Amen, Frank Turner.
It’s been six weeks since my release from hospital. I can now slowly reintroduce more foods into my diet. Things like rice and certain fruits and vegetables. Sandwiches really aren’t the same without lettuce and sliced tomatoes and maybe some cucumber slices too. As with all other aspects of my recovery though, I’m going to go slow so I don’t shock my system again or cause a food blockage.
It’s been over two months since my operation, and I have to admit I’m disappointed with my recovery. I thought by now I’d be working part-time, moving about freely, and weighing a normal-ish mass. Instead, I’m still without work, I still have that damn percutaneous tube in my butt, which makes it difficult to sit or drive comfortably, and I’m still horribly underweight. The recovery process has been slow and littered with setbacks. My ostomy shrunk and became a harder to manage “innie”, but with some help from my nurses, I’m starting to get things back on track in terms of coverage and appliances. The biggest setback, however, is the leak in my pelvic pouch that has yet to heal. That remains my biggest concern and the biggest impediment to my recovery. Considering how wonderful the first operation turned out to be, I’m scared shitless of my surgeon having to go back in.
I wish that there was something I could do to expedite my recovery. If walking more or eating X would help my body repair itself quicker, I’d do it. My doctors have told me there’s nothing I can really do. I don’t want to believe it. I hate not having the ability to control my own body. If you know of any way to speed up the body’s ability to heal itself, please let me know.
I should be scheduled for an examination under anesthetic in the next few weeks, which will give my surgeon a better idea of what to do about this pesky pelvic pouch. Until then, I’m doing what I can to feel more like myself and less like a patient recovering from an operation. This morning I woke up at 7 a.m. and went for a little walk before the heat got too oppressive. I wore my hipster cut-off blue shorts, a white t-shirt and my backpack. I felt as though I looked like a normal person just heading out in the morning. Track pants would have made me feel like a patient in recovery mode. In total it was a roughly four-kilometre walk, round trip, and I treated myself to a sausage and egg McMuffin and iced coffee along the way. Delish. I’m going to try to make more little outings around my neighbourhood, in decent clothes, to look and feel more like the non-disease-and-surgery-ravaged folks around me.
Friends and family have repeated the sentiment, “Things will get better.” That may be true, and I hope it is, but here’s the thing. Those people overlook just how long it may be until things get better, and even more importantly, what it actually takes for things to get better. Things won’t necessarily get better with time alone. It may not just be a matter of waiting out my body to mend itself. It may take more surgery, more diet changes, more dejecting days and uncomfortable nights. It may take more hospital stays, more struggles with ostomy appliance changes, more open wounds and drainage tubes. I often feel like people underestimate just what my recovery process has entailed so far, and what it may require in the weeks and months ahead. This recovery is some two months old, but it feels as though it’s been a very long road already, with an even more extensive road still to travel.