First full day at home

Today was a good day.  I woke up in my own bed and ate all of my meals in my own home.

Frank and Liz are still here helping me do things that I would normally be able to do for myself.  They are a tremendous help and I really appreciate their presence.

I managed to schedule my first appointment with the Oncologist for tomorrow, so no delays there, and scheduled my follow-up with the surgeon in two weeks.  I even made it to our wellness center at work to have some blood drawn for a few more tests.

I had a great meeting with some folks at work and am optimistic about how I will manage my work life balance during my chemotherapy.  Viasat is really a great place to be employed at.  The folks have all been very concerned and thoughtful and the ability to work from home when I need to has eliminated the stress that otherwise would have occurred if I had to go on extended disability during my treatments.

So with little else of note today, I figured that I would take a little time to provide some more information about my new friend Stomey.  Stomey is the stoma that was created during my ileostomy.    So effectively what was done was a portion of my small intestines were repositioned and an incision made in my abdomen where the intestine is attached, creating an opening to the outside world.  I have a loop stoma, which means that my small intestines were not severed from the large intestines, but instead that loop was used to create the stoma with it being then opened to allow the secretion of food waste after being digested by the stomach and small intestines.  To protect my skin from the enzymes that secrete from this I affix to my skin a seal that is custom cut each time to match he size and shape of the stoma and prevent the effluent from touching the skin where it would start to digest my skin.  Affixed to that seal is a flange that then attaches to the pouch portion where that effluent is collected until i drain it.  So effectively I have a septic tank attached now that I need to manually manage.  One of my new chores is to replace the seal and push every 3 to 4 days to prevent a failure of the seal.  Probably the most challenging thing about this arrangement is clothing and seat belts.  Since I still have significant swelling of the abdomen from the surgery, I am not sure where it all will sit after that subsides.  Since the result of my few months with the blockage was a fairly significant weight loss, I don’t expect to have quite as much of a paunch after the inflammation subsides, but for now it does present a problem. Mainly I am wearing lots of track pants and certainly tight pants are not in my future.

So that is it for today.  I appreciate all of the concern from everyone and hope that reading this  helps you to understand the process and remove some of the mystery and fear that comes with a diagnosis of cancer.

4 thoughts on “First full day at home

  1. Denise Geasland

    Hi Sweetie,

    So glad you’re doing better! Been praying for you. Sounds like Frank and Liz are a big help — you need that right now. Please get some rest.

    Love,
    Denise

  2. sharon Kim

    Hi Rich,
    Thank you for sharing your blog with me about your condition! I have no doubt that you will win this monster! It seems that your brother and his wife are helping you out at the moment. That is very nice of them! But in the future, if you need any help (hospital, errands, grocery. sing, etc) , please, let me know. I will gladly help you! Get better soon! Sharon

  3. Georgia Ellis

    You are really good at explaining this new chapter in your life!! You should think about writing a book.
    Warm and tender thoughts are with you . . . . .

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