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    Recovery

    November 24th, 2012

    Well I’ve been home for two weeks now and am doing quite well.  All my little scars are healing nicely and I no longer have any pain.  My first week home was very difficult and painful.  I was flat on my back or up and walking around.  You see  anything in between these was very painful.  I came home with a catheter installed in me and it made sitting or lying on my side very painful.  So I spent the first week doing alot of laying about.

    Then came 14 November and I had the catheter removed.  Yea!  All my pain went away.  The only problem left is incontinence.  I have no control over my bladder.  The prostate along with a sphincter muscle are how we hold our pee from just flowing whenever it wants to.  Well I no longer have a prostate so I am in the midst of learning to just use the sphincter muscle to control my pee.  I am in the early stages of this.  I have to wear an adult diaper for now but every day I get a little bit better than the day before.  Soon I’ll get to a point wherein I’ll only have to wear a pad to catch the little bits that don’t get held 100%.

    Despite the temporary incontinence I think the whole surgery thing has gone very well.  I no longer have any cancer inside me growing and becoming something scarier.  That was the whole idea behind all this.  Now if the two little spots on my right lung are found to be nothings I will be able to say I am cancer free and that’s what I’m hoping for.


    The Surgery

    November 10th, 2012

    They wheeled me into the Operating Room and I went out like a light bulb.  The next thing I know the Surgeon is telling me how well the operation went and how al lthe cancer was removed.  I spent most the afternoon in the recovery room then they took me up to my hospital room.  The nurses were nice enough but they had me on some powerful pain medications and I couldn’t sleep while there.  I spent Thursday staring at the walls and generally being out of it.  I stopped the pain meds on Thursday evening because it was just making me stoned.  On Friday the Doctors resident came by to tell me that my labs were all fine and that I could go home anytime I wanted.  I got out of bed for the first time and it was easier than I thought it was going to be.  I got schooled on how to work and care for my catheter.  I walked around the room a bit and was kinda’ getting my legs back when my sister Cathie showed up.  We walked all the way to the front entrance of the hospital and she was nice enough to pull the car around.  I got a ride home and here I am recovering.  The important part is that they got all the cancer removed and pretty soon I’ll be back to normal.

     


    I’m Home

    November 9th, 2012

    I made it through.

    I left home on Wednesday morning, the 7th at 0500 I was in the OR by 0730.  I have little memory of being in the recovery room but I remember going to my hospital room and I’ve been there ever since.  I was flat on my back for two days.  I got out of bed this morning for the first time and now I’m at home.

    One day for surgery.  One day for recovery and BAM I get sent home.

    I’ll write more tomorrow.


    The New Surgeon

    October 19th, 2012

    Well after some intensive research I found a Urologist/Surgeon at The Penn State Hershey Medical Center that I am comfortable with operating on me.  His name is Jay Ramen MD and he has a great resume.  I met with him last Tuesday and we went over everything I’ve been through for the last four months.  What information that the original doctor didn’t send him I had with me so he was able to get a complete picture of where I’m at in this saga.  He seems like a very knowledgeable and nice guy.  I told him that I knew this hospital is a Medical School so I was prepared to be operated on in a theater and was ready for students to be filling my room during the morning rounds.  He said no.  He told me he does all his surgeries himself and that he works with a single resident so I don’t have to worry about being operated on by students nor having them all walking through my room during recovery.  He told me I’ll be in the hospital for 2 days and will have a catheter installed for only about a week

    The surgery is scheduled for 7 November.  Before that I have to meet with my family doctor and find out what the results of the blood culture is on Monday then I get to go have an MRI so that Dr. Ramen can have a clearer picture of my prostate on Wednesday and then the Pre-Op meeting with Dr. Ramen’s team is next Friday.  This is where I get to meet with him again as well as his resident and the attending nurses.  On the same day I also meet with the Anesthesiologist.  All this is done a few days before the operation so everyone including myself are all on the same page and will be ready to go on the day of the operation.

    I am more than ready to have this over and done with!


    The Surgery That Wasn’t

    September 25th, 2012

    Over the past week I have had the Pre-Op meeting with the surgeon and a cardiac stress test and had some blood drawn.  All the tests were over and I was ready for the surgery.  On Sunday I was at my sisters Cathie’s house because she took me to the hospital at 0530 on Monday morning.  On Sunday I was only allowed to drink clear liquids and at 1500 I started the bowel cleanse.  By 1700 I was shitting liquid and this went on for the rest of the evening.  Hey, it had to be done.
    So I awake at 0400 and complete the 3 S’s (Shower, Shit and Shave) and we are on our way to the hospital at 0500.  We get there right at 0530.  We find our way to the registration office and I fill out all their forms and papers.  From there I am escorted into a small hospital room to disrobe and get into one of those hospital gowns, get my IV put in, get shaved and fill out more paperwork.  Now I’m fully prepped and ready for the OR.  I get wheeled to the other side of the hospital and placed in a recovery room right outside of the OR.  I meet with the Anesthesiologist and everything is a go.  The surgery was scheduled for 0730 and at 0730 the surgeon shows up and promptly announces that my blood test from last week showed an elevated white blood cell count meaning I have an infection and can not be operated on.

    WTF!  was my reaction as was everyone else’s.  Here I am laying on a hospital bed fully prepped for surgery and I’m told it’s not going to happen!  The surgeon went on to explain that my white count is 20,000 wherein it should be around ten.  Everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off so I ask why not do another blood test to verify the test from last week.  It stopped everyone in their tracks.  What a good idea!  They take some blood and I’m left alone for about 45 minutes and everyone shows back up and tells me my white count is still too high so no surgery.
    There was no apology.  There was no ,”I’m sorry this happened at the last moment”.  Nothing.  I was told to take the blood test to my family doctor and get it taken care of.  Period.
    The arrogant bastard of a surgeon never bothered looking at my blood test until walking into the hospital to perform the surgery.  So I have an appointment with my family doctor next Monday 1 October.  I have to go to her office sometime this week to give a urine sample and then next week she’ll put me on an antibiotic.
    Meantime I get to shop for a new surgeon.


    The Surgeon

    September 5th, 2012

    Yesterday I saw the surgeon and we talked about all the different options available to me and I stuck to my guns and told him I want a radical prostatectomy.  After going over all the tests I’ve undergone he agreed that it is the best course of action for me.  We talked for a long time about Erectile Dysfunction and incontinence.  I will come home from the hospital with a catheter and it will be there for about two weeks or so.  Afterwards I will have to re-teach myself how to hold it.  As far as the ED goes he claims that the neuro-vascular bundles on each side of the prostate will be spared so there is a good chance that I will be fully functional after the surgery.
    He’s a real good guy.  As it turns out we grew up about 3 blocks from each other.  His name is R. Scott Owens and he’s considered the best in his business.  We scheduled the surgery for Monday September 24th.  I have a bunch of lab work and tests to undergo before the 24th and I am going to give a pint or two of my blood just in case I need a transfusion.  I can’t wait until this is all over!

     


    New News

    August 31st, 2012

    OK so on my birthday I had another CT scan because they saw something wrong on the first one.  What they saw was two nodules on the bottom of one of my lungs.  I then had a CT scan of my chest.  I just saw my family doctor yesterday and she said the scan found that I have two non-calcified nodules on my left lung right down by the diaphram.  They are very small and can’t be biopsied so she said that we should wait for three months and have another CT scan and see if they have grown.  If they grow it’s lung cancer if they don’t grow then they’re just two little nothings to worry about.
    The other news she gave me is that I have Emphysema!  That has kinda’ freaked me out a bit.  Now I don’t have a choice but to quit smoking.  Today is my last day of smoking.  Tomorrow I quit.  No choice here.  This time I’m gonna’ make it more than a week or two.  I have to.

     


    The Verdict

    August 16th, 2012

    I went to see the Urologist this morning and he presented me with the results of all the tests.  I have stage T2a  non-metastasic prostate cancer with a Gleason score of 7 (3+4).  What that means is I have an early form of cancer on one side of my prostate and the cancer is not very aggressive.  This is all good news.  The options given me for dealing with it were long term radiation therapy or  surgery to completely remove the prostate.  I chose surgery.  My attitude is cut the cancer out and I no longer have to deal with it.  It has not spread so let’s just get rid of it.  The next step is meeting with the surgeon and that is scheduled for next week.  So stay tuned until next week kids.  Same bat-time same bat-channel.
    UPDATE:  The appointment with the surgeon has been changed to Sept.4th so there will be no new news until then.  Please stand by.


    The C word

    August 3rd, 2012

    I have prostate cancer.
    A few months ago my family doctor felt the need to give me a prostate exam and despite my protests she did her exam and announced my prostate was enlarged.  She took some blood to run a PSA test.  The test came back slightly elevated and she sent me to a Urologist.  He also did a prostate exam and said that the way it is enlarged pointed towards cancer.  He scheduled me for a biopsy.  This was done last Wednesday and I was to hear the results on Tuesday of this week.  My phone never rang on Tuesday so I called his office on Wednesday morning.  They told me he had the results but had not called me yet.  Duh!  He called me about an hour and half  later to tell me the biopsy confirmed the fact that I have a malignant form of prostate cancer.
    The next step is to have both a bone scan and a CAT scan to find out if the cancer has grown into any other organ.  After these tests I’ll meet with the Urologist again to go over my options and see where we go from here.
    My attitude has been to take things as they come.  I’m not upset.  If any thing I’m surprised that I’m not just riddled with cancer.  I was a kid in the 60’s and grew up in the 70’s.  I grew up drinking soda, watching TV and riding in cars that used leaded gasoline.  Better Living Through Chemistry.  I am the long term study of all that was new and improved in my life.  So I am taking things as they come.  One step at a time.
    I asked the Doctor if it is possible to cut out the offensive tissue or to remove the entire organ to which he responded that in cases like mine it is SOP to remove the organ.  There are still many questions to be answered but I just have to be patient and get these tests done then I get to sit down with the Urologist and find out where we go from here.

     

     


    The U.N.

    July 2nd, 2012

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A picture is worth a thousand words