Friday, October 31, 2008

The kitty says Happy Halloween, too

Happy Halloween!

It’s been a good week. I have enjoyed being home and helping Steve this week. He’s making good progress, and we are thinking he will go back to work in a few weeks, hopefully on Monday, November 24. He has a follow-up appointment with the surgeon on Monday the 17th, so we’ll know more then.

I’ve been able to get some rest this week, which is good! I couldn’t have imagined having to go back to work this week. But I’m looking forward to getting back on Monday. By then Steve will be able to do a lot more for himself, so it will be good for him as well, to help him get back on his feet.

We’re feeling very grateful that things turned out the way they did. The outcome could have been so much different, I know, and we are so fortunate.

Tonight is Halloween and I’ve bought some candy for trick-or-treaters. We usually get a fair amount from the neighborhood. There are several families around with young children. It varies from year to year, but last year we had a good number. Hope I have enough candy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just a quick check-in...

So, we've been home from the hospital for a couple days now. Steve is doing very well, I think, considering all he's been through. He's moving v-e-r-y slowly and he is still very weak. But he's getting lots of rest and as much nutrition as I can get into him.

They sent us home with instructions to keep to a "mechanically soft diet." So he's had scrambled eggs, oatmeal, soup, soft veggies, fruit, applesauce, and a black bean veggie burger patty over the past couple of days. It takes very little to fill him up, so he's eating very small portions. But I am so happy to see him be able to eat and not feel nauseated. He's had no nausea and less pain than I thought he would, so we are feeling very blessed.

One night in the hospital, we were talking about Steve's surgeon, and I told him, "I think he saved your life." He said, "I think so, too." At the risk of sounding too dramatic ... I truly believe that. It scares me to think how close Steve really came to a life-altering and a life-threatening medical condition. Far too close for comfort, that's for sure!

Anyway, my days are very, very busy right now, but I'm happy we are over the hump and on the downward part of this journey. I'll check in again soon.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A note from the hospital

Steve had his surgery Tuesday morning. It took a lot longer than we had expected, and it ended up being a lot more complex and invasive than we hoped. I've learned that para-esophageal hernias account for only about 3% of all hiatal hernias. Thanks to our wonderful surgeon though, Steve is expected to make a full recovery.

Apparently, there was a “massive” (the word the surgeon used) hole in the top of his stomach wall, next to his esophagus, and his stomach had bulged up into that hole, and twisted around itself. This had completely blocked his esophagus. His stomach was adhering to his heart and lungs, and it was pulling away from the blood vessels that connect it to the small bowel and intestines. The surgeon, once he saw the damage, could not do a laparoscopic repair and also could not wait for another day or two for the other surgeon to do the big surgery. He said we barely made it in time and that if Steve had waited any longer, his stomach would have “died” from blood loss.

The doctor moved Steve’s stomach back down where it belongs, detaching it from the heart and lungs. He then did what is called a Nissen fundiplication wrap, which sort of wrapped his stomach around the esophagus and anchored it there. Then he anchored the stomach’s back walls to the muscles that live behind the stomach. And, he closed up the big hole that didn’t belong.

I think, all things considered, that my husband is doing really well. He is still in the hospital, and I’m staying here with him. He got the last of his tubes out today and started on a liquid diet today. We may get to go home tomorrow or Monday; don’t know for sure yet. It will be so good to be home…for both of us. I’m going to need to become the “soft foods queen” for awhile and figure out what he can have that’s good and will go down easily. No bread, no meat … nothing that will bulk up in his stomach. He must not have any stress on that poor stomach while it’s healing.

It’s been a long week, but we are feeling very grateful for the blessings that have come to him this week, especially when we found out just how close it really was. God is good. I've also been thinking about people not so many years ago who had this problem ... I think they just died a slow and painful death and no one knew what had happened to them.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Less than 12 hours to go...

We saw the surgeon today, and we have to be at the hospital tomorrow morning at 6am. He is going to attempt to do a laparoscopic procedure to repair Steve’s para-esophageal hernia, but he won’t know for sure if he can do the repair laparoscopically, until he actually gets in there and has a good look. So if he can’t, we will have to wait on a different surgeon to do the major surgery, which will take another day or two, since he’s booked solid with heart surgeries tomorrow.

So, we are fervently hoping and praying for a successful laparoscopic procedure! We’re a little nervous, but also feel so relieved that it’s finally happening, and Steve is going to be on the road to recovery very, very soon. We believe all will be well.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tomorrow is a big day

Steve has an appointment with the surgeon tomorrow, finally. It can't come soon enough for either one of us. He's so weak and has lost probably 50 pounds since this all started in July. At this point, he's only able to hold down liquids, and not those all the time... He's on short-term disability from his job.

I'm going to ask the surgeon to admit him to the hospital, the sooner, the better. Steve needs surgery as soon as possible. I've prepared Steve that he may be going directly to the hospital, and I think he would be relieved (and I know I would) if that actually happened.

I'll post more when I can.

A realization

I came to a realization yesterday. I have been avoiding blogging. In my mind I've told myself it's because Steve is so sick and I'm a lot busier around the house these days. Which is true. I've told myself I don't want my blog to be a "downer" -- that when people read it, I don't want them to come away feeling worse than they did before they read it. Which is true. I've told myself it hasn't even been about low carbing of late, and that's supposed to be the whole foundation for my blog in the first place. Which is true. It's all true...

But yesterday, out of the clear blue, the true reason why I have quit blogging came to me. I had decided - somewhere in the far back corner of my mind - that I wasn't going to blog again until I had some good news. Whether healthwise for Steve or weightwise for me ... just something truly positive to post. And there's the rub. Life is not always positive. I can almost always find something positive out of a situation, but here lately ... it's really been hard. I have felt truly beaten down.

Different people blog for different reasons. Some people want their blog to be educational and actually train people in various tasks. For example, Wayne has this blog, that has really helped me in some technical aspects of my blogging. And my best pal, Vikki, has such a user-friendly cooking blog, it makes even non-cooks want to give it a try.

Some people blog about politics, or their children, or their dog. Some blogs are about just whatever happens to occur on a particular day in a particular life. And they all have their place.

My blog seems to have been a little of all of the above, which is okay, too. But here lately it seems to have been about my health issues and my husband's health issues, which have been pretty negative. Why is that not okay to me? It's what my life has been consumed with. Good or bad, it's life right now. And I need to be able to blog about it, regardless of if it's negative or positive ... without fear of being thought of as a "negative person" or whatever other hooey I tell myself.

So, as of today, I'm back to blogging as often as I can. For the good or for the bad, whether it's an epic, or a couple sentences. I need to express myself, and so I'm going to!

Friday, October 10, 2008

At long last, a true diagnosis!

We got a call from my sweet husband's doctor today. He had another x-ray done yesterday to check his small bowel. And it showed the true problem. He doesn't have just a hiatal hernia; he actually has a large para-esophageal hernia, which means that his stomach is bulging up into his chest cavity. This is a very rare problem, the doctor said, but it can be fixed.

So, we are looking at surgery in the next couple of weeks. The surgeon that our doctor says is "the best in Memphis" for this type of surgery is out of town until next Friday. So it will be the week after before we'll be able to see him.

We are so relieved to have an actual reason for all the nausea and weightloss. And I'm so grateful that it can - and will - be repaired.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday night

Wow, sorry I've been AWOL this week. I've been under the weather with some stomach issues and my husband is still sick. He has another appointment on Tuesday with the gastroenterologist, and we are hoping that he'll either change the medicine or up the dosage, because it is not working.

We did make it to church today, for the first time in over a month. It was good to see friends and get out, but he got sick as we were leaving church, so I guess it was too much for him.

We've been talking about our vacation, which is supposed to be coming up in a couple weeks. We may need to cancel it. Even a cabin in the mountains is no fun if you're sick, and it's just too far to drive if he's not well.

I've really let the blogging go to the wayside along with some other things and I'm sorry about that. But there'll be plenty of time to blog when life gets a little easier. So until then, I'll check in as I'm able and not stress about the rest.
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