Thursday, April 30, 2009

Infection Update

Last week, when we went to our PCP/Infections Disease Doc., they did a test on the inside of Tom's largest wound. We got the results back yesterday and he has a secondary infection. Cipro was prescribed and started last night. HUGE PILLS. We no longer can do any pills larger than a shirt button. First we cut them in half. Today it was in fourths. And Tom says they taste terrible.

Today was the return to the PCP/IDD, and he explained the situation and they have prescribed Liquid Cipro. Whew! A relief. And the wound VAC is done, as far as the PCP/IDD is concerned. So as long as the surgeon agrees tomorrow, the VAC is history!

His smallest wound is scabbed over and looks like a belly dimple. I am telling everyone that he is a bad-ass and it is a bullet wound. The larger one is about 1/2 centimeter deep and about 2x4 centimeters in diameter. We are doing wet/dry dressings 2 times a day, although the PCP/IDD says we really only have to change it 1 time daily. What a difference this makes for Tom. Not having to haul the "man-bag" around and having to plug into the walls, when possible. You just don't notice how free and spontaneous we all are until you are tethered.

I am still working on the tummy thing for me. Food sucks. I can throw-up something as simple as water. We have the surgeon tomorrow and I might be getting another anti-nausea medication, Zofran (Phenergen tastes HORRIBLE and makes me sleepy).

Today, Tom is having food issues. He is still able to eat, just less than before and he gets an upset stomach easily. He is not as bad as I am, but I wonder if this is a "phase" and we will get over it. Hope so, since it sucks.

That's all folks!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Back to Work

Today, Tom and I got ready and BOTH WENT TO WORK. Normally this would be a "yawn", but this is US!

Tom went into the office for about 3 1/2 hours. He loaded the car and drove himself into the office. I was about 10 minutes away, so if he needed me, I could get to him. He didn't, and he is coming back to this side of town to take his Dad to the Dr. A good day!

I went in for 2 hours. I just wanted to clean up my work email before returning to full-time work on Monday. Good thing I did, I had 220 emails. About 60% work related, about 35% crap, and about 5% offers to make my penis larger. I work for a major insurance company. Sometimes the emails I exchange with Tom and Sue (from work) will not go through because of the security/encryption programs....BUT I CAN GET PENIS-ENLARGEMENT OFFERS, nooooooo problem!

My co-workers were stunned by my appearance. I am down 45 pounds, 3 sizes, and can cross my legs like a normal person. I also have found that when you have less ass, chairs are damned uncomfortable! I think I might have to start carting around a butt-pad!

A good day... how cool is that?


Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Update

As of this morning.....

Tom has lost 54 pounds.

Teresa has lost 44 pounds.

Sue has lost 11 pounds. (together, we have lost a "Super-Model")

If Tom continues to progress as he is, the wound VAC might be history in 2 more days.

I am having tummy troubles. Most foods make me sick to my stomach. Cottage cheese and applesauce are my friends. Probably calling the nutritionist to see what can be done.

That's the scoop!


Friday, April 24, 2009

Good Days!

We had a PCP visit yesterday. Our PCP is an Infectious Disease specialist and she is taking over Tom's care, regarding the infection. They did a test on the larger wound and will get results in a few days, but she did not seem to be concerned about the look of everything. And has a follow-up visit with her scheduled for next week. He has also had a BUNCH of drugs discontinued (see below). Today the wound VAC was reinstalled over the larger wound only. It has been a good few days.

Over the counter supplements and medications--
daily multiple vitamin (converted to chewable) - CANCELLED
aspirin (81 mg/ once daily) for heart health
glucosamine (1500 mg/twice daily) for joint health - CANCELLED
chromium (200 mcg/once daily) to increase glucose tolerance - CANCELLED
CoQ-10 (50 mg/twice daily) for heart health - CANCELLED
Saw Palmetto (540 mg/once daily) for prostate health - CANCELLED
D3 and K2 (1000 IU/once daily) for bone support
MagOx (400 mg)/once daily for acid indigestion - CANCELLED
Zyrtec for allergies related to Bi-PAP use
Calcium Citrate

Prescription medications--
actos (30 mg/once daily) diabetes
janumet (50 mg/1000 mg/twice daily) diabetes - CANCELLED
ultram (100 mg/twice daily) arthritis pain
celebrex (200 mg/twice daily) arthritis pain - CANCELLED
zetia (10 mg/ once daily) cholesterol
welchol (625 mg/ 6 times daily) cholesterol - CANCELLED
vesicare (5mg/once daily) prostate health
lovaza (1 gm/once daily) cholesterol - CANCELLED
gabapentin (100 mg/three times daily) meuralgia nerve pain - CANCELLED
diovan hct (320 /25 mg once daily) high blood pressure
furosemide (40 mg/ twice daily) edema
potassium cl (10MEQ / twice daily) required with furosemide
protonix (40 mg / once daily) GERD - CANCELLED
folbic (once daily) diabetic neuropathy
flonase (once daily) allergies related to use of Bi-PAP
Androgel (once daily) hormone replacement
Lidoderm patch (once daily) meuralgia nerve pain - CANCELLED

I had my blood pressure medication reduced; cancelled Celebrex; cancelled lovaza.

We are on the mend and full steam ahead!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hippo Birdies my Darling Man!

Tom's original birth date is April 23, 1949....but THIS YEAR is his RE-Birth date! He is down 51.5 pounds and is as handsome as ever.

So a rousing cheer from the wiffie!

Hippo Birdies two Ewe
Hippo Birdies two Ewe
Hippo Birdies Deer Toooooommmm
Hippo Birdies two Ewe

Mores & Mores!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

About Drugs -- Change we can See

Before the surgery, we listed the drugs that Master was taking and hoped that, as weigh loss occured and improved health began to be the reality, we'd see a decrease in the medications He was taking. Here's where we stand at this point (discontinued medications are shown in red). Some of these have been discontinued because they were simply too difficult to swallow and the condition they were intended to address seems to have improved or righted itself... There's a series of doctor's appointments scheduled in the next few weeks that may eliminate others. At this point, this amounts to an almost 35% reduction in the number of medications He's using...

Over the counter supplements and medications--
daily multiple vitamin (converted to chewable)
aspirin (81 mg/ once daily) for heart health
glucosamine (1500 mg/twice daily) for joint health
chromium (200 mcg/once daily) to increase glucose tolerance
CoQ-10 (50 mg/twice daily) for heart health
Saw Palmetto (540 mg/once daily) for prostate health
D3 and K2 (1000 IU/once daily) for bone support
MagOx (400 mg)/once daily for acid indigestion
Zyrtec for allergies related to Bi-PAP use

Prescription medications--
actos (30 mg/once daily) diabetes
janumet (50 mg/1000 mg/twice daily) diabetes
ultram (100 mg/twice daily) arthritis pain
celebrex (200 mg/twice daily) arthritis pain
zetia (10 mg/ once daily) cholesterol
welchol (625 mg/ 6 times daily) cholesterol
vesicare (5mg/once daily) prostate health
lovaza (1 gm/once daily) chloesterol
gabapentin (100 mg/three times daily) meuralgia nerve pain
diovan hct (320 /25 mg once daily) high blood pressure
furosemide (40 mg/ twice daily) edema
potassium cl (10MEQ / twice daily) required with furosemide
protonix (40 mg / once daily) GERD
folbic (once daily) diabetic neuropathy
flonase (once daily) allergies related to use of Bi-PAP
Androgel (once daily) hormone replacement
Lidoderm patch (once daily) meuralgia nerve pain

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why I Had a Sleeve Gastrectomy instead of Roux-en-Y

I have been asked this before and am not sure I ever here goes.

In 2000, I had diverticulitis. During a prep for a colonoscopy, my bowel ruptured. I just thought I was sick to my stomach (as usual) and the increased temperature didn't really strike me as being much worse than the one I was running on a normal basis. Tom was at a meeting and when he got home, he called the Dr. who said to stop drinking the prep and just come in for the procedure as scheduled. We had an alarm set for 5am and when it rang, I fell to the floor when getting out of bed. I could not stand because of the abdominal pain, so Tom dressed me on the floor and took me to the emergency room. Nothing touched the pain...even with a butt-load of morphine, I could still feel the vibration of rubber soles walking in the hall!

I had emergency surgery later that evening to repair the rupture. They removed 8 inches of my colon, gave me a colostomy (reversed 4 months later), and found that my peritoneal abscess was MRSA. I was in Intensive Care for 8 days and the surgeon gave little hope of my recovering. Then I was in quarantine in a standard room for another 10 days, since they were concerned about someone leaving my room and giving another patient MRSA. Finally went home on IV antibiotics (Vancomicin) 2 times a day, daily dressing changes for the gaping hole in my stomach (no wound VAC back then), home health nurses 3 times a week, and the most patient & loving "Nurse Tom" a gal could ever ask for.

Since that surgery and colostomy reversal, I have had 4 hernias along the main surgical scar and another hernia at the reversal site. I am LOADED with mesh to keep from having further hernias (I have had a total of 7, so far).

To have the Roux-en-Y surgery, one needs to have a decent intestinal tract. For Tom, they removed 8 feet of intestine and most of his stomach. They then stretched the remaining intestine to attach to the bottom of his stomach pouch.

I do not have a decent intestinal tract. It is fill of scar tissue, adhesions, and mesh. I always knew it was a possibility that I would have the gastric sleeve, but did not know for sure until I woke in recovery.

So that is my tale of woe. I have received a call from my surgeon's nurse who says "Don't worry...this is normal....and we WILL get it will just take some time." So I am working on not worrying.



Another Update.....

Ok...ok...ok.... I am posting!

Friday evening I got the mail and found the EOBs for our surgeries. Tom's was covered 100% and mine was NOT covered. It was too late to talk to anyone about this and I have been a fuss-fidget all weekend. I left messages for our Case Mgr at the insurance co and our surgeon's office.

Got a call from our Case Mgr first thing this morning.....she was all "I will help, I can take care of this...." UNTIL I mentioned that my Roux-En-Y had been converted to a Sleeve at the last minute.... I practically heard her brakes slam down over the phone. She says "Oh no....that is experimental and not covered...not sure what I can do.... Call your surgeon....bye" (Not quite so harshly, but that was what I heard).

I called the surgeon's office and explained what was going on....And this is where I heard "This claim will probably be denied several times, but DO NOT WORRY, we will get this covered and paid for. We do this ALL THE TIME....and it might take awhile, but it will be taken care of... Don't you worry, just get well!" Ahhhhhhhh...... Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my surgeon and his staff???

Today we had a new home nurse to do Tom's VAC change. She was very nice and very thorough, but she wasn't our NORMAL nurse. So she didn't really have a basis for comparison. Tom has a small area (think clock.... area between 5 and 7) that is reddened and firmer and a tad warmish. Something to watch, as it could be the natural healing process, could be beginning of infection (although temp is perfect), or possible celuitis. The best would be the natural healing process....the worse might involve debriding as an outpatient or inpatient for a few days. I will watch his "ouchie" like a hawk and pray it is natural. It was not like this during last change on Friday.

I seem to be in a holding pattern with my weight. I put on a pound last week (how in the hell does that happen when I am eating less in a week that I used to eat in one day???) I am going to start with the stationary bike and treadmill this week. Maybe I need more exercise than just walking...who knows?

For those who have mentioned shopping-therapy.....I have. I already have enough pants to get me through for a few months. But my tops look silly, I have bought a few to get by. Next is a bra. Mine is a riot. If I lift my arms, I might strangle is that loose. I am using a sports bra now, but that is almost too big.

Swan is trying some of the recipes on the EggFace blog. Last night we had a small crab item (made in mini-muffin pans) that was like a cross between crab rangoon and egg foo young. Tasty. Tom ate 3 and I ate 1 1/2. I found a recipe for BAKED Falafal and am going to make it for tonight. With a cucumber/yogurt sauce and hummus on the side....sounds tasty to me.

That is it for me. I am off to the shower.


Milestones and trudging on

I want to apologize to those of you who have been so dedicated to us here as we go through this, who have had to ask us for an update because it had been so long since we posted anything. swan's post "Trudge" aptly summarized how this feels now. I am still hooked to the wound vac machine 24/7. I am slowly seeing signs I am better but, not at all feeling well. Today I am 24 hours without pain med. I had quit pain medications once before but then found that pain kicked back up when I started with the wound vac. I seem to be tolerating it fine now without any pain medication. I am sure the absence of that med will mean that I will feel better today and in the future.

Also I awakened this morning to do my morning fasting weigh in and low and behold, I am at 251.0 pounds. When we began our pre-surgical diet two weeks before the surgery (March 9) my baseline weight was 301. Thus, I have achieved 50 pounds weight loss in roughly 6 weeks. As dramatic as that is, I feel like I've earned each pound I've lost.

Friday and Saturday here were beautiful with highs around 70 degrees F and sunshine. Each day I got us out for a walk. T went with sue and I on Friday. Saturday it was just sue and I. We took the "full circuit." There is a hiking route around our condo complex I like to walk. I had been out a couple of times before this and had done an abbreviated version of it trying to build my stamina. The full circuit we think is a little more than a mile. Each time it took me about an hour. Yes that's right it took me about an hour to walk 1.1 miles. How's that for slow! And when I was finished I was every bit as exhausted as a marathon runner who'd finished his race. It is difficult to fathom how weak I am or how little stamina I have. Then yesterday most of the day I had trouble walking at all. That little bit of exercise and my legs, ever part of them, were both so stiff and sore that it was dificult to walk at all. I was joking to my self that I thought I'd developed polio or muscular dystrophy or something. They seemed to have calmed down by the time I went to bed last night. I hope my strength recovers soon.

For M:e who is asking about the wond vac progress. The smaller of my two wounds has become very small likely less than 2 cm. in diameter and may .75 cm. depth. There is a slight amount of tunnelling in one location. The larger wound is decreased about 35% to 40% in overal size and depth. It has much more generalized tunneling but the tunnels too have reduced in size and depth commensurately with the rest of the wound's overal reduction. I have my next dressing change between 8:00 and 9:00 this morning.

I am bored and concerned that I've had no interest in sex since my surgery. I don't even think I've had an erction. I see attractivenss in my two and my nurses and am attracted. I've tried looking at erotica and porn on here and while I find it sort of interesting or even mildly entertaining, I just have little response. I feel that loss a great deal, and can tell that swan is longing for reconection and spanking. I just am not there, and am becoming increasingly sad about that.

I am adjusting to the eating with all of this which is not much eating at all. Still all in all we make sure that I eat the requistie amount of protein and hydration each day, and it has gone relatively well, despite my having dificulty branching out to eat more "normal" foods without getting sick (needing to remember to eat very small amounts very slowly is the issue.)

I am very tired of being like this and want to feel like I'm OK and alive again.

Thank you all of you for caring to be here with us. I'm sorry I didn't do a better job keeping you up to date.

All the best,


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

To Trudge...


Sorry about that...we didn't mean to just vanish without a word.

It is just that life in the last week or so has devolved down to a slogging, trudging, plod from day to day.

This business of recovery has turned wearisome. We are all just tired. Tired of hurting. Tired of nurses and doctors. Tired of medication schedules. Tired of queasiness and worrying about whether we are getting all of the right stuff in each day.

trudge -- To walk in a laborious, heavy-footed way; plod. A long, tedious walk.

The wound V.A.C. is still doing its thing and there is progress on that front. No word yet on how soon we'll be done with that.

As for weight loss, that does seem to be the one part of this that is going as advertised. As of this morning, Master has lost 49 pounds, and T has lost 34 pounds. She went to visit with her mother yesterday, and when she put her fanny pack around her waist, it just dropped to the floor. Tah Dah! Time to shorten the belt on that baby :-)

It is working its way toward spring, and I need to work on shifting the closets around. I'm imagining that He's going to want smaller pants and smaller shirts, but until we get the belly healed up, it is hard to contemplate trying on "grown-up" pants. He is pretty dedicated to His sweats at this point.

We are cooking more and more from the Egg Face website recipes. Of the things we've tried so far, her stuff seems the most viable and interesting.

We ordered Him a special Bento Box for carrying His lunches and snacks as He begins to contemplate going back to work. It hasn't arrived yet, but we'll do a product review when we see if it works as we hope it will.

That's it for news. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

T stands for TICKED!

Today has sucked. I woke up feeling all down and sad and just plain out of sorts. I have tried all day to get out of the funk and to not let Tom see it, because there is not a damned thing he can do, and he has enough to deal with right now.

I did some grocery shopping and got the mail. Then my day really went down the drain. Seems our insurance know, the ONE I WORK FOR!!!!! Has denied the claim for the wound VAC. Saying not enough info was given to show that this was the best option over traditional wound care!!

I called the number on the denial letter and got some chick who has never HEARD of customer service. I don't even think she can PRONOUNCE "COMPASSION". Needless to say, less than willing to assist or even CARE.

I have called the surgeon's office (voicemail message left). I have called our Bariatric Case Mgr. (she is on LOA and I left a voicemail msg with her partner). Tom has called the home health company, you know...the one who gave the information for the DAMNED APPROVAL (she will call us back, she is in a meeting). I have emailed a co-worker who is the head of the Bariatric Case Mgt team (will probably hear in a day or 2 from her... she IS busy).

Tom is trying to keep me calm and Sue is saying "Don't worry, we'll pay for the damned thing if they won't!"

But, dammit, that is not good enough. It is not right. This is the company I work for. Someone should care. Someone should help. And someone should have known BEFORE SENDING The VAC that it was Approved.

Tom is greatly improved because of the VAC. Today, the smaller of the wounds is about 30% of the original size. The larger wound about 50% of the original size......after 6 days!!!! We would be doing the wet/dry packing and bandaging for approximately 8 weeks..... now we might be looking at 3-4 weeks. For that 8 weeks, the insurance company would have to pay for supplies, medications, and a nurse 3 times a week. With the VAC, it is rental of the Unit, medications and a nurse 3 times a week FOR 3-4 WEEKS!!!! Which seems more cost-effective to you??? Yep, that is what I thought.

I am done today. Last night I started a post and deleted it because I felt like I was being a big whine-baby. Well, I am still a whine-baby.....but a pissed off one, at that!


5pm update:

We have received calls back from the wound VAC rental company (they will assist with an appeal, if needed. And they cannot understand why it was denied since this Insurance company approves them ALL THE TIME!), and our surgeon's office (who started with "Teresa,honey, calm down. We WILL get this taken care of. It just might take some time, but we will do whatever necessary to get this resolved for you!")

Ok.....I am calmer and more confident that this will be resolved appropriately now that we have people on-board with us to do the where is my migraine medication???

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Progress Report

Yesterday there were two positive developments in this recovery saga.

First, Master had the first dressing change since the wound V.A.C. I wasn't there, but both T and Master told me that the wounds are looking MUCH improved, and that the smaller of the two holes is so much improved that by Friday of this week, it may be closed completely and no longer need the wound V.A.C. The other is progressing as well, but since it was larger to begin with, it is likely to take a bit more time.

The second thing that happened yesterday is that Master and T took a drive to Master's office so that He could attend the staff meeting there. It was a "surprise" visit as they didn't tell anyone they were coming. It sounds like the whole crew was thrilled to actually get to see Him and talk with Him. I think it was good for everyone concerned. T took goodies, and I suspect they enjoyed those too, but just getting some face time with Himself was a real plus.

Last night, both T and Master were tired from the exertions of the day, but it was a good tired. He and I are still waking up in the night to take care of pain medications every four hours, so there is no such thing as uninterrupted sleep, but in between, He seems to be sleeping much more comfortably than just a few days ago.

I am beginning to believe that we may eventually see the end of this part of this business. It will not be too soon for any of us. I know that.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Weight Loss Graphs

Photos are one thing, but I have a bent toward the mathematical. Master keeps a daily log of His weight and blood sugar. T has been keeping hers too. When that data is put into graphs, it shows exactly the kind of change that is occuring...


Friday, April 10, 2009

One Month Photos

We began this journey on March 9, when the pre-surgical diet started. On that day, Master weighed 301 pounds and T weighed 268 pounds.

We are now one month into all of this, and almst three weeks post-surgery. As of this morning, Master has lost 42 pounds and T has lost 32.

We took pictures at the beginning, and it is our plan to keep taking photos at intervals as we go along, so here are photos at this one month milestone --

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wound V.A.C.

The wound vac has arrived.

Tomorrow, we'll make the trek to see the surgeon at noon, and then, when we get home, the nurse will come and "install" the wound vac.

I am still not sure exactly how it works, but I do hope it works. There will be some relief from twice daily dressing changes. Perhaps it will help to reduce His pain and improve His general sense of well-being. I sure hope so.

Here's the link to the video I found about what this beast is supposed to do:

Thursday Morning

Life seems to fall into a recuperation routine for me. Now I get up and see swan off, after she makes us some breakfast, supplies me with morning drinks, etc. Usually t comes over about 9:00 and we watch TV and nap most of the morning until I get motivated to shower/have my wound dressings changed by t. Then we come up with some high protein options for lunch, and often I nap much of the afternoon until swan gets home about 3:30 to 4:00.

I am, I think slowly improving. One of my two wounds is requiring significantly less packing to fill it, indicating it is healing.

The downside is as time goes on and healing progresses, my wounds are beginning to hurt. I am back on pretty continual pain medication, which makes me feel "medicated."

Overall my weight loss has leveled off at 40 pounds and t has lost 32.

T seems to continue to recover well, although had a more "down day" yesterday.

My wound vac device is supposed to be delivered here today. Hopefully we can get the home care people to come out and install it. Tomorrow at noon t and I both have a follow up appointment with our surgeon. My goodness, I am looking forward to a Dr.'s appointment as an outing and a deviation from routine. swan is off school tomorrow because of Good Friday, thus she will be able to accompany us. I bet they will not be surprised to see the three of us there together:)

Thank you again for all the support, kind words, advice, and caring.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Checking In

I think I'm focused enough to post something here.

Fist of all, I want to thank all of you for you so many supportive comments and great advice over the past few weeks as we're passing through this. You can't imagine how much it has meant.

Not that it is likely that they'll ever see it but I can never begin to adequately thank my nurses especially Jodie, Tracy, Robin, Diane, and of course their excellent supervisor Sherry for their professional excellence, caring, and openness to our family.

I'd like too to thank my surgeon. He is excellent. Certainly THIS has not gone well, but overall his postoperative infection/complication rate is about 0.5%, which is excellent. I just got "lucky." He has been excellent in his working to remediate and cure these complications.

BTW, as of my weigh in upon arising with swan this morning, I have now lost 38 pounds in the 4 weeks since beginning the pre-surgical liquid protein diet (301 pounds March 9 down to 263 pounds this morning).

Then there are my two, my loves, who have carried me through this. I am thrilled with how smoothly and predictably t's surgery and recovery have gone. After all the horrific illness we went throuugh with her in 2000, I am genuinely grateful that if this had to happen, it was to me and not her.

swan who spent endless night after night in the hospital sleeping in a terrible recliner chair, to nurse and support me, I can never tell you what all your caring has meant. You supported us both, but most especially me, right to the point of total exhaustion and collapse once you got me home. Thank god you finally got rested again last weekend. I am glad that at least this week when you are off to school you have had a night's sleep at my side, and that at the end of the day you can home to us both here. Thank you for holding my hand while they performed low grade abdominal surgery without anesthesia to open, probe, and express my infection site. It was one of the most gruesome "consensual cutting scenes" I've ever done, and I don't know how I would have passed through the excruciating pain without your gaze and tightly gripped hand.

Thank you to our friends Tangerine and her guy for their visits that lightened my illness when it was in some of its earliest and worst times. They visited us one week day evening and before they left I forgot where I was, and felt like we were at home spending and evening with then sipping Chianti and socializing. It was a fabulous respite.

I have joked that I have improved so wildly that now I am up to feeling just terribly sick. There are the twice daily dressing changes that t and swan share responsibility for. In the last day I have had a low grade temp and feel "infected." I am just sort of generally sick feeling and very tired and weak. I had not had any pain meds for several days, but broke down and took a dose last night. The smaller of my two "holes" started twinging and aching, and I was feeling tired and run down, and just said the hell with it. I am sleeping pretty well, and am managing to go to the bathroom myself. Getting into and out of bed has gotten relatively easy and of course the 38 pounds weight loss help in that regard as well.

Most of my days seem to be spent in pretty continuous eating and drinking from within the boundaries of my limited diet to try to get in as much nutrition and hydration as possible. All signs are that now my new stomach is functioning well.

Thank you again, all of you. There is a way through this, it is just going to take way longer to recover than we ever imagined.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

His "Holey-ness"

WARNING -- This post contains photos of the holes in Master's belly where wound infections occured. They are NOT pretty. If you are prone to be squeamish, this might be a post that you simply want to skip...





There are two open wounds on His belly. The central one is along the main surgical incision. It was the first to show up with signs of infection and was opened the first day we took Him back to the hospital. The smaller opening, off to the side, is a second infection site in one of the trocar incisions. Both exhibit "tunneling," which means that the actual wounds continue under the surface for some distance.

Right now, we are packing and dressing these openings twice a day. We are hopeful that Master will have a wound vac by Wednesday. From what we understand, the wound vac exerts negative pressure on the wounds and circulates pure oxygen into them. Both of these things help to promote much faster healing. From what the home-health nurse told us yesterday morning, it could be that, with a wound vac, these could be healed in 2-6 weeks.

Anyway, if you are into some wicked looking post-surgical complication pictures, here's the post you've been waiting for.



I appreciate all of the suggestions for scar reduction/removal. I have read all the articles about it and have even tried some of the products.

As many of you know, 9 years ago I had a very extensive surgery/recovery. I have numerous scars and have actually been left without a belly-button. I have about 7 tiny scars (less than 1 inch), one scar that is about 7 inches long (colostomy & reversal) and another that is about 12 inches long and 1/2 inch wide (main entry to repair damage from ruptured diverticuli and peritonitis). I also have had 7 hernia repairs along these scar lines. I have had bi-lateral carpal tunnel surgery and a cyst removed from the back of a wrist. So, as you can see, I am not a stranger to scars.

Tom doesn't mind my scars. He appreciates the skills used to keep me alive. So for me, scars are not a biggie on my list.

But thanks for the concern, all the same.... You folks are wonderful!


Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's NOT All About Me.....

I am not used to putting me first. Because I have been doing so well, I thought it was more important to tell Tom's story. He has had a hidious time and I wanted to make sure it was well documented.

But a few have asked, so here goes.....

I am good. I am healing VERY well. Losing steri-strips and what is being exposed is pretty healthy looking. We have been dieting and then the surgery for less than 1 month and I have lost 30 pounds. I still tire easily. Naps are my friends. I am not doing enough vitamins/minerals and need to work on that to make sure I remain healthy.

I am starting to "work" recipes to make tasty stuff to eat. I made a pureed chicken salad that Tom and I like alot (Sue, not so much....sorry, Sister-Heart). Have also done a homemade egg drop soup and tonight, am working on a cream of chicken soup. I have made a blueberry topping for frozen sugar-free yogurt. The next thing I am DYING FOR is Sue's Cheese Souffle. It is one of the most delectable dishes on the planet.

I am a voracious reader and when I do not feel great, I have a reader's slump. I finally finished a book. Took me a week (usually I read 1 a day), and it was not a taxing read, but it is read.

Sooooo, to answer your questions. I am doing well. And will improve greatly now that I can get eyes on Tom whenever I want!!

Thanks, all!


He's HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Swan brought our Tom home last night. They rolled in around 6pm. Pranzer and I hung out in the guest bedroom so we could see the car pull in (I have been pathetic about this...I was in the window for about an HOUR). He is exhausted and not comfy in home furniture, after all of the easily adaptable stuff he has been using for the past 2 weeks.

Anytime now, the home health nurse is coming to do the first dressing change and get the lay of the land. Ought to surprise her to come to one addy only to be dragged next door, where the patient sleeps....We do SO love messing with medical professionals over our lifestyle!

Swan spent over an hour last night trying to find all of the oral antibiotics Tom was prescribed. Our neighborhood "Mom & Pop" pharmacy was already closed but this morning I called them and OF COURSE they have the missing elixir! So after we startle the nurse, I am off to the local Rx.


This is the longest time it has ever taken me to post. Nurse gone (and not startled a bit) ... Got drugs from a WONDERFUL Pharmacist!..... and am about to head for a nap.

It is great to be able to crawl out of bed and see Tom's dear face. What a glorious day!!


Friday, April 3, 2009

He's Coming Home, He's Done His Time.....

Yeppers! Tom just called and said the surgeon is going to spring him today!!!! 12 Days after surgery and many trials and tummy-holes later we are about to be reunited under the same roof!!!

The surgeon also says that he is Definitely going to be able to use the wound Vac, and that will speed up the closing of the 2 tummy-holes.

I cannot express all the appreciation my family has for all of you. Your good wishes have helped more than any of you will EVER know. You cheered me up when I thought there was no way but down.

Thanks! Maybe the next post will be from TOM!!!


Thursday, April 2, 2009


I am almost afraid to say this here, or anywhere -- afraid to jinx it.
So, whispering in a very tiny little voice --

They say that tomorrow, Master might get to go home!

There'll be four different antibiotics to be administered intravenously, and 3x a day dressing changes until the wounds in His belly heal -- perhaps a couple of months or more. That is all a little daunting, and logistically complicated, but we will manage.

T came down to visit this evening, and I packed up most of our accumulated "stuff" and sent it home in her car. Most of it will just sit there in the back of the car until I can get home with Himself tomorrow afternoon, but it is out of the room, and won't have to be dragged out when we finally get the discharge...

I am excited, but also subdued; realizing the size of the mountain we still have to climb to get Him well and strong again. Keep your fingers crossed, friends. Tomorrow we go home again.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009


The past several days have delivered doom, gloom, and crap.... Today, it changed! I got to the hospital with my Mom to see a Clear-eyed, pink faced, HANDSOME MAN sitting up in a chair! I about cried when I saw him looking so well. He had a full liquid meal, augmented with 1.5 protein shakes I brought with me. All stayed down, with very limited burps. I assisted (very minor assistance was needed) Tom to get a shower. He had a dressing change. I can live with 2 holes in his tummy that WILL HEAL. He took NO pain medication while I was there. He napped briefly, but didn't moan, as he did the previous visits.

On our way to the hospital, my Mom asked if she could get him a magazine or crossword book to help him pass his time. I said that Tom really doesn't do any of those things, but that once he was online checking stats and reading posts, I would KNOW he was better.....Before we got there he WAS CHECKING STATS AND READING POSTS & EMAILS!!!!!!!

The Resident-Squad told us that if he continues, we might have him home this weekend on IV/Oral antibiotics and a Home Nurse every day or 2 for awhile. I do not care who has to come into our home to care for long as the 3 of us are together while it happens.

Sue has been a ROCK. She is working full-time in the days and returning to the hospital each afternoon after school. Usually she looks exhausted and I feel guilty. Today, when we left them, she was radiant. She sees what I am seeing..... a NEAR future reuniting of our family in one place. I cannot ever express how much more I love Sue today than I ever have before. She has cared for the most important person in my life as well as or better than I ever could. Sue is who will bring Tom home. And I will be thrilled!

Thanks for all the prayers and well-wishes. This community ROCKS!!


More Infection!

Last night, after I got to the hospital, we decided to take a walk. These medical types are BIG on walking, don't you know? So, we unplugged the IV pole and He and I and the pole wandered off to walk the, by now, very familiar hallway. We arrived at the furthest point in our little stroll, and He sat down in a nearby chair to rest a few minutes before walking back to the room. As He sat there, I noticed that there was blood dripping onto the floor.


I looked at the dressing from the previously opened incision, and it looked just fine. I really couldn't tell what was going on. So, we gathered up our parts and pieces and high-tailed it back to the room... grabbing the nurse along the way. When we got Him back into bed, and she was able to take a closer look, it appeared that one of the trocar sites was inflamed, swollen, and very hard. She peeled off the steri-strip, and it just gushed blood and pus. Ewwwwww! She put some guaze on the opening to catch the continuing drainage, and went to call for a doctor. Two residents came and opened this one up as well -- a miserable, horrible, terribly painful process.

So today, He has two open wounds in His belly, lots of packing, and big dressings. The surrounding area is much less hard, less red looking, and no longer hot to the touch. That's all good. This morning, I was still there when the surgeon came in to see Him. The doctor did a very serious "pep talk," explaing that while all of this mess is frustrating and very disheartening, it is not life threatening, and does not appear to be leading toward a need for further surgery. It will certainly slow the recovery process, but all of what we hoped for when we went into this is still going to happen. It is just going to take awhile to get this cleared up and the healing done.

It was, as a result of all of that, another long and not very restful night. Sleeping is vastly overrated -- right?