It has been two months since surgery. Linda and I took a walk around the neighborhood this afternoon. It was a beautiful day and a pleasant walk. I don't know the objective temperature. I do know that Linda was warm and I was cold, even bundled up with coat, hat and gloves.
I'm doing pretty well some days, and tolerable or better most days. There is still an occasional awful day, just to keep life interesting.
We saw a gastroenterologist for the first time last Wednesday. There were three significant observations.
First is that my situation is now mostly in the GI (gastrointestinal) category. We've dealt with everything else, and what I'm left with are GI issues, some of which will continue the rest of my life. I suspect that Dr. Ehrenpreis and I will become good friends.
Second is that we should expect a year for everything to settle down to whatever “new normal” is going to be. I think the progress is much faster than that, but expecting another ten months is probably good for me . . . patience . . . breathe deeply . . . one day at a time . . . and so on.
Third is that one of the things removed in the first surgery is part or all of the section of the intestines that processes fat. This has several consequences. One is that it will always be difficult to gain weight, because fat is calorically about three times as dense as carbohydrates and protein. (I consider this generally a good thing, although I could use another five pounds right now.) Second is that fat will pass through me. (I consider this generally a bad thing.) Third is that I will need to supplement the fat soluble vitamins A, E, D and K, because I won’t get an adequate amount by diet alone, and I will need a vitamin B12 shot every month. (I consider this disappointing but manageable.)
With this news, and the prospect of months and years of upkeep and maintenance and nothing much changing, we will do a soft shutdown of CaringBridge. If I end up in an emergency room, we’ll post. If the PMP comes back, we’ll post. But I suspect the risks are higher that I’ll have a climbing accident (yes, I’m climbing again) or motorcycle accident (it’s been too cold to have much fun on the bike, but I’ve been out once so far this year), than that something related to cancer and surgery will cause a serious problem.
I do have a blog which has been completely inactive until now. A copy of this message has been posted as the opening entry. Chances are the blog will be very very slow, but even at that, more lively than CaringBridge. See chriskimball.blogspot.com.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, to every person who posted, and every person who read and thought about me. Your good wishes and prayers and jokes and Haikus and general thoughtfulness have meant the world to me.
6 April 2008