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Surprise! You Have Cancer, Part 2

Friday July 15th, 2016:

Back for another MRI. This one is going to concentrate on the spots on my liver.

OK, you know the routine, back on the surfboard and into the time tunnel. Then wait on the verdict.

Saturday July 16th, 2016:

At about 11am Dr. White called. The spots on my liver are determined to be cancerous by the MRI specialists. There are 7 of them, spread out all over the liver. This rules out removing part of my liver. The only hope is chemo / radiation or possibly a liver transplant. But old codgers are not put on the top of the list. Things are looking grim. The perfect ending to just about the worst week of my life.

Surgery on my colon is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Sunday July 17th, 2016:

I can feel my friends and family closing ranks on this. I have to hang in there. People I don't even know are saying prayers for me. We are hoping for the best.
I stop eating at about 6pm. I start drinking the "tasty lemon-lime" chalky drink at about 12 midnight. Sleep ain't happening tonight. King Duke-A-Lot rides again.

I don't think Mr. Corn made it this time.

Monday July 18th, 2016:

Surgery day. Following a short meeting with the billing department I am ready for the surgery at approximately 1:30pm. After some tearful goodbyes, I get the usual allergy questions and finally I am rolled on back to the staging area.

You could hang sides of beef in here, it's freezing cold.

Blood is drawn and I'm given a mild sedative. A large mass of needles are stuck into my left wrist for the anesthesia. The technician accidentally hits some kind of nerve in my arm and produced the worst immediate pain I have ever felt in my life.
I yelled out and heard one of the other techs say something about so and so nerve, it's the most sensitive nerve in the body. "Why don't we wait until he is asleep to install the port?" I heartily second the notion.

The good stuff is finally injected into the IV bag and I'm out.

Peace y'all.

The next thing I remember I'm in a hospital room. The colon surgery was a complete success. If the colon tumors were all I had to worry about this whole ordeal would have been over.

During the operation Dr. White, the surgeon, got a biopsy on one of the spots on my liver. He couldn't reach the other ones. He told us the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. Chemo / radiation was a must regardless of whether the liver tumors are cancerous or not.

This could have been avoided had I went in for a colonoscopy a year or two earlier. Please learn from this. Get a colonoscopy. It's not a big deal. You sleep through the whole thing.
Keeping down the "pleasant tasting lemon-lime flavored" chalky drink and being king for a day is the worst part.


Another port was installed. Now I have one in each hand. At this time I am very respectful of the ports. I don't want to bump them into anything, I don't want to accidentally lay on them.
I don't really even want to move my hands any more than possible.

This changes pretty soon.

These things are a nuisance. They snag on everything. You can't sleep with your hand under the pillow and you can't go to the bathroom without taking the IV bag with you. By the time I got out of the hospital I didn't give 2 flips about the ports. I lay on them. I put my hand under the pillow. If they got snagged I just snatched em away. I want these thing out of me!

That first night I was pretty sedated, high as a kite. I don't remember much pain. I really don't remember anything at all.

Tuesday July 18th, 2016:

I had bragged about how I was going to be up and walking as soon as possible. So mostly out of pride I did get up the next morning. 12 hours post surgery and I walked about 100 feet. I have got to learn to keep my mouth shut.

I did walk as much as possible. I knew the sooner I was up and able the sooner I could go home. I latched onto this like a bulldog.
Walk, walk, walk.

I talked them into taking out the IV, but had to keep both ports anyway.

If I didn't move there really wasn't much pain. My operation was a new type using robotics. The entry cuts were fairly small. I have six slits that were used for the entire operation. Five of them are horizontal and are practically painless. The one vertical cut from navel up is the major source of pain.

The surgery cuts one week post surgery.

Sitting up is a big deal, or getting up really. Once I'm up it's not so bad. But then there's the getting back down that's a challenge.

After the operation I had slept through breakfast and lunch. I finally got to eat at about 6pm. I had went 48 hours without anything to eat.

Wednesday July 19th, 2016:

Second full day in the hospital. I am still getting the mandatory pain meds and I am semi high all the time. My sleep is all messed up, I nap all day and lay awake most of the night.

The nurses, god bless them, they are the best people in the world. And I had the best nurses anyone could ask for. But I hated to see them come in because at least half the time it meant something was fixing to hurt. Drawing blood, poking and proding.

This was one of the most miserable nights of my life. I had terrible gas pains all night.

My kingdom for a fart.

I finally gave in and asked for extra pain medicine. This was the only time I did that. I'm proud of that. But in hindsight I wish I had gotten the meds a lot earlier.

They work!

Good ole Dr. White comes by at about 9pm. I don't know when this guy gets to rest. He is always working. He tells me that due to my progress with walking that if I can have a bowel movement and pass gas I can go home tomorrow.

Thursday July 20th, 2016:

Going home is nixed. I am going to have to get a biopsy on the liver tumors.
No BM or "flatulence expelled from the anus" anyway.

Sad Clint.

The biopsy procedure is out of this world. One small puncture in the right side, a tube is inserted and a robotic machine sends out arms to collect tissue from all 7 of the tumors. This is all done while laying under a MRI machine.

I got rolled back to the staging area for the biopsy. Guess what they asked me about.
Yep, allergies.

I was given a not so mild sedative that really added to the surreal experience for this adventure.

Even though I have been up and walking a lot I am still sore. Moving my arms or torso still hurts, a lot. The transfer from the hospital bed onto the MRI surfboard is a painful move.

The anesthesiologist is one the prettiest women I've ever seen. I lay there wondering why she was working here and not in show business.
I have no doubt that I will finally fart while in her presence.

Pretty lady tells me that I must move my arms above my head. I have my doubts about this happening. I can not imagine moving my arms at all, much less stretching them straight out above my head. I am patiently but forcefully helped in this matter.

Ooooh, that hurt!

I am given another shot of the good stuff and I am vaguely aware of them doing a quick sonogram of my liver. I hear them talking: "This doesn't look like cancer. It looks like Hemangiomas".

Later I looked this up.

<<< Hemangiomas are noncancerous growths that form due to an abnormal collection of blood vessels. They are often found on the skin or internal organs, particularly the liver. ... are usually small, but in some cases they may grow large, or develop lesions and require removal.>>>

So, a small ray of hope.

I am able to look up and I see a sinister looking man with dark goggles sitting behind a dark glass wall working on what looks like a laptop computer. This is the biopsy specialist. He remotely guides the robot through the procedure. The anesthesiologist and techs are all wearing radiation vests.

This is serious stuff.

I lose consciousness, and sleep through the rest of the procedure.
I wake up while being rolled back to my room.

Now we will wait on the biopsy results.

At around 8pm I finally feel a bowel movement coming on. At just this exact moment a nurse comes in for a blood pressure and temperature check.

I am in a panic, I don't want to mess myself. I jump out of the bed faster than ever before, hospital gown flaring open. My wife says something about the nurse seeing my naked butt, I'm sure she has seen one before.

All this is going on while I start motor-boat farting my way into the bathroom.

Finally a BM and a wind breaker all at once. The sweet smell of success, I can go home tomorrow!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hal-leeee-luuuu-jah!

Friday July 21st, 2016:

After a pretty good night I am up at the crack of dawn ready to go home.
I wait, and wait, and wait. Finally at about noon we get to leave.

Homeward bound. I've made it. After the worst 10 days of my life I have one of the best days of my life. There's nothing like temporarily losing it all to make you appreciate what you have.

Conclusion, for now.

We wait a week for the biopsy results. But it is worth it. The liver tumors are NOT cancerous, they are benign.

I am not out of the woods yet but I have kicked cancers butt pretty good.
I attribute this to the good karma, the well wishes and the prayers sent my way. I truly felt the love.

I still have to go through the chemo / radiation for the lymph nodes and I'll evermore have to get frequent follow-up tests for cancer.

But for now the world is a little brighter.

Continued - Part 3

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Living the good life in Southeast Alabama, father, grandfather, cancer survivor, part-time writer, and webmaster - Read More

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