Thursday, September 30, 2010

So. Another gauze went missing the other day. We still haven't found it. Anyone else think having this ass wound is a pain in the, well, ASS?? I do. I'm so over it. I'm just done. And according to Dr. Eric, it's a freaking cave in there. Isn't this thing supposed to be healing? Everything else on my body heals super fast. Perhaps my ass area is just defective? There was obviously a huge fail with my anus and rectum.

Yeah, not feeling the most positive I've ever felt in my life.

This too shall pass?


Monday, September 27, 2010

Let's Be Real Today

Please take a few minutes to read THIS

Be gentle with yourself today, and I'll try to do the same.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Okay, first of all, MY COLON IS CLEAN!!!!!

I will admit, I wasn't worried about my colon. But still, I'm glad my lack of worry was supported by a doctor sticking a camera into my bowels.

The colon prep was the worst though. And I'm going to tell you about it. So I already yakked about taking the dulcolax. The effects lingered the next day and I was feeling nauseaus, headachey, and dizzy. I took the kids to their art studio class and on the way home puked in a plastic bag. Once at home, I felt a little better, so it was just business as usual, getting the kids ready with things to do while I was pooping, doing a few last minute things.

I started drinking the liquid at around 2pm. The Official Directions tell you to drink 8 oz every 10 minutes until half the jug is gone. I gagged on the third cupful and puked it all up. Gross. So I placed a call to the Stomach Doctor's office, left a message and waited. After 45 minutes of no call back, I decided to try the prep again. There was still quite a bit left. This time I spaced the 8 oz cups out 20 minutes apart. I drank cup #5, then puked again. By this time, it was close to 5pm, but I called the office again. Left another message. No one called me back.

At that point I could have abandoned the entire prep and flaked out on my appointment the next morning, or I could do the prep *I* wanted to do in the first place, my friends Miralax and Gatorade. Eric made a quickie trip to the drug store, and I started the Miralax/Gatorade prep at about 6pm. Much easier. No more puking. And I was able to drink the whole 64 oz.

Now I'm not advocating throwing doctor's orders out the window. I wish I would have been more assertive when I spoke with the doctor. I knew I wouldn't be able to do the Official Prep. I told him I couldn't do it. I know that the Miralax/Gatorade prep works. If my surgeon was okay with me using it, and he is an excellent surgeon and I really respect him, then I'm okay using it. So yeah, listen to your doctors, but don't be afraid to question them and advocate for yourself. I need to get better at following my own advice.

On Colonoscopy Day, we dropped the kids off at a good friend's house and arrived at the office at about 7:15 for my 7:30 appointment. At about 8:30 the receptionist, who must have heard our grumblings about waiting, said there were two doctors doing procedures and mine happened to be backed up. Great. I didn't get called back until about 9:15am.

The nurse asked me a bunch of questions, including if I drank all the prep. I lied. Dr. House would have been proud, haha. My output was greenish clear, no chunkies, I thought I'd be okay. I got my IV for the sedation, spoke to the anesthesiologist, and got wheeled to the procedure room.

The whole "getting wheeled to the procedure room" is the hardest part for me. I remember vividly internally freaking out at that point for my first colonoscopy. I didn't even have a chance to freak out before my surgery because I started loosing it just thinking about it in the prep room. And this time, it was just sucky. There's nothing like laying on a rolling bed (gurney? do they still call them that?) looking up at the lights while someone you don't know rolls you around to just make you think about weird stuff. It's hard to explain. I just hate that part.

In the procedure room, the nurse asked me a few questions then asked me to turn on my side. I was all, "Why??" and she was all, "So we can do your colonoscopy." And I explained about my ostomy, and the nurse looked kind of freaked out. I take it they don't deal with a lot of ostomates there? She apologized, and I said, "It's not a big deal, I just wanted to make sure no one tried sticking anything in my butt, because you won't get very far, I don't have a rectum." So then, flustered, she asked to see my ostomy and I showed her. I don't really get why it was a big deal. She didn't even want to touch it. Sigh.

Then the anesthesiologist asked me to turn over and I had to explain again. This time the doctor was in the room and he chimed in too. Then he asked me if the ostomy was permenant.

YES. It's permenant. Did ya read my file??? I was nice though, and explained that the tumor was too close to the anal junction, blah blah blah.

So the anesthesiologist started the sedation and told me to think of a good dream. Do you even dream when you're under sedation? I thought that was weird.

And when I woke up, Eric was in the recovery room. We got a printout with some cool pictures of my colon. And guess what?? The paper said, "During the procedure we found the following: previous anterior resection of the anus, rectum, and sigmoid colon." REALLY???? Holy shit, guys, someone resected my colon!!!! Eric and I got a good laugh out of that. After speaking to the doctor, I was released. The nurses made me ride in a wheelchair to my car. I guess they have to do that.

According to this doctor, I don't need another colonoscopy for five years. Even though I had a gut feeling (haha) that my colon was clean, I don't know if I trust it quite that much. I believe the surgeon suggested every two years after this initial colonoscopy, so I think I'll check with the oncologist and see what he says. But most likely I'll go in two years. With the Miralax/Gatorade prep.

I wanted to thank everyone for their positive thoughts. I appreciate it always.

Next milestone...CT Scan and follow up oncology visit. This is the one I'm nervous about. I feel like if I can get past this scan and it's clean, then I'm golden. I don't know that for sure, of course, but you know.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


C'mon, fess up. Who among you hoped and prayed for a gross ostomy story from me someday? You know you want it.

In the event that you really don't want it, you might want to skip this post. I'm just sayin'.

So. I have a colonoscopy on Thursday. The Stomach Doctor does things a little differently than my surgeon, and one of the things I had to do to prep was take 4 Dulcolax tabs last night. I'm all, yeah, whatever. I took them around 9pm and went to sleep around 11pm. I woke up at about 2am with the worst gut cramps ever. I mean, that I've had in a long time. Then my ostomy started outputting.

At first it was the mashy stuff I ususally get. Okay, not a big deal. THEN it got more liquidy and disgusting, filling up the pouch really fast. It's a good thing I didn't fall back to sleep at any point while this was happening or I would have had a collossal mess. At one point (gross, gross!!!!) I couldn't get my pouch snapped back on the wafer and poop was just pouring out. Don't worry about the cleanliness of my bathroom floor, I have really good pooping aim. So I'm standing in the bathroom at 3am and it was a poop nightmare. Ugh.

It eventually slowed way down and I was able to clean up and go back to bed. But geez. I had no idea THAT would happen. I'm not sure what I thought would happen, but it wasn't that. Stupid laxatives. Do you think that because I don't eat a Standard American Diet (ie...I eat lots of beans and veggies, not a whole ton of crap) the laxatives worked super super well? Or had an easier time working? I don't know, but man, it was crazy.

Most of the time I actually like my ostomy. It cuts the bathroom time way down. But in the event that ridiculous amounts of poop come out, it's kind of sucky. I should take a picture of the pouch I'll be using for the real part of the colon prep.

Anyway, it was probably way more gross of a story if you were actually there with me.

Expect an update about colon prep, and of course the results of the colonoscopy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm such a Negative Nelly

Because the appointment was just fine. The doctor didn't say anything lame. He actually told me that he had three other patients this year in their 20s with colorectal cancer, also with no family history. Crazy, huh? Kind of makes you wonder what the heck is going on.

Then again, before *I* had cancer, I didn't really think about other people having it. Now when I hear so-and-so has cancer, I wonder what kind and immediately empathize with their situation. I would really like to never hear stories of people with cancer again, but you can't always have what you want, right? It's just sad that it affects so many people.

Anyway, Colonoscopy Day is coming up soon! I suppose it's better to just get that over and done. The Stomach Doctor wants me to do a much more intense (ie CRAZY) colon prep than my surgeon ever had me do. And he wants me to use the crappy moviprep in the monstor jug instead of miralax and gatorade. Booooooooo. I tried explaining that I don't like moviprep, and he kept saying, "Well, if it doesn't work you can use the miralax." I was all, "It's not that it doesn't work, it's that I hate it with the fire of a thousand suns." Okay, I didn't say that, but I did express displeasure. Then he explained that the moviprep cleans you out better and the colonoscopy results will be better. Blah blah blah.

I get it. I just don't like it.

Eric ordered me some special ostomy supplies for the big clean out. Good times.

I'm not super worried about my colon. It was clean (aside from the cancer in my rectum) before. I think the colonoscopy will be okay.

As much as I'm bitching about getting a colonoscopy though, it's not that bad, and it's important to keep tabs on what's happening in your ass. Don't be afraid of the colonoscopy! As always, if you suspect something isn't right with your ass, get thee to a doctor, ASAP. I may be bossy, but it's because I care.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon with the doctor who will (most likely, unless I really hate him or something) be doing my colonoscopy. Stomach Doctor, remember?


I don't want to go. I'm tired of doctors and feeling really cranky about going to ANOTHER one. It's likely I'll have to, yet AGAIN, tell him the whole lame-o story about how I had rectal cancer, blah blah blah. And then he'll say something completely boring like, "You're so young!"

See? Cranky.

I know, I know. That's what I get for moving and having to gather up new doctors.

I don't think I'm cranky just because of the new doctor factor though. I'm just sick of doctors. I'm sick of dealing with all this shitty stuff. I feel FINE.

And maybe I don't want to know if my guts aren't really fine. Because that's just going to mean more freaking doctors, isn't it?

Think positive, my guts ARE fine.

I'm trying, I really am. I suspect everyone gets to a point where they are done, and I'm at the burnt crispy done point right now.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Cancerversary...yay?

One year ago today, I received a phone call that changed not only my life, but the lives of people around me. One year ago today my doctor told me I had rectal cancer. And he didn't stop there. He laid it all on me, the radiation and chemo, the surgery, the ostomy, more chemo. At the time, of course, it was overwhelming, but looking back, I'm so glad he didn't mince words and make it pretty. It wasn't pretty and I don't think putting a bow on this package would have helped things at all.

So. A lot has happened over the past year. A friend recently asked me how I'm doing, emotionally. Mentally. Most of the time I just feel normal. When I really sit down and think about things, I still feel shell shocked. Sometimes I feel angry that this happened. Sometimes I feel peaceful. It seems the stew of emotions simmers away, and different feelings bubble up from time to time. I suspect that's normal. I'm proud that I was able to hold it together (most of the time) and get through what I needed to do to be healthy again.

I feel changed. If that makes sense.

In my life now, I'm trying to bounce back but with a twist. I'm trying to be more patient with people, more understanding. I'm trying to enjoy the minutes, hours, days. I'm trying not to let the little things get me down too much. Am I always successful? Of course not. Life is a work in progress, and I get to make mistakes too.

I'm trying to be open about my cancer and my ostomy and hoping that it helps others. I certainly can't tell people how to handle their own situations, but I can share how I handled mine. Or at times, how I didn't handle it. There were many tears of frustration, sadness, and loss this year. I mostly cried at night in the arms of my husband so I wouldn't upset my children, my family, my friends. It's okay to mourn the life I had before. But it's also okay to embrace the life I have now.

I got to meet some amazing people along this journey. My doctors. The wound ostomy care nurses. I found out that I have amazing friends, friends who are family. I found out the strength of people around me, strength of my family, strength of my husband. I saw the resiliency of my children.

So yeah. My cancerversary. I'm thankful that I get to wake up and enjoy life. I'm hopeful for the future, as scary as the unknown is sometimes.

Go give people you care about a big hug today. I know I will.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hey, you! Yes you!!

Did you know that not everyone knows what an ostomy is? Did you know that some people think ostomies are gross or dirty and look down on ostomates? There are people who hide the fact that they have an ostomy because they are afraid people won't look at them the same or won't want to be friends with them.


Perhaps I live in my own little happy happy joy joy bubble, but this shocks me and makes me kind of sad. I didn't know what an ostomy was a year ago, so I suppose anything can happen. Now that I do know what an ostomy is, and now that I have one, I'm pretty open about them. I really hope this blog helps other ostomates to know that there are others out there, and that you can just live life with an ostomy.

I'm an ostomy ambassador. You can be one too. First, read this:

After you get done reading that, if you want to be an ostomy ambassador too, post a link to my blog. That's the easiest thing you can do. Then, if you'd like to be more involved, share what you've learned here about ostomies. Share my story. If you feel comfortable doing so, feel free to talk about me and my experiences, and what you've learned reading this blog. Let's get people talking. Ostomies are not scary or dirty or disgusting. They're different, but that's not a bad thing.

And on this blog, I'll make an effort to talk more about my own ostomy. Because overall, it's not been too bad. Is it a pain in the ass (belly?) sometimes? Sure. But you know what? There were a lot of times that my own ass was a pain in the ass! Who doesn't have issues with where their output leaves their body once in a while?

Thanks for helping, everyone. Do what you can, what you feel comfortable doing. I appreciate it, as do all the other ostomates out there.