Last night my wife and I went to a work event. Before surgery, I had highlighted this event (a dinner at a partner’s house) on my calendar as something I wanted to make every effort to attend—both because I enjoy the event and because it came roughly 4 weeks after surgery and I thought it would be a good barometer for my recovery. I was right, and it was definitely worth the effort.
This was the first time I’d been “out” since surgery (other than doctor’s appointments and short trips to the store) and the first time I’ve worn “real” pants in a month. Indeed, the pants proved to be the most challenging part of the night. As it turns out, my pre-surgery pants no longer fit—at least not comfortably. The combination of the added girth of the appliance (which needs “breathing” room for gas and solid output), my ostomy belt (which flattens my stomach parallel to my stoma at the expense of pushing my stomach fat above and below), and my general lack of fitness, all of my dress pants were too tight to wear (or sit) comfortably. My wife made an emergency run to Ross and found a workable pair of khakis. (This is going to be an issue when I return to work, as I’m not really interested in buying a whole new wardrobe that I’ll only need until the next surgery.)
The event itself went well. I was able to sit relatively comfortably at the dinner table. And it was definitely nice to see everyone from the office. As I’ve mentioned before, I work with some good people who have been incredibly supportive throughout this whole process, and seeing them in person only reaffirmed how fortunate I am. Most importantly, none of my worst-case scenarios came to fruition. My ostomy bag stayed concealed (no one would have known) and did not explode, make a bunch of noise or do anything crazy. I didn’t fall. I was able to eat the meal (at least the dinner rolls and steak). And people didn’t treat me weird. By the end of the night, I was definitely feeling it with back pain and discomfort around my stoma, but it was worth it. And it was definitely an important step—physically and psychologically—in my recovery.
In other news, the x-rays of my back showed a very minor curvature of the spine, which can either be caused by spasming or can be the cause of spasming. In my case, I think it’s the former because I think the weakness of my stomach muscles (due to the various holes they cut in my abdomen wall) has messed with my posture and caused my back muscles to overcompensate. I’m going to see my primary care doctor today to discuss options, which will almost certainly involve exercises (perhaps physical therapy) and perhaps some muscle relaxants to get me over the hump.