From Dec. 12 to 14 I sat in my easy chair in pain, my bowels welling up, gassy, and juicy. My stomach kept emptying itself into the pot I kept handy. Hot water bottle, massage, playing healing sounds… all to no avail. Nothing could go down, nothing was coming out.
I finally called my doctor. “Get Thee to an ER,” he said.
When we hung up, my friend Laura Dailey, whom I had not seen in weeks, was parked on my driveway. What an angel she has always been for me. She promptly took me to the hospital.
The ER doc found a twisted small intestine on the CT scan, something I’d been warned could easily happen after my initial nine-hour cancer surgery in 2009. In 2011 I had an intestinal blockage that resolved, and in 2012 a hernia had been spotted on a scan, but my oncologist suggested I leave it alone unless it became a problem.
It had become a problem.
I texted my 19-year-old son to update him on my status. He dropped everything, went to my house to pick up a few more things, and came to the hospital to stay throughout my days of affliction. I feel so blessed.
A stiff yet flexible plastic gastro-intestinal tube was placed through my nose down to my stomach. I’d had one in 2009 for my first cancer surgery, but it was placed while I was under anesthesia. This time they placed it with me fully awake. One nurse said, “This is the worst torture we do to our patients.” I had to keep my head down and swallow a cup of water while the nurse struggled to get that hose down into my gullet. I gagged and coughed as it went down, then suddenly felt very cold and shook violently for several minutes. The severe throat pain began.
The next morning the surgeon said portions of the intestines had poked through the hole and could die if he didn’t operate. My sister, epidemiologist Dr. Roselie Bright, participated in the conversation by phone and urged me to move forward with the surgery, even though my abdomen had started softening. I opted for surgery.
There was no time to pick up the Surgical Support Series CDs from my psychotherapist. As a substitute, I repeatedly played tai chi Grandmaster Vince Lasorso’s “Relief” recording through my Wholisound Serenity Box using a new portable CD player Laura bought me for this purpose.
Laura alerted people via Facebook. Many thanks to all who supported and prayed for me!
It was another 12 hours—Thursday night—before I was wheeled onto the operating table. The surgeon updated my Superwoman abdominal scar with a 4-inch replacement.
With pain medication the tube was more tolerable, but talking still was quite difficult. What a blessing to get that tube pulled on Saturday! That enabled me to get off daytime pain medication (which distressed the nurses) and then off all medication when I went home Sunday, 2.5 days before expected. My days of affliction are over and I’m recovering well. I am thankful for the miracles of modern medicine.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
The nurses were distressed about my not taking daytime pain medication or taking home a pain prescription. “You need to stay on top of the pain,” I’ve been told. Well, I didn’t have pain. I only had discomfort. Part of the reason, perhaps, is because my inflammation level normally is extremely low (0.3 on a scale of 1 to 4). I keep it low with my diet. A lot of pain comes from inflammation, so without excess inflammation, injuries ares much more tolerable. If you are in pain, try reducing inflammation in your body by avoiding inflammatory foods, which can be measured with a blood test looking for C-reactive protein.