I finally wore out my welcome

23 Dec

After a mere 19 days in the hospital, the doctors finally decided enough was enough.  I was released on Monday evening and the taste of outside freedom was the best Christmas present I could ask for.

A bit more on the surgery…

In my mom’s previous update, she noted the doctors were able reroute some plumbing to enable proper flow through the digestive system.  Prior to the operation, they had some speculations on what was causing the blockage, such as inflamed tissue (a common side effect from radiation) or fecal build-up; this is not what they found, however. Instead they discovered another tumor that had begun to grow in the small intestines, and it had finally reached a problematic size.  While this was devastating news, it wasn’t all that surprising. Over the past few months we’ve continued to monitor my CEA level and it had been on the rise.  This additional tumor now helped explain why.

Surgery recovery…

After surgery, the next big milestone I had to accomplish was to actually prove my bowels were working again. I asked the doctors how I could speed up the process of having a bowel movement. Walk, they said. For some people, it only takes a day for their system to be restored.  My bowels, on the other hand, continued to lie dormant for eight days as I walked lap after lap around the hospital corridors.  It was only on that eighth day that they decided to wake up…and I guarantee you’ve never seen a more excited person on the toilet than at that moment.  If it hadn’t been 4:30a.m. I would have started calling everyone I knew to share the good news.  But the good news was short lived, as other issues began to arise.  After a few days, my surgical wound – a 10″ vertical scar down my abdomen held together by 17 staples – began to show initial signs of infection.  The doctors removed 13 of the staples to clear out the infection, which left me with a gaping wound.  They cannot sew up an incision once it has been opened, therefore I had to have a wound-vac put on – a device that provides negative pressure wound therapy via a vacuum. I had to wear one of these last year after my surgical incision became infected and they had to re-open it.  Depending on how fast the wound heals, I could have to wear this device for up to a month…ugh.

Home sweet home…

While I still felt very weak and was experiencing a lot of pain, I was so excited when I was told I could go home earlier this week.  I quickly found that the recovery process sped up when I was in my own surroundings.  Within 24 hours I was able to decrease the amount of pain medication I was taking and each day I’ve noticed my strength and mobility improve.  I still have a good 4-5 weeks of recovery ahead of me, but I am well enough to be able to enjoy the upcoming festivities and celebrate Christmas comfortably.

What’s next?…

With the discovery of this new tumor, plus the existing ones on the liver and lungs, and any additional ones we may not know about, it’s obvious we have our work cut out for us.  As Nick says ‘We’re running a marathon and thought we were at mile 25, and then realized we are only at mile 3.’  We clearly have our work cut out for us.  We do have a treatment plan in place and I will share more about that in my next post.  In the mean time, enjoy the holidays with your families and know I am eternally grateful for all the love and support that continues to come our way!

15 Responses to “I finally wore out my welcome”

  1. Barbara McCarthy December 23, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    Hey Sweetie,

    Keep up your wonderful spirit! Let Christmas light shine right through you and heal every cell in your beautiful self! Praying for you, babycakes!

  2. diane rislow December 23, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    You are home! What a wonderful Christmas gift!

    We can’t imagine what you have gone through but I know that you are strong and have so many family and friends that are cheering for you. You’ll never be alone in this

    Now our goal will need to be to pray even harder to God for healing and to stop the growth of those tumors. HE hears our prayers so we need to flood Heaven with these
    requests. Prayers going up right now for you. Hope your Christmas is wonderful and

  3. Gary and Vicki Murrison December 23, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    We’ve never met you, Emily. We only know you through our friends, Lon and Lynn Akerberg. We have read your blogs, and have never met a more inspirational person in our lives. Keep up the fight, and we’ll continue to cheer for you. Have a wonderful Christmas holiday with your friends and family.

  4. Rita Hartert December 23, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    Appreciate your latest update……..also, so glad you’re home with loved ones, and that mom, Jane and Bill can be with you for Christmas. Blessings to all of you! Keep the faith!

  5. Christina Alberts December 23, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    I am so glad you’ll be home for Christmas Emily! Jeremy and I will keep you and Nick in our thoughts and prayers. Happy Holidays and may your 2012 be filled with good tidings and joy!

  6. Carol Budzinski December 23, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    You GO, Girl!!
    love you very much!

  7. Suzanne Svoboda December 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Emily, since you had not posted lately I was concerned so it is so good to know that you are ok. I am so sorry to learn about what they discovered but happy they were able to remove it. I think you deserve a much needed break, so that will be my Christmas Wish for you and your husband. I hope you are able to enjoy yourselves, watch some silly movies (Planes, Trains & Automobile’s) favorite seasonal movie, laugh until I cry, regardless of how many times I have seen it type movies. I have also included one of my most favorite poems which I have carried in my purse since the age of about 17, so we are talking ten years ago, NOT! Ok I lied it has been closer to 35 years, but who is counting? Anyway thought even if you have read this in the past, I think reading again cannot hurt, so wanted to share it with you and Nick. God Bless you both and have a very Merry Christmas and let’s pray for a better 2012.

    Do Not Quit
    When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
    When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
    When the funds are low and the debts are high,
    And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
    When care is pressing you down a bit,
    Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
    Life is queer with its twists and turns,
    As every one of us sometimes learns,
    And many a failure turns about,
    When he might have won had he stuck it out;
    Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
    You may succeed with another blow.
    Often the goal is nearer than,
    It seems to a faint and faltering man,
    Often the struggler has given up,
    When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
    And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
    How close he was to the golden crown.
    Success is failure turned inside out–
    The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
    And you never can tell how close you are,
    It may be near when it seems so far,
    So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
    It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
    – Author unknown

  8. Kelly Kabotoff December 23, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Merry Christmas!

  9. Kristina December 24, 2011 at 2:25 am #

    You are a true warrior! Chuck Norris has nothing on you, girl. Very frustrated on your behalf to hear of this setback, but we know you will continue to kick butt, take names, and always, always keep moving forward because that’s just you. Many blessings & Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones, two- and four- legged, and pls remember there are lots and lots of prayers coming your way from all your many quiet cheerleaders back here in Nevada.

  10. Bonnie Hughey December 24, 2011 at 2:52 am #

    Emily, I’m so happy that you’re home in time for the holidays!! Merry Xmas to you and your family!!

  11. Trent & Zil December 28, 2011 at 9:49 am #


    We hope you had a wonderful Christmas at home. You are always in our hearts and prays…! Until we see you again. Don’t give up, Don’t ever give up…!


    Trent & Zil

  12. Mary Nakaki December 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    So happy to hear that you could be home for Christmas. There is nothing more healing than being with family. Here’s to a great 2012!
    Love you tons,

  13. fabs December 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family always!!!! Em, I wish you and your family a beautiful new year!! lets hope 2012 will bring peace, love, strength and many other great things, but most importantly health. you are always in my thoughts. thanks for the update.
    Its a very delicate time, but, “When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place.”
    we love you!!! schiestels.

  14. Erinne January 12, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    Love how real and honest this post is. You have people you’ve never heard of or met keeping you in their thoughts and prayers. Stay strong.


  15. Roberta "Berta" Wilder January 16, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Hello from your Golden Valley neighbors! We’re sending good thoughts and positive energy your way Emily.

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