Well, back down to one family member visiting. Dad and Ellen left this morning after a week's visit. It was wonderful that they came out to visit and it seems to have passed by in a blink of an eye. It was great spending time with them every day - watching movies, playing cards, making brief excursions outside the apartment to show them around downtown. The visit was extra special because, living 2,000 miles from them, I don't get to see them as much as I would like.
I feel like I've hit a plateau with my healing. As much as I try, I still can't go through a day without grabbing the bottle of pain killers. I've tried it, but sometimes, it just hurts too much to stick it out. Could I do it? Yeah, but what's the point. When I'm in pain, I get pretty short and irritable and am not really the greatest person to be around. I just want to lie down and not move. It's all very un-Doug-like.
Today was a good example of my wishful thinking that I'm healing faster than I really am. I spent about two hours driving around in my car and running various errands. This involved a fair amount of walking and sitting in the car - both of which stirred up the hornet nest. I definitely bit off far more than I could chew. About an hour into it, I really started feeling uncomfortable, and by the time I got back, I was completely wiped. I got into the apartment, dropped on the couch, and slept for two hours. So, I've still got to take it easy (which is also very un-Doug-like, damn type-A personality.)
The recovery plateau is frustrating because there are a couple of things that I *really* want to see improvement on. If the surgeon tells me that any of these things may wind up being permanent collateral damage to cancer surgery, it'll take awhile for my to accept this "new normal".
First, I really want my ass to heal. Everyone here knows that they took out my rectum (still getting my mind around that one) and gave me a new exhaust port during surgery. This means that the old exhaust port was no longer needed, so the surgeon sealed it off. I'm sure there are various ways to do this, but the approach my surgeon chose involved suturing a skin flap between the two butt cheeks. That's fine, but the problem for me right now is that this little flap is still a bit swollen and extends out past the butt cheeks. My ass looks like a hamburger bun with an oversized patty. And it's this flap that hurts when I sit. What I'm hoping (and expecting) is that, eventually, all the swelling, or whatever it is, goes down, and this flap gets tightens up so that it's just two butt cheeks and no flap back there. But right now ... it feels like I'm wearing a flesh thong.
Second, I want to regain all the feeling in my pelvic region. Pretty much everything in the perineal region (i.e., the taint, gooch, ABC) is completely numb. Can't feel a thing and I'm unable to fire any of the muscles down there. It's like the nerves have all been severed. My urologist says that this is not the case and that the nerves in that area have likely been traumatized due to the surgery (he says they were "stretched out"), but that he expects everything to come back on-line in time. I sure hope so.
So, that's where I am. I was watching a Tour de France preview show today on Vs. and they were interviewing Lance Armstrong. He was sitting there wearing his Livestrong bracelet, Livestrong T-shirt and Livestrong shoes, looking fit as hell. I should have felt inspired, but I didn't. In fact, I found myself wanting to wring his neck - he doesn't have a freaking bag, he didn't have his rectum and a good portion of his colon removed. Screw him.
I was surprised by my reaction and thought about why I reacted that way and realized that I'm just jealous that he's done fighting his battle, while I'm still in the middle of mine. He's sitting there in that interview all healthy, and here I am lying on side all day long waiting and waiting and waiting for things to heal up. Why can't I be all healed up? Then I thought more about his journey, and how, although not the same as mine, his was still pretty damn brutal (Hello ... Stage IV cancer? brain surgery?), and how I'm sure he had his doubts at times too, and that I need to stop my bitching and get right in the head again. Even if everything doesn't heal up the way I want it too, I'm going to deal with it and move on with me like. So, tomorrow's agenda includes spending some time surfing the Lance Armstrong Foundation web site and thumbing through his first book for a little motivation and whatever else I can find to help replenish my positive attitude reservoir.