Friday, December 7, 2007

Eleven Months of Recovery

If anyone has read my blogs you know I had a bowel resection on January 9, 2007. I never could find out any information about what took place during recovery when you are out of the hospital and home. So I wrote a series of blogs about my experience hoping to provide some information out on the web that might be useful to some other persons going through the same type of recovery period.

From time to time I've updated my progress and that is what this is. In 3 days it will be 11 months since surgery. In that intervening time I also had my gall bladder removed about a month ago.

I am happy to report that I think I am doing well. From a physical stand point I have lost a lot of weight, on purpose. I regularly exercise, I mean daily, a 50 minute strongly paced walk, and I try to watch what I eat. I log my vital signs every day as a means of staying in touch with how I feel. I use a lot of personal positive feedback by assess how I feel physically during my exercise period. I work very hard to keep the negative thought patterns at bay.

December 12 I go in for a follow up colonoscopy. Given the pathology results after surgery and my assessment of my well-being I expect the results of the colonoscopy to be clear. So, from a physical stand point recovery is good and the prospects for continued health very promising.

I do have some remnants of a psychological impact. I do have an irregular heartbeat. I had PVC's (Premature Ventricular Contractions) prior to surgery, but they have elevated in frequency of occurrence since surgery. I belong to a forum that discusses irregular heart beats and am relieved to find my self in a lot of company. The medical world has proven to me that my irregular heart beats are benign and will not cause me any health problems.

I believe that stress plays a big role in the onset and continuance of the heart beat problem. I have been thoroughly checked out and do not have any underlying heart disease or damage. Yet these irregular heart beats occur daily, and may last for some time. The frequency seems to be dying down, but still I get aggravated when they occur.

One thing that apparently occurs after major surgery is a fear of the disease reoccurring. This I've read is common. I am 62 years of age, I thought I had come to terms with my own mortality some years ago. Undergoing surgery, even though very successful, has reawakened that realization that I have fewer years in front of me than I have behind me. I do not find myself depressed, but I seem to have become aware how fragile our existence is. In some ways it has led me to a greater appreciation of my wife, my children, and surroundings. Yet I am plagued with the idea that I may not get to enjoy those these things for a long time. The thoughts do not dominate my existence, for the most part they intrude when I am alone, musing about life in general. I drive the thoughts away by refusing to let them occupy much mental space and time.

Everything has gotten better, including my mental attitude, so I expect these dark musing will lift even more. It probably is a progressive process of recovery of spirit just like the physical recovery is a progressive process.

My system seems to be settling into some form of regularity after the surgical intrusion. I now am facing some problems from the gall bladder surgery, a hand full of mixed nuts seem to make my stomach slightly upset and can trigger a series of bowel movements that can be rather uncomfortable and frequent. Other than that, I'm doing very well.

In a nut shell, life is OK. Some thoughts about dark things, but frankly probably not much more than the normal person encounters going through life. I certainly have an appreciation for persons undergoing medical procedures I never had before, and I am grateful for the quality of care I've received. This experience has certainly strengthened the bond between my wife and I and my recovery experience would have not been as positive if it hadn't been for her.

That is all for this day. Keep the faith fellow survivors, life is good!

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