Daniel 3:17-18

Daniel 3:17-18 "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Timed Voids

First things first, I am home. They kicked me out of the hospital Monday afternoon. Of course, it helped that they also thought I was ready to leave.

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."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!
Unfortunately, Steve didn't get to go home for Father's Day. That would have been the best father's day present he could have had. I think he is getting tired of being here at the hospital, but doesn't know what he can do to make it happen. He is still having problems with nausea and has no appetite or real energy.
 I ended up leaving to go home around noon so that I could take a shower ( it had been three days since my last one), change clothes, attend church with the kids, etc. The kids and I all came back to the hospital at 4:00 p.m., but Steve wasn't feeling up to much visiting.  They gave Steve a large card they had made for him and a small plate of peanut butter cookies. They went home at 5:30 so that he could keep resting. We'll just have to have a delayed father's day celebration when he is finally feeling well enough to enjoy it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

This to shall pass...

Today got off to a bit of a rough start. When I arrived just before 7 a.m., I walked in just as Steve was starting to feel nauseated. When the nausea persisted, we let the nurses know what was going on and they gave him some medicine to help.  He ended up getting a couple of doses of anti-nausea medicine throughout the day. It seemed to help a bit, but he didn't have any appetite the whole day. Around the middle of the day he started passing gas. Unfortunately, with the gas also came some diarrhea. Steve ended up sleeping for most of the day. I'm hoping all the extra sleep will be helpful to his poor body and that he has a better day tomorrow.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Visitors Galore

Today was perfectly fun. Not much happening yet on the bum end of things. After a day on ice chips yesterday, I was given a clear liquid diet today. Lots of soup broth, jello, tea, water, juices and popsicles. Breakfast lunch and dinner were all the same. But, it is slowly getting things moving. At least it's making lots of gurgles and growls down in my bowels. I am told that when I can pass a little gas they will switch me to soft foods. So far I can burp. :-)

Carla joined me from home early this morning. In fact, she'll be leaving for home again tonight. Nathan drove all of our children out to visit over lunch. Carla brought in pizza for everyone and we played our Apples to Apples card game. I of course sipped my soup broth like a good boy. We had a great time together and nobody got kicked out for making too much noise.

When the kids left, I was just lying down to catch a nap when my neighbor, Mark, showed up. So Carla took a nap while the two of us visited. I took a walk around the hallway with Carla when Mark left and was just lying down for that nap when my Bishop (church leader) and his daughter showed up for a visit. Cool. No sooner did we see them off when Carla's parents showed up. I fell asleep before they left. :-}

We walked past my surgeon, Dr. Sklow, in the hallway during one of those walks. He was here on his rounds. He said he'll most likely put me on soft foods in the morning to take the next step in waking up my large intestines. Toast, noodles, things like that. Should be fun. That toast is going to taste pretty good by then. He was pleased that we were getting some walking in and said that our progress was normal and not to worry. Patience...

All in all it was a fun day. Any pain around my old stoma sight is minimal, with some swelling and tenderness in places. I still feel a bit bloated at times. I can press the magic morphine button for pain relief as needed. I'm sure that has been helping. My night crew just checked in. The nursing staff changes every 12 hours on the 7's. It takes the next shift awhile to make their rounds. I'll be in good hands again tonight.

I'll stop here and get this posted. Carla will leave next, and then we'll see if I get any late night visitors besides the staff. :-)

See you all in the morning...

Sleeping in my own bed

Good morning,
Steve had a good night with the usual interrupted sleep you get in a hospital. He actually had one of the aides he had during his earlier surgery assigned to him for the night. John was one of our favorites and knowing he was looking after Steve allowed me to go home, see the kids, and get a better nights sleep in my own bed myself.
I was back at the hospital at 6:45 a.m. and just missed the visit from the surgical team. They had changed the packing material where Stanley used to be. Steve has already completed a couple of walks since I had saw him last night. He is looking a lot better and has a lot more energy than he did yesterday. He went for another walk after I arrived, hoping to relieve some bloating in his abdominal area. He is now on a clear liquid diet and had chicken broth and a bit of jello to kick things off. Having eaten and exercised he is taking a short nap.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Room to Spare

News Flash: Steve has been transfered to Huntsman and can be found in room 5525.
It is rather ironic in a way. Apparently both hospitals assigned him a room. Around 5 p.m. the U of U hospital got a phone call from Huntsman asking for the whereabouts of their patient. What makes it so funny is that the last time Steve was in for surgery they couldn't get him a room for a day and a half. This time he was assigned two rooms simultaneously.
What was surprising for me to see was how much the transfer wore Steve out. For all that they say it is a simple procedure to reverse an ileostomy, it sure beats up a body. Steve's resting up from his most recent adventure and will hopefully get a good nights sleep.

Not the Cadillac

Steve has been released from recovery and assigned room #5202 at the U of U Hospital. It will be nice when they finish the addition at Huntsman. In the meantime, if they run short of beds there, they use the U of U hospital for overflow. Steve is doing well, but is tired and a little sore. (He didn't get an epidural this round.) I figure today is the perfect time for him to sleep as much as possible, before his body starts really testing his new plumbing.

to recovery and beyond

Steve just finished surgery and was taken into the recovery room. They are hoping to move him up to Huntsman, but aren't yet sure if a room will be available. (Apparently the rooms at Huntsman are the equivalent of a cadillac when it comes to cars.) Steve did well during surgery and they aren't expecting any complications. The only food he will be allowed to eat today is ice chips. If that goes well, he can start eating some simple things tomorrow.

All Checked In

Hi Everyone,
We woke up at 5:00 a.m. and left for the hospital at 6:30 a.m. this morning. Steve didn't get much sleep last night. (He is the same way just before running a marathon.) Hopefully, he can get caught up on some of his zzzz's after surgery. In the meantime, we figured out patient parking and got him admitted for surgery. (We are at a hospital next door to Huntsman so that Steve can have his surgery sooner. Huntsman wasn't able to fit him in for a couple more weeks.) Dr. Sklow stopped in and will begin the reversal procedure at 8:45 a.m. I will update you throughout the day as things progress.
Tata for now. Carla

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Farewell, Stanley

The time has come to say farewell to Stanley - as in Stanley the Stoma. As far as we know I passed all of my pre-surgery tests. We never heard back from the doctor on that awesome pressure test last week. (I guess that means I can take the pressure, eh?) My surgery starts at 8:30 tomorrow morning. We have to check in by 7:00. It should take about an hour and a half. The hospital stay will be 3 to 5 days with another 2 to 3 weeks at home for recovery.

Stanley has been great company for the last six months. I can't image going through chemo and dealing with my new plumbing simultaneously. No thanks. Or rather, a big thanks to Stanley for helping out. And he isn't really leaving. He's just going back where he came from. The good news is that he will always be a part of me, you know, deep down inside. :-)

Stanley before

Stanley after

Carla has agreed to take over the blog again while I'm incapacitated, so check in often and leave lots of nice, encouraging comments.

And as always, thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers, etc.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Carole!

Everybody please stop by Carole's blog and wish her a happy birthday. She is 51 today by her own admission. How many women do that, huh?

Let's get 51 birthday greetings posted on her cancer blog, which she affectionately calls What a Pain in the Bum!

Carole, we wish you the best of birthdays and many happy returns of the day!

Much love, The Chamberlins

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Bum Deal

First of all, a shout out to Uncle Jim and Aunt Wanda. Love you guys!

Secondly, a quick summation for Carole. All is well. :-)

Now for the details...

The effects of the chemo are gradually and blessedly going away. People are actually starting to comment on how well I am looking. My hands and feet still have a few cracks but nothing too bad. I can walk well and grip things again. All good stuff. Sadly my appetite is back and my weight is climbing. So much for the cancer diet. Now I'll have to actually watch what I eat and exercise like everybody else to stay fit and trim. Fortunately, my energy is also returning.

My final surgery is scheduled for Wednesday morning, June 15th, just two weeks from today. The procedure is called an ileostomy takedown, which sounds like a wrestling move to me. ("That's two points for Dr. Sklow for the takedown!") The purpose of the takedown is to reverse the ileostomy, allowing traffic to once again flow through what is left of my large intestines and into my new plumbing. If everything works correctly, it will then leave my body in a controlled manner, at my bidding, through the original exit God gave me at birth.

Two tests were performed to ensure that all is healed and ready for use before the flood gates are reopened. Last Thursday, Dr. Sklow was kind enough to insert his finger well into my bum checking for any strictures. (Yes, I'm going to let you look that word up for yourself.) He smiled and said I had no strictures. Green light for test number two (let's say the pun here is intentional). Yesterday, I went back to the hospital for the pressure check. That's where they look for leaks in the new plumbing. Since I know many of you are curious, I'll explain how this is done.

The Mother of All Enemas

I lay on my left side on a table in an xray room. I am wearing my birthday suit and a lovely hospital gown open at the back. A man wearing a lead vest and a lead collar inserts a magic wand into my bum. Wait, let's call it a plastic tube with a bulbous tip about the thickness of Dr. Sklow's finger. Me, I am prepared for this. I am biting on a rolled up wash cloth which Carla (who must now remain in the waiting room) brought me after witnessing last week's stricture stress. Only a muffled scream escapes my lips.

Within moments I am being filled with a contrast fluid from a large bag hanging on an IV pole. That's lab technician number two's job. Squeeze the bag until I'm full. My job, he explains, is to hold it all in. No pressure there! Xray man number one keeps the wand in place with one hand while he guides a movable xray arm thing-a-ma-jig across my body all while looking at a monitor out of my view. He has me roll this way and that for several minutes getting images of my glowing intestines from all sides.

"Anything leaking in there?" I ask during a brief lull in the process. Mind you, I feel like a ballooned up puffer fish at this point. "You'll have to ask your doctor for the results," he replies. So I am guessing that no news is good news. I'll head in for surgery if I haven't heard from Dr. Sklow before then.

And finally, all good things have to come to an end (or out the end as the case may be). I am invited to use a toilet just off the xray room so I don't have to waddle back to the changing room. Ten minutes and several pints later, I am guided back to the dressing room where there is another toilet calling to me. Eventually, I make it out to the waiting room to see Carla, when suddenly I have to high tail it to yet a third toilet down the hall. When Carla sees me next I am shaking, exhausted, weak and sweating. I guess the third time is the charm.

It would be half an hour more before we got me out to the car for the trip home, but at least I was empty at last. I told the technicians when I first walked in their little torture chamber that I thought I was getting a bum deal.