It’s already been three weeks since my bowel resection. Imagine that!
Time apparently flies when you’re paralyzed with existential dread. I’m kidding. Kind of.
Making some progress
Physically, I’m doing better day-to-day. I’ve been focused on following the recovery guidelines by keeping myself active, eating better, and listening to my body.
Here are a few things that’ve improved:
- My appetite and diet have been great. I’ve been eating five small meals a day instead of three, keeping focus on eating healthier snacks, and not skipping meals as often as I used to. Not many limitations on what I can eat, either. Except for chips. I’m going to miss chips.
- My energy level has been better than before surgery. The main symptoms that caused alarm bells to ring were fatigue and low energy, but since surgery neither of these have been an issue. I’ve been waking at 6am most every day and going to bed around 10pm. My afternoon crashes are (mostly) not happening anymore, but I do have some follow-up bloodwork scheduled for this week to keep an eye on my iron levels. The goal is to see if they’ve rebounded since the tumour was removed.
- The pain and discomfort are getting better. Overall, I’m feeling much more comfortable in my own skin. I do have some discomfort around the five incision sites. Pain has gone down quite significantly, though I still have some bouts of it. I’m not taking any pain medication anymore, either.
- Bruising is almost entirely gone. It’s nice to not have a torso that looks like Homer Simpson.
- Alcohol is out of the picture. I’ve completely eliminated my alcohol intake.
- I’ve lost a healthy amount of weight. Most of us can stand to lose a few pounds. I’ve shed seven extra pounds since surgery.
- I’ve exceeded my walking goal. I was shooting for 5km by the end of the month, but Shannon and I had a nice 6km walk on Saturday. I didn’t feel like I paid for it, either.
This is just the beginning…
On Monday I received an update regarding my pathology. Unfortunately, my surgery was only the beginning of my treatment against cancer.
The aim is still to eliminate the cancer from my body. In spite of the details that follow, there are many people with more severe diagnoses that are able to achieve No Evidence of Disease status.
Here’s what I know:
- I have an aggressive form of cancer. Nothing seems to be easy, so in that spirit I’ve been gifted a mucinous form of cancer that has an inferior response to treatment. Yay.
- It is stage three. The cancer has not spread beyond the bowel area, but it has spread to nearby lymph nodes. As such, it’s considered advanced cancer.
- I will, at minimum, require chemotherapy. I’ve yet to speak with an oncologist, however, I’ll have an appointment within the next two weeks to talk through the treatment plan. I’m mentally psyching myself up to undergo between three and six months of chemotherapy. That’s what would be typical for my diagnosis.
I’m looking forward to having a nice Easter weekend with my family. Luckily, I’m still able to cook and help prepare food. Cooking has always been an important part of my love language, so I’m glad I can still contribute in that way.
Focusing on advocacy
This June, I’ve been invited to participate in the Primetown 2022 event through Man Up to Cancer, one of the peer support groups that I’ve been participating in. A major goal of mine through this experience is to advocate for physician education and funding to support actual cancer research.
Generally, awareness is bullshit. We all know about cancer. We just need to care enough as a society to actually do something about it.
Thanks for reading.