an early start

Hill and I rode in to the surgeon’s office this morning to get the final marching orders.  Surgery is at 8am tomorrow.  We have to be at the hospital at 6.  I have to wake up and give myself an enema first.

“May I have just a little cup of espresso?”

“No.”

4:30 am wake up for an enema and no coffee?  I want my money back.

If all goes to schedule, I should be waking up from surgery around 1:00.  I’ll be intubated and catheterized.  The tube will come out of my throat as soon as I’m showing signs of life, and breathing on my own.  The catheter will stay in for some days.

The whole thing has happened so quickly.  Sort of hard to believe.  During the afternoon I’ve been doing a final clean out.. strange to know that it’s the last I’ll ever need to sit on a toilet!!  Think about that one for a minute!

Sort of at a loss for words, I’m afraid.  Please do your mojo for me tomorrow.

EDIT:

I’m up.  Pretty lousy sleep as was expected.  I was up running back and forth to the bathroom until a little after midnight.  Was just settling into a nice non-anxiety dream when the alarm went off.  Got up.  Made Hill some coffee, and here we are.  About to do my final preparations *coughs*.  Laptop and books are all packed up..  special blanket for the hospital that came in the mail from a friend..  Think I’m good to go.  More from the other side of this thing!

Sunday

I don’t mind admitting to you all that I’m afraid.

At lunch the other day I asked my doctor what we’d be looking at IF chemo was necessary.

“just like before, but without the avastin”

“6 months!!!??”

“Yes”

My heart broke.

The criteria are pretty simple.  They will remove TONS of lymph nodes while they’re taking out the bottom end of my colon.  If they find ANY involvement in the lymph nodes, I will have to do Chemo.  My surgeon said he though it was about a 50/50 chance.

I’m a reasonably tough guy, and I feel as though I’ve been a pretty good sport through all of this, but I don’t like those odds, and the idea of 6 months of that shit..  AGAIN..  puts me in a mild state of panic.  In the context of more chemotherapy, the surgery feels like a walk in the park.

If it IS necessary, I’ll get 4-6 weeks to recover from the surgery, and get used to shitting in a bag and then I’ll get another port, and off we’ll go.  It’s hard for me to find a nice light to shine on it.

I guess we’ll know in a few days.  It feels pretty crazy to be going into this surgery feeling more anxious about the news I’ll get when I wake up than I am about the radical changes they’re going to make to my body.  It’s a crazy world.

It’s on! (like donkey kong)

Yesterday evening, as the tornado was rolling through, my surgeon called.  I didn’t hear the phone.. (there was a tornado rolling through.. !), but he left a message.  Surgery will be on Tuesday.  He will confirm the exact time of day on Monday.  That suddenly seems very soon!  Immediately counting in my head the number of times I have left to poop on the pot like a big boy!  (whoa..  just occurred to me..  toilet training my kids will be pretty strange!)

I was feeling pretty crappy yesterday.  Hurting. Nauseous. Listless, etc.  Having the date set really made for a mental shift, though.  I somehow hadn’t been thinking about what’s coming up in really concrete terms.  Imagining the adjustment, yes..  Thinking about the time in the hospital, and how intensely boring that will be.  Dreading being catheterized (in the context of things, a strange thing to be anxious about!) What they’re getting ready to do is pretty crazy, though.  It bears noting.  I mean, moving the main waste line in a house would be no small task..  digging in to the walls and breaking into a gigantic black pipe stack, changing it’s course and taking it out the front to a new septic tank, instead of allowing it to go deep into the street and connect to the main city sewer line.  But it makes sense..  you can imagine that.  These guys are planning to do that to my BODY!!  WTF!  That’s nuts.  Who even figured out that it could be done!  It sounds like science fiction to me.  I wonder if there are any other general plumbing modifications that it would make sense to have them do while they’re in there!  I mean.. not to make light, but it seems crazy that you can think of the body as a bunch of systems that can be modified like that.

I’ll be speaking with the surgeon when he gets in to his office at 10.  Lunch at noon with my main doc.  I may have an update later on.

Thank you all for reading.  It continues to be a great source of comfort for us to know that you’re out there following along.

a little cranky today

Not much to report, I’m afraid.  I’m in a bored out of my mind hurry up and wait holding pattern.  The pain from the biopsies has been surprising.  I’ve got the appropriate meds for taking care of it, but they leave me feeling blissed out in a really unproductive, unmotivated way.  And constipated.

No word yet from the docs on surgery schedule.

Boooooring.

morning after the night before

So.  Yesterday went fine.  Hill and I had a nice walk down to the hospital partly through central park.  A gorgeous fall morning.  Pre-op check in was pretty painless, because I had mostly pre-registered on Friday.  They whisked me off to a very cold pre-surgery assessment/waiting room, and that’s where things more or less ground to a halt.  A bunch of other patients came and went as the tv played outdated sitcoms (Tim Allen, I think).  A guy next to me had a little consultation with the anesthetist within earshot discussing what to expect from his catheter..  (“oh shit..  I’m going to have a catheter next week, huh?” I’m thinking..  That doesn’t sound fun.  The doc was telling him “at first it’s annoying.. yeah..  I think that’s the best word for it..  annoying.  It’s like a paper cut.  At first it really bugs you and then you just get used to it..” hmm..  paper cut inside your penis.)

I waited there for two and a half hours.  Hands and feet numb.  Then in a whirlwind of activity I was on the table.   Anesthesiology team asking me if I had any health problems.. “Besides rectal cancer, nothing.  Perfect health.”

“Rectal cancer!!!??”

“yeah doc.  That’s what we’re here for.”

“Um..  ok.  Well in just a sec here we’ll give you something that’ll really make you relaxed”

“I’m feeling pretty relaxed already, doc, but knock yourself out!”

I woke up a while later with no clue where I was.  “Hospital..  I seem to be the patient.. IV.. hmm, ouch!..  Oooh yeaaahhh.”

And that was that.  The surgeon had spoken with Hill and my mom while I was still out.  The verdict was: definitely cancer.  The tumor (hey!  I thought it was a lesion/ulcer!) was too deep in the muscle to remove entirely, but he took 3 big biopsies which gave him plenty of information, apparently.  He was happy that it was entirely posterior and that there was no bone involvement.  He said something about being able to see cancer cells on nerves.  We’re not sure what that means.

Amputation is definite.  The time is not.  The surgery will be performed by two surgeons in tandem ( one from the front, one from the back *cough*) and he hadn’t lined up the second guy yet, just in case.  It will most likely be next week.  There is a slim possibility that it will be the beginning of the following.  Hurry up and wait.

They gave me plenty of phentenol at the hospital, and sent me home with a script for percocet.  I slept well last night until around 1:30, and then was up for three hours, for no particular reason.  No pain anyway.  This morning I feel fine.  Though a little tired.

If this turns into a nearly 2 week wait, I’m clearly going to have to find a way to stay occupied.  I may head out to the shop today to clean it up, and see if I’m able to work at all.

A little dry, but you’re up to date!

Post Script.

Mark Twain said, One of life’s most over-valued pleasures is sexual intercourse; one of life’s least appreciated pleasures is defecation.

I wonder what he would have said about both pleasures changing radically in one fell swoop!