One year post colectomy surgery

I see no better option than surgery“, the gastro-enterologist said as we reviewed my husband’s colonoscopy results.

It’s been a year. A year since that appointment. A year since the first surgery.
We flew to Los Angeles in October 2015 and one of us came back home without a colon. Just like that. So easy to write.
How do I summarize the past twelve months? How do I find the words to express the fear and the hope that we felt? How do I describe the worry and the pain?

My husband endured so much physical suffering, there were times I wasn’t sure he would survive. But he did.

What a journey! There were weeks of dehydration and required IV therapy. There were two months of struggle with ostomy bags. There was a second surgery to remove the bags and connect the internal pouch.
And then recovery. Slow, grueling recovery.
Excruciating pain while his body learned to function without a major organ.
Waking up every hour on the hour at night. Exhaustion.
Feeling trapped inside a weakened body.
Wondering when it will end. Wondering how it will end.

It’s been a year since all that.

The excruciating pain is gone.
He sleeps through the night now. Rest.
He eats enough that muscles have grown. Good weight put back on.
We go out even if no restrooms are nearby! We’ve gone hiking. We’ve traveled internationally.
Life is so much better.
Life is good.
We are making plans for the future that no longer revolve around getting a will and those end-of-life affairs in order.

I can’t say yet that it’s all better. We are still struggling with some complications that require invasive procedures and strong medications. There are side effects to contend with.
But if all is not better, a lot is and we are extremely grateful.

He can do what he loves. He can teach classes. He trains most days. That goes a long way in making life fun again.
He can eat enjoyable foods.
We’ve had 365 nights of falling asleep and waking up together. Each one is one more than what we were guaranteed. Each one a gift we don’t take for granted.
Our marriage is stronger than ever.
He now knows without a shadow of a doubt that he can count on me. I meant those vows, in sickness and in health…
I now know what I am made off. I am strong. I am capable. I am dependable. I am reliable.

We were in a deep dark hole, but we were there together.
We struggled and scrambled our way out but we held on to one another.
We were afraid but we didn’t have to be afraid alone.

Photo of Burton and Sarah holding hands at the hospital

Fate threw us a coin.
On the one side, there was tremendous pain.
On the other we etched a path from tremendous love.
We still don’t know where the path will take us but we know that Love will carry us through.

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3 thoughts on “One year post colectomy surgery

  1. Sarah!!! It is so crazy, but I can feel every word you wrote, I feel every emotional expression you write. The only difference with our husbands is they’ve had very different illnesses. When I read one of your first posts, I was in tears, bawling in tears, because I felt everything you wrote. it was exactly how I felt when Damon was going through Cancer surgery and treatment. I wasn’t ever able to do all the writing you have, but just reading your posts is very touching. I want you to know that I admire you so much for your strong will and courage, for writing and expressing everything I wasn’t able to write.
    You are so inspiring! I love reading your blog!

    1. Thank you for your kind words. Our husbands were wise in picking good wives 🙂
      See you next year in Hawaii 😉

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