Unexpected surgery

6 Dec

For the past week I’ve been playing a game called Waiting for the Bowel Movement.  I can assure you this is not a fun game and I hope I’m never a contestant again after I get done with this round.  It all started last Wednesday when I checked into the ER  at Barnes Jewish Hospital with unbearable abdominal cramping.  Several hours later I was admitted for supervision and some tests, yet by the end of the next day it was clear my bowels were not moving.  I’ve now spent six days in the hospital with no food or water (only IV drip) and countless X-rays, CT scans, and blood draws…and we’ve now arrived at the last resort – surgery.

Today at 4:00 p.m. I’ll have the culprit, an inflamed portion of my small bowel, surgically removed.  This is a similar surgery to the one I had last year (when the tumor portion of the colon/rectum was removed), but I’m told this procedure will be less complicated and quicker (1.5 – 2 hours in duration). Unfortunately it’s difficult to give any more details than this because much of it depends on what the doctors actually see when they get in there.  Recovery time is estimated at one week in the hospital followed by four weeks at home.  Obviously I’m hoping to speed this up so I can be in tip-top shape for Santa later this month…call it my Christmas wish!

While I never wanted to see this result in surgery, I’m excited at the thought of there being some relief in sight (after the recovery, of course). So, please send prayers and good vibes this way and check back later for updates…my mom will be on blog duty.

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15 Responses to “Unexpected surgery”

  1. Rita Hartert December 6, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    We so appreciate your update, Emily. Does this surgery mean the bag comes on again? Prayers certainly continue for you……..not just today, but every day. Much love and hope!

    • eeihrke December 6, 2011 at 7:46 am #

      5-10% chance of having another bag. Praying extra hard I fall into that 90-95%!

  2. Tara Sill December 6, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    Oh, Em. I’m so sorry to hear this news. I will be praying for you and hope that all goes perfect and it’s a simple surgery with a speedy recovery. Have your mom keep us updated! Sending all our love!

  3. Barbara McCarthy December 6, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    Thinking of you every day! Hope all goes well!

  4. Kathleen Dickinson December 6, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    Our prayers and best wishes are with you Em.

  5. Vicki hetherington December 6, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Hi Em

    I pray and think about you all the time! You will get through this. Also you are
    a very good writer. We talked about this you need to write a book about your life.
    It would be a best seller! I would purchase it!
    Vic

  6. Suzanne Svoboda December 6, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    Emily, oh my gosh, I have never met you but have followed your story since the beginning, what you are going through is so similar to what I experienced many, many times over the past ten years. After having my illeostomy bag reversed after having it for six months I thought that would be it, over, done with, everything is back in working order. Well I discovered that was not to be and ended up in the hospital for five to seven day stays when my bowels decided to just give up. My heart goes out to you, but I can tell you once you have the surgery and have the bowel issue corrected the hospital stay will just be a faded memory. There were times I almost had them just reverse the illeostomey and put the dang bag back on, I got so sick and tired of going to the ER every time pain and cramping became overwhelming. You and your husband have been through so much but I promise you this bowel thing is a workable situation. What I have discovered and I am in no way comparing my situation to yours or claiming to be an expert but when there are times my body just cannot accept solid food for whatever reason I have discovered a great way to manage that my bowels seem to accept and that my taste buds LOVE.
    With much experimentation over the years when my bowels begin to slow down or I begin with cramping I immediately begin a diet of “Smart Water”, I drink this because I do not care for the sports drinks but need the electrolytes. My doctor suggested food blended, or chew up the food and spit it out, oh my God for the life of me I just could not do that. But one thing I did discover is that smoothies made bowel friendly, my body as well as my taste buds seemed to enjoy. At times I just purchase the ones at McDonalds if I am not eating due to bowel problems and will also go to Smoothie King so have exactly what I want placed in them like protein powder/electrolytes etc. but these can get expensive. Well I decided I would just make my own at home and I put exactly what I want and need in them and if I must say so myself they are WAY better than any I have ever had before.  I did however purchase a blender called the Ninja (Bed, Bath & Beyond) after I wore out two motors on Kitchen Aid models. Anyway below is what I use to make mine and I believe you will get all the nutrients your body needs and my messed up jumble of bowels seem to tolerate it well and it satisfies my craving for food and I actually gain more weight drinking these things then I do eating solid foods. I also discussed this with a dietitian nurse at The Christ Hospital here in Cincinnati and she gave her approval so I feel comfortable passing this information onto you.
    A couple of suggestions would be get the Ninja Blender, one, it is a great all around blender/food processer and second it really works. I am a Kitchen Aid girl but the Ninja has them beat in this department. Also when I cannot eat it is usually for at least one day or more so I just make an entire large pitcher and leave it in the actual blender container and store it is the refrigerator and blend it each time I refill my cup. Below is what I use in mine, you might wish to give it a try; I have found it is very easy on your digestive system.
    Sue’s Smoothies
    You will need a good kitchen knife to do the cutting of bananas.
    * (I purchase a bunch of bananas and place them directly into freezer and they keep forever, ok maybe not forever but for at least five weeks which is longest I have ever frozen them.)
    *2-frozen bananas – run under hot water immediately before cutting in pieces and removing skins.
    2-cups of plain or vanilla yogurt
    ½-1 cup of protein powder (any kind you decide works for you, I use Kroger brand which I get in health food section and I get the plain or vanilla flavor)
    ½ cup of pure honey (honey is expensive so I purchase large containers of it at Sam’s or Cosco)
    2 tablespoons of vanilla (purchase at Sam’s or Cosco as well, pure vanilla is also expensive)
    1-2 cups of milk (I use whole milk)
    After blending all of the above, fill remainder of a large Blender with frozen fruits of your choice. Again I have found purchasing these is more cost effective at Sam’s or Cosco.
    Strawberries, Peaches, Pineapple, Papaya, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, etc.
    It is a little time consuming to prepare but the end result speaks for itself and your body will thank you, since I have been using these smoothies, when I can feel my bowels are not doing their job I have not had to be admitted for bowel issues again. Anyway I thought it was worth a try and along with this suggestion I give you my continued support and prayers. Look forward to your next post and hope you are much, much better come Christmas.

    • Bonnie Hughey December 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

      I really like and agree with your suggestions.

  7. Karen Moger December 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    Thanks for the post Em. May the force be with you.
    Aunt Karen

  8. Gale Skala December 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    TADA I’m back and sending positive thoughts and wishes your way. love and hugs to you my friend, gale

  9. Christina Alberts December 6, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    I hope everything goes really well Emily, my thoughts and prayers are with you!

  10. Mary Nakaki December 6, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    Hi Emily,
    Hope everything went well for you today and that you’ll be ready for some Christmas cheer soon. Mary

  11. Jill December 6, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    We love you so much, Emily. We had you in our thoughts today – and every day!
    xoxox
    Jill, Patrick & Hank

  12. Cris Moger December 7, 2011 at 6:06 am #

    Thinking about you guys and prayers with everybody! Thanks for the update!

  13. Bonnie Hughey December 7, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    God Bless you Emily! I pray that you receive a speedy recovery.
    Hang in there sweetie!

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