Sunday, October 25, 2009

October 25, 2009

OK, I am home from the hospital, and doing well. Thanks to Claudia, who stayed with me at the hospital, and did a good job as "information officer". Thanks also to all of my friends who visited.... and thanks to my friends that are currently caring for me.
They say that you will feel better every day, but I have not found that to be the case..... I think that it might be better to say that you feel better every week.... anyway, that seems to be my experience.
Although I am very happy to be cancer free, I am still hurting and angry......
I will try to write more soon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hi there. I'm writing this blog for John. His surgery went well on Monday. The doctor was able to make the neo bladder so everything went as planned. John is out of ICU and in a private room and will be in the hospital for another week. The best news is that the pathology report came back and the lymph nodes are indication of cancer!! This was the most postive news because there won't be any chemo and John can move forward and get better.

With any luck John will be able to write the next post!


Friday, October 9, 2009

October 9, 2009

In nature, when a creature becomes old and weak, or otherwise sick or injured, the predators and scavengers gather, all looking for a piece of the action. Some species will turn and devour the hapless creature, and with other species, the herd will eventually, necessarily move on, and the defenseless will be picked clean. I am beginning to realize that this is not personal, or mean, just natures way. I am fortunate that my herd, still seeing me as a valuable member, have circled the wagons, and are prepared to defend me. I know.... mixed metaphor.... I am grateful, and wish them success.

It is nearly time to go..... I have spent the past few weeks tying up loose ends, and putting things on hold. My house is now safely installed across the street from Carl's house, I have arranged a face lift for my damaged car, and I am ready to get on with this. Claudia, playing the part of Florence Nightingale, will be arriving on Friday, having just spent 2 weeks seeing her mother through cataract surgery on both eyes.

We will leave my rig here, and, on Saturday, and take her motor home to the Elks Lodge in Burbank, which is only 11 miles from the hospital. They have elect. and water hook ups for $10 per night..... a real bargain in the greater LA area. I sure am glad to be an Elk. Anyway, she will be able to take care of me, and her dog Sophie, with minimal commuting time.

Claudia will be posting updates on my blog, calling my sister Peg, calling Terri Lynn, and e-mailing to anyone who makes a request. Claudia is quite organized.
Claudia's phone # 530-906-1234, and her e-mail is

My surgery is scheduled for 7:30 AM, on Monday, but the slicing really doesn't start until 8:30. The doc. says that he should be done by 4:00 PM. I really should add a bit of reality here..... most people do not die during this procedure, and I am relatively young and healthy compared to most bladder surgery patients, so...... not to worry. It is a big deal to me, but fairly routine for the Doctor and his staff.

I will probably have cell service in my room, if not, the room probably has a phone. I will likely be under the influence of dangerous drugs for Monday and Tuesday, but happy to have calls and visitors after that. I expect that Claudia will report any movement toward normal intellect.

I will be at: USC Kenneth Norris Cancer Hospital, 1441 Eastlake Avenue, LA, Ca, 90033. Terri Lynn will have copies of directions for those that want to visit.

On Tuesday, I realized that my life had truly changed..... At Walmart, real men buy guns and ammunition, mud tires for the truck, steak, camping supplies, beer, wide screen TV's and such.

With upcoming abdominal surgery, and new, unhealed, untrained and untested, plumbing...... I bought a robe (for tail coverage at the hospital), XL draw string jammies, XL underwear, and water proof sheets. (I couldn't bring myself to ask where the depends were, I plan to push that job off onto one of my friends who will innocently ask “is there anything that I can do?”) At the check out counter, I felt just the same as when I bought my first condom, I just knew that everyone was looking at me...... It is hell to get old and sick...... modesty, dignity and self image are the first casualties.

On the up side, my modesty, dignity, and self image have always been marginal anyway, and this procedure, though uncomfortable, will give me the best chance to be cancer free, and live a fairly normal life.

Monday, October 5, 2009

October, 5, 2009

One week and counting.....Time is racing..... D day is next Monday...... I enter the hospital on Sunday morning for a day of testing and GI tract cleansing. It really doesn't get much better that that. LOL A very expensive place to stay, and only clear liquids on the menu.

I really don't know what to say.... my emotions are all over the map, and I expect that this is normal. My plan is to endure this week, get through next week, and do the best that I can after that. Not a great plan, or even a unique plan.... it is, I think, the only plan available. I think that I have done the best that I can considering the circumstances. My doctor is one of the best in the world, the hospital is very well regarded, and, apparently, my insurance co. is going to pay this time.

I am confident that I am doing the right thing, and hoping for a good outcome. I hope that I will end up with a “neo bladder”, although I know that it is an “operating room” decision for the surgeon. The doc. will try to preserve the nerves that allow men to preform like men. Needless to say, I am hoping for success.

The next big event, after the surgery, will be the pathology report. (48 hours after the surgery) They remove the bladder, prostate, and surrounding lymph nodes, and send them off to the lab. If it is “all clear”, then 95% chance that I won't ever have to deal with this again. If not “all clear”, then chemo, and a much reduced chance of survival.

In spite of my confidence in the decision, the doctor, the facility, and the procedure, I am still anxious, scared, angry, and horrified. Part of me thinks that even the best outcome is bad, and I find myself hoping for the “least worst” result. The other part of me recognizes that I may be avoiding a slow painful death, and be able to live a near normal life, The technology available is hard to believe, imagine, making new body parts. I guess that both of these are reasonable assessments.

The Ca. Dept. of Insurance has informed me that they are very happy that I contacted them, and they encourage me to stay in touch, but are unable to help with this particular problem. They say that my dispute with Health Net is a “he said, he said”...... Nothing that they can do, and that litigation is my next step. Disappointing, but I have to agree. I am still seeking a lawyer to take this on spec. If I am unsuccessful, I guess that I will do it myself...... a bit of David and Goliath drama.....

I am spending the day preparing for the hearing on my “relief from stay” motion. Imagine me in a suit and tie...... trying to make a reasoned argument with no emotion leaking out. I have the facts, and the law, on my side, but I realize that “facts and law” may not carry the day, and that they may be able to cause more delays. I will try to present myself as “poor but honest” seeking much needed justice.

Life has gotten very complicated, and much of the time I feel like giving up..... but today, I feel like a warrior..... OK, a backed into a corner, and greatly out numbered, warrior, but still willing to engage the battle.