Thursday, 29 April 2010

One week to go.....

Its only one week to go now until my next visit to Basingstoke. It's strange, on the one hand I'm excited to get rid of the stoma and finally get back to normal whilst on the other hand it means going under the knife again and feeling poorly for a few weeks after.
Hopefully though this time the recovery should be much shorter and I'm hoping that within about three weeks after the op I can consider getting back to work.
The nice thing is that I can really start planning for the future again and can start looking forward to plans that I'm hatching! Number one is to book a nice holiday with the family. We have all been through a lot this last year and deserve a couple of weeks in the sun. Next I'd like to start planning a few adventures with the boys again and tie it in with some fundraising!

It's hard to believe that about a year ago all of this nightmare we have been through started.Looking back at my blog entries from the early days things were very dark and we thought our world had ended. Sure we went through some really rough times especially when the MOAS was done but we got through it. Talking to other PMP sufferers on the Christies forum its clear that I have been very lucky so far. Many people have suffered far worse than I have, not being able to have the MOAS, complications and the hospitals being unable to remove all the disease. I have been lucky indeed.

In terms of recovery from the MOAS all has gone well, my scar(s) have healed well and without problems. I have not suffered with any pain at all and feel really well. The patches of hair loss (two small patches at the back of my head) that I lost due to the chemo (I think) have now grown back. Shame about the one big patch on the top and front not caused by the chemo! In terms of weight I am still the same and havent put any on. I'm presuming this is due to the food I do eat only being in my system for 50% less time than usual and I'm just not getting the calories from it that I normally do. Once the stoma closure is done I'm hoping this will rectify itself. Whilst my food intake is increasing its still not as good as it was and portion size is smaller. I'm also missing some of the foods that I used to love, salad's, spicy foods, fruit and fizzy drinks. Again once the stoma closure is done I can get back into these and am looking forward to a curry and a beer.Energy levels are good and I'm doing without the afternoon naps and early nights. I have continued to walk and am managing some good distances now and hope that this will again help with my recovery from the next op. I'm also hoping that my overall fitness levels havent suffered too badly so that I can quickly get back to running and caving.

We are not sure what the future may hold for us but we have to make the most of our second chance and enjoy life to the full. Get this next op out of the way and then making good on our plans for days out and holidays and of course getting back to work.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Stoma Reversal....the letter arrives.

I got the letter today that I'd been waiting for. I have been invited back to Basingstoke for the stoma reversal on the 6th/7th May.
I have to go up on the 6th for a Water Soluble Contrast Enema and providing that the results show that there are no leaks and that my bowl has healed properly then I will have the stoma closure operation done the following day.
The operation itself is only 1 1/2hrs long so quite a bit shorter than my last ordeal. In all I expect to be in hospital around 5 days to recover properly and to check that all is working properly. Luckily I have been booked into C ward again and hope that I'll benifit from their outstanding facilities and care.
I'm really looking forward to getting this done and out of the way. Obviously no-one looks forward to having an operation of any kind but for me it marks the end of a long drawn out ordeal that has been very stressful and taken us right to the edge at times.
I'm anticipating my recovery to be around three weeks or so and can then start to return to normal.Plan days out with the family, book a holiday, return to work and of course my passion for the outdoors with caving,climbing,walking and running.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Tuesday 13th April- Ten week anniversary.

Ten weeks,where has that gone?! Its hard to imagine that this time ten weeks ago I was still in the operating theatre (19:30hrs GMT) having started at 07:00hrs. This last few weeks have gone really well. I feel well, better than I have done for ages and am now ready to carry on from the point I left off. I feel that I can start thinking about doing some of the things that I did prior to my operation. Of course I have to take things easy, slowly getting back to normal and taking note of what my body is telling me and when it complains, take a step back.
The stoma I feel is now holding me back a bit. When I do go out for the day I have to plan carefully and ensure that there are facilities nearby for me to use periodically. When you enjoy the wilderness, walking and caving this can limit you. So these things will have to wait a little longer.
I visited work last week for the first time since the operation. It was good to see some friendly faces and catch up with whats been going on. I discussed starting to do some work from home. I'm lucky enough to have access from home and have identified a number of non time critical (non stressful!) projects that I can do for a couple of hours a day. This way I can phase my return to work and keep myself busy whilst also contributing a bit.
I did manage a couple of walks over the last few weeks. Over the Easter weekend we walked from Oldbury Court to Snuff Mills. Just Tracey,Chloe,Jess and me. We took a picnic and sat and ate before heading for the playground for the kids to have some fun. It was a great few hours and nice to get out, quality family time.
The following week I managed to walk the furthest so far. My good friend Jon and I walked the Bristol cycle path to Bitton station and back. It was a beautiful sunny day and there were loads of people about. At the station we stopped for a rest and and sat and ate an ice cream. We took a steady stroll back and luckily for us at the point where we get off to head back to mine there is a pub so we stopped for a pint and watched some of the Grand national on the big screen.
Physically as well as feeling good, results and tests are going well too. I phoned for the latest blood test results today and found out that my platelets have fallen below 700 and are now at 535. This should mean that I can now finally stop the Aspirin,I find out for sure tomorrow. If this is the case then all I'm left with is the penicillin and as I now have no spleen will remain on these possibly for life. My weight still hasnt changed and I'm holding stready at just below 11 stones. I'm eating well now but still not quite back to normal in terms of volume. I dont think that this will change until after the reversal.
I have also spoken to Sue Alves(specialist nurse) in the last week who has indicated that the Stoma reversal should take place in "early May". This will mean another stay at Basingstoke and Northamptonshire Hospital for around a week or so and then recovery at home after that. Then hopefully I get back to normal, return to work full time, book a family holiday, start walking (Pen-Y-Ffan & Snowdon are planned for this year) and caving (next year I hope to be fit enough to go back to Derbyshire and tackle Titan),pull on my trainers and go for a nice long run. I cant wait.......