31 May 2016

Getting there

Well, I'm at the six-week stage of my post-op recovery, when they predicted I'd be back to normal, but I'm not.  Externally things are not too bad. The incision scar on my abdomen is healing nicely, the swelling is going down and the two keyhole scars are almost non-existent, although there is still severe internal bruising at one of the keyhole sites which make it impossible to lie on my left side.

The main problems are internal. In removing the stomach tumour, they had to remove roughly an eighth of my stomach and fix the hole with titanium staples. It'll take time for the stomach membrane to grow round them and for the whole digestive tract to recover. My appetite has dwindled to that of a small kitten and I have a great deal of acid reflux. A yoghurt can fill me up, let alone anything more substantial. I bought in lots of ready meals before the operation so that afterwards I would not have to worry about shopping or spending hours cooking, but I am finding I cannot manage even half of a ready meal and Lord knows they are not massive. I have lost a stone in weight SINCE I came home, not to mention the half stone I lost in hospital. I'm not complaining as I needed to shift a bit of weight but I cannot afford to lose much more or I'll slip through a pavement grating. The experts tell me it'll all resolve soon, but it's going far slower than the six weeks they originally predicted.  A lot of my indigestion comes from the fact that the shape of my stomach has been changed because of the bit they lopped off. I have discovered purely by accident that if I lean to the left with my head on my pillow, I am able to relieve some of the gas that builds up in my stomach and makes me queasy. This is all very well when I am in the comfort of my own home, but what do I do if I eat out. I can hardly lean towards the person on my left and put my head in their lap. That would look decidedly dodgy. I leave you to mull on that rather unfortunate image!

The good news, however, is that I'm getting around OK, walking long distances, opting to walk to the shops rather than drive to build up my stamina again, and have recently started driving again. Getting into the car for the first time after 6 weeks was a bit scary and I drove like a granny for the first day, but, having established I could do the regulatory emergency stop and twist my torso to look over my shoulder for sideways traffic, I have been racing around ever since at normal speed. Which is just as well as it was my mother's turn last week to have her operation - a full knee replacement. I was able to drive her to the local hospital and subsequently visit her. Despite assuring us she would have a spinal anaesthetic,the hospital decided to give her a general anaesthetic, which for a 92-year-old is no minor procedure. I am pleased to say she has bounced back from the operation and has currently been moved to a care home to start the long haul of physiotherapy. She is in a lot of pain but determined to get walking again. She is one brave lady.


K Ville said...

my husband leans to one side and burps (a lot) after every meal regardless of location. He has always put it down to an odd shaped stomach. I have always put it down to bad manners. Maybe he is right after all!

I never believe the doctors estimates for recovery time any more. I always times it by 2 then add some. They live in cloud cuckoo land on the recovery front I think!!

Glad your mum is onto step 2 of her recovery journey too.

Love as always x

Flowerpot said...

Best of luck with recovery, Addy - I agree that it always takes longer than the doctors say and apart from your stomach it sounds like you are making brilliant progress. Maybe just don't eat out for another few weeks if you're worried about having to lean on your friends?! Hope you're back to normal very soon.

Maggie May said...

Sounds like you've really been through the mill. I do hope that you make a speedy recovery and that you'll find that you can eat more very soon.
Can you eat yogurt more frequently and custard and things like that? And what about fortified drinks?
Don't worry about what people will think about gas etc. True friends will understand.
Maggie x

Penny Pincher said...

Good Lord, heavens above Addy, I've revisited my dormant Blog wondering if I can revive it in the near future.
And I decided to check a few links and was so surprised to find you're still regularly posting. A lovely surprise
I'm sorry to read of your need for surgery - wishing you well - and the order to get well soon (a bit late in the day but . . . .)
Take care

DD's Diary said...

Hope things are gradually improving .... did they suggest taking a probiotic? Could make all the indigestion a bit better. Take care X

Ellen said...

I know you wrote this post six weeks ago,but I am just catching up now. I wish you and your lovely mum good and speedy recoveries, and hope you are both now well on the way to full strength. I hope you are looking after yourself as well as you are your mum, Addy.