Friday, June 13, 2008

Another Milestone

June 9, a Monday marked 18 months since I underwent bowel resection surgery. In fact, surgery took place on a Monday, and the 18th month anniversary was a Monday. It seems like I should take stock of where I am at and obviously give thanks because of the success of the surgery.

Couple with the surgery I went on a prolonged diet and have lost over 50 pounds. My pants size has dropped 6 inches and my stamina today is better than it has been for probably 20 years. I walk for one hour a day, six days a week. God and I rest on Sunday. I am watching what I eat, but that is tough. I do enjoy food.

I have not been back to a doctor now for some six months. The follow up colonoscopy in November was normal and I do not have to have another for two years. I still have some bowel issues, however they are not causing a great deal of discomfort. I go quite often, my definition of regularity is I go regularly, but not necessarily the same time of day every day.

Each day I take stock of how my body feels. Two years ago my days tended to be a shade of Grey with some bright days that happened on occasion. I characterize my days as bright when I feel good physically and mentally, dark when I feel bad and Grey when I don't feel good but not really bad. I recall that there were times that I would be out in the yard working and I just did not feel good. I worried about my health, I knew I was terribly overweight and was taking all kinds of medication for blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. I could not see very far down life's path. Today is different. Today most of my days are bright, the shades of Grey are light, and I can't think of a black day for some time.

When is assess my body I no longer have a sick feeling. When I have some digestive tract problems I don't feel sick, usually just uncomfortable. My attitude about doing things has improved. My wife comments frequently how pleased she is that I am doing things around the house instead of sitting and letting the world pass by. I do not have the energy level I had 30 years ago, but I ain't bad. Most days I am up before 5 AM and in bed by 9 PM. That is a seventeen hour day, I rarely nap, and feel quite good. Evenings are somewhat lethargic, I guess I'm just tired from the day's out and abouting. Many people come home from work and then set about working around the house until the wee hours of the night, but I've never done that. I guess for too many years I had my nose stuck in a bottle.

I still grapple with psychological issues. Having cancer and surgery reawakened the issue of my mortality. God I love life, I don't want it to end. I enjoy talking with my daughters and following their life story. I am able to walk a picturesque little path around my ten acres, and not many people can do that. I give thanks for that. I see clouds, and scenery, and creatures and am amazed by the constantly shifting patterns life allows us to observe, if we take the time. On my morning walks I run into numerous box turtles plying the path with me in search of something to eat. We've had a change in the types of birds that frequent our yard, it isn't huge but having lived here for so long it is noticeable. I like that. I do not attribute those type of changes to global warming or any other man made phenomena, it appears to be shifting patterns as mother nature makes sure her species don't kill out an area.

I especially enjoy the morning coffee and talks my wife and I have. For years we sit in bed, drink coffee and discuss a variety of topics. Sometimes there is nothing to discuss and we have the first cup in silence. Sometimes she lays there and reads and I just think of the days events and things that have to be done. Other times we make up our shopping list and think about what is going on in the week.

Life is good and I am having a tough time dealing with the fact that the years in front of me are dwindling. All of a sudden my daughters have a generation younger then they are. That is pushing us all up the ladder. I suppose if I had accomplished more in my life, if I had invested money and felt better about my financial security perhaps I would accept aging better, but I suspect not.

It may sound like I dwell on my growing old. I really don't. I think about it while walking sometimes and then push it out of my head. Life really is good! From all indications the surgery was successful. I am off almost all medication. My blood pressure is under control, my cholesterol is low, I no longer take medications for diabetes. I really have a lot to be thankful for. I remember to be grateful every day, and I must say my brush with serious illness has tempered my behavior and attitude. When I feel my temperature rise because something is making me angry I am able to stop and say, wait a minute, what is really important here? I deal with things better than I did before.

So, eighteen months after surgery life is very good. I pray that it continues for many years in the pattern established now.

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