Friday, January 30, 2009

The Real Housewives of GR

Tonight my girlfriends and I are having a little get together.  Nothing fancy, just some food, fun drinks, a haircut or two and some good company.  This marks my first social gathering post surgery.  Previously, I have shied away from any social function especially those that involved food.  Before now I didn't have enough trust in my new plumbing.  Also until recently I didn't know how different foods would affect me.    

I know a lot of you have wondered if I can drink alcohol.  Yup I sure can.  I can no longer drink beer though. (Actually, to be honest I haven't even tried beer.  Beer can be rough on someone with a colon.  I don't want to find out how it would be sans colon.) But so far I know I can handle wines and mojitos!  I indulged in quite a few mojitos while in Florida last month.  Hmm, mojitos.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Gas We Pass

Life is going pretty good as of lately.  I start my new job on Monday.  Gracie and I begin intermediate obedience classes tonight.  I've adjusted to life with a j-pouch.  And I no longer mourn for stoma stan.  It looks as though life is finally starting to smooth out for me.  

I even hit another milestone last night. . . while sitting on the couch I farted.  Yup, you read that right!  Tooting while in a sitting position was a major milestone!  Up until last night, I was only able to expel gas if my pelvis was lifted higher then the rest of my abdomen.  The only explanation I can give you is that gas rises. 

There had been many nights where the pressure had built up so much inside me I thought I was going to burst a seam.  One desperate night I realized that the most efficient way to expel gas was to do a headstand.  Can't elevate your bum anymore then that!  Soon it became common sight to see me doing a headstand in the middle of the living room while watching some prime time TV. Oh my poor husband.   So, I am sure you all can imagine my (and Scott's) glee when I cut the cheese in a normal position.  

With more and more normalcy returning to my life, I have started contemplating the fate of Stolen Colon.  After some debate, I decided to add a poll.  (See it is over there on the right hand side.) I would love to have my readers input on what lies ahead for Stolen Colon. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Meet Dale.  Quite the ballsy little squirrel.  Came right up to our deck.  It didn't even phase him when Scott would open the door threaten to go out there. Dale just thumped his tail.  As in, "Come on big guy!  You've got nothing on me!"  I'm actually not to fond of squirrels, most likely due to the two not so pleasant run ins I've had with them.   Once, during the college years, a squirrel chased me.  He then tried to prevent me from entering my crappy rented house by coming after me each time I got close to the door.  No lie.  In a desperate attempt I threw my book bag at him and then I madly climbed onto the hood of my roommates car.  For some idiotic reason, I assumed he couldn't get me if I was on top of the car.  (Gina, Danielle care to back me up on this? I know at least one of had to of witnessed this spectacle.)  And then there was the time, when Koda was chasing one, and the little bugger (the squirrel, not Koda) turned around and jumped on her face.  After quite a bit of screaming (from me, Koda and the squirrel) and a ton of flailing around (again from all three of us) the incident ended with remarkably no harm to any of the three beings involved. 

Sorry, I  just had to share Dale with you all.  

Friday, January 23, 2009

5 on Friday

Little known fact, I collect quotes.  Here are five random ones:

"Peace.  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those things and still be clam in your heart."   -unknown

"Happiness is a journey, not a destination. . ."  -Souza

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, your right."  -Henry Ford

"The secret of health and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."  -Buddha

"Happiness is like a butterfly.  The more you chase it the more it will elude you, but if you turn you attention to other things it will come and sit softly on you shoulder."  -Thoreau

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Good New, take three.

Are you ready for the third installment of "Good News"?  Wait for it. . . wait for it. . .  I got a job!  Yup!  And not just any job, I'm going to be a nanny for the sweetest baby boy, Charlie.  I'll be working part time, just 3 days a week.  I couldn't imagine a more perfect job.  

Those of you who know me, know how much I love being a nanny.  I love to love and I absolutely adore children.  I am overjoyed that I found a nanny job that works out so well for me.   When I got diagnosed with FAP, I had to leave my previous nanny job.  I was unable to keep up with the time (sometimes over 50 hours a week) and energy they needed from me (3 kids under 4,  can you imagine?!).  I am so excited to be returning to the profession I love, but with much better terms.  

I was a bit nervous about finding a job.  Between the FAP and the j-pouch I have a few "issues" that I thought may make it difficult to find a job.  Of course, I have that impending second trip to Mayo.  And I can't forget about my bathroom habits.  I couldn't imagine a job where I was only allowed to go to the bathroom on a lunch break or something.  I was also concerned with my energy levels, I don't think I could handle a job that required me to be on my feet for 9 hours straight.   But being a nanny for an infant?  Perfect!  And a damn cute one too.  

I feel very blessed that Charlie's family wants me to be his nanny.  They know all about me, and are very understanding.  My first day of work is Feb 2nd, and I can't wait.  I have never been this excited to start a new job!

I am pleased to introduce you to my new boss, Charlie:

And another positive?  Gracie is very relieved that she is no longer my only model.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Good News Part Deux

I heard from Mayo.  First off, the polyp that they removed from my ampulla showed only low grade dsyplasia (no cancer!).  Yahoo!  And it looks like I have a date for my next appointment.  March 4th. So soon!  It is quite a bit sooner than I expected.  The doctor wants to check the area where he removed the polyp to make sure all the edges are clean.  He will also attempt to remove the other two polyps that he couldn't get to last time.  
Today's pictures are in honor of yet another day here inMichigan where we won't see the sun.  

 And no this is not the end of my "good news" streak!  I still have more to come. . .

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

End of an Error

Don't worry!  I didn't turn into a popsicle in the arctic weather we had last week!  Nor did I get buried in the 20 inches of new snow we got over the weekend.  (We have gotten 89 inches so far this season, the average for the whole season is 72 inches!)  I guess I just didn't have a lot to say.   But don't fret because I have lots to talk about now!

The first half of last week, I was feeling good.  I mean real good!  I decided not to blog about it as I didn't want to jinx it.  Turns out, I must of jinxed it anyways.  But still where I am today it leaps and bounds better then where I was just a month ago.  I have to say, living with this j-pouch is very doable.  I no longer find myself wishing stoma stan was back.  I probably average around 12-15 bathroom trips a day.  And on average, I only experience those dreadful cramps in the evenings.  Usually around 6 pm they start, but they aren't anything 2 doses of Bentyl can't take care of.   How about that for progress, huh?!  

I attribute a lot of my progress to eating a fruit or veggie with every meal.  I had been cautioned about eating fruits and veggies.  From what I've been told most people with a j-pouch don't tolerate them very well.  I'm glad I threw that advice out the window.  Also I have become much more fluent in my j-pouch's language.  I understand a bit better the signals he is sending me. And he is learning his new job as a makeshift mini colon.  (I have no idea why I think of my j-pouch as a "he".  I just do.  Maybe since he deals with, well, poop.  That sure isn't a feminine thing now is it?)

And I have more good news, but you'll just have to wait. . .  I can't just blurt it all out on a Monday now can I?  

Alright, I must go.  Time to grab my coffee and be glued to my TV and watch history be made.  (yes did I tell you I can also handle coffee!  Well small amounts of it and then I still have to up my H2O intake, but still. . .Coffee.  Yum)  

Friday, January 9, 2009

5 on Friday

It has been awhile. Lets start this up again. 

My new year's resolution this year is: To be as healthy as I can.  With FAP, I basically have a higher chance of a bunch of lovely different cancers and I would really like to slow down or completely prevent the growths of any more precancerous polyps.  So, I thought I would be preemptive.  Since losing the old colon attempting to be "healthy" has been easier said then done.  I have completely stopped all forms of exercises, and I would much rather curl up on the couch with a down blanket than do anything.  It is much easier to eat highly processed prepackaged foods then healthy foods.  So here we go, my plans for the future.
  1. Eat a veggie or fruit with every meal.  Basically trying eat different foods with colors from the full spectrum of the rainbow.
  2. Walk everyday.  Gracie would enjoy this too.  But here, in Mi in the winter, getting outside is not always an easy or enjoyable task.  That's ok, Dad sent us home from FL with his old treadmill.  Now if we could only find away to get it inside.  (yes we made the 22 hour dive home in a Liberty, with 2 adults, 1 dog, way too much luggage and a very large treadmill.  It was tight to say the least.)
  3. Yoga at least three times a week.  Right now while funds are not just low but completely nonexistent, I'll do yoga at home in front of the tv.  I know Gracie will get a kick out of this and pounce on me every chance she gets.  Maybe I can get her to do some downward facing dog with me?  Once we reestablish the savings account, I would like to join a studio.  We'll see. . .
  4. Drink a bare minimum of 64 oz of water.  And that is the absolute minimum!  The majority of water I consume just goes right on through.  The colon's main job is to absorb fluids (and those digestive juices, hence the pain of "butt burn"). 
  5. Try to eat as little of possible of processed foods.  The more hands that have touched it, the worse it is.  No more packaged crackers, cookies, chips and all that jazz.  
Think I can do it?

*Doesn't Gracie look nice in warm in today's picture?  I picked it, since once again it is snowing here!  I want to crawl into the picture with her and join her in soaking up the sunshine.   Dear Mother Nature, The snow can stop anytime.  Thank you.    

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Travelin' J-pouch

Traveling a total of  50 hours in a car with a j-pouch and a puppy is a feat in of itself. Between the fact that they both got their own bags.  Gracie's had toys, 2 days of food, treats, 2 bowls, poop bags, a leash, jerky style chicken breasts and some sam's yams (vegetable rawhides).  While the butt bag contained all my restroom necessities.  Two different hiney creams,  Calmoseptine and Magic Butt Cream (MBC is a throw back from my nanny days.  Equal parts desitin, maalox, lotramin.  I swear by it), baby wipes, rubber gloves (it makes the application of said hiney creams easier to apply and more comfortable), antibacterial hand gel, antibacterial wipes (for those oh-too-nasty toilet seats, there is no hovering with a j-pouch) and a supply of charmin (come on, that cheap toilet paper is rough even on normal cheeks).

Between Gracie and I, we needed to stop at least every 3 hours, but we would push it towards every 4.  And just FYI, whenever possible stop at the roadside rest stops.  They tend to have cleaner bathrooms, which makes relaxing on the pot a bit easier, which in turn helps things to fully empty.  And they have better places to encourage your dog to go.  Nothing like standing on top of a plowed snow mound, in a parking lot, while it is -30˚ and trying to convince your whining, shivering puppy that yes indeed this is a perfectly good place to drop douce.  Rest stops at least gave us a place to walk a bit, stretch her legs and burn off some of that puppy energy.  

With all that said, I think Gracie and I both did very well on our adventure.  I just can't imagine doing it again when she is bigger.  As it was, we took up the ENTIRE vehicle (given is was a Jeep Liberty, but still!)  Or maybe I just need to learn to pack lighter.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Why Not Me?

Why Me?  In the beginning, right after my diagnosis, I asked "Why me?" a lot.  At one point someone responded to me with "Why not you?"  That gave me a lot to chew on.   Why am I any more special? Why shouldn't I have some suffering in my life?  Why would someone else be any more deserving of this?  The questions have gone around and around in my head.  If at any point I started to feel bad for myself, I just thought "why not me?" 

Recently the original question of "why me?" has progressed. But from a different angle.  Now that once again I have narrowly escaped cancer, why me?  Why am I so lucky?   I see so many others being handed the the shit end of the stick.  Why don't I have to suffer while someone else does?  

It doesn't feel right.  

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm Baaaaack

Did everyone miss me?  We had an incredible time in Florida with my parents.  We made it down there just in time for Christmas dinner.   I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present.  

And all I have to say about Mayo is that I love it there!  What an incredible place if you need great care.  Everyone is very kind and the doctors are knowledgeable and extremely thorough.  It is a good thing I like it there, because it looks like I'll  be going back there every 3-4 months for awhile.  

The procedure itself went very smoothly.  The doctor was able to remove the polyp on my ampulla.  The polyp was much larger then the doctor had anticipated and he was worried for a bit that he wasn't going to be able to remove it.  But he did, thank God.  He commented that it was one of the largest he'd seen.  It came in measuring over 2.5 cm, and usually he doesn't even attempt to remove any over 2 cm.   Due to the polyp's large size and the fact the doctor scraped the inside of my duodenum down the the never fibers, I was in A LOT of pain.  I wasn't expecting any pain, so I was a bit surprised when I came to.  I mean we are talking of a 8-9 on the pain scale.  It took 100 mg of Fentanyl to make me even remotely comfortable.  Due to the amount of pain I was in, they decided to admit me.  The concern was pancreatitis or a bowel perforation.   Luckily by morning it was neither of these, and I was allowed to go.

I need to go back to Mayo in a few months so the doc can check and make sure the edges are all clean and there is no remaining pieces of this polyp.  Also I still have 2 more good sized polyps in there that need removed.  Due to there sizes he thinks he will only be able to remove them a section at a time.  

While I was in the hospital there I was speaking with the resident GI and she asked who my FAP doctor was.  FAP doctor, what?!  I guess at Mayo they have doctors who just specialize in FAP!  I was blown away by this.  So, when I'm out there for my next visit I am going to meet with one of these specialists.  

Hopefully this week is my last week of doctor appts for a while.  Tomorrow I meet with my colorectal surgeon, hopefully he agrees that everything is going fine.  I also need to have my GI order an Xray for me.  While at Mayo they placed a stent in my pancreatic duct, and we need to check that it has fallen out.   Other than that we are just awaiting the path report on my polyp (which I am feeling very confident it will be benign).  Then after all that I plan to stay away from the docs for a bit, hopefully until I head back out to Mayo!

Stay tuned for lots of pictures from Florida!   All I can say is it was a good time had by all.