Two years post colectomy surgery

It’s been two years.
I actually don’t remember many of the details now.
I dropped him off and waited for the hospital to call me. When they did, about nine hours later, they informed me that the total colectomy procedure had gone well.
When I saw my husband in the recovery ward, he was enjoying remnants of anesthesia-induced euphoria.
“I’m really enjoying my new vagina” he exclaimed with a thumbs up!
If you knew my husband, you’d know he’d never say something like that unless he was under the influence of a powerful substance indeed. (Something I had never witnessed since my man has never even tasted a drop of alcohol in his life!)
I let myself relax and enjoy the moment. Surgery had gone well. My husband’s spirits were up (albeit artificially). Maybe the worse was behind us.

I couldn’t have foreseen the year of grueling complications that awaited us.
It was hard and painful and difficult to hold on to the hope of ever going back to a normal life.
We trudged on. My husband was amazing.
Undergoing procedure after procedure that required fasting and general anesthesia.
Taking medication that ended up killing the nerve endings in his extremities.
Planning his life around trips to the toilet.
Suffering day in; day out.

As the months passed, he slowly got better. He put on weight (it took about a year for him to go from his post surgery weight of 142 lbs to his current healthy weight of 170 lbs). He resumed his martial arts training and went back to teaching classes. One year, post-surgery, we flew to Japan for a two week trip that went surprisingly well. We decided to hold off any more procedures and see if his body could function without outside interventions.
So far it has…

Photo of Sarah Badat Richardson and Burton Richardson with a Koala
We made a dream come true this year and traveled to Australia.

We did not go to the hospital at all this year. We traveled for a total of 13 weeks as a family and my husband even squeezed in a solo trip to Finland (to coach his long time friend Baret Yoshida at the BJJ Abu Dhabi tournament).
We hiked. We went to the movies. We slept well at night.
The normal life we were afraid to hope for in case we couldn’t ever have it again, is here once more.
My husband still needs ongoing antibiotics but in low doses that seem to agree with his body.
He probably won’t ever eat a salad again (digesting stringy and high fiber vegetables is almost impossible without a colon), a small price to pay for all the beautiful days we have together.
He feels well. He looks well. He’s happy.

This particular trial has brought us closer than ever. We certainly don’t take each other for granted.
A major organ was removed from his body and gratitude has filled the empty space that remained.
Gratitude for improved health.
Gratitude for regained strength.
Gratitude for fortified love.

We fought a year-long terrifying battle and we now enjoy peaceful times.
We know that peace is fragile.

We also know that WE are strong!

Here is the video I took of my husband after he woke up from general anesthesia and joked about his surgery.

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