My colorectal cancer surgery took place on December 18, 2023. Below are updates we shared as I went through surgery, hospital stay, and returned home. I will be adding more mundane updates as I recover at home, and eventually I’ll make a post of lessons learned. But I think it’s good for this to be out there. Even though everyone’s body is different, I think this could be helpful for anyone looking for information on what to expect on an upcoming robotic surgery. I didn’t really know what to expect for myself and very few people can remember what they went through when reflecting upon their experience when you ask weeks or months later. So, this is my gift. vulnerability and all.
UPDATE: 12:05 PM PT We have arrived at the hospital and are checked in. Lacey has been taken back for prep and I will be invited back to see her in 45 minutes. Lacey hasn’t slept much, but is in good spirits other than the expected nerves. Looking forward to telling you that surgery was a success in a matter of hours. The surgery takes approximately four hours.
Purple gown is called a “Bair Hugger.” A tube attaches to it and allows me to temperature control.
Tbh, I’d rather have a cloth gown. This is plasticky and a little itchy. Probably the least of my worries for a while.
UPDATE: 3:14 PM PT Lacey has been taken to the OR for her surgery. She has been showered with love and encouragement. It will be a while until the next update, but feel free to ask questions if you have them.
UPDATE: 6:12 PM PT Lacey is still in the OR. No news on the procedure. The second that I see her move to “recovery room” on the dashboard in the waiting room, I will let y’all know! Keep the prayers and vibes comin!
UPDATE: 6:46 PM PT Praise God, Lacey is out of surgery and headed to the recovery room as we speak. I spoke to her surgeon for about 10 minutes, and he said that her surgery was able to be completed fully robotically, that they were able to remove the tumor and surrounding area, and to harvest a good number of lymph nodes for testing to see if the cancer has spread at all. The surgery was “perfect, and we expect a quick recovery. It couldn’t have gone better.” Sighs of relief and some happy tears in the waiting room from me. Thank you all for your prayers and support.
12/18 UPDATE: 8:26 PM PT Lacey has been moved from the recovery room to a private room. I’m sitting next to her and she is resting. I’ve never seen Lacey drunk before, so this is a treat. She’s groggy as heck, and is definitely experiencing some pain. She is being administered some pain medication which should help manage. I’ll give an update tomorrow morning after she gets a night’s rest.
12/19 UPDATE: 8:22 AM PT We are awake! Lacey is still struggling a bit with pain, but is working well with the doctors on dialing in the medication levels. She is awake and alert. No more drunk Lacey 😂 The next priority will be getting her to sleep. She only slept about an hour the night before surgery and probably only an hour last night. Her meds arrive in 15 minutes and then I’m going to encourage her to sleep sleep sleep. Thanks for the continued love and support.
12/20 UPDATE: 2:01AM PT I finally got my first block of sleeping for more than an hour in. Slept from about midnight to 2am. Pain level is being managed with Celebrex and Norco to better success. I was trying to grin and bear it with just Celebrex and Tylenol, however my blood pressure spiked pretty high, which was an indicator that I was grinning and bearing a bit too much. Once I got better pain relief my BP came back down. So, lesson for future me: be honest to myself about pain level and what levels I should be tolerating. Now for the reason I was pushing through and a bit TMI, but that’s what you get with butt cancer! Norco can slow the bowel, which could delay my release from here.
12/20 UPDATE: 9:47AM PT No news in the world of wind. The Doc just made his rounds. He’s happy with my progress and said I could potentially go home tomorrow if the fart comes and I am on solid food. He did not seem concerned that I hadn’t passed gas yet. I asked how much o f my colon he removed and he held up his hands in the measurement of about 15 inches. If you’ve never prayed for someone else to “pass gas,” now is your chance to do so. And if you have prayed that prayer in the past, well time to step up again. Send all your whoever smelt it, sbd, trumpet vibes this way. Time for 2 more hours of sleep! Oh, and to answer another question: yes I’ve been up and out of bed. I did 4 walks in the hallway yesterday like a good A+ student. And, on the 4th, i definitely knew that was the last one for the day. I’m fine-tuning that ear that listens to my body. I was able to sleep another 2 hours, and I’m about to go back down. I’ve gotten 2 of my 4 walks in already. Maybe I’ll add a fifth one today Oh, creative challenge: feel free to play with the lyrics of this song: Who do you think you are? Runnin' ‘round leaving scars Collecting your jar of hearts (farts) Tearing love apart
12/20 UPDATE: 12:15PM PT Hallelpootyah! I get to move to full liquid diet!
12/20 UPDATE: 9:51PM PT Mashed potatoes with gravy, a few bites of shredded turkey, and a school lunch cu of Blue Bunny vanilla ice cream have made it to my colon. It definitely seems to create a bit more pain, but it’s bearable and expected. I’m thinking we’re on the trajectory of discharge tomorrow, but I’ll let yall know.
12/21 UPDATE: 5:10AM PT Sleep: midnight to 2. 2:30-4:00 I woke up at 4 feeling pretty lousy. I think being off of my nighttime anxiety meds had its first effects last night. I know when I’ve skipped a dose or two bc my dreams get intense and I wake up with my heart racing. I’d say both times I woke up I was in anxiety attack mode. It was just my body. I wasn’t having worries. My body was just in fight/flight mode. I eventually called in the nurse to report my general feeling of “blech.” She gave me some Zofran and Norco, and I’m feeling mostly better. My temp is a little high for me. I’m usually squarely in the 97F range, so I can start to feel the fever feelings when I get around 99. Temp as been in the 98.9-99.1 range for the past couple readings. There is no concern on the side of the medical team though. I’m looking forward to some protein for breakfast. Hospital eggs…seems like I can’t expect much, but the idea of eggs sounds good. Even though it’s possible I could go home today, I’m not quite as in good spirits as yesterday. Again, I think I’m feeling that lack of anti-anxiety/anti-depressant med. One high note though is that I had a special roommate last night:
She was super helpful through bedtime, and it was comforting to just have another human in the room, especially my sweet Colette. As for my non human roommates, I get to see this shocked expression each time I go to the bathroom
And then when I look over to my left while I’m in bed, I get to see Mr. Sleepy Chair. His eyes resemble Baymax’s a bit, but I wouldn’t call him my healthcare companion
oh, and one more thing: I had my blood draw this morning. I’m hoping it’s the last one, bc I only have so many places in my one hand you can draw from. It usually doesn’t bother me to draw from my hand, but apparently 3 days in a row from the same spot is my limit. Ouch!
12/21 UPDATE 3:23PM PT Upgrade!
I’m home and settled in. Mr. Techie husband has me set up with the projector. I bought myself a special post-op pillow set up for the bed, so I am much more comfortable.