After consulting with the surgeon, I am happy to say that he doesn't think there is anything seriously wrong internally which could be held responsible for the pain I have been experiencing. Instead, he has taken me off my pain medications and started me on topical creams and non-prescription products geared towards slowing down the bowels (Imodium and Metamucil).
It seems to be working, although like everything else I've experienced recently, the progress is very slow. Yesterday, for example, on my birthday, I was able to nap for slightly longer periods of time and to go for a ride in the car with my family without being in pain. Today, I was able to sit in a rocking chair for a quarter of a game 7 eastern conference basketball game. This may sound like a very minor accomplishment, but being able to sit is critical to my recovery. If I am to get back into part-time work again soon, then I will have to be able to sit at a desk for at least an hour or so at a time.
We will continue with our experiments with this new protocol (adjusting dosages) for two weeks from the day I met with the surgeon. If we are successful, then we will have quieted down the bowels and established a baseline of expectations about how I should be feeling and how frequently l defecate and void the bladder.
My medical oncologist wants to get the chemotherapy started as soon as possible. I heard from the Oncology Access Assistance Program indicating that my application had been received and my request for funding accepted. This means that as soon as my medical and surgical oncologists can agree about a start date, everything is set to begin the chemotherapy stage of my cancer treatment.
In any case, it feels like we are making some progress after the many complications following surgery. I'm beginning to sense a shift in direction in my overall recovery. Maybe that's just the optimism of celebrating my 53rd birthday yesterday, but optimism is what I need most right now.