Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cancer stage

So here is the problem..... belly cut open from the sternum to the nether regions..... my insides scrambled to get to the kidneys.....  need pain meds to dull the pain.... pain meds remove any energy that might be trying to break through. So, I am trying to type a few lines before my morning medications.

No sense dancing around the big news..... my cancer is stage 4. That means that it has escaped the kidneys, and has gone looking for new places to settle. They could see that the cancer was outside of the kidneys, and cancer was found in 2 of the 25 lymph nodes that were removed.

My surgeon tells me that it is not a “really bad” stage 4.... no evidence of distance metastasis. He also says that the recent chemo may have “cured” me. I am hoping that he is right.

For now, heal up, get good at dialysis, and get a cancer scan every 3 months for the next year.

I know that “every bodies cancer is different”,” I am not a statistic”, “could live another 20 years”, etc...... I recognize that statistics are general in nature, and there are always exceptions. I am also a realist, and would rather be stage 1 than stage 4.... after all, there is no stage 5.

I want to remind everyone that this is not a tragedy. As a family, the Crains have been very lucky health wise..... no premature deaths, no wheel chairs, no one institutionalized,.... Statistically speaking, one of us was going to get some awful illness. I know that others in the family have done their part, but now that I have stepped up and filled that spot, for now at least, the rest of the family can breath a bit easier. Y’all can thank me later..... LOL

My pain meds are starting to kick in, and I can feel my IQ sliding down 30 - 40 points, so I need to wrap this up for today.

Thanks for all of the encouragement and support.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Survived again

It is Tues morning, still in the hospital..... not really due to medical problems, but a paper snafu. They cannot let me go until dialysis is organized, and that cannot be done until my “hepatitis” panel is completed. It takes 3 days, and was submitted on Thur, and should have been available by Monday. They can track it to the lab, but then “no trace”. So, another sample (drawn at 3:30 AM) submitted Monday, ready Wed.

I received dialysis on Thur, Fri, Sat, and Monday. I will have dialysis again on Wed, then likely get out of here.

I am healing well, but still feel wiped out...... normal for major operation, and normal for dialysis. They say that I will get used to dialysis, and not feel so tired..... can’t wait!!

I have collected lots of fodder for blogs, but am just too tired. Thanks to all of the folks that checked in on me, and made my hospital stay a bit brighter.

More soon.....

Sunday, June 15, 2014

D day approaches

So, I had my fistula and dialysis port installed on Tues morning..... first on the list, no waiting. Got there at 5:15, and left at 3:30. First fistula attempt, at my left wrist, failed for reasons that I don’t quite understand.... bad veins or something. I was not quite awake when the doc told me. I am, however, the proud owner of a baby fistula at my upper arm, at the inside of the elbow. It should take 2-4 month to mature to useful size. Until then, dialysis will be accomplished using the catheter/port near my right collar bone that goes through my jugular vein within an inch of my heart. It is almost the same as my picc line, but able to flow a higher volume of blood. Altogether not too bad, just no showers until the port is removed. Oh yeah, no lifting more that 20 lbs, with the left arm ..... ever.....

So, it is Mon. morning, and D day is Wed. at 10:30..... Time is getting short, and I am trying to eat all of my favorite foods at all of my favorite restaurants, and catching up on the honey-do list here at Karens. I have nearly completed “getting my affairs in order”..... living trust, vehicles titled as TOD (Transfer On Death), bank accounts the same, etc..... I have placed all of the important information regarding keys, passwords, bank accounts, credit cards, and so on, into an “open in case of death” letter.

They say people don’t want to do these things because they feel that death will come as soon as they are ready. I know that it sounds morbid, but I did not find it to be so. Once I started, I felt that if I didn’t complete the process, I would surely die in the up coming surgery. I now feel a great sense of accomplishment, not just for the volume and variety of food that I have eaten, but for the entire process.

These past few days I have also been thinking about “luck”..... Now, we all would would concede that getting cancer can not be considered lucky by any metric, but outside of that, I am a very lucky guy. Many people that get sick do not have the friends, family, and resources that are abundant in my life. I am blessed with a great family, both in the East, and my adopted family out here in the west. Karen and her son Mike have made it their business to see that I get good care, (and food). Many people lost houses in the last crash, but I was able to gain two houses. I should add, that the rent from these houses has kept me out of the poor house, and allowed me to keep my head above water. I should pause to thank my friend Carl, who has always supported and helped me through my real estate adventures.

I have lived a life full of excitement, success, and, adventure, and, LOL, misadventure...... I guess that I could say that there are not many things left on my “bucket list”. I am indeed one of the lucky ones. There is no way that I have deserved all of the joy, good people, and good things that have come my way.

Now, don’t take this as a “good by” letter, it is not meant to be..... I know, ending a sentence with a preposition...... I mean this to be a “life is good” letter, I still have things to do, and plan to do them. I am also a realist, and realize that life is short, and none of us is guaranteed another week of life, and that high milage guys my age may drop over any time. When this happens for me, it will not be a tragedy.... a short life, a misspent life, a life filled with anger and fear..... tragedies all, but none of those things apply to me.

I need to wrap this up, and get back to my pre-surgery activities..... If you want information regarding the surgery, in the east, call my sister Peg, or my brother Bill, Karen will keep them informed. In the west, call Karen (661 313 8158) or Terri Lynn ((951 306 9586). I will, of course, post a blog as soon as I am able.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Code "pissed off" in the pre op

So on the 6th I left for the hospital at 8:30, after a shower and a special wipe down with what appear to be huge baby wipes. They contain special chemicals that fight infection...... also special wipes for my man parts..... apparently that is where infections hide to gain entrance into the hospital..... Of course, no food or water since the night before.

I get to the hospital, manage to “checked in”, and begin the wait. At 11:00 get called into pre op. I answer the questions, get into the fashionable paper gown, and have an IV installed. Then the wait..... High anxiety, hunger, and thirst, and more waiting..... and waiting..... at nearly 2:00, I get the news..... no surgery for you!!! WHAT????? You can’t do this to me!!! “we are sorry”... “we are very sorry”..... “we are very very sorry”......

Then they said wait and we will remove the IV, I said “no wait necessary, I will remove the IV”. I began the process, and instantly 5 people appeared, grabbed my arm, and treated me as if I were committing suicide. They quickly removed the IV..... no waiting necessary.

Of course they said it was an emergency that caused my surgery to be canceled, but I had over heard the staff talking about “over booking” of the OR, and over booking by doctors. Guess that I will never know. I am pretty sure that they have never said to a canceled patient “sorry, we over booked the room, and someone had to get shit on, and we decided it would be you”.

Anyway, I was pretty upset, and rude as I left.... no raised voices, or property damage, but they certainly didn’t have to guess what I was thinking.

I am waiting to be rescheduled.....