Update from the ATH

by on Thursday, March 5, 2009 7:53
This entry is filed under: Coping/Support

Yep, yes, you are right, Mark in pegged jeans. All is good though, he didn't leave the house in those!


It has been a busy few weeks, months for Mark and myself. We’ve now been in Athens (ATH), Georgia for two full months!  Seems so much longer, doesn’t it?  We really have taken on a new life here and it is going so well.  The first and biggest thing – we are no longer the “sick couple” – all the new people we are meeting here, NONE of them know things like “Mark had UC” or “Mark has no colon.”  When you’re no longer running to bathroom, missing work, looking like death, you find you NO LONGER need to explain your health.  A luxury of being healthy is not having to talk about your health!

 I’ve been working and adjusting to my new life as faculty at the university, which never has a dull moment it seems. And Mark is working right now doing tech inspections for cars at the dragway(a hobby for him). And then in the next few weeks, he’ll start working with a builder in town on custom renovations of these beautiful historic homes.

We are also getting into our community and he is a House Captain for a program called Hands on Athens.  For one weekend in April, volunteers come together to renovate the exterior of a historic home in the ATH that is owned by a low-income individual who can not repair the home themselves.  It is a wonderful service, and we are glad that Mark’s skills can be useful in the community. He’ll be in charge of the project, and then I’ve got my students involved to volunteer to help implement the changes needed. We’ll send pictures to the blog after the project is complete. 

All in all, just wanted to check in – let you know we are doing really well!  Life without Mark’s colon and rectum RULES!!!!

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14 Responses to “Update from the ATH”

  1. avatar

    Cindy says:

    March 5th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Hey Mark 7 Megan,

    My husband is two days into recovery from the total proctocolectomy surgery. Just wanted to express how comforting it is to read your story to know others have experienced the same pain, discomfort, emotional distress and survived returning back to a normal quality of life. My husband Alex is also a snowboarder and recently returned from vail and was unable to enjoy the mountains as he was in the middle of a UC episode. He is looking forward to returning to the mountain as Alex n the mountain have unfinished business…. Seeing Mark on his board brought tears to my eyes, as it reassured us he will be able to enjoy his favorite sport. Best of luck to you and Mark!

    Be well,

    Alex & Cindy


  2. avatar

    Jamie Sasanfar says:

    March 6th, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    This post brought a smile to my face. I am 10 days out from having my jpouch built and my iliostomy takedown and still in the hospital. Things are very slow going and at times seem like they will never improve. It is so comforting to read that Mark is back in action and you guys are enjoying healthy lives. When all you do is lay in a hospital bed, walk, and talk about your pouch, it seems hopeless but it is posts like these that make me know brighter days are on the horizon.

    Thanks again for having such a great site!


  3. avatar

    Mark says:

    March 7th, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Hi Cindy and Jamie,

    Great to hear from you both, but sounds like you are in the middle of getting healthy. THat is a hard phase because so much is riding on if there are complications or not, how does the body react, etc…Just stay in good spirits, especially Cindy – you can really help Alex by remaining positive and celebrating him getting healthy instead of seeing negatives. And Jamie, the healthier of mind you are with patience to get healthy should help. I am a firm believer in a healthy mind helps heal the body.

    Stay in touch, Mark


  4. avatar

    Jenelle says:

    March 9th, 2009 at 6:47 am

    What an uplifting post! I really related to being the “sick couple”. My partner grew up in another city that is nearby, so we visit often to see his family and friends. He has a circle of friends there he still keeps in touch with but we only see a few times a year. Because of this, most of them don’t have a lot of information about how sick I was and therefore they don’t bring it up and I find it refreshing to not have my illness be the focus of attention! I know people mean well, but sometimes I like to be “normal”.


  5. avatar

    Lori Burton says:

    March 9th, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you!!! My husband of 14 years is being faced with this surgery, and I have been looking ALL over the internet for information. I have found your site to be the most helpful. We are still processing things & emotions are very much up & down right now. When he is ready, I’m sure we will post our journey. Thank you so much…..especially for the pictures.


  6. avatar

    Julie Cooper says:

    March 10th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Hi Mark n Megan,
    Just to say a huge Thanks for doing this site it has helped/helping me so much as i had my surgery on the 23rd Dec 08,different way to spend Christmas and New Year huh !! though now looking forward to enjoying life again which even now has improved greatly. I am due to have to have my last operation at the end of April and i can’t wait. You have been such a source of inspiration to me and it’s great to be able to follow your progress because although my recovery has been good i still got/get a bit scared,so it’s good knowing you can identify with people going through the same things.
    Thanks again…..


  7. avatar

    Megan says:

    March 11th, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Lori, we hope it all works out well for your family. I swear I think making the decision for the surgery, trying to plan for it in your busy lives, the worry of complictions, etc..It is such a stressful time. I know if you read Brevin’s early posts on here when he was decision making you can see how hard it was, now the decision has been made and he is like a new man gearing up for surgery. Good luck in the decision, this link will take you a wonderful webcast on making the surgery decision, it si the MOST Informative objective piece of medical info I’ve found, really really well done and a must listen for anyone at your stage of coping —

    Keep us posted! Megan


  8. avatar

    Megan says:

    March 11th, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Hey Julie, congrats on the healthy healing, that must be exicting to be into the process, although you still have one more surgery pending the hard surgeries are over now! Mark healed so quickly after takedown, it was a little rough there for a few weeks when he was adjusting to using his anus again for BMs but just be prepared for that and you’ll be good to go. We are so glad that the site and photos helped, that was the reason we shared the story so candidly, we didn’t have this going into his surgeries and we wanted a way to ease the fear of the unknown of the process. Do stay in touch, we’d love to know of your April recovery! Megan


  9. avatar

    Lori Burton says:

    March 14th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Well, the decision has been made!! My husband, Chaz, has decided to have surgery. Step one is scheduled for next Tuesday, March 24th. We cannot thank you enough for sharing your stories. We have been able to share with our 3 small boys everyone’s pictures & stories. It has been so helpful!!

    He has decided to document his journey as well….. http://www.mylifewithcrohns.wordpress.com

    Thank you so much, Lori


  10. avatar

    Megan says:

    March 14th, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    HI Lori, Wow! So the decision has been made, we always say making the decision was the hardest part (other than living sick). The surgery is so soon, but sounds like you’ve prepared for many years and good probably that you don’t have a huge waiting time. Do make sure that you and Chaz use all the great ostomy and jpouch sources out there, especially http://www.jpouch.org. You can post there and learn about all how to manage all your new things that come with the ostomy and jpouch. Also, Lori be sure to take good care of yourself through all this, that although it is about Chaz you need to stay healthy and strong as well. We will be sending you go healing vibes on the 24th, and be sure to keep us posted!



  11. avatar

    Chaz & Lori Burton says:

    March 31st, 2009 at 5:53 am

    Today is day #7 of recovery from my first surgery and things are going well. I came home from the hospital last night. My main issue right now is leaking. They had to place the stoma in a not so great place. We’ve been updating my blog at http://www.mylifewithcrohns.wordpress.com
    Thanks for your support,


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    Stephanie Sirrine says:

    December 6th, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Well this is a wonderful site and if your looking for the BEST Vail Restaurant check here WestsideCafe.net. Here you can find the most to die for entrees.


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