Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Surgery on Thursday

By the time you read this, I’ll most likely be heading into or having surgery. I check in for a pre-op visit with the anesthesiologist no later than 11:00 AM on Thursday. After getting checked out, my surgery will be sometime in the afternoon, probably later than earlier. I will be fully under, unlike my recent biopsy experience. They will make an incision in front of my ear, probably about 4 - 5 inches. That will give them the room they need to work. It’s a little more complicated than I was hoping. They have to move my facial nerve out of the way so as not to cut it. That could cause some facial paralysis. But, the paralysis, if it happens, should not be permanent. No guarantees on this however. I’ll spend one night in the hospital and then head home on Friday if things go according to plan.

To back up a little, I met with my chemo and surgery doctors today. We all (the three of us) agreed that 1) surgery is needed 2) further chemo is needed, and 3) the chance of a recurrence even after the surgery is very high given my history. My chemo doctor’s preference was to do the chemo first, then the surgery. His rationale was to see if the drug he is planning to use is effective on my detectable tumor. And, the sooner the better because of the undetectable cancer cells which we all believe to be there. He wasn’t violently opposed to doing the surgery first however. I choose to do the surgery now versus later because: 1) the tumor is getting bigger and this could lead to a even more complicated surgery, 2) it is beginning to press on my facial nerve which is uncomfortable, 3) I want this thing out of me, and 4) maybe most importantly, I’m not strong enough for another round of chemo right now. On a 1 to 10 scale, I’m still at a 5 level for stamina and strength. I need more time to recover from the prior 9 months of chemo. I was hoping for early next week on the surgery, but my surgeon said he was out all next week and we could do it when he got back. I didn’t like the idea of doing nothing for 12 – 13 days, so the other option, which I took, is tomorrow (Thursday). Both doctors examined me and didn’t see any further signs of tumors. They do want me to have a chest CT to rule out a spread of the disease to my lungs or elsewhere. I’ll probably have that within the next day or two. Why that couldn’t have been done when I had my Head & Neck CT about 2 weeks ago, I’m not sure. I guess that would have made it too easy on me.

I’m getting really tired of writing about cancer and reading about it and researching it on the Internet every day. It has become my life, it does define me. I would much rather be researching my next vacation to some far off exotic location. But, that’s not going to happen right now or within the next few months.

I am beginning a list of people who you would rather not be on a first name basis, unless, of course, they also happen to be your friend. Here’s the beginning…
- Your pharmacist (she knows me and usually welcomes me by name when I refill my prescriptions).
- Your doctors (especially those which end in “ogist.” That would include your oncologist, proctologist, radiologist, and urologist to mention a few).
- The Public Defender (no personal experience)
- The Judge (both civil and criminal, again, no personal experience)
- The local law enforcement or FBI/CIA/NSA agents (no personal experience)
I guess there are others, but these were easy pickings.

Oh well, take care and stay healthy. I’ll update this blog as soon as possible following my surgery.


justme519 said...

Dear Ed, I just wanted you to know that your in my thoughts and prayers today! Hope your surgery goes well. Maybe you can plan that vacation in your mind while your recuperating! Again, we'll be there in spirt. Tanya

Fran in Pgh said...

Both you and Leroy, fellow bloggers, recovering from surgeries at the same time. What a coincidence. Well, here's hoping that you - and he - are able to get home soon and quickly get back to your daily routine of family, friends, blog-writing, sharing great (and funny) finds from the www, enjoying golf - as a spectator or player, reading, doing math and science homework, and all the other many things that bring you pleasure. Rest up, and see you guys soon.

cmshefler said...

Hang in there!

I don't know if I agree with the "pharmacist" on the no-first-name list. I like when i walk in to my pharmacy and everyone says "Hi Chris! Your usual cocktail today?" :-)