Writer's block and Recovery

I've tried so many times to blog over the last few weeks but just couldn't seem to find the words.  I'm struggling even now. This post may be a bit choppy as I try to find my rhythm again...

It's been 5 weeks since my surgery; I've only been home for 3 of those. The first 2 were pretty rough. Hours were being watched closely until the next dose of pain meds could be taken and sleep took up most of the time. This is, by far, the hardest surgery I've ever gone through. It's taken a toll on my body reducing my strength and endurance to zero percent. I've lost 27 pounds and most of my muscle mass. I am puny. If I stand or walk too long my legs begin to shake. If I walk too far, I'm out of breath. After showering, I need to sit down to recoup for 10-20 minutes. I still can't eat very much after 13 days of not eating in the hospital. To say that I'm frustrated would be an understatement.

Mentally, I am ready to get back to life but my body is just not there yet. This week has been better than the first 2 at home. My doctor gave me the all clear to go back to normal activities (as if I have the stamina). I can now drive, however, I am still taking pain meds so I have to really judge how bad I want out and if it's worth the pain. Now, when I say pain--I mean surgical. The disease pain I had before is GONE!! The surgical pain is less and less each week but the more active I am seems to stir it up a bit.

I've struggled with depression over several years. Any one who has ever dealt with depression knows there are many,  many layers to it. Recovery has been hard in that aspect. I went in to this surgery rather unrealistically. I had no idea how rough it would be and how long it would take me to adjust to my new "normal". Even after reading everything I could about ileostomies, I was still very unprepared for the reality of it. I nose dived straight into a deep depression just before my release from the hospital. In a previous blog entry I wrote about the Sunday before I was released and how bad I cratered. The first 2 weeks at home were full of ups and downs. I'd feel good about everything and then I would need to deal with my ostomy bag and it would send me into a fit of tears. I would wait longer than I should trying to avoid the whole thing. Can you say denial? Poor Shannon felt so helpless. I thought I would never be able to get the hang of this. It's very hard to see past a difficult period in your life.

Week 3 at home has been much, much better. I finally feel somewhat secure in dealing with the ileostomy. My pain has lessened to the point where I only take meds on an as needed basis. Of course, the more active I am seems to stir up the pain so I have to keep that in mind. But, over all, I'm thinking recovery is finally here! This week I've been able to drive and get out and do a few things on my own. This has helped tremendously with the depression. I even went back to the gym on Monday for what was basically physical therapy and I have another appointment on Thursday. More than anything, I think this gave me hope that I might be returning to me again. I thought I'd never get to this point.

My family has been amazing. Shannon has pulled more than his share of duties around here in addition to his and with out complaint, I might add. The boys have been very sweet in helping me anytime I need it. They ask me on a daily basis if I'm feeling good. Not bad for 2 teens who could be much more self involved. My parents have been so helpful in getting Thomas to and from school and taking me out of the house now and then. Our friends have helped out too with incredible meals that started while I was still in the hospital. Another friend is helping with household chores like the never ending piles of laundry. Anyone willing to do our laundry that consists of 1 grown man's tennis clothes and two teen boys' undies is a saint! I don't know how we would have made it with out our friends and family. They are truly a blessing from above.

I still have one more surgery to go through. I need to have my port removed. I won't be needing it anymore since I will no longer be taking Remicade. This won't be a big deal but I am tired of hospitals. Even though it's just a day surgery procedure, I can't bring myself to do it. The thought of another surgery make me cringe. I think I'll just keep my port for a while longer.

Speaking of Remicade, it's not the only drug I've been able to stop since having the colectomy. I have gone from 5 different meds down to 1!! This is very exciting to me. I think the less medicine you take the better you are in the long run.

I'm beginning to see the silver lining of post-surgery. After dropping close to 30 pounds I'm much closer to my weight loss goal and in need of some new clothes! I'll be honest, I love to shop. I can eat pretty much what ever I want too! This my be hard to keep the weight off though. Also, I am starting to feel like my old self pre UC again. Once I'm out from under the haze of pain pills for good, I'm going to be ready to rock and roll!


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