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Posted 2019-03-13T23:37:13Z

Picking up the Pieces

It has been a long time since I’ve updated everyone so this post is going to be a long one. Brace yourselves!


The last 3 months have been difficult to say the least. Between surgery, the holidays, travelling, and recovery I am happy to say that I am alive and am improving every day. We are thankful to have had so much support and love along the way from friends, family, and even strangers. Please know that our hearts are full and we are thankful for each of you.


Our stay in Houston was made special by many people. We had Christmas decorations in our apartment, we had family and friends visit, and we celebrated a quiet Christmas with Bouden, Adrian, the puppy and me.


I had an AMAZING care team at MD Anderson all the way from the surgeon down to the sweet man who brought me bullion to sip. I was incredibly impressed by the facility overall and the professionalism. The nurses were patient with educating us on what to expect and bringing warm blankets when I needed a little extra comfort. I could not be happier with the treatment I received.


We returned to Charleston on 12/29 with family, puppy, 7 carry-ons and 6 pieces of checked luggage. It was a very long day. Prior to leaving, I was removed from my pain medication due an antibiotic I was taking. I will just leave the rest up to imagination, but note to my fellow travelers: if ever you need one, a wheelchair will get you priority seating on Southwest.


The word from the doctors is that recovery will be around 6 months, give or take. I am one of 15 patients who have had chemo, multiple surgeries, and their stomach cavities burned with chemo twice (shake and bake), so recovery is going to be longer than others who have had only a gastrectomy and it’s difficult to know what to expect.


One unexpected side effect so far has been severe back pain. Whether from the hospital bed, surgery, tubes, digestion, or a combination, the doctor is unsure. Also, after being sedentary for so long, walking and standing is difficult. As of recently, I am able to walk about 4 blocks before wearing out (Yay!). Standing in place will require some more time but I’ve been seeing a chiropractor and have made huge improvements with walking, standing, and posture.


Part of my recovery is learning how to eat again and training my body to process foods in a new way. I have to stick to an eating schedule so my brain knows when to expect food and begin the digestion process. I am able to eat very small portions six times a day. This is mostly basic items like chicken, rice, pasta, protein drinks, bread, etc. but I’m starting to branch out into other foods like chicken fried steak (YUM!) and pizza (yum, but my stomach said, “no”.).  I’m finding that it’s a trial-and-error process and that I can tolerate something like a PB&J one day, but the following day, the same thing can take me down for an hour while I recover. I have been assured by my dietitian at MD Anderson that this is part of the recovery and retraining process.


I am still using the feeding tube some nights to supplement my calories and hydration. Once I am able to consistently get enough food and liquid by mouth and maintain my weight, I can have the tube removed. I am told by my dietitian that I am on track to accomplishing this, but I’m mentally ready for this to happen sooner rather than later.


I have started back to work full-time from home. It has been great to get back into the swing of things and have a distraction from all of “this”. My work family has been incredibly supportive and if I haven’t mentioned it before, I couldn’t be in a better work environment. They’re tolerant of my time off, my forgetfulness, my many doctors appointments, and my sense of humor.


I will follow up with my local oncologist and have CT scans every three months, each of which will be nerve-wracking. I will be sure to post updates on these as they occur.


Please continue to send your thoughts, prayers, vibes, and love.


Love to all,


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Comments (15)

  • Rebecca Nassif
    Rebecca Nassif

    Thank you so much for the update! I am hopeful for much better days ahead! And, if it is of any comfort, I would probably be tired after walking four blocks.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Dana Riner
    Dana Riner

    Thank you for the update so glad you are getting through what has been such a trying time for are in my prayers as always much love to youDana

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Barb Desilets
    Barb Desilets

    Hi Kari. So glad to hear you are on track. Amazing, amazing, you are. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Marcia Bonica
    Marcia Bonica

    Strongest, most motivated and positive person ever. You. Love you so!

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Renee Lanneau
    Renee Lanneau

    Thank you for the update, continuing to send you thoughts, prayers, vibes and love.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Kristin Fonseca
    Kristin Fonseca

    Thank you so much for sharing this update. You are absolutely a warrior!

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Cindy Schick
    Cindy Schick

    There are no words I can think of that will express my true feelings for you and your situation. I am in awe of your attitude and perseverance. Love comes in many forms, I believe you show all of them. 💜

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Jac Teppersmith
    Jac Teppersmith

    Kari so glad work is good for you because we are glad you are kicking it! You bring such a wonderful aura, laughter and spirit to our team. Always got you.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Kristen Austin
    Kristen Austin

    You are such a fighter! Sending prayers and looking forward to your days ahead ❤️

    2 years ago · Reply
  • karen salem
    karen salem

    You are a strong woman creating a new norm! You have the tenacity to walk uphill , the wisdom to pace yourself and the spirit to persevere. I am praying for you as you continue recovery. I’m betting that you will have the best story of all 15 patients because that’s just who you are 😉. And like my mama always told me “ this too shall pass “. Lots of love to you Kari ❤️

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Carla R. Gore
    Carla R. Gore

    Thank you for the update. Prayers are being sent to Adrian, Bouden and you every day. You are loved by us so much and are in awe of your strength, courage and attitude through all of this. We are with you every day on this journey. Much love, Carla and Sammy

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Mabel Tippens
    Mabel Tippens

    What a blessing you are to be in my life. Lots of love and special "vibes" constantly being sent your way. Am so in awe of the courage you, Adrian and B have.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Jeanie Lanneau
    Jeanie Lanneau

    Keep up the good work, Kari! Much love and prayers go out to you, Adrian and Bouden. Jeanie Lanneau

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Sarah Lanneau
    Sarah Lanneau

    Great update! Sending up prayers tor your continued healing and strength.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Tris Rockwell
    Tris Rockwell

    Kari -- you are such an inspiration. It's been a long time since I've seen you, but you are the same upbeat, bubbly, cheerful person that you were when I visited with you in the halls of Lincoln Southeast. Life has dealt you some tough turns, but you are handling it with grace and positivity. Wishing you the best for continued recovery. Sending prayers to you and your beautiful family.

    2 years ago · Reply