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A Two-week Retrospective

Well, it’s been two weeks to the day since I had my bowel resection surgery. Recovery seems to be going well.

I’m eating, sleeping, moving, and pooping. What more could I ask for?

The main thing that I’ve really come to embrace as of late is just how big of a pile of bullshit cancer is.

What I’ve learned so far about bullshit

Cancer sucks. I know I’m not that far into my cANcER jOurNeY, but I was totally unprepared for the amount of bullshit that comes with a colon cancer diagnosis (and surgery).

Here are a few examples:

  • Weeping surgical sites. These are complete bullshit. One day, things are normal. The next, you’re soaking through bandages as fast as you can change them.
  • Re-learning foods. What can I eat? Though there are not technically any dietary restrictions, certain foods are a no-go. Anything that’s greasy or overly processed are off the table. (This isn’t necessarily a terrible thing, health-wise.) Every time I eat something I haven’t had, I need to make a mental note about whether it can stay on the menu or not.
  • The bruising. Oh, the bruising. By the time I was discharged from the hospital, my stomach looked like Homer Simpson’s. I’m mostly convinced at this point that the bulk of my pain was from that.
  • Bodily gurgles are now painful. Let yourself get hungry? Congratulations. Your hunger pangs have evolved into hunger pains. Eat something that makes you gassy? Enjoy some paralyzing discomfort while you work to pass it. Things are also gurgling in weird places.
  • Medical staff outside of the primary care team are patronizing. Acknowledgement from medical staff that I’m young and the shock that I’ve undergone a left colectomy at my age are absolutely not reassuring from a patient care standpoint. No shit, I’m young. Also: could we stop talking about probabilities? I’m kind of in a position here where I’ve lost the luck game, and my current situation is improbable, so I don’t really care to hear much about how unlikely certain things are. Run the fucking test.

Some things that aren’t bullshit

I’m not completely nihilistic and do expect some good to arise as a result of my cANcER jOurNeY.

Here are a few things I’m grateful for:

  • Friends and family. You guys are awesome. From cards, calls, and messages, to a handful of in-person visits, the amount of love and support has been overwhelming. Thank you.
  • My oversized backrest pillow. I bought this thing not realizing that it would be the best pre-surgical investment I could make. Honestly, this thing has made recovery 1000% better.
  • Being able to walk. Getting outside for a stroll around the neighbourhood has been really beneficial. It’s extra difficult being cooped up in the four walls since it’s physically difficult to do too much.
  • Getting rest. I am a workaholic. I cannot help it. I know it’s unhealthy. But having the opportunity to disconnect and focus on healing as my full time job has really helped.
  • Having an ergonomic home office. This is the ultimate cheese, but I went to great effort during the pandemic to ensure that I have a comfortable home office. Between the lumbar support, desk setup, and footrest, there’s one spot that I can go spend an hour or two in relative comfort.

What’s next?

Cancer is a waiting game. Now, I get to play it.

The pathology from the bowel removed during surgery is not completed as of this morning, so I get to sit around and be anxious about that for at least another week.

Otherwise, I’m looking to up the amount of walking that I’m doing from 1km a day to 2km over the next couple of days. My ultimate goal for the next two weeks is to be able to tolerate a 5km trail walk (going for distance, not speed on this one right now) again.

CancerCanuck

My name is Jason Manuge. I'm an early onset Stage IV colorectal cancer survivor. You can find me on social as CancerCanuck!

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