Nearly one month post-op, how energetically challenged am I?

Things continue to improve with my energy and aches. I’m down to one rest time per day, depending on the activity level of the day. Lately we have been busy, which has been good exercise for my energy. Typically, after a couple of hours of activity, I get tired, achy and cranky. If I can nap for 30 minutes, then I’m fine! But I’ve been tested lately:

Hiking the Malibu HILLS

First, Matt and I have been taking short hikes in the hills. Malibu has HILLS. These hills were previously a real pleasure, always a relaxing, calming, thoughtful time to spend in nature. Currently, these hills are taunting to me. I can only look at the ground in front of my feet and exhaustively move myself forward and long for home. Ha! What a change!



The boys. Matt is leading with didjeridoo out of the frame.

Matt coordinated a dear friend to come for a long over-due overnighter at the property. Sunday, Father’s Day, Ted was to come visit. Between the day plans were made with Ted and Sunday, we suddenly had a group of five outrageous guys: two “old Jews”, an Irishman, a Canadian and a son-of-a-Jew. Altogether a loud and delightfully quirky bunch. I swore off assisting too much with this party. As any party entertainer knows how much effort it is to have a party. Add to that, a party with no house to entertain in. I just knew it would flatten me by evening’s end. I had already done a short morning hike with Matt and a volunteer trip to the grocery store for some odds and ends.

The party arrived. This is where Matt excels, working the crowd, keeping everyone good and entertained all evening. Naturally, I liked everybody and enjoyed the banter, yet found myself during conversations wishing there was a stool for me nearby.

Problem child: the Bag


example ileostomy bag

The sun was down, and the boys were thinking about beginning to start the barbie, and what do you know… My ileostomy bag separates from my skin, and I’m leaking intestinal contents. BAAAH! Nice timing! Holding my bag against my belly to contain contents, I signalled Matt (who was joyfully inebriated by now) to tell him that I needed to disappear for a while to get my new bag in place, and not to worry. He insists on helping me with this every time, so fine. My routine is to:

1) Empty bag into toilet
2) Strip from skin
3) Throw bag on shower floor
4) Step in shower and hose off…

The stoma will NOT STOP POOPING! Unbelievable. Every single time the bag comes off, the stoma celebrates its liberation. Poop, poop, poop. So finally I get out of the shower with a tissue over the stoma, lay down among my towels and all supplies, and wait for Matt to fashion the stoma hole in the adhesive patch and press it, not gently, onto my surgery site. He compassionately took this time out to do this for me, and then rested his head tenderly over my lap for a few moments after it was all done. Back to the party.

After dinner was done our Jew and Irishman friends went home. A good time was had by all! But, I was FINISHED, and could hardly see straight from fatigue. I did some cursory clean up, putting food away, then said good night to Ted and Matt. They agreed to clean the dishes to discourage any wild animals from poking about during the night. And then I was out.

Three hours later, Matt comes in. He and Ted had continued their rowdy-boy festivities (but I did hear them wash the dishes, yippee!). The next morning, I was thankful to have had only two beers early the night before and feel rested and whole! Matt’s Monday morning started out slowly and painfully, and could not account for how many beers he had imbibed! He tied one on!

Lesson: occasionally endure discomfort to allow your partner play-therapy.

Visiting the Daughter

Then, Matt’s daughter Chloe called. This was to be the day she flies to Australia with her fiance for an indefinite amount of time, and would we like to meet her in town to go shopping!

So, we saw Ted off and scrambled to get out the gate to meet Chloe in town. With Chloe we drove around town helping mark off her to-do list to prepare for the flight to Australia! After a full afternoon with Chloe, I still had to go to the pharmacy and the bank, which took an unimaginably long time before getting back home.

And Finally…

The following day, Tuesday, was another trip to town for a doctor appointment, grocery shopping and Matt’s business meeting. As usual, I started off charged, then quickly lost internal battery power. Now we finally have some days off! Matt and I have no place to be until Saturday, so until then, this is where you’ll find me!

A tentative surgery date is scheduled for Wednesday July 11, 8:00am. Until then, each day I will be less energetically challenged!

Leave a comment


  1. Raizie Axman

     /  June 23, 2012

    Hi Michelle, I spoke with your mom last night and found out about the ordeal you have been challenged with over this past year. What a shocker!! It seems your are bouncing back medically as well as emotionally … Yeah!! And your great sense of humor must “help the medicine go down” along with the loving and supportive relationship you and Matt have. Michael and I send you all our love a strong healing vibes. We will be looking forward to hopefully seeing you in the not too distant future up here in PDX.

    • cancer4me

       /  June 26, 2012

      Hi Raizie,
      Oh man, I’m sorry it took so long for the news to get to you. Really you didn’t miss anything!! You are right, what a shocker. It has been humbling, yet so many lessons, such as, cancer isn’t all serious, it can be quite humorous if you look at it in the right way. That’s why I show up to my appointments wearing camouflage fatigues and a tee shirt that says “Hey Cancer, You picked the wrong bitch!”. Matt gets more and more amazing the longer I know him.
      I look forward to seeing you and Michael, too!

  2. Kay and Jack McGary

     /  June 22, 2012

    Michelle – you are one strong woman in a wonderfully stong relationship with Matt. We sympathize with you, even though we have never been through anything like that. Knock on Wood. You do realize that, even though you’re young and healty, you can take some time off to recoup and heal. You’ll be back in shape, full of energy and on to an easier life, only when you’ve let yourself go through all the stages. Keep up the good work and know that we are “watching”. All our love and hope, Kay and Jack

    • cancer4me

       /  June 26, 2012

      Thanks you guys. You are right, I’ve scrapped hiking for now, and feel much better at days’ end. It’s hard to know sometimes what will help and what will *not* help with the recovery. I’m so glad you are keeping my parents good company! They need good friends right now.

  3. I am love reading your updates and think about you SO much! Your writing is candid and you manage to interject appropriate humor (e.g. poop, poop, poop) I love it…and I love you! I am wishing for a speedy recovery for you…and I am grateful that overall you are well. I miss you cuz!

    • cancer4me

       /  June 26, 2012

      Thanks for your feedback, Dear Cousin! Indeed, life will always happen whether you laugh at it or not. So let’s keep laughing!

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wishes. Sending you powerful wishes back to you.



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