. I had a few questions to ask just as a refresher and went just to be reassured the details of why I need to have the surgery sooner rather than later. Here are a couple of questions I asked:

1. Iron infusions are they required at some point? Not normally, Iron is absorbed through your small intestine and the duodenum, with a total gastrectomy the duodenum is bypassed, so the absorption is not as much so it’s important to take your daily vitamins.
2. Feed tube after surgery? No (thank goodness) there will be no feed tube…good thing I have a few extra pounds to use up while I wait the 5-7 days to heal before I can start eating again. Every doctor is different, make sure you ask yours what their plan is.
3. Are there issues at the beginning going back to a sedentary job? There shouldn’t be, may just need to be a on gradual return to work to adjust accordingly to the new routine and initial energy levels.
4. Sub-lingual B12 use instead of shots? The sub-lingual is still new, I can try it that way but I have to be monitored closely to make sure I am not deficient in any way.

I was reminded that I am doing this so I DON’T get cancer. That I am high risk and that stomach cancer is a “Bad Actor” as per my surgeon. It is a clear picture that gastric cancer is scary, the chances of it being found at an early stage (even with semi annual gastroscopies) are slim and that the survival rates at stage 4 are horrific. I don’t want to be a statistic, I want to watch my baby girl grow old and have children of her own.  I am taking my life in my hands and I accept that the rest of life is going to be a challenge with food; but it’s a better outcome than having to go through surgery, chemo and radiation and be forever scarred from those things. I am also extremely scared of going under the knife, I have only broken a baby toe, and been put under to have my wisdom teeth removed.  This is far more than anything I could ever imagine and the 10 days spent in hospital away from my family and the comfort of my home will be the most difficult thing I will experience.

I have my next gastroscopy on January 15, which is a chance for me to catch up on some well needed sleep as the sedation make me very sleepy, dizzy and really a useless woman for the next 48 hours. This one I am not so nervous about, because I know if they find something I am already doing what I need to to stop this from going any further. Here’s to hoping they don’t though. I am looking forward to getting this surgery over with and since meeting with my surgeon I have been quite relieved as I made the decision to have it done in April.

Now to wait for the Doctor to give me a specific date, then I can plan some good eats before the menu gets more than a little boring while making the adjustment to a new life style.

This year will bring many changes in appetite (or lack there of), a new wardrobe (I wish I enjoyed shopping more) and the challenges of healing and rebuilding my strength.

I wish you and your families the strength, love and peace, and many best wishes for this year!

Thank you for following along and for your support!
Nicole