June, 2001

6/15/2001 I apologize for the lack of information over the past couple of weeks. My internet connection has been down since the beginning of the month and it was impossible to upload new web pages. AT&T Broadband FINALLY got the problem resolved this evening - so will give a quick update on what's been going on.

I started back to work this week! Only 3 hours a day, but it still feels like a return to real life. It will take a few weeks to get back into the routine and get my brain out of hock, but it feels real good to be starting back again.

We are heading to Florida for a week's vacation (there is something nice about going to work for a week and then taking a week for vacation!) tomorrow. Will be meeting up with my sister and her hubby - Elaine and Robert - and Candace's sister and brother-in-law, Tammy and Lou, will be flying in from Ohio on Monday to join us. Should be a great week of sitting in the sun, lounging around the pool and beach and just generally having a relaxing time. We take this week every year and it is the week that rejuvenates.

Medically things are about the same. Getting a bit of my strength back thanks to Candace's dragging me down the block for a walk. Eating is getting easier and I can occasionally eat a normal plate of food. Weight is holding in the low 150's. Not as high as we would like it, but the rapid weight loss seems to have stopped.

Went in yesterday for a barium swallow and an upper GI. Radiologist reports everything looks good. She did comment on my "strange anatomy" after seeing the stomach behind the heart. Dr. Yaffe is trying to find the cause for my persistent cough. The cough leads to choking and dry heaves and a session of this wears me out. No obvious cause showed up on the films and it is possible it is a side effect of radiation. Will let you know if they find any reason.

That's about it for now. Time to finish packing and then off to bed. We hope to be on the road by 7AM at the latest for the 9 hour drive down to Jupiter.

6/30/2001 Haven't written on here lately because there has been little new to report. The trip to Florida was a great success. There were several firsts on the trip including the first time eating in a restaurant since surgery. Had mixed success with this. On two occasions I experienced the mild dumping syndrome - I say mild because it does not appear as bad as that suffered by others. Occasionally, after eating, the food passes very quickly from the remains of the stomach to the intestines. This is dumping syndrome and it is not a pleasant experience. One never knows what foods will trigger dumping, so each meal is an adventure. It is best not to combine liquids with solid foods at the same time. Drink either before or after eating since the liquids cause the solid foods to dump. Careful eating usually avoids dumping syndrome, but I overate a couple of times and had some problems.

Worked 4 hours a day this past week as I slowly try to build back to a full 8 hour day. The half days have not been too bad, but I come home for a 2 hour sofa cruise afterwards. Next week will also do 4 hour days and then kick it up to 5 hours for the following week. Starting to get back in the work "groove" but still having to refer to notes to do functions that used to be automatic. Another couple weeks should be all that is needed to fully resume normal work functions.

Have an appointment coming up on 7/10 with the surgeron - Dr. Moore. Still not gaining any weight, but not losing any, either; holding right at 151 lbs. Seem to be getting a bit stronger day by day and, while not gaining weight, the loose flesh left after the drastic weight loss is tightening up a bit. The numbness (neuropathy) in my fingers is almost gone, but the toes are still very numb. The neuropathy is gradually going away and I look forward to regaining sensation in the toes!

Other than that, not much else to report. Day by day things improve, but it is difficult to sense this. My sister had a couple photographs of me 3 weeks after surgery and I was shocked when I saw them. Eyes were glassy and very little expression in my face. Her observations were that I had made major strides in the 6 weeks between times she saw me. It was good to hear her comments!

 

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