It’s been a difficult summer here on the farm…
As if having severe Multiple Sclerosis wasn’t enough for me to deal with, a routine screening test suggested I might have had colon cancer, and indeed I did. One tiny spot, caught very early and self-contained. I called a surgeon I’ve known for 15 years and we scheduled a time to get it snipped out.
Surgery went well, I was declared cancer free, and I was home in 5 days.
I’d been home 3 days, when I sneezed one afternoon and blew apart where the two ends of colon had been rejoined. The medico’s call this an anastomosis.
This of course filled my abdomen with fecal matter, causing a huge mess to clean out, and now a massive infection to treat! After the sneeze, we went right back to the hospital, it was only an hour before I was back under the knife.
The second operation got me flushed out and also made me the proud owner of a colostomy, which will be permanent.
To this old engineer turned goat herder, it wasn’t a problem. It’s just plumbing and I’m still alive so all is well.
It didn’t end there though.. 2 days before my second discharge, the hospital physical therapist wanted me out of bed and into a chair. OK, I managed that with some help. An hour later he came back to help me back to bed.
I stood up from the chair, and in standing, ruptured my insides yet again. All over the hospital room floor. I’ve never seen so many Hazmat suits in my life!
Staff tossed me back on my bed and wheeled me straight back to the operating theatre.
Third time was the charm for getting everything back together and in working order. My plumbing was working but this time I ended up in a coma. I was partially awake, but could not identify my wife, dad, pastor, my own name etcetera. My wife and staff said the only words I managed to utter for 3 days was, “I’m sorry”
While the cause of the coma is still being debated, I came out of it completely after I was given an injection of my M.S. drug that I’d been off of for 3 weeks. I was unaware I wasn’t getting it with all the other jabs during my stay. My insurance company didn’t want to send doses to the hospital for some reason (the drug is over $1400 a dose) and nobody told me.
It’s a powerful drug, one that you just can’t stop taking!
It was my dad, who had flown down to help support my wife and son, who went to my house, picked up a dose of my M.S drug and took it to the hospital and insisted that they give it to me. Thanks dad!
So after a month in the hospital then a couple of months sleeping in my own bed, with a great nurse in and out all the time giving me IV drips and changing dressings. (I’m gutted like a fish, sternum to pubic bone) I’m feeling almost back to my old self. In my final appointment with my surgeon, he said flat out it was faith in God that kept me alive, he said I was really too sick to survive otherwise. Thank you Jesus!
What got me through all of the above? I’m a person of faith, so lots of prayers from family and friends of course. My bride of 34 years, Debbie, and my cheap Dell laptop running Mint 17 at my bedside so that I could see my goats and read my favorite Linux blogs!
Not a single person entering my room missed the goats, and a few even asked, “What Windows version is that? I’ve never seen it!”
The worst part of my recovery happened in late August, when my prized goat Molly, woke me up at 4am in pain. Turned out she had cancer too. Sadly, she did not survive her surgery however, and losing her really hit me hard. Getting new goats became a priority for my own sanity. You can read Molly’s entire story HERE
My only real problem with having an ostomy, is where do I carry all my crap? Wallet, 3 remote controls, phone, multi-tool, business cards, .45 sidearm, etcetera used to sit nicely in a fanny pack around my waist. Fanny pack, or indeed any other belt is no longer possible with the colostomy…