Thursday, January 01, 2009


The Cleveland Clinic is where I chose to have major abdominal surgery, as I discovered they do laprascopic surgery whereas in Atlanta, the procedure I needed done, is rarely done that way. On the recommendation of a dear friend, Susan(who had a similar procedure), I met with Dr. Daniel Geisler, who is extremely experienced in gastrointestinal surgery, this past August. We set a date for surgery in mid-September, and when I was told I could get in earlier, I opted for the earlier date. Unfortunately, I had two attacks of Diverticulitis, the latter episode including pseudomembraneous colitis, also known as the very deadly "c.-diff bacteria" (this often occurs as a result of being on antibiotics long-term, which I had to be on, when afflicted with the Diverticulitis), which meant surgery had to be delayed, again, and again. I was fortunate to have surgery, (which appears to have gone well), on Dec. 10th of this year. Dr. Geisler told me because I am so "tiny" he had to use pediatric instruments on me(!).He said I reminded him of a patient he worked on two years ago--a nine-year-old child!
For those of you wanting the gory details, I can tell you that over 19" of intestine(my entire colon, or large-intestine)was removed. In its place, my
small intestine has been utilized, by attaching it to the top of the rectum(the hallway that leads towards the exit of the body).'Nuff said.
I am extremely sore, particulary in my lower-left torso area, but currently forcing myself to walk--even up and down a few stairs. I am still on a "soft-GI diet" which sounds like some sort of abbreviation for a soldier-who's-become-fat-food-plan."Soft GI diet" means soft foods for the
gastrotrointestinal tract. It means I can only have foods(for about another 5 weeks--it's been three, already)which are soft,like lots of liquids and soup, and mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, creamy rice, mashed meat, eggs, cheeses, very processed, white soft bread.Absolutely NO fresh fruits or fresh vegetables, no salads, etc.No fiberous foods whatsoever. However, I learned two days ago that I may add wheat bread, slowly.
Eventually, I'll be able to eat ANYthing I choose--which is truly something, as I've not had any nut, seed, berry, or corn--or any foods containing them--for over 5 years!
So, hopefully, when I return to Cleveland Clinic in Feruary, I'll get a "Go
Ahead" from the Doc.
I want to add that the entire experience at Cleveland Clinic was excellent.
Everyone from the group I've dubbed the "A-Team"(so dubbed because the hall they are on is "A" hallway), who processed the paperwork, and ran preliminary tests, to the pre-op team of Nurse Amber and Nurse Jackie, to the entire surgical assist-staff of Dr. Geisler's, to the compassionate after-care at H-50 ward, where three Nurse Kristins did a spectacular job, assisted by Dorina, and other great CNA's. The hospital even arranged for me to receive Communion in my room (outreach ministry from a nearby RC Church came everyday)
and Cleveland Clinic's own chapel's "Pastor Jeff" also offered Reiki healing(which I accepted, and then enjoyed an extremely restful night of sleep), and even Aromatherapy(I accepted their marvelous "Lavender Balm" for relaxation). The approach at Cleveland Clinic is cutting-edge technology, combined with a mind-body-spirit application of what used to be considered "alternative", but apparently, is quickly becoming accepted as having healing benefits. For the skeptics out there, who will say "Well, it's just a placebo effect," I can tell you that we humans are built to receive "placebo effects" as well as "medicinal" ones. Either way, I am healing well, though my operation was not entirely laprascopic, as a bit more cutting was necessary.
I am so far, very pleased, but really tired of being tired!
I am getting a tremendous amount of reading completed, which is good(my night-stand usually overflows with books bought, as-yet-unread), and have been watching a few really ridiculous, and oddly-addictive television shows.
Today, New Year's Day, I watched three episodes of some show on TLC(The Learning Channel) about an L.A.-based bikini designer, and it is a scream!The title is "Ashley Paige's Bikini or Bust". Really. That's the name.
My new favorite crush(okay, I've been watching her, relentlessly since she debuted on MSNBC)is Rachel Maddow. Her "First Annual List" last night was laugh-out-loud funny.
Tonight, I'll be taking time to pray, and to take the Vow of Peace, and Non-Violence.I was unable to attend the ceremony we hold, every January 1st(World Peace Day) at St. Jude the Apostle, where we make our committment to make peace-filled choices, not violence-based ones. I was steadfast in my committment, save one unfortunate e-mail I sent several months ago, when I fired off a threatening-sounding
e-mail at someone who'd hurt my feelings, by attacking me for something I've never done. When the angry person e-mailed back--even angrier, with unbelieveable vitrol and untrue statements, I did manage to respond to the anger in terms of what anger is:
fear, disappointment, frustration, or hurt. In this case, I guessed(probably correctly) that this individual is still hurting from my involvement with him, years ago(we're talking 13 years ago!). So I addressed my role in hurting that person, and asked if he needed me to say anything to him, in-person, and then suggested if we can't be civil, perhaps we should not communicate.
It's always difficult to navigate relationships. I've retained, and strive to strengthen, nearly every strong relationship (close relatives, distant relatives, beaus, girlfriends, male and female friends)I've ever had in my life, save this one I have mentioned here, and one other. Which I suppose is a pretty fair record, for an ol' lady like me.
So, my New Year's Resolutions? To become more Peaceful, to become more forgiving, to try to understand.
What are YOUR New Year's Resolutions?

Peace, kids.
For more on World Peace Day, check out:


betmo said...

i am so glad that you are on the mend :) sounds like the 'a team' was a++ :) i don't do new year's resolutions anymore. i think just surviving this upcoming year will take all of my resolve :) it will be tough this 2009 but with someone new at the helm, perhaps we can really effect some real change. if i had to resolve anything, it would be to really start practicing my buddhist studies- meditate and practice. happy new year- january 20, 2009!

Lisa Allender said...

Hi Betmo, THANK YOU for the Happy New Year wishes!
btw, while in bed resting, I've been tuning in to watch "Eastern Studies" and am currently learning more (I know very little!) about Buddhism.

DeadMule said...

Hi Lisa, My resolution is to be a more open and friendly person - that is, to love more people than I did last year. Love, Helen

Lisa Allender said...

Helen of Deadmule--Hi there. I love your resolution--it's so positive!

Collin Kelley said...

Glad you are on the mend. Happy New Year!

Lisa Allender said...

Collin Kelley--Thanks, my eternal friend! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

KATE EVANS said...

THINKING of you, Lisa. So glad you are resting and healing. BTW, my mom had CDIF..brutal stuff.


Pris said...

Hi Lisa
I'm glad it went well for you, too. My gyn came in the day of my last appointment writhing in pain..he'd been up all night. Told me later it was the same problem you had. I could see how very painful it was so it makes me doubly grateful you found good people to help you.

Lisa Allender said...

Kate, Hi there. Thank you for the well wishes. C-Diff is truly awful; I had it in October--it took a long time to get rid of it!
Sorry your Mom went through that.Hope you are well & healthy all year long!
Pris, Hi, thank you. I'm very fortunate to have had great medical care. Hope 2009 brings you more health and happiness. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Pris, as you continue to heal.

Lydia said...

Hi Lisa,
This was a really interesting post describing your condition and the surgery. I'm impressed with your treatment glad that you knew about it and could finally have the surgery.

Bless your heart. You truly deserve a big bowl of garden corn chowder served with a fresh waldorf salad full of walnuts and dense homemade sprouted seed bread, chased with a tri-berry shake or smoothie. :)

Lisa Allender said...

Lydia--Wow!!What list of goodies!!I may havta head over to Altanta's "Sunflower Cafe' "--known for the vegetarian/vegan food, soon as I'm able!

Selma said...

Lisa, I am so glad the surgery went well and that you are on the road to recovery. You won't know yourself when you are able to eat all those foods you haven't tasted for years. What a wonderful clinic. I have heard that medicine is going in that direction. I think that is a really good thing. In 2009 I want to be true to myself and move towards finding real inner peace. I also want to help others where I can. I am going to make sure it happens!!

jessica said...

Lisa, I am so impressed with a hospital that offers Reiki and lavender balm, as well as a good surgical team and such good post-ops news.

Someday we'll have to chat about the newish concept of narrative medicine - treating the patient as a person with a story, rather than a body part with a chart.

Here's to peace - and fiber! - in the new year.

Lisa Allender said...

Selma, Hi there--thank you & continued success in achieving inner peace!
Jessica, Hi there--"Narrative Medicine" sounds amazing!

poetwithadayjob said...

Glad to hear you are doing well - and that as a result of all this your life will improve!!! It's good to have a caring medical experience too, and I am convinced such things help you heal all the better. Good thoughts for a healthy new year!

Lisa Allender said...

Melissa of PWADJ, Hi there.Thank you so much for all your warm wishes...I'm readying myself to jump back into the Blogosphere!

jeanne said...

Dear Lisa,

I am thinking of you and praying for you and your friends every day. Hope you are getting around better. Call when you can.

Love, jeanne

Lisa Allender said...

Jeanne, Hi! Thank you for your prayers and wishes! I'm getting around a bit better, and have tremendous help here at home,(for both "Louie"(Golden Retreiver), and me) from a dear friend, Danny M.

Kat said...

I found your blog as I was looking for some info on Dr. Geisler to send a friend. I also had diverticulitis throughout the entire colon since the summer and Dr. Geisler just removed my colon on January 5th. Unfortunatley I had some other complications and was in the hospital 26 days! However, I second what you said about the Kristins, DOrina and I will add Mindy to that and I am sure there were many more nurses I came into contact. Pastor Jeff was great too! I did not have the reconnect as I also have Crohns so we did a ileostomy and I consider it permanent though Dr. Geisler left he rectum in case I want to reconnect down the road but he and my GI are NOT recommending it - and after I have been through I am fine with the bag. You can email me at if you'd like. Glad I found you.

A fellow patient of Dr. Geisler

Kathy P.

Lisa Allender said...

Hi There, Chatkat, Thank you, I'll e-mail soon.Peace.