Intestines playing up again

Here I am back on the Tablelands and taking each day as it comes because you just never know what’s going to crop up!

I’m in Atherton Hospital this weekend due to obstructed intestines again. Groan! I flew home on Friday and felt fine till the evening when the pain began. Apparently after surgery it is common for intestines to become adhesive and stick shut, then they can even twist around the blockage. Having experienced this 3 months ago, I knew to immediately stop all food and drink. I wriggled and writhed all night long, and poked and massaged, trying to fix it, but yesterday I began vomiting and was becoming dehydrated. We came in to the hospital at 4:30pm and I was put on a drip for rehydration. The blockage seems to have resolved itself in the night and I’m waiting now for the doctors’ go-ahead to try food.

Oh well, at least I seem to only have to face one problem at a time and not all at once! I feel so happy and relaxed again about the ileostomy after sorting out the prolapse. My last home time was pretty stressful while muddling through management of that problem. When I flew to Brisbane with Houdini taped in I was really ready for some advice from the specialist. My appointment with the surgeon was on Thursday morning, just before another tight bellyful of chemotoxin and fluid. Imagine my reaction when he said, “I want to put a catheter in your stoma and blow it up” ! (BaBoom!! ??) What he meant was he’d blow up a small balloon at the end of the catheter under my body wall to block the exit. This seemed to work, although it was a nuisance to have the remaining 30cm or so of catheter (long rubber tube) dangling out and having to be stuffed in the bag where it was quite bulky. The surgeon sent search parties all over the hospital for the smallest catheter available and he didn’t want to try a condom or waterbomb balloon (my suggestions).

However, by that evening the balloon had come out anyway, and the prolapse with it, under pressure from my bloated abdomen. I was back to the sticky tape method again. The surgeon and the stomatherapy nurses I consulted could not think of any reason why not to continue this way as the skin-friendly tape was working for me. They actually seemed to take notes about my innovation (for which I thank Manja who first suggested it! xxx)

Here in Atherton Hospital they’re taking extreme caution about my neutropenia (lack of white blood cells to fight infection) and cytotoxicity (chemotoxins in my body). I’m isolated in a single (“prison”) room and no one enters without wearing serious safety gear and a facemask. At least I haven’t had to watch other people eating breakfast while I’m still on “nil by mouth”.

My Brisbane trips really haven’t been a hardship THANKS to my lovely attentive family and friends coming over to visit me while I’m there! It was wonderful to spend this time with Mum as my carer. We had fun together and the days flew. The weather was beautiful for walks along Southbank and other outings. Janet joined us for 3 days and we celebrated Mum’s birthday (Sat) as well as Mother’s Day (Sun).

Maybe the poisoning is starting to build up as I’ve been having some minor side effects such as a sore rash on the backs of my hands, strange black marks like bruises on my feet, bleeding nose, unpleasant taste in my mouth and more days of feeling nauseous mid cycle. This time I also had a Monday in bed wiped out by dehydration (diarrhoea). However, my CA25 cancer marker is now down to 23 and I have only one more chemo cycle to go! This fantastic thought will carry me through the next weeks.

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