Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Back to Work (and Golf)

Just had another followup with my surgeon to look at the progress of the irrigation wound.  Last evening, (and today) we were unable to get any packing in the wound and my wife was unable to get even the stick end of an applicator in as well.  The doc is happy with its healing and noted it won't need packing and only dressed if it leaks.  He noted there was extra skin build up around the anus, but isn't an issue, unless it becomes bothersome.  If it does, then we would look to actually have surgery to remove that extra skin:  I haven't been on a bicycle or tried running yet, so those are the two likely aggrevators.  He noted he wouldn't do surgery until at least next year, so let's hope it isn't bothersome.

I don't have another followup for another six weeks, which I think is the longest we'll go without seeing each other since our initial consultation 16 months ago.  I've got the thumbs up to go back to work and for any activity, including golf and swimming:  Considering those are the two activities I'm looking forward to most, that's a huge plus.

I'm still fighting with a fungal and bacteria skin infection for the last few weeks.  It doesn't seem to have affected the wounds, just extremely irritating with the itching.  After a nice course of oral antifungals, I'm back to taking a short course of antibiotics to help with the MRSA.  Other than a nasty sunburn as a result, everything seems to be on it's way out.

I don't expect to have much to report over the next few weeks, as I don't have many doctors appointments (at least none that are GI related.)  It seems as my health is getting better, I have less and less to report.  While this is definitely a step in the right direction, it's amazing how this writing has been a help, both morally and spiritually.  It will be something that I will miss.  Let us hope the next few weeks are uneventful and we'll see each other again in August.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Slow and Right

I had a followup appointment with my surgeon last Friday to check the progress of the wounds and their healing.  The irrigation wound has closed to the point it approximately 2 inches deep.  It's width has also decreased, as we can only fit 1/4" packing into the wound.  This has unfortunately increased the drainage, as the packing doesn't have the same absorbing power (I'm going to guess 25%.)  The anus is having issues closing, so the surgeon was kind enough to put some sodium nitrate on the one side to remove some of the excess skin:  Take note, this was quite possibly some of the worst pain I've ever experienced.  It was like sitting in a bowl of acid for two days (kinda reminded me of the bile days with the ole J-pouch!)

They were happy with the progression, but noted that the healing of these two wounds doesn't always go as planned due to A) the depth and B) the area it's located.  As a result, there's a possibility that I'll need to have surgery to close these wounds.  Technically, I think they "could" do in the office, but I'm pretty sure they want me knocked out due to the pain it causes.  (Yes, it's tender down there.)  We'll know more when I have my next followup on the 20th.

I have only a few more days left of the steroids (down to 2.5mg/day) and then we'll be drug free.  Coming off the steroids has been sort of crappy, as my entire body hurts and I'm exhausted all the time.  I'm hoping this goes away over the next few weeks as my body remembers how to make it's own.  I've been off the pain meds for almost 2 weeks, except for after the sodium nitrate burns from last week.  The pain is manageable, when necessary, by Advil or Motrin.

We visited with my ostomy nurse (Ostomom) on the same day to have her checkout the stoma.  She was happy with how it looked and noted it wasn't as bad as I thought.  Regardless, she noted that the surgeons wouldn't do a revision for at least another 4 months until this one healed and I was back to strength.  I guess we'll see how this stoma works out.

I've been in contact with both Hollister and Convatec (two ostomy suppliers) to get samples and see which works well.  Convatec has created new "slim" versions of their Eakins seals, which seem to work quite well for the flatness of my stoma.  I do like the versions of their Durahesive wafers which are modable, making the application a little easier.  Both ostomy nurses from those companies were fantastic in offering suggestions for their supplies and sending out samples over night!  I personally like the Hollister bags better, but the wafers are more important.  I may give another call to see if I can get smaller wafers to see how they hold.

Sitting has become a welcome treat, but I can only do for about an hour, typically while eating, before it becomes too much.  I can lie on my back for much longer periods of time, which makes for easier sleep and rest.  The World Cup and Tour de France couldn't have come at a better time:  There's not much to watch after midnight, but these re-runs sure keep me entertained until I pass out.  Until next week, enjoy the Cup run!