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.