Erik MH:

blog entry

Well, that was interesting…

original date2020-01-17 22:07 utc
republished2024-06-11 15:17 utc
topicshealth; orig. on PostHope
noteThis post was ori­gin­ally pub­lished on Pos­tHope, where it’s still avail­able, along with sev­er­al pub­lic comments.

I’m sorry to leave you all won­der­ing about last month’s sur­gery! It’s now been exactly four weeks, and that’s an inex­cus­ably long time to keep you in suspense.

tl;dr: I’m fine.

The sur­gery

The sur­geon had estim­ated I’d be under for about two hours. It turned out to be some­what over three, thanks to (1) much more scar tis­sue than he’d expec­ted, (2) a kink in a part of the colon that had remained in my abdo­men that he wanted to fix while he was in there any­way. Everything went fine.

The hos­pit­al

They’d hoped I could leave the next day, and — all pre­vi­ous exper­i­ences to the con­trary — I did!

The con­vales­cence

I’d expec­ted this to be almost a non-event. Cer­tainly, it was much easi­er than recu­per­at­ing from the Big Sur­gery two years ago. But I spent most of the hol­i­days just sit­ting in a com­fort­able chair, won­der­ing when I could take the next dose of ibupro­fen. And — because of all the scar tis­sue that they removed and how banged up everything had got­ten in my chest cav­ity — I had to go on a liquid diet, fol­lowed by a puréed diet, fol­lowed by a soft-food diet, fol­lowed by a you-can’t‑have-anything-that-your-teeth-can’t‑tear-apart-such-as-spinach-leaves diet. This week, I’m still on a you-can’t‑use-a-straw diet, but oth­er­wise I’ve returned to my nor­mal five-small-meals-a-day post-eso­phagec­tomy lifestyle.


I’ve learned many things when meet­ing with the sur­geon before and after the sur­gery and then at a fol­low-up vis­it ten days ago:

  • The “few inches” of colon in my chest cav­ity was actu­ally my entire trans­verse colon.
  • In addi­tion to the trans­verse colon, the entire great­er omentum was up there, try­ing to pro­tect the colon.
  • I’d thought that I now have one-third of a stom­ach; in fact, since the Big Sur­gery I have had no stom­ach at all.
  • In the Big Sur­gery two years ago, they dis­con­nec­ted the pan­cre­at­ic duct from my duo­denum, rotated it, and con­nec­ted it above the pylor­ic sphinc­ter.
  • I’ll be hav­ing annu­al fol­low-up vis­its forever.

So it turns out that I’m a bit of a Frankenstein’s mon­ster! I don’t mind, though: the some­what non-stand­ard things that were done dur­ing the Big Sur­gery con­trib­ute greatly to my surgeon’s insanely high suc­cess rate (that is, the very low mor­bid­ity rate of his patients).

Before the recent Little Sur­gery, I vis­ited my phys­ic­al ther­ap­ist at the Rehab­GYM to let her know what was hap­pen­ing and to arrange for PT ses­sions in Janu­ary. Though my sur­geon says I’m not allowed to lift, push, or pull any­thing more than 10 pounds, my phys­ic­al ther­ap­ist has been able to keep me busy and act­ive with many exer­cises that are keep­ing my core fit without irrit­at­ing my still-heal­ing dia­phragm. This time around I’ll be in much bet­ter shape and health, start­ing imme­di­ately. And it’s only four more weeks before that ten-pound restric­tion is lif­ted! Yea!

So that’s the news from here. I appre­ci­ate all y’all’s sup­port and well-wishes. For those of you who are help­ing to sup­port my Tolki­en-related work via Patreon, I’ve finally also pos­ted a pro­fes­sion­al update there, includ­ing a couple of samples from my Big Pro­ject. Next week, I’ll pare that post down a bit (and remove the samples) and pub­lish it for all to see on my blog at Ver­mont Soft­works.

Much love to you all,

— Erik