A few months ago this blog abruptly stopped. Turns out that my family history of bowel cancer became a personal history of bowel cancer. There was little time to reflect - the two weeks after my colonoscopy were filled with further investigations and serious medical conversations (if you are being evaluated for cancer ALWAYS take a support person to appointments) and then the verdict. It was the very earliest of stages, and due to a condition called serrated polyposis syndrome I would need my large bowel and rectum removed. Straight away. Testing during surgery would determine if oncology treatment was required. From the verdict to the surgery we had four weeks to arrange a nanny, extra childcare, freeze meals (we bought a chest freezer) and organise everything. It was a manic time, quite horrid and so busy I barely gave the consequences of the surgery much thought.
The surgery was meant to take place in two parts. The first would remove the large bowel and rectum, then use the small bowel to create a pouch (the new rectum) and also create a temporary stoma to allow everything to heal. The second, eight weeks later, would remove the stoma, reconnect everything and be the end of my treatment.
The first operation went well, but the small bowel didn't quite stretch enough for an easy stoma. The doctors felt that I wouldn't be able to manage this stoma myself, so the operation was bought forward two weeks. I managed to get a post op infection, probably from the central line in my neck so stayed in hospital for two weeks. The stoma failed right around two weeks, and became infected as poo leaked into the area. It was very unglamorous. The second operation went well, and I was glad that I had no more operations in my future. Except, the wound was quite infected, and I spent a further three and half weeks in hospital with some funky temperatures, four more trips to theatre to clean the wound and mostly unable to eat due to a very unhappy bowel.
My hospital food experiences included: not eating at all (for days at a time), eating the 'low residue' (no fibre) diet and for a few days receiving nutrition through a PICC line into my arm.
I've been at home for three weeks and am very weak. I'm not cooking and have no food experiments planned! The monotony of the low residue diet continues (there is ONE green vegetable in my OK to eat list) and I could cheerfully never eat cauliflower again. My bowel will take around six months to adjust to the new set up. Fingers crossed, because I spend a fair amount of time in the bathroom at the moment.
As I get better, I'm sure I will be up to blogging again. I love the people I've met through blogging, the experiences I've had (including reviewing cookbooks) and keeping track of my family's day to day life. As it is, I am currently feeling tortured whenever a new issue of Cuisine magazine arrives and we are working our way through dozens of donated frozen meals! We have been excellently supported, and I'm grateful things were caught at an early stage.