I have been a terrible, terrible blogger. This started out as a noble pursuit. I learned so much from so many amazing blogger’s (please visit the links section to see some of my favorites). In fact, I’d go as far as to say the only reason I found the courage to go through with this surgery is the hopeful, healing words of some of these people. Reading about their struggles and their triumphs helped me to know that it could be done, that it could be successful, that I could be well again. And I am. I am well. For the first time in my life.
I have had a few struggles during my first six months living sans pancreas. To begin with, I spent a lot longer on feeding tubes than most. Many people will never leave the hospital on a feeding tube. I chose my doctor based on his post-operative care regimen. All his patients leave the hospital with feeding tubes in tow and until they are able to eat a substantial amount of food, they stay attached. The complication that occurred with me was one the doctors had never heard of, apparently I have an allergy to the tube feed formula. So, whenever my tubes were on, I felt miserably sick. And when we turned them off to attempt taking in some liquids, I would wind up curled up over the toilet (I know, ick.). This prompted the doctors to think my digestive system had just not fully “awakened” after surgery and that gastroparesis was causing the food to sit in my stomach and when it had no where to go, come back up. For months we experimented on food, off food, on liquids, off liquids. Always with the same results. My symptoms made them think I picked up a nasty infection in the hospital called C.Diff, I was tested a dozen times, each time it was negative. During a trip to the emergency room, after a morning fit of vomiting caused my feeding tube to pop out, my doctor saw me uncontrollably heaving, I hadn’t had a drink or bite in months. He told me that they had no choice but to admit me, and he did not reconnect my feeding tubes. In the coming hours, I felt better than I had during my entire recovery. All of the sickness stopped. When he came to turn the tube back on, I was prepared to march out of the hospital if he wouldn’t let me keep it off. Of course, this wasn’t necessary, he was incredibly understanding and told me we would try an “experiment” and I could order some liquids. I kept everything down!!
I can’t tell you what this was like, FOOD! Even now, every single bite is like a little miracle. I know people around me are sick of hearing it, all the wonderful tastes and textures. Vegetables especially… and NO pain!!! No terrible gut wrenching pancreas pain, no worrying about where the nearest garbage can is in case I have to make a run for it… Life is so great!
The next big change in my life has been walking. I walk and I walk and I walk. Ever since the day I woke up from surgery, when I made it a measly 150 feet with a walker, I haven’t been able to stop. I regularly walk 3-4 miles each day and my walker sits by the front door reminding me of what an accomplishment that is.
That brings me back to my neglecting this blog. It is such a blessing to be well, that despite my very best intentions all of this has gone by the wayside. I’m so happy to be healthy that I don’t want to think of what it was like before, and all the pain and suffering that others are still going through. I know this sounds awful, but I just feel like my life has been paused for the past decade. Everything has been hinging… waiting on… this moment, my present, and all I want is to charge full speed ahead without ever looking back.
I can’t stop dreaming about what I want my future to look like, the kind of person I want to be, the things I want to do, the career, education, adventures I want to have. It is all attainable now. Everything I ever imagined, right there at my finger tips.