Portacath Comes Out Tomorrow

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Tomorrow morning my portacath will be removed. It was implanted underneath the skin, just above my right breast bone to administer chemo and draw blood, so my veins wouldn’t collapse. That was nearly five years ago. The port could have been taken out after my first “clean” scan, but I wanted to keep it, as a reminder of what I’d been through.

Two weeks ago I had my last CT scan and blood work. All clear. My oncologist said I am officially “cured.” No more scans. No more blood work. No more oncology appointments. Removing the port will be the last step to closure.

I won!

But as I write this, I feel a sense of loss (not about the cancer. I’m glad it’s gone). I will miss my doctors and nurses. They’re part of my family. They saved my life. Yes, I definitely did my part (changing my lifestyle and eating healthy foods) but there is something — a connection, that only someone whose come close to dying might understand. Maybe what I’m feeling is a combination of loss and relief.

It takes a special type of person to work in oncology. Not all cancer patients have a successful outcome, like me, yet they dedicate their lives to making a patient’s life better. When I volunteered in the infusion center, I asked a nurse how she coped with the loss of a patient.  She said,”I’m the passenger and the patient is the driver in this car called ‘life’. We travel together for a short while and my job is to make his or her trip as enjoyable as possible.” From what I saw and experienced, they do just that.

So, for the rest of the evening I will contemplate how far I’ve come and how grateful I am to have the chance to enjoy another day.

Oh, I almost forgot–after the site heals, a small hummingbird will be tattooed to cover the scar.

Be well,

Inge

 

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J Pouches, Ileostomy Bags, Colostomy Bags and Diarrhea

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Sometimes I get questions from cancer patients who have a J Pouch; usually with the same problem— diarrhea. I don’t have a J Pouch. I have a colostomy bag, which is different than an ileostomy bag. The main difference is, my stool exits from the large intestine and the ileostomy via the small intestine. Both ostomates poop into a bag located outside our abdomen.The J Pouch is internal and is made from the patients small intestine and attached to the anus. They can also hold the poop in via their sphincter muscles when they have to go, just like before when they had a rectum/colon.

Ostomates can’t hold it because the intestine doesn’t have a muscle. Most of the time I don’t know I’m pooping but it doesn’t matter since I’m “going” directly into a bag that will be emptied as soon as I can. Most patients who go for the J Pouch, like the idea of pooping the “normal” way. I think its a matter of cosmetics, but they seem to have more problems than ostomates.

From what I understand, patients with J Pouches and ileostomies need to drink more water. They become dehydrated quickly, even if it isn’t hot outside. I drink extra water too but not as much as them.

I think diarrhea  happens to the best of us, even someone who poops the old way(through his or her tushy). What it comes down to is finding out what foods trigger the event. Since we are all unique individuals, foods that give me diarrhea or “gas” for that matter, might not affect you. Its trial and error.

I suggest keeping a food diary. Its the best way to find out what’s going on. You can also eat one or two kinds of food for a couple of weeks and then add new foods slowly. That way you can find out what foods upset your GI system.

I’ve done it to see if I was allergic or sensitive to a particular food. That’s how I found out gluten is not my friend so I eat sprouted bread instead and I limit how many slices I eat. Before that I could eat an entire baguette smeared wit butter. Some cruciferous foods and garlic (for sure) give me gas, but I can live with that, although my family might not agree.

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I found a website that gives advice to people with J Pouches, who have diarrhea issues that you may find helpful. I think its good advice for anyone with an ostomate as well.

Be well,

Inge

Bacon Causes Cancer. So What’s for Breakfast?

I’m definitely making the breakfast cookie and eat it whenever I want to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Be well!
Inge

The Perks of Having Cancer!

Here are 3 Super Healthy Breakfast Ideas!

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet, it is also the easiest meal to skip, usually for one of two reasons: 1. You don’t feel hungry when you wake up, or 2. You are in too much of a rush to prepare it. Well, I can give you two good reasons as to why you should not skip breakfast: 1. Studies have shown that those who eat breakfast consume higher levels of important micro-nutrients, such as calcium, protein and dietary fiber, than those who skip breakfast. 2. Eating breakfast aids in weight loss. Studies have shown that breakfast eaters are less likely to snack and over-eat later in the day than breakfast skippers.

Unfortunately, many of the foods that are considered “breakfast foods”, such as bacon, ham and sausage, have recently been declared by the World…

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