Apologies for not writing sooner about the operation but I have been in pain and taking strong pain killers, which have dulled my urge to continue my tale but here we go with Part 4.
On Monday 23rd of October barely 7 weeks after being diagnosed, I presented myself at the Ohio State University Hospital at 9:30 am in readiness for my Liver Resection operation. My gorgeous Kit was with me and constantly calmed my fears. I was told that this was to be a fairly straight forward operation but of course, being a worrier, my mind was full of all kind of scenarios. Would I wake up from the op? Would it go wrong and leave me in a vegetative state? Would they discover more cancer? My fears were endless but thanks to Kit I was able to prepare for my surgery with a smile on my face.
I met my surgeon Dr Black and even the chief anaesthetist and I was checked over. A nurse tried repeatedly to get a line into my left hand but after 3 attempts had to give up. Apparently, I have “rolling veins”. Not funny. It hurt, but another nurse was called and after another 2 tries was successful.
And that was about it. After about a half hour wait I was wheeled through to the prep room and operating theatre. I remember little of it and it was Goodnight Vienna from me for a while.
Now after this my memories are very hazy obviously. I vaguely remember being wheeled into my ward, but I was drifting in and out of consciousness for I don’t know how long. I remember being awake one time and being asked questions. One was which hospital I was in (I think I answered Cambridge, not Columbus and what day it was but I got that wrong too.)
Kit was there and reassured me that all had gone well with the op. Also, my surgeon appeared at some stage to tell me the op had been a success. The cancer had been removed. Whooppee….
I was obviously on painkillers and over the next few days I had the usual problems I suffer with them. I had hallucinations, vivid hallucinations. I think I was on oxycodone via a drip feed at first. I also suffered again with an Ileus which is common after abdominal surgery, where the bowel becomes inactive. It means that I had to endure clear liquid diet and worst of all a naso-gastric tube which I hate. It took the nurse at least 4 attempts to get one down me, through my nose and down my throat into my stomach. I think I fought weakly but eventually she prevailed. I was also put on multiple laxatives.
I was continually given broth, jello and lemonade most of which I refused. I wanted real food, but it wasn’t going to happen till my bowel started working again which it eventually did. I even suffered the indignity of a suppository one day for the first time in my life. I do recall shouting “Yehaaaaa” as it was inserted. Not nice. Lol.
Kit was in and out every day to check on me and tell me off for giving the nurses grief. I had gone in on Monday and I think by Wednesday or Thursday I managed a few painful first steps. I had regular visits from the doctors mostly to check if my bowel had started working but as I said it did eventually and I was informed on Saturday morning that I could go home. I also had my first proper food. Scrambled eggs with toast for breakfast and I think meatloaf with mash for dinner. Never has food tasted so good. My NG tube had also been removed which was a lot less painful than it is going in.
And so here I am back home now after a week so far. I am still on painkillers to ease the pain and I still feel very weak, but I am improving. My wound was actually glued shut (no stitches or staples) and it does leak slightly meaning I get through at least a couple of tee shirts a day, but it isn’t too bad although I think the tee shirts will be written off when I am fully recovered. Recovery is expected to take about six weeks until approx. mid-December. I do have an after operation visit with the surgeon on 21 November which I hope will be just routine.
I am taking it very easy at the moment just using doggie walking for exercising at present but hopefully next week I can restart my gym sessions, slowly at first obviously. Although I ate virtually nothing all of the time I was in hospital I actually gained 11 pounds going up to 188lbs when I came home but I believe that was mostly fluid retention and this morning I was back down to 175lbs which is good. I still wake up most nights which I believe is due to trying to turn in my sleep which hurts and wakes me up.
And that is my news so far. Hopefully you will find my posts interesting and feel free to share if you know anyone who might be suffering from the same problems and please contact me if you want more information.
Stan R. 3 November 2017.