We just got back from a nice peaceful four day stay at our friend Peter's in the foothills of the Sierras. Good food and good company. Peter and I spent one day at Pinecrest Lake fishing. I caught one Rainbow Trout, but that was it for the day. It was so windy I couldn't try out my new fly fishing gear, but I got this guy on a big ole worm. Sauteed with a little butter, Yum! We had grilled steaks one night and grilled leg of lamb another night. It was a real food fest.
It's taken me so long to get back to
everyone because the doctors and hospitals just keep stringing me
out with delays and indecision. Things are not going well. There is
no evidence of more cancer, so at least I don't have to worry about
that, but I am also not getting better from the surgeries. The last
surgery fixed the prolapse, but I continue to have pain and
swelling, so there is obviously some other problem. My doctor is
about at his wit's end trying to figure out what's wrong. He sent me
for another CT scan and the stupid hospital got their records fouled
up and it took three weeks to get the scan to him. When he finally
got it, he called and said it didn't look good. He was hoping for a
perineal hernia, or a weakness in the pelvic floor because that could
be fixed, but there was no hernia. Now he believes there is so much
tissue damage from the radiation that my pelvis cannot hold up my
sphincter, thus the continual swelling around my anus. This probably
cannot be repaired, but he wanted another week to consult with other
experts. He wanted me to wait until he went to a convention of
colorectal surgeons so he could get more opinions.
He called while we were at Peter's (cell phones are good for something once in a while) and talked to Susie while we were out fishing. The consensus of the other surgeons was that he just open up my colon and see what happens! He said he was reluctant to do this, and I certainly am, since the problem is getting worse, not better. So we have agreed to abandon the reconstruction and go with a permanent colostomy. All the operations, treatments and suffering will have been for nothing and he will have to tear out the reconstructed rectum, repair the pelvic floor, undo the temporary ileostomy, and install the permanent colostomy. It will be a pretty heavy duty surgery, but at least that will be the end of it, I won't have to spend the next two years learning how to poop again with the reconstructed rectum. All that will be gone, and it will be the ostomy bag for life. Right now, that's better than what I am going through. I've been functionally disabled for over a year now and I am dying to get back into shape and back to work as well as doing all the things we used to do like biking, boating, fishing, and even walking more than a quarter mile. It will probably only take two or three months to recover from the colostomy and pelvic repair. I have a pre-op consultation with Dr Kim on August 30th. No date has been set yet for the surgery, but it will probably be in early September. My guess is that I will be in the hospital for about a week. Actually I am relieved that this is all coming to an end and that I will be able to get back to my life. Having already spent a year with an ileostomy, the colostomy certainly doesn't scare me. The colostomy is actually easier to maintain and I can eat any food and retaining hydration will be much easier.
Other than this fiasco, things are going well. It's been a beautiful summer and not too hot for a change. The nursery is in pretty good shape thanks to Susie, especially since she's unemployed and home all the time now, and the people we hired to cleanup the place this spring got things in pretty good order. It's up to me now to sell some of this stuff and try to make some more money. If we can just hold on for another couple of years, things will get a lot easier (assuming the government doesn't go broke). I will be 65 next July and can get Medicare and save $400 to $500 a month in insurance premiums. Our goal is to have all our debts paid off by the time Susie retires, it will be close, but it looks like we can still make it. Compared to a lot of other folks, we are still on easy street, so we are thankful for what we do have, but it would be nice to spend our last years not worrying about money. Thank god I had insurance when this thing happened or we would have lost everything.
The post Labor Day rush will be starting soon and I will have some waiting list pines ready for delivery. Cuttings went well and are rooting out nicely. Lots of quince and apples and even some Japanese maples are looking good. I'm looking forward to grafting season this year, will probably start sometime in October. So, keep those orders coming, we really appreciate all your moral support and patronage.