A Turnaround

And just like that, things change.

Before my first surgery I received some wise words not to “text under the influence”, and really, I should have extended that sage advice to writing. Though, I suppose, that means almost nothing would have been written at TMI, but I do regret the way I closed out my last entry. I’ve gone through much of this before, that fear of dying at any moment, before the GI rehab program (’08) when my small intestine was not functioning. I remember going to bed, breath shallow, body emaciated, resigned to the fact that I might not wake up. My mom would set the alarm to check on me during the night to make sure I was still breathing. Not only did I survive, but ended up healthier than I’d ever been within a year; fitter than ever within 2 years.

I suppose it’s because I penned the last entry just a day after I first started eating (small, but normal-ish) meals, after the TPN (IV feeding) was pulled. A day after the morphine was halted. A day after the IVs were stopped.

Everything just sort of went into shock. The body lost the support system it had relied on for a solid month. I felt horrible and panicky and completely lost.

I really should have waited a few days to update, but, well, I didn’t, so all I can do is apologize for the needlessly emotional/panicky update. Everyone has shit to deal with in their lives, and everyone experiences their own little hell at some point or another, and I *hate* putting mine out there, which is why I intended to only update when things were going well.

Yes, misery needs company but I much prefer the solitary path. Pity is the last thing I want, or need.

(But please know all the supportive messages and tweets and FB notes mean so much – all your kindness and love and good vibes/prayers/thoughts are much needed and so, so helpful.)

The thing is, I don’t have patience; I want things to be the way they were before my planned surgery. I want to be/feel fit and strong; I want to take Brio for a nice 10K, want to do my 5K row + 90 min training session. My brain/body is screaming for it, but there’s not much more I can do than take it one step, one day, at a time.

The stomach is atrophied after not being used for a month; it needs to stretch out and learn to work again.

I feel bony and skinny and weak, but I know it’ll take time for the stomach and gut to start to absorb optimally and for me to be able to take in an adequate number of calories again to start to rebuild. In the meantime, physio has me working on strengthening the heart and lungs (and slowly engaging the muscles, too). A week ago I was barely conscious and today I walked a total of 60 minutes plus 50 stairs. Yes it was pathetically slow and frustratingly dissatisfying, but I wasn’t short of breath, my heart wasn’t pounding, I didn’t feel the need to lie down as soon as I returned to my room.

Every day, a little bit stronger.

I’ll learn what the (shortened) week has in store when I meet with my surgeon Tuesday morning. Since my last update, as the narcotics and TPN and everything else pumped through the IV continue to be purged from the system, I’m feeling – mentally and emotionally, if not physically – better. The brain fog has lifted for the most part. Things still echo through my head, but not to the extent they did just days ago. Vision still isn’t 100% clear, but I’m not longer straining to focus on a given object.

Give it another week and these things will have worked themselves out, too, I suspect.

Once again, apologies for the more-than-necessary info included in the last post, and as always please excuse grammar/spelling/punctuation fails/typos.

Hope your July 1st was wonderful. It was certainly a positive start to the second half of the year on my end.


Flowers (post surgery #1) from my wonderful friends Naheed and Shaheen Nenshi, which I failed to include here until now. These continue to lift my spirits even when I just look at the picture. I truly have the best of friends/family to help me through this.


2 thoughts on “A Turnaround

  1. First, *thank you* for sharing, for letting us into your diary, into your mind. We had no right to that information, but it helped us understand and learn about you and, from you, about bearing pain with dignity and courage that is well beyond your years.
    Like the rest of us, I think you underestimate your effect on the lives of others. We are all like pebbles tossed into a pond… we never know where the ripples go and what they do when they reach the shore. Would any of us been able to handle your ordeal so well? The fact that every one of your friends thought about that has strengthened them against their own unhappy events. Well done!
    If you choose to continue to document your recovery with its inevitable ups and downs, it will keep our experiences in context and help us “push through” our own little crises. “What would Alheli say or do ?” is a potent motivator precisely because we have been able to glimpse the depths of your courage. The best leaders lead by example. And you have the makings of an exceptional one. Hell, you already are!

    And *do* read The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Things that made no sense if you read it before, will now seem very familiar.
    Be patient, be bold, just be yourself and all will be well.
    Someday, I hope to let you know what you have done for me during these months … and I have a bone to pick with Brio!
    May you have the wind at your back for the rest of your journey.


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