I am back home again! It was a wonderful, glorious trip that I never thought I'd have the opportunity to take, but it was so exhausting! It was sad when it was over, but a relief to be home.
The rest of the days in Wyoming went just as well without any poop surprises. I did have some gas pains in the evenings, but I would just find a private spot and sort of, um, jostle the gas free and then I was fine. My whole family was shocked by how much I participated and how well I withstood the 12 hour days in the car along with all the hiking and climbing. My husband said over and over that he hadn't been excited about the vacation because he worried that I would be stuck back at the resort most days and would grow more depressed by all I could no longer do with the family. It wasn't just from the bathroom unpredictability; it was also how wiped out I am most days from the lingering effects of the treatments. But once we got there, I just kept pushing myself harder and harder and he had trouble keeping up with me on the trails. He was huffing and puffing from the altitude and so was I, but I kept putting one foot in front of the other knowing if I let up, I would lie in the dirt and sleep. And because of that, I not only was able to spend each and every day with my favorite people in the world, but we saw moose, coyotes, beavers, bald eagles, elk, antelope, bison, mule deer, and even a momma bear with her cub (safely from within our van, luckily). Not to mention the stunning views of mountains, lakes, waterfalls, etc. I enjoyed the geysers and painted pots and all the geological wonders, but not as much as the wildlife, waterfalls, and the beauty all around us. We went on a three hour river raft tour and took a tram up to the top of a mountain. I wouldn't have risked doing either of those things before when my bathroom trips were so unpredictable.
We left the resort early Saturday morning after I had done my routine and had taken my meds-Percocet, Ativan, and a half of an Immodium. I didn't have any problems while on the flights or when we got home. I didn't really eat anything all day until we were home and then I just had a light supper before collapsing into bed. I woke up at eight Sunday morning and had to poop before doing my enema. I did the enema a few hours later and then had to poop several more times that night before my next scheduled one. I tried not to worry but just accept that my body was adjusting to the travel and time change and exhaustion. Monday was a little messed up with a bit more breakthrough bathroom visits, but by Tuesday, everything was back to normal. Nothing in between enemas Tuesday or Wednesday or so far today.
Although this isn't something I enjoy doing
I'm so glad it's an option for me that works. I've been really lucky that I hit on the right amount of water and setup that works for me right from the start. I really haven't had to change much at all. I chose not to take an Immodium Tuesday, yesterday, or today and I haven't noticed any difference, so I plan to continue skipping the Immodium for as long as it works. If I'm going somewhere special, like a wedding, I'll probably take a half as insurance.
I'm at the point now where when I'm finished emptying the bag into myself, I can calmly clean up all the supplies and wash my hands before sitting on the toilet to empty. I used to worry about leaks, but I haven't had any at all. Since I am able to hold it in for a good while, maybe that's why I can usually empty in one 15 minute sitting and not have to go back in and sit a second time. While I still have slight cramping for maybe a half of an hour, I just know there isn't anything left to come out. I don't know how I know, I can just tell. I also use tap water that is more on the hot side (definitely not burning) than lukewarm. And as soon as the bag is mostly empty, I shut the valve before the water in the tube can come down because I don't want any more air introduced than is necessary. Since I use the surgical lube packets, which I highly recommend, insertion is easier, but I have to hold the tube in because the lube is so slippery instead of sticky and the tube once slipped out. Now that was a mess. It was just water from the bag, but still a mess. Now I just gently hold the tube in place with one hand while controlling the water flow with the other. Easy peasy.
These are not easy things for me to talk about. They are private and intimate and about getting rid of waste product that we don't usually discuss in polite company. But cancer changed the rules and if me giving TMI details helps one person on here get a better quality of life, then I can take the blushes that have always come far too easily to my face.
If anyone has questions or wants to discuss this more privately, feel free to PM me anytime. I think the surgeon removed a large chunk of modesty along with the tumor, so I'm open to all questions.