We went yesterday afternoon to meet with Ryan's surgeon (our beloved surgeon--if he had a Facebook page we would stalk him). Overall it was a fantastic appointment!
Great reports to share!! Here is the best sum up I can give in Dr. B's own words:
"2012 was horrible for you. Let's let you call the shots in 2013. Travel, work, hike, enjoy life. You are stable so let's let you live life this year."
Don't you love that? He was impressed with Ryan's 20 lb weight gain of muscle, that he is back to work full-time, and that we are active and living life! However, at this point based on a rectal exam yesterday and his own suspicions, he believes Ryan's large intestine to still be highly diseased and incapable of withstanding an ileostomy reversal. He told us that Ryan's anus is very, very narrow and the reason could be scar tissue or from lack of use. Slightly concerning, but not overly alarming or surprising.
Either way, a narrow colon does NOT do you any favors and it's best not to reengage it yet, or perhaps ever. We will continue to have him monitored every few months by our medical team to make sure things are progressing and maintaining well in all areas.
Here is my favorite news: Dr. B has absolutely no reservations about Ryan traveling!! Just that if he does venture overseas to stay adequately hydrated and go pharmaceutically prepared. We would bring a drug store stash of anti-diarrhea meds, antibiotics, etc.
Our health conversations need to continue with our GI doc, Dr. R about what it looks like to to travel from an internal medicine point of view. We have every reason to believe he will be optimistic and supportive of life continued as normal, which for us means getting out of the USA sometime soon.
Praise the Lord for improvement. So yes, Ryan's colon is still diseased and no, he isn't getting a reversal anytime soon. But the Remicade is keeping his flare in remission, his ostomy is allowing him to gain weight and life life, and in the words of Dr. B "chill out and live your life".