As previously mentioned, I had an Upper GI on Wednesday.

It looked good. Really good. Especially when you compare it to where I started!

Yesterday was the last day of my six weeks of being NPO and on TPN.

I was trying not to hold my breath, but I was anxiously anticipating that first sip of iced tea, and first bite of real food! HMMMM…. J

I was just waiting to hear from Dr. Zelko on his interpretation of the films. Knowing him, he probably also rounded up Dr. Swanstrom and Dr. Halpin, as well as the original radiologist who has seen all of my films to get their opinion, as well.

There was a sliver of a chance that he’d call Wednesday afternoon. I hoped – but wasn’t holding my breath. So I wasn’t all that surprised that he didn’t call then.

Thursday morning I got a call from Brittany, the wonder MA, saying that Dr. Zelko would be in the office at 2pm that afternoon – after being in surgery all day long, and likely returning to the OR after that appointment. She would try and steer him to review my films and have him call me before the day was out. Hmmm… sorta thought he might call. But – he’s the kinda guy who doesn’t just do stuff on the fly, you know? So, yeah, wasn’t completely surprised that he didn’t call on Thursday, either.

I really expected him to call on Friday. I knew he’d be in Clinic all day long on Friday – so I planned my day so that I had both the house phone and my cell phone within arms’ reach the whole day. I decided to do NOTHING that would cause me to potentially miss that call!

So I waited…

I’d get phone calls, emails, and text messages from people asking – had I heard yet?

No. Not yet.

Noon came and went.

I did the dishes – with the phones within arms’ reach.

Two o’clock came and went.

I did a couple of loads of laundry.

Three o’clock came and went.

I vacuumed the front room.

Four o’clock came – and I started getting nervous. Dr. Zelko’s office closes at 4:30pm. Should I call him? I don’t want to be a stalker patient… but… Of course, I reminded myself, it’s not like he is a huge respecter of office hours when returning calls. He’s been known to call me as late as 8pm in the evening, and on a Sunday afternoon. I knew he’d call when he could and when he’d had enough time to do the research he’d deem appropriate before giving me a plan of action. But still, I couldn’t help but feel a bit anxious and think – yes, in capital letters – PLEASE CALL ME DR. ZELKO!!!

It was 4:26pm – I was sitting in the front room, a handful of Jessica’s camp pals were arriving – John was going to be transporting them to an event an hour’s drive away – and my cell phone rang. DANG IT! I didn’t have my phone within arms’ reach!!! John grabbed it – handed it to me – and the call DROPPED! It was HIS number, darn it!

I sat there – stared at my phone and yelled, “Call me back!!!”

Two minutes later – while I was having a panic attack, wondering if *I* should call back, I got notification of a voice mail. A VOICE MAIL?! But I wanted to TALK to him!

I, of course, played the voice mail. It was Brittany, and she said:

Hey Dina, it’s Brittany calling. Dr. Zelko wanted me to tell you that he did get a chance to look at that Upper GI. Everything is looking great; you are on the road to being healed in regards to that fistula. He would like to repeat the Upper GI in three weeks. His anticipation is that at that point hopefully everything will be healed and then we can begin starting you back on food. He did say it’s time to get that stent out – so we’ll be scheduling that. I’ll also schedule that Upper GI and get back to you about that. Call if you have any questions or concerns.




Okay – deep breath.

The fact of the matter is this – at the very outset of all of this we talked about and I KNEW that there was a possibility that this would be six to eight weeks of NPO and TPN. Somewhere along the line it became more of an assumption that it would be SIX weeks. But – I’m not stupid; I knew that if the diagnostics showed that I wasn’t healing up, or not completely healed, it would mean more time NPO. And honestly – best case scenario, right? There has always been the option of other bigger, scarier, more horrible options in terms of treatment – like a big huge open surgery that would entail removing my mesh and replacing it with new and potentially – if things were awful enough – removing my stomach entirely. NOT a pretty scenario.

So why am I being such a whiner?

I’m just being a baby. I need to buck up and remember how BLESSED I am!

Yeah – so what, I don’t get to eat and drink yet. There are people around the world who NEVER know if they will have enough to eat and drink to sustain life. Not only do I have enough – I have IV nutrition that is getting me into FAR better shape nutritionally than I have been in months and months.

When it comes right down to it – I’ve had to suffer very little privation in the course of all of this. Everything that I have NEEDED has been provided. Yes, there has been pain and discomfort – but so what, who hasn’t suffered some pain and discomfort?

It’s time for me to pull up my big girl panties and buck up.

Three more weeks.

I can do that.

And I’ll be healthier for it, too.

My very dear friend Brenda sent me this great verse this morning – Psalm 107:1-9 (TNIV)

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

2 Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,

3 those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.

4 Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.

5 They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.

6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.

7 He led them by a straight way
to a city where they could settle.

8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for humankind,

9 for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.

And I’m back to listening to “Made me Glad” by Darlene Zschech – this has been my theme song for a lot of this year – when dealing with the health challenges – both mine and William’s, financial struggles, dealing with all of the stuff with my brother. It’s just what I need to hear – and it restores my soul.

I have a lot to be thankful for, don’t I?

So – my guess is that some time in the coming week I’ll get the call to come in for the stent removal. It needs to be removed – pretty darn soon, too – to prevent it from embedding into my stomach tissue. I’m guessing that’ll be an outpatient procedure this week. So, another trip to anesthesia land. I can handle it. I’ll just schedule in a day and a half to sleep afterwards! LOL!

Okay – I’m doing better now. I’m getting a grip. Three weeks really isn’t all that long. I can do it. It’s an investment in my future, right? Praise the Lord for this option! It could be MUCH worse in so many ways, shapes, and forms. I have MUCH to be thankful for.

….like maybe eating Thanksgiving Dinner! LOL! J


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Judy says:


    I am disappointed for you too, but you are so right about being blessed in so many ways! You have a beautiful family and they are healthy and happy to have you with them. If you hadn’t had the DS, you might not be with them at this point. Three weeks sounds like a long time, but we know that it is just a drop in the bucket! You are strong and will make through this trying time as well as you did the past few weeks. I am sending you lots of hugs and prayers for strength.


    1. dinamcb says:

      You’re so right Judy – thanks for your continued support and prayers! God has blessed me so very richly. Thanks for being there and being such an encouragement!

  2. Jim says:


    Hang in there. It could be worse–remember I did it for four months back in 2003. What kept me going is that I knew if I cheated I would likely have to go back to Portland for more surgery. I knew I didn’t want to do that.

    Take Care

    Hood River, OR

    1. dinamcb says:

      Totally true, Jim! I’m getting a little more rational now that some time has passed! LOL!

      I’m not even tempted to cheat – I’ve known too many who have and seen the fall out from it. I’m just not going there.

      Thanks for the encouragement – and knowing someone who has been there/done that – well, it helps!


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