Last year I published three posts titled “Oh What a Feeling”, “Cricket and Chemo” and “Contemplation” which gave the brutal facts of my flirtation with bowel cancer. The pathology tests on the eleven inches of removed bowel (sigmoid colon and upper rectum) revealed no less than three malignant tumours and a highly suspicious polyp. They also tested 21 lymph glands in the removed bowel and discovered one was carrying malignant cells. This resulted in my surgeon and oncologist advising that I would have to keep my stoma and colostomy bag for a total of eight months while I had six months of chemo.

The chemo was in the form of six identical tablets-three in the morning and three in the evening for two weeks then one week off, repeated eight times, with a visit to the Oncologist with a blood test before beginning each three week cycle. This means that I haven’t used my rectum for eight months`. At one stage I described this procedure as a “pain in the bum”, which of course in literal terms,  is exactly what it is not! I was very fortunate that the side effects of the chemo were negligible.
Last Thursday (26th June) I re-entered hospital to be “re-connected’. Or in more professionals terms to have the ilieostomy reversed and a massive hernia around it patched up -“pushed back in”. Everything seems to be going as planned, last night was extremely uncomfortable and sleep impossible. But I can now tell you that my bum works! My very direct, colourful surgeon told me this morning that the next few days wont be fun, but all is on track.

Wednesday 2nd July
The surgeon was dead right! The last four days and particularly nights have been bloody awful. Someone once told me that our intestines don’t like being fiddled around with and are inclined to rebel.   They sure are rebelling. I am swollen up like a poisoned pup and any release of internal pressure, be it liquid, (bowel and bladder) or gas, is very welcome. The worse part is that the pain prevents sleep.The best part is that a new word has entered the Australian lexicon -“Kyrgios”, an Australian tennis player, of Greek origin. In the wee hours I have watched his last three Wimbledon wins and he has played superbly. I truly thought Nadal would be too strong-but no way. His temperament is excellent.

My wound has taken to weeping considerable quantities of bloody liquid and is now being “packed” twice daily. What next?? Surgeon says I won’t be out before the weekend.

Friday, 4th July
I am more comfortable, but have a gaping wound with a substantial hole under it where the stoma was. Not unusually it carries an infection. They are “packing” it with gauze which they change twice a day and am now on anti-biotics for the infection. The “inner me” is gradually getting back to more like normal-some way to go. Sleeping easier.

Monday, 7th July
I played down this hospital visit as a minor 2/3 day procedure. Twelve days later …….! The last two nights have been horrendous with complete lack of bowel control and much action! This is mostly attributed to the anti-biotic upsetting the system and the fact that the lower bowel has been out of action for eight months. Each night improved as the night went on.
Have had a good day today and it’s continuing tonight. Move to once a day wound “re-packing” from tomorrow and have (most?) of my 15 staples removed. If tummy continues to behave expect to be discharged tomorrow or Wednesday.

Tuesday, 8th July
Surgeon agreed to my proposal that I should go home today. Susie and kids picked me up around 11:30 and am now ensconced once more at Arterial Road. Gail seems pleased! Sydney Home Nursing are booked to “re-pack” the wound each day. Hope to go to my Thursday Australian Club lunch and the Swire Lunch on Friday to farewell Mitch Abbo. Like attendance at the Adelaide Test last December the Swire lunch has been my aim this time.

Sunday 20th July
Getting better. Wound is almost healed. Didn’t find the home nursing very satisfactory-never knew definitely when they were coming, so took up the alternative of going up to the hospital each morning to have the wound packed there. Bowel behaving better, but not quite back to normal. Am slowly gaining confidence, but don’t like getting too far from a toilet. If in doubt I wear a “nappy”. I have this sophisticated brief case that I bought in Argentina, which I take with me everywhere. All that is in it is spare “nappies”!!

Saturday 2nd August
My surgeon declared my wound healed yesterday. Bowel behaving well and am gaining more confidence. We did a 2km walk this morning!
Over and out!

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