Friday, September 11, 2009

And I'm back

We're home.  And I'm pooped. But on to the news . . .

The procedure went well.  Very good actually.  The Doc said the previous lasered areas looked great.  ( Um, is "lasered" a real word?  Well it is to me.)  No signs of scarring and the ampullectomy site healed nicely and no new polyp was growing back in that tricky area.  (that is very good news.) There were, however, a few baby* polyps starting in the duodenum.  But, have no fear he blasted them with his Argon Plasma Coagulator.  No, I'm not being funny. 

 So, the good docs recommendations.... come back for another scope in, get this THREE YEARS. YES THREE YEARS! HOLY FREAKING COW! THREE YEARS! (sorry for yelling)

Ok ready for some truth? I don't know how I feel about that 3 year thing though.  Part of me is excited.  Part of ( very big part is unsure). 3 Years is a long time.  In 6 months I already started growing new polyps, a lot can happen in 3 years.  Hm.

As for other things,  9.22 I have a local ( thank goodness) appointment with my colorectal for my yearly scoping of the j-pouch.  It is too early to see any polyp growth in the j-pouch ( should see those start growing for about another 4 years) but I still have a few cm of rectal tissue left, which can turn cancerous at any point and needs to be regularly monitored.  

Other non-FAP related things.  Its 9.11.  How can I bitch and moan, or even celebrate my good news?  Puts life into perspective for you.  

Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

*"few baby polyps" were the doctors words, not mine.  Seriously doc, could you not have quantified that for me?  How many is few? 2? 3? 4?! ANd baby?  is that 1mm?  2 mm?!  He will cc: me on a letter that he sends out to my local doctors which will have all the specifics.  I'l just have to wait a month or so for those details.  

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hi-Ho The Dairy-Oh

It's off to Mayo I go.  Again.  

We leave eeaaarly tomorrow.  My appt. is Wednesday.  09.09.09  That date looks lucky right?  
By the time I am safely tucked back in my own bed (hopefully by this friday) we will have logged around 1600 miles.  Joy.  

Honestly I don't know what to except.  But here is to hoping that nothing is found.   

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tiring of this.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sweet Primitive

I love music. I probably have my parents to thank for a lot for of that. Growing up there was lots of time spent in the car (and I mean lots! I would love to know how many hours we clocked just driving around, not even counting the road trips from Florida to Philadelphia).  And whenever we were in the car there was  always music playing.  I was 12 or so till I realized that yes indeed a car did run with out the stereo in fact being on.    

My Dad also fed my love for overanalyzing the lyrics. Repetitively I would ask what a certain artist was singing about. I can remember being perplexed as a young kid about why would so many adults chose to sing about love, when there were so many other things to sing about! Then, one day I had the unfortunate accident to ask about Jimmy Buffet’s "Why Don’t We Get Drunk". Dad put and a straight face looked directly at his pre-teen daughter and honestly answered her question. But, I must say it was a long time before I had the gull to ask what another song was about after that (just out of plain fear of the answer!)

To help nurture this bond between us, Dad took me to my first concert. I was about 10 years old. Poor Dad, this would not have been his first choice for a concert. However, I wanted to go, who was he to discourage me? So, we went to an evening of New Kids on the Block. Honestly, I can remember being a bit disappointed. I can remember asking Dad many questions as we drove home. Like “What’s lip-syncing?” My love of NYKOB only lasted a year, then I was I was on to discovering much more in the world of music. (Ah, I was on a year or two away from the years of Grunge)

Well, Dad we have come a long way. It had been 20 years since that first concert together. And tonight we go see my all time favorite band. Again, you and Mom are going with me to see MY favorite group. Well at least this time, they have been my favorite for 14 years, instead of a few months.

Even though they are predicting a 50% of thunderstorms, that doesn’t take anything away from this concert. (Yeah we are on the grass too!) This will be Scott, Mom and Dad’s first Dave Matthew’s Band Concert. I am excited to share this with them.  

Above all things 
If kindness is your king 
Then heaven will be yours before you reach your end
~Squirm, DMB

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

365 days

One year ago today was the big day, the surgery, the proctocolectomy. The day I kissed that diseased, poor excuse for a lower GI tract, good-bye. That stupid colon, it couldn’t even call itself a colon! More like a forest, a forest of giant mushrooms. Or so I have been told. I never got to see it.

In some aspects, I can’t believe it has already been an entire year! It seems like it was not that long ago I was staring intently at the ceiling of my hospital room, just wishing it all to be over with already.

Then on the other hand, it seems like that surgery must have happened in another lifetime. I look at how far I have come. I went from barely being able to walk 200 feet to doing 5.5 mi hikes in the woods with no problem.

A lot of you ask, “How are you?” Well, the short answer . . . “Good!” I’m sure you are looking for more then a one-syllable answer though. I am just living my life. I am trying hard to be as normal as I can. And I’m trying very hard not to pay too much attention to all the statistics out there about life with FAP (which is easier said then done). In the end, I just remind myself to take it one day at a time.

Also I know some of are curious to what is on deck for me. Well besides enjoying the remaining last half of summer (Where the hell did the first half go, by the way?! It was only in the 60s last week!) I have two medical appointments coming up.

1. In Mid September I have an appointment with my colorectal surgeon. Just the 1-year anniversary scoping of the j-pouch. He’ll give the j-pouch a little look-see, make sure all looks good and check for the start of any polyp growths. Technically, we shouldn’t see the start of any polyp growth in the pouch for another 4 years. However, the 2 cm area connecting the pouch to the anus is still made up of colon tissue, and that area could grow polyps anytime and needs regular monitoring.

2. I also have another upcoming visit to The Mayo Clinic. This visit will be much like the past visits, except during the Mayo visit we had removed all the polyps and we’re hoping when he looks in there this time it will still be as clean as a whistle. If it is still clean (meaning no new polyp growth) then I will not have to come back to Mayo for a few YEARS! YES YEARS! But if he does see some baby fuckers, oops I mean polyps, starting to grow he will obliterate them with his laser gun (sounds like I’m joking, right? But I’m not. Really.) That would just mean that this is a bit more aggressive then we had originally thought (um, hoped?) and we will be visiting Minnesota more often then we had planned.

Again, I invite anyone, even (gasp!) anonymous readers, to ask questions. I plan to put them aside and when I have compiled a few of them doing a FAQ post again. You can send in the question via comments or via email (new feature, see the thing below that looks like an envelope? Send your FAQ directly to me!) Try me, ask anything.  I dare you.  No wait, I double-dog-dare you.   

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My name is zoom and I live on the moon. . . *

My first birthday! Man I was excited. I was pretty much this excited when I  woke up this morning too.  That was until both of the animals pounced on me and I had to quick duck for cover to avoid being wiggled and boxed to death.  You have to love my ginormous bald baby head in this picture. 
Second birthday! Now those are some healthy tree trunks, er,  legs!  ( still have not had my 1st hair cut yet) (oh and I still have those healthy legs!  yes Pup healthy!)
Third birthday at McDs!  I look so innocent!  (Note: Mom claims that I still had not had my 1st hair cut yet. )

Last night we went out to dinner at Bistro Bella Vita.  Wonderful restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids that specializes in all local food.   I will, however, be paying for my indulgences today.   I choose to order whatever I wanted last night.  So what if I knew it would make the j-pouch scream out in pain or react in protest?  I didn't care if I  had to pay the price today or not!  It was my 3oth damn-it!  

Since the food  was so good I'll let you know, First up, cocktails! I had a pomegranate martini! For an appetizer we ordered the wild mushroom and goat cheese on flatbread.  (Honestly, probably my favorite dish from the evening! And probably what I'll be paying the most for! Darn flat bread.) Main course I had the Paella.  So, good!  (Oh wait I just remembered I brought home leftovers, oh and now I just remembered I already ate all the good stuff out of the left overs!)  With the paella my waitress paired me a nice glass of white wine.  I have no idea what kind.  I'm not a big fan of white, so she did the pairing.  I wish all restaurants could do that for you.  And the dessert!  Lemon cheesecake on a pine nut crust.  Yeah I am happily paying the price today.  Completely and utterly worth it.  

*WTF is up with the title right?  Well when I was about 6 maybe, my Aunt Nancy bought my brother and I these tapes with this birthday song on it.  Every single year since then, ANdy and I have sang this song for each other.  Sorry, Scott says it is one of our odd sibling quirks. 

"My name is Zoom 
And I live on the moon 
But I came down to earth 
Just to sing you this tune
It's your birthday today! 

A present for you
I wanted to find
An outerspace creature
A one of a kind! 
A wild whop or a kukelchoo,
An apple drop or a buzzardstew
Or maybe a 3-eyed tickleshay
For your birthday"

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Birthday Week

Here at the Stolen Colon house, we don’t just celebrate your birthday on the actual day; we celebrate all week long! (Don’t you wanna come live with me? Well at least for the week for your birthday day, huh?) Last weekend kicked off my thirtieth birthday week celebration. So far we have grabbed lunch at an eclectic delicatessen place that usually has way too long of a wait for Scott’s patience. (Marie Catribs, for my Gr’s peeps.) Then we spent most of the day Saturday walking around my Alma Mater, just hanging out taking some pictures (which all turned out crappy, must learn how to take better pictures in craptastic lighting) and visiting local haunts. Later we spent a few hours visiting my niece and nephew. Oh yeah, and their parents!

I know I’ve joked in the past about being a bit freaked about the approaching big three-oh. But really I’m not. Honest. I welcome this and every birthday I am blessed with from here on out. After the last year, I have new outlook on birthdays. They are a blessing, not something to dread or hide from. So on Thursday I will not cry. (You hear that Dad, unlike you I won’t cry!) I won’t moan or mope. I will cheer. I will celebrate. I will climb on my roof and shout! (ok for those of you who have actually seen me attempt to stand on a roof, know that last statement was a lie.) I will toast having made it through this past year. I will party like I am turning 30 or something.

To be honest, sometimes I do feel just a bit surprised that I am 30. I mean what ever happened to 26? Seriously did I sleep through fours years of my life or something? Did I lose them? I had assumed by the time I was 30, I would have done so much more. Finished having kids, seen the world, have had some important career. Oh well.

So I am not where I thought I would be. Hey I never thought I had cancerous bullshit growing inside me either. Life can throw you for loops; it is just all in how you roll with it.

So, what’s on deck for the rest of the three-oh weeklong celebration you ask? Well, Scott is cooking dinner all week (did you read that honey?) Except for when we go out for our fancy meal. Still haven’t decided on where for that yet. (Gr peeps, any recs? Feel free to leave them in the comments! I’m looking for local owned place, doesn’t have to be fancy.) Then we will probably head up to the cottage for the weekend.

See weeklong celebration doesn’t really mean I am super spoiled. It is just fun to say, “Buuuuut, do I have to? It my birthday week!” I mean it's not like I get gifts everyday of anything.

So, you may be asking yourself "what's with the picture of the horse hooves Steph?" Well, let me tell you. A. I took this picture over Memorial Day weekend and I like it. B. It's my birthday week!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A 1/3 life crisis?

I chopped off all my hair. Actually I didn't do it, but my awesome stylist and good friend Erin did. I had it with my hair. It just wasn't meant to be long. It was brittle and would break if it was in a pony tail. Plus it just wasn't healthy. It wasn't really growing at all either. And I was sick of the hair monster in the shower. (I know I know my hair monster is NOTHING compared to when you are on chemo. And yes I thank my lucky stars daily for that.)

Anyways, did I lop off all my hair, because it looked crappy from nutritional deficiencies through out the past year? Maybe. A Result from the stress? Perhaps.

Or was the spur of the moment cut all the hair off, a result of an impending birthday, one that ends in a 0? Ah, most likely.

So for your viewing pleasure here are a few pictures of the new do.

The Boss Man and I. And excuse the silly face, I was trying to get a good smile out of him. But the thumb won that one.

Look close and you can see Dexter Cat makes a cameo.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Anniversary of sorts

One year ago, last Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of my first colonoscopy. (And last colonoscopy, given that I no longer have a colon). It had been many years in the coming.

Before hand, the GI told me he was very confident he would not find anything. He had mentioned before hand that if in fact it was cancer, then I would already be dead. Great.

For some reason, I have a very high tolerance to the knock you out drugs they use before these procedures. (Anyone else have some LL Cool J now stuck in their heads? Or is that just me?) They tend to have a difficult time getting me out and then keeping me out. It is a common occurrence for the nurse to say “Oh my, you’re still awake?!”. This colonoscopy was no different.

I was very conscious at the start of the procedure. I was interested in watching the TV screen, where the camera that is inside you projects what it sees. I wanted to see what was going on in there too. But very early on the Dr. exclaimed “HOLY . . . OH MY . . . “ And then the nurse said “Oh dear . . .” and then blocked my view until the latest does of drugs kicked in.

When I awoke (great now I have that Phish song in my head) in the recovery room my mother-in-law, Becky was there waiting for me. Scott couldn’t be there due to his job, plus we didn’t think we were going to find anything so. . . well . . . definitive. Even though I was groggy to all get out, I knew the instant the doc walked into the room that he did in fact found something. The way he pulled up a chair, the way he looked at me, his voice. Then those pictures. He said he normally only takes 3 pictures. He took 30. You could not deny the pictures. Hundreds upon hundreds of the monstrous, ugly, things growing inside me (and man did that thought creep me out for months to come!)

Thank God Becky was there with me. At this point, my brain checked out. The doc now sounded like the teacher on Peanuts. But Becky was there, taking in everything that my brain no longer would. Thank you Becky. You have been there for me since day one of this journey!

Contrary to what previous post may have lead you to believe I am not a big prayer, only when I am scared really. I prayed before this colonoscopy, even though I don’t remember really being scared. Apprehensive maybe. I told God, I just wanted a name, a word, a reason why I had the problems I had. I didn’t want to go through the procedure and then have the doc say he still had no idea what was causing everything. I think I need to be more careful what I pray for, or maybe how I word it at least.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Moment of Grace

I was on a walk in the woods with Grace, commiserating in my bad mood. We had snuck out for a quick jaunt between rain showers. The sky was as gloomy as I felt. As we walked, the earthy pine smell infiltrated my soul and Gracie's bouncy spirit became contagious. Just then, a small break in the cloud cover allowed a stream of beautiful and much needed sunshine in, and in that same moment, a DMB song popped in to my head.

Lately I've been feeling low 
A remedy is what I'm seeking 
Take a taste of what's mellow* 
Come away to something better 
What I want is what I've not got 
But what I need is all around me 
Reaching searching never stop
-Jimi Thing

As a child I was raised Catholic. I was taught to pray to God every night. Kneeling next to my bed with my hand clasped, I'd asked this ominous being to bless all my loved ones, right down to the current favorite stuffed animal. I’d usually ask this great being for either guidance or plain help. Possibly with a fight with friends (which at time felt like a life or death situation) or an upcoming test (especially math, or for that year in 7th grade, English. That was the year a teacher told me I was an absolute horrid writer. And whatever I did to never let anyone read my writing. Because in her opinion, I was that bad.) After finishing my so-called praying I’d silently wait to hear back. Waiting for some deep booming voice to say "Stephanie . . . be nicer to your brother. Stop calling him fatty fatty two by four." Or "Stephanie . . . the answer you are seeking is . . .” Or “Stephanie . . . your English teacher doesn’t know shit.”

When I never heard back, I kind of, well, gave up on the whole trying to talk with God thing. I felt it was too one sided. Why didn’t he answer me?

As I've grown I have learned God doesn't answer in such direct pathways. I also learned, she has a bit of a sense of humor. But that is a story for another day. The sun is breaking through the clouds again. Time for Gracie and I to go get some exercise.

*Yeah, yeah, I know what your thinking. Another Dave Matthews quote?! Really, I wasn’t planning to quote DMB again. Seriously. However, I couldn’t help it for this time. I’m sorry.

**Ok so I know the normal lyric is “take a taste of what’s below” but in the version in my head, that is what I heard.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Green-eyed Monster

Someone close to me just announced some wonderful news. And I am so extremely happy for them, but deep down in a dark corner of my heart that green-eyed monster reared his ugly head. We are at the age where it seems like everyone around us is expanding their families. Every time I turn around, I am faced with someone's perfect belly bump. I want nothing more then to have a baby of my own. Before I was diagnosed with FAP, we were "trying" and upon receiving the news of my health that "trying" was put on hold.

Recently we started the information search on Pre-genetic diagnosis (PGD) and in vitro fertilization. The PGD would give pretty good odds that our child would not inherit FAP (otherwise its 50/50). However, it is not a simple process. Nor is it cheap. It is a small fortune. It is tuition to a good college!

The other night I broke down in my first "it's not fair" pity party since last June. That inner child inside me whined "I waaaant a baby!" With the help of Scott and Gracie (and 1/4 a pan of double chocolate brownies*) my pity party was short lived. Scott and Gracie always manage to make me smile no matter how blue I might be feeling.

Scott and I have some tough decisions ahead of us. But for right now I need to remember to live in the now. Worrying and feeling sorry for myself won't change anything. It is what it is.

So for the two of you who just announced your exciting news, I am so very very happy for you. Honest.

*And I wonder why I weigh more now then I did pre-surgery.
**After a bit of debate, I decided to be completely honest with my feelings.  A lot of us will feel a little sting of jealousy when some one is getting something that would love to have.  It all just comes down to how you deal with the jealousy.  I am choosing to acknowledge it, and then send it packing.  I know this subject paints me in less then perfect life.  But like you I am human, none of us are perfect. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Pepto Dance

While trying to decide which pictures to use on Wednesday’s post I came across this one and I decided it deserved a post all of its own.

You are probably are probably asking yourself “why does Steph have a picture of her wedding rings with pepto-bismol?” Well let me tell you.

This was before my FAP diagnosis. Back when visiting my college’s health center, where I was told my symptoms were caused by stress. Alternatively, while visiting my family health practitioner, that it was from too much spaghetti sauce. Or when I pursued some holistic answers and was informed it was because I was out of balance. Oh and I can’t forget the countless times I was asked to take a pregnancy test. Every single time I went to a doc and complained of my symptoms, I was asked, “could you possibly be pregnant?”
“No doc.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yup, I am sure.”
“Are you 100% positive that you couldn’t be pregnant?”
“There is no way I could be pregnant.”
“Well okay then . . . lets just have you take a pregnancy test to to rule that out.”

Three years ago, before I had a name to what was wrong with me, Pepto was my bff. I never left home with out it. While getting ready for my wedding, I asked my maid of honor if she would put some pepto in her purse for me. At this point, we may have had a glass or two of champagne. So naturally, we broke out into the pepto-bismol dance. ( Come on, you know  the pepto-bismol dance!) My photographer thought we were hilarious and possible a bit crazy. He ended up doing the standard “wedding rings shot” with the pepto; you know to personalize it (I guess).

San Souci*

Three years ago today, Scott and I ceased to live in sin.  We were married seaside in beautiful Jamaica.    30 family members chose to join us there and celebrate with us.

Really, he wasn't so nervous he was sweating.  It was hot, like really hot.  I swear.  

I love you, Scott.  Here is to many more.  

Hey , my love, you came to me like
wine comes to the mouth
Grown tired of water all the time 
You quench my heart and love
you quench my mind

Celebrate we will
Because life is short but
sweet for certain
We're climbing two by two 
To be sure these days continue
The things we cannot . . 
~DMB "Two step"

(*The name of the resort we stayed at was San Souci, French for "No Worries".)

Monday, April 27, 2009

H 2 uh-oh

“If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.” That was our anthem for the weekend; see we had no running water. A pipe had burst over the winter, and instead of flooding the entire lower level, just so we could have water, we shut off the water to the house.

Ok no biggie we thought. We can get drinking water from the store. And the cottage is on a lake! We’ll just haul up lake water to use to flush the toilets. This all would have worked out just fine, if I were a normal person, a person with a colon. But nope, not me I have a j-pouch! It definitely did not help matters that on Saturday I had a hugmongo 4 course dinner! (Hmm. I had warm ciabatta bread with balsamic dipping oil, a fresh salad with goat cheese, walnuts and dried cranberries. For the main course, there was grilled salmon with a baked potato. Oh and dessert! Cherry pie, a la mode of course. Hey leave me alone it was our anniversary dinner! If you are ever in the Higgins/Roscommon area, I highly recommend Gates Ausable Lodge. Hands down the best food around! Just note it is BYOB)

To work the toilets we would haul up 2 buckets of lake water at a time. Two buckets would allow us 2.5 flushes. So out in the rain we would go. Of course, the j-pouch was more active then normal (I am sure that my freakishly large meal had nothing to do with that. Ha!) It is fair to say we were venturing out to fill up the buckets a bit more then we originally expected.

I only slipped and fell once. (Yeah that is good for me.) The worse part of it all was having to roll up our pants and wade out into the lake to where it was deep enough to fill the bucket. Damn that water was cold.

But you know? Even with no running water, an overactive j-pouch, and crappy weather it was all worth it. And I’d do it again. My only regret was not noticing the carpet downstairs getting soggier and soggier sooner. (Sorry Dad. Seriously we feel really bad about that.)

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Dear Meteorologist,
You predicted mid 70's with a 30% chance of rain showers in the evening. Could you possibly have been anymore wrong? (Well yeah, I guess if it would have snowed, which at times I thought it might, then you definitely would have been more wrong.) It was in the 30's and it never stopped raining, for two days. Not just a little rain either; we’re talking sheets of rain. I know that weather prediction isn't a 100% accurate or anything. But seriously, you didn’t even come close. Maybe you can work on your accuracy for the summer season.
Stolen Colon  

Even with the craptastic weather, our weekend was good. It was definitely eventful, but good nonetheless.  More on that later.  

Friday, April 24, 2009


And we are off . . . up north we go.  Life has been a little tense, to say the least, at the Stolen Colon household.  As some of you know, my husband works for one of the big three. (Ha! Isn't that moniker ironic?!)  There is an endlessly vibrating crack berry, cnn's never ending news ticker, and the incessant emails. The stress behind it all has caused less then stellar moods, for both of us.  We are a team,  what effects one of us also effects the other.  (Which is good point to anyone suffering through an illness, it is not just you, who suffers.  Our loved ones often suffer, silently, right along with us.  There is a stress on our caretakers that we commonly don't recognize.)
So, what do we do here when the stress becomes unbearable, pack our bags and head north, to our solace.  No crackberries, no news, no emails . . . just peace (well at least for 2 days).  
This will be Gracie's intro to "The Cottage".  I know she'll love it, it was/is Koda's favorite place on earth. Gracie and I plan to blow by my previously set record of a 1 mile hike.  There is just something about being in the woods.  The crunch of pine needles beneath my feet, the fresh scent, just the solitude of it all, it is the best way to recharge my batteries and to get in touch with myself. 
Also next week is our wedding anniversary.  This weekend, I will reconnect with the person I fell in love with.  It's easy in the hustle and bustle of life to take someone for granted.  We need to remember to occasionally look at each other as if it is the first time we saw each other.  

When I step into the light my arms open wide
When I step into the light my eyes searching wild
Would you not like to be
Sitting on top of the world with your legs hanging free
Would you not like to be ok, ok, ok

When were walking by the water
Splish splash me and you taking a bath
When were walking by the water
Come to my toes to my ankles to my head to my soul
Then I'm blown away
~Lie in Our Graves by DMB

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Signs of Spring

Gracie and I have been trying to get out hiking whenever the weather allows it.  Unfortunately, here in Michigan that is not as often as I would like.   There is something about being out in the woods, where it smells earthy fresh and I'm surrounded by solitude.  It is one of the few places where I can feel fully at peace with everything.  No matter what my mood may be like at the start of the hike, by the end I exit the woods feeling calm and tranquil.  

We hit a new record today, we covered approximately one mile.  May not sound like much to you but let me tell you this isn't just flat surface we are hiking on.  I am pretty proud of myself.  Only one month ago I was only able to cover maybe half a mile and even then I had to take multiple breaks.  

On today's hike, I noticed there are a few subtle cues that Spring may be coming.   

Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter. 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I guess it was bound to happen

At least it was just me and Scott.  I should have known better.  Last night, in celebratory form I made baked bananas with an orange caramel sauce all over vanilla ice cream.  I ended up paying for that through out most of the night.  But hey my Spartans won, I deemed it worth it.  Then this morning I had a delicious italian frittata.  So good.  And to top it all off we were having a leisurely Sunday drive while drinking a grande coffee.   I guess that was 3 strikes against me.  

My poor husband, the things I subject him too.  Thank God, it was him with me.  Could of been worse.  It could of happened while out in a crowd or in yoga.  Oh the things I'm thankful for.  

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Go Green!

On the banks of the Red Cedar,
There's a school that's known to all;
Its specialty is winning,
And those Spartans play good ball;
Spartan teams are never beaten,
All through the game they'll fight;
Fight for the only colors:
Green and White.
Go right through for MSU,
Watch the points keep growing,
Spartan teams are bound to win,
They're fighting with a vim!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
See their team is weakening,
We're going to win this game,
Fight! Fight! Rah! Team, Fight!
Victory for MSU!

Friday, April 3, 2009

I miss her.

Dearest Koda,

One year ago (tomorrow) you left this physical world. You were too young, just about to turn 5. Our time together was too short. It wasn't suppose to end this way.

It eats me up inside when I think about your death. So alone, so painful. It kills me that I wasn't with you, holding you in my arms. I'm so sorry baby. I should of listened to my instincts and never left you that weekend.

I will never forget the day you choose us to be your forever family. Even though we had no intention of bringing a dog into our home, we stumbled upon you. When I first laid eyes on you I yelled "oh shit!" because deep down inside I knew you were meant for us. I was being too responsible, "our apartment is too small" "I work too many hours", but you quickly changed my mind when you jumped onto the picnic table, placed both paws on my shoulders, looked directly into my eyes and then proceeded to lick my entire face. I then admitted what my soul already knew, we were meant to be together.

Not a day goes by that my heart doesn't ache for you, but I try to cherish all my memories. The good, like when we would be home alone and you would jump up in the bed to sleep with me, but when I would finally drift off you would sneak off to your bed.  Or your uncanny ability to read my emotions, and give me exactly what I needed at that moment like a face full of kisses or some good deep belly laughs.   And the bad, like the time you climbed up on to the kitchen counter and found the food coloring and then decided to dye your white body a rainbow of colors. Or like the time you shredded 48 rolls of toilet paper. When we walked in it looked like it was snowing and there you were in the middle of it all, looking so proud and wiggling your nubbie.

Thank you. My life wouldn't be what it is now if you weren't once a part of it. And thank you for leading us to Gracie Mae. While she will never fill the hole in my heart she has taught me to love again.

Thank you for coming in to my life. You brought so much light and love, I can't imagine those years with out you in them. You have forever left your paw print on my heart.

I love you Koda Marie. Until we meet again.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Colon Cancer Awarness

I'm a bit ashamed it took me till the last week of March to write this, but better late then never.  March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month.  The blue star is the symbol of hope for a cure for colon cancer.
  • When you combine men and women, colorectal cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death.
  • With regular screenings, colon cancer can be found early.  Screenings can even prevent it by removing polyps. 
  • Unfortunately majority of colon cancers are not found early.  
  • A colonoscopy is not that bad.  Seriously. Get over it if fear is your excuse. 
If you see blood in your stool or have had a change in popping habits, talk to you doc.  Don't be embarrassed, they have seen and heard much worse.  Do not let them blow you off, tell you your too young or don't have any risk factors.  Or my personal favorite tell you that it is just spaghetti sauce (I really hope I get to run into that doctor some day).  

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vernal Equinox

At 7:44 this morning spring arrived!  Thank God.  I really hope Mother Nature got the memo.  Officially our days our now longer then our nights!  This just means I'm one step closer to cottage season.  

I attended yoga again today.  Ah.  So relaxing and strenuous all at the same time.  I was a bit nervous though.  We did a few shoulder stands (for my non-yoga readers it's like a head stand, but on the back of your shoulders. Or just click here.)  As you may remember, I use to have to be upside down to help release gas.  The whole time I was in the shoulder stand I had an internal convo with my insides.  "Ok j-pouch, please oh please don't think this is the right opportunity to release any gas.  If you do this for me I promise not to subject you beer too often."  I really shouldn't have had brussel sprouts with dinner last night. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Hops Experiment

Hope everyone had a nice St. Patty's day.  I decided today to celebrate the O' Tool and McPeak parts of me.  What better day to test out a beer on the new plumbing then St Patty's Day?  We started off hunting for a good place to have a Guinness and some Irish food.  But we quickly realized, however, that we have out grown the St Patty's day bar crawl crowd.  Ah, growing up.  Since the weather was beautiful (70˚!)  we ended up on our back deck with some Magic Hat #9.  

The beer went down smoothly.  But since going down, it has started a bit of a riot in the gut.  Nothing painful, just A LOT of noise and some uncomfortableness.  I am foreseeing a lot of gas (which a true pain in the ass with a j-pouch) and possible multiple nightly trips to the bathroom.  Worth it?  I suppose, but something I want to do all that often. I think I am going to stick to vodka (Tito's, BEST vodka. Ever.) or wine when I feel the craving for a drink.  

The thing I liked most about my beer today, the message under the cap.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.  

-Irish Blessing

Friday, March 13, 2009

Zen like

Went to yoga today.  It was the first time since, well you know when.  And it felt incredible!  Before going I was quite nervous.  Much like a self-conscious teenager before a first date.  I had a horrible case of the "what ifs".  What if I couldn't do the poses?  What if everyone was more advanced then me?  What if my insides roar (like they commonly do and man is it loud!  I have even been known to spook the pets)?  What if all the bending and stretching causes my insides to go into overdrive and I have to run to the bathroom every five minutes?  Well lets just say that none of that happened (well except the part about everyone being more advanced then me, but so what.  It ended up not being a big deal.  If anyone even noticed I doubt they cared.)  It is like the saying "90% of what you worry about never even happens".

In the beginning I told the instructor that I had abdominal surgery 6 months ago.  She was wonderfully responsive.  She took the time to help me with poses that I struggled with, give me encouragement when I needed  it and show me variations that would be a bit easier with my decreased range of movement.  

So for one and a half hours in an overly warm room I bended stretched and moved in ways I haven't in a long time. (The overly warm room was a wonderful break too, since March has decided it would rather be a winter month.) While my muscles took turns yelling in protest at my newfound movements, I was able to get back in touch with me.  I realized while stolen colon  is (part of) me; I am not just stolen colon.  It is easy when you have been through something that impacts your life to loose yourself and forget that you are not defined by that event.  

As I walked out of the studio, damp with sweat and with every muscle in my body shaking,  I left inspired and remarkably at peace.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

All good

Had a check up with the Colorectal this morning.  It was good news all around.  He said I am still an anomaly.  Since I have constipation issues, most j-pouchers can't stop going.  But he said if I'm ok with it that it is all good.  And the best part. . . I don't have to go back for six whole months!  At that time he'll do a flex sig (like a colonoscopy, without the colon).  He'll check on the condition of the pouch and check for polyp growth.  

The only thing I wasn't to happy with was my weight.  Holy smokes! Lets just say I gained back all my post surgery weight loss, plus more!  At least that is a very fixable problem.  I'll be calling yoga studios this afternoon.  And I want to start using the treadmill more regularly.  Once I get in a bit better cardiovascular shape (and can go up a flight of stairs without my heart beating in my ears) I plan to do the couch to 5K plan.  I did it last year and loved it.  

With spring right around the corner, I will be getting outside more with Gracie.  We had a couple nice days last week, and Gracie and I went on a couple little hikes (with lots of breaks).  It was her first time in the woods, and she a bit spooked by it.  She had to check out every twig snap and leaf rustle.  Also she didn't know what to think about me not making her walk right next to me. 

I gotta tell you all, I am pretty happy.  Things seem to be going well with my health.  Better weather is on the horizon.  I have a job that I love (literally). 

Life is good.  

Friday, March 6, 2009

Saynora Polyps

Home sweet home.  It feels good to be back, with no polyps no less. On the trek over there we stopped for brunch in Chi-town to see my little brother.   It is always nice when I get to spend a little time with him. (Hence where today's pictures are from).  

So what's on my plate for medical b.s. you ask?  Well, depending on what pathology finds in the recently evicted polyps, will determine a lot.  But the thought is that they will only show dysplasia and no cancer.  If that is the case, then I don't have to go back out to mayo for six months!  Six whole months!  At that point the doc will then be able to determine how aggressive the polyps are.  If they are extremely aggressive, (and I have sprouted a few more) I would have to be packing bags and heading to Mayo at least every 6 months.  But, and this is a huge but here, if they turn out to not be aggressive polyps (and I am still clean and clear), then I could feasibly go a few YEARS (years, people YEARS!) in between screenings.   

Also this Tuesday I meet with my colorectal surgeon.  It is just a 6 month post-op
check up.  We plan to discuss what he thinks my screening schedule should be for the lower end.  Surprisingly, the bottom half screenings are much easier to handle then the upper half.  For my upper I am completely knocked out with a machine breathing for me, while the lower end I just undergo light sedation.  Needless to say I will be completely ok with it if he thinks I need to under go scopes to the j-pouch and bottom part of the small intestines more frequently.  

Well, it is absolutely gorgeous day here.  Gracie and I are on our way out to enjoy a nice spring time hike! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Polyp free

A quick update.  Yesterday's procedure was a success.  The doc removed the polyps.  He also found a new baby one that was starting that he blasted to smithereens.  And he found about 4 mm growth on the area he worked on last time.  So he removed that too.  The question is, did that spot get missed last time? Or was it already growing back?  Either way it is gone gone gone.

I am incredibly sore, but good.  It feels like someone used my body as a punching bag.   I'll give more details in a later post.  The polyps are on there way to pathology, and depending on what that tells us determines my screening schedule.  

Thanks for the support and love. 

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mayo adventure II

Sorry for being MIA.  I have been debating the future of Stolen Colon.  But anyways, that is for another post.  On with the news.

Well a few days ago I hit my 6 month mark!  It has been 6 months (and a few days) since my first surgery.  And I am happy to report that all is great!  Things seem to be working good.  The j-pouch has gotten the hang of it's job, and I know which foods it likes and others that will cause it to protest.  Minus the fatigue and the new terrain on the abdomen, I am as good if not better then I was before!  As I get back back into working out, the fatigue will start to vanish and maybe some of the tummy of yesteryear will return.  

On other FAP related news, Monday we head out for another Mayo Clinic adventure.  Bright and early Tuesday morning (six freaking am!) I'll be having another (final?!) surgery to remove the polyps on my small intestines.  The surgery will be endoscopic, the camera and tools will be passed down my throat, through my stomach and into my small intestines.  The doc will attempt to remove the growths and scrape up as much tissue as he can without puncturing the bowel wall.  He will also check the edges of the area that he worked on last time.  He needs to make sure he got it all and the edges are clean.  

The hope is (and I'm feeling very confident) that we are still one step ahead of this disease and that the growths have not become cancerous.  Hopefully, this goes smoothly and he is able to fully remove these last two buggers.  And maybe I can get to go more then two months between surgeries!  

If everything goes as planned I will be released later that same day, but I'll have to agree to stay in a hotel nearby, just in case.  We should be heading back to Michigan by Thursday morning.

We decided not to drag the Grace Monkey along with us this time.  It is not fair to her to make her sit in a car for 9 hours and then have to stay in a hotel room all day and night.  She'll be getting a nice holiday at her previous foster mom's house.  They have 3 of their own boxers (even though one of those boxer is big enough to count for two!) 1 boston
 terrier and 2 foster dogs living with them.  It will be a full house with Gracie there, but I know she will get the best care and will be completely spoiled!  

And one other really exciting tidbit, last night Gracie passed her Good Canine Citizenship (CGC) exam!  One of the proctors said she was one of the youngest boxers he's seen pass the exam.  I am one very proud mama.  Click here to learn more about the exam and what it entailed.  Here are a couple photos of Gracie being well. . .Gracie.  Hard to imagine that this goof was able to settle down and be serious for an hour straight during the exam!