Well good news everybody, I have finally been booked for my dilation and it’s happening this Friday. It couldn’t have come with any better timing. This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving and I am happy that I won’t be restricted with my swallowing. It has been a long road of waiting and it’s finally coming up. I am counting down the days like a little kid counts down until Christmas. Only 2 more sleeps!
To avoid a long long story, I will give you guys the long version. Just to recap, I was supposed to have my dilation end of August. I’ve had two so far. The first one was done in July and the second one about two weeks later. I was told to return in four weeks to have another dilation. This is where it gets messy.
My 2nd stretch was performed by a different specialist in the same centre because my original specialist had gone away on vacation for the month of August and I would be due for my 2nd stretch during that time. At the end of this appointment, I was told to call the office in 3-4 weeks to discuss a follow-up and repeat dilation. No problem.
When I called my original specialist at the end of August (just as I was instructed), I was told that I was supposed to book this appointment 3-4 weeks ago. News to me! The administrator told me I would NOT be getting in that week and questioned me on who told me that information originally. Remaining cool as a cucumber, I replied that it was fine with me, I was just doing what I was told to do. I had hoped that I would be getting in at least a week later at the latest (first week of Sept).
After waiting a week, I hadn’t heard from the centre yet, I decided to contact my surgeon’s office to see if they could advocate for me. Frankly, I was afraid to call the centre back because I feared getting scolded again. Thankfully, my surgeon’s administrator, who I’ve now become BFF’s with, said she would gladly help out.
Two weeks ago, I had my follow-up with my surgeon. Still no dilation. The patient navigator at the office took over from here. This is where I left off last blog post. It took two weeks of telephone tag between him, myself and the hospital to finally be booked.
Since I’m a visual person, I created a calendar to show the timeline of events.
During the weeks of August 25th to Sept 22nd, I had a difficult time swallowing. Lots of excusing myself from the table again. I started to choose foods that were soft and easy to digest. It felt like I had never even received the 2nd dilation. It gets frustrating when you know the stricture is closing again and there isn’t anything you can do about it but wait for you appointment to be dilated. Your mind can really wreck havoc again. I decided to stop stressing out about it and just let things fall into place. I had followed all the correct steps and all I could do is wait.
Somehow, over the past two weeks, my swallowing feels like it has actually improved a little. I have less of a gurgle when I swallow and have had less times where I had to excuse myself from the table. It seems like I can eat a little faster. I definitely still have the stricture, but I think it may have actually stretched itself out a little. That or I’ve become REALLY good at chewing thing down to a paste.
My only good explanation is that by removing some mental stress regarding swallowing has actually caused my system to relax a little and heal. I used to joke about it but I actually am starting to believe I have used will power to open back up a little.
All and all, it doesn’t matter how it’s opening back up or if it actually is opening back up, I am feeling better with swallowing and that’s all that matters!
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to everyone. I will be sure to post food updates after this holiday focused on gluttony.
P.S. I stumbled upon this book that was recently published. It’s called the “The Art Of Eating Without A Stomach: How To Thrive After Gastrectomy For Stomach Cancer” and it is written by Dr. Peter Thatcher who is a Physician and Gastroenterologist at the Royal Cornwall Hospital. I have ordered it from Amazon and I am hoping it will have some good tips!