I had my follow-up with my surgeon yesterday evening.
He wanted to check on the surgery that he’d done, and make sure that the opening he’d made between my bowel and the abscesses was still ok. He was concerned because by opening up the leak there was a chance the whole join could have broken down, forcing him to move me to a permanent colostomy. Alternatively, the opening he made could have started to heal over long before the abscesses heal, leaving me back in the same problematic situation as before.
Fortunately neither of these is the case; the opening is still exactly as he made it, and seems to be doing its job well. Which is good, as we want the abscesses to heal from the inside out, with the opening into the bowel closing off last of all.
In addition he had the pathology results from the tissue samples that he’d taken from inside the abscesses during my operation, and they are all just normal scar tissue – no sign of anything suspicious or cancerous. Which is also good (extremely so!)
So from his perspective I’m now about as well-positioned to make a good recovery as it’s possible for him to get me to. From now on it’s largely going to be a case of him monitoring me, making sure that nothing he’s done regresses, and seeing if I still have sufficient healing capability to recover from all the damage. I get the impression that it’s likely to be a fairly long waiting game.
The initial few weeks will be key though, and to that end I’ll initially be having roughly fortnightly check-ups to ensure that the opening remains open, and CT scans every 2-3 months to monitor the progress (hopefully reduction) of the inflammation & healing of the abscesses themselves. It’s likely that he’s going to extend my initial months course of antibiotics by a further month to give me the best chance at fighting off any remaining infection too.
Meanwhile he’s happy for me to go back to work and get on with life – which is good news, as I’m now feeling sufficiently well that I’m beginning to feel like a bit of a fraud for continuing to stay off work.