I ended up not getting any kind of an appetite back until Wednesday night, so those first days home were interesting. I had to try and stay hydrated, my body was trying to recover from surgery, and my new plumbing was trying to make sense of itself all with little or no food to work with. This led to continual cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, dry heaves, all the fun stuff. I managed it with pain meds and forced eating. We stayed on soft foods like chicken noodle soup, yogurt, and protein drinks. (May I just say here that I love my wife. She is one strong force in my life.)
Sometime on Wednesday night I realized my salivary glands were running overtime. And I was craving food! So I headed to the kitchen and fixed myself a grilled cheese sandwich with Campbell's tomato soup. Dipping those sandwich strips into that creamy soup was pure pleasure on the palette, and my first real meal in a week. Eating has improved each day since. Yay! Eating is such a cool part of life.
Of course with more food comes more waste which leads me to the next part of this update...
So far so good on the bum end of things. I've been given enough trusted advice on this topic to feel pretty good about our progress. For example, no major mishaps since we've been home. (And yes, if you want to read between the lines put the emphasis on since.) This means I am getting to the toilet in time.
Let's put this into perspective.
1) My pelvis received massive amounts of radiation pre surgery.
2) An extremely important part of my large intestines is missing, as in my rectum.
3) There is currently no communication between my new plumbing and my brain. Full and empty are indiscernible.
4) All I have produced since surgery is gas and diarrhea. Lots.
Under the circumstances I am pretty darn proud of my little sphincter at the end of the line. In spite of its own aches and pains it is doing its job admirably. That's a great start.
Oh, I almost forgot.
A friend, who is also a nurse, asked me how I was getting along the other night. I explained the situation and said that I was simply hitting the restroom at regular intervals to stay ahead of any accidents. He smiled and said, "You know, there's a name for that. It's called timed voids."