Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bits and Pieces

 I did the quick catch up on surgery and stuff. Sometimes it's a bit difficult to get an idea about what really went on for those, so if you'll bear with me, I'll go through it as I understand what they cut out of me.
For starters, let us run back over December for a bit. It was a strange month to me, for some reason. I got my Chemo protocol from MD Anderson set up so I could do that here in Midland. I would rather be home for that kind of stuff, rather than stuck in  a hotel room for a once a week treatment that I thought might make me sick.
 I asked right off for a Power Port (which has since blown out as we found the 8th of July), but they didn't think I'd need one. Second treatment, I got the port put in. Once again, I was right. Sheesh
I can't recall what I was given except for Cisplatin. That's based in platinum. Heavy metal poisoning LOL! The other two did wonderful things, like make my hair fall out and dried my skin out so badly that my face and neck hasn't gotten over that yet. I look like a snake that really needs to rub it's head on a rock and shed.
 It did make me sick as hell. Once again the nausea meds didn't do squat, so I tried an herbal remedy. I can say this for certain. I'd hit the gym for 3 days straight, spend the next day in the infusion room (10 hrs to get 3 drugs in), and the next couple of days being ill. With the herbal aid it went like this. 3 days at the gym, all day infusion, up the next day, puff puff, pass the hell out. Wake up, eat like a pig, nap. Saturday, puff puff pass out, eat like a pig. After that I did fine for 3 days. I can say this, it's not the same type herbs we had back in the day. This stuff nailed my ass to the floor and didn't even say thanks! I lost some weight, but only about 10 lbs. What did happen was severe neuropathy that left my left foot like a lump. I couldn't flex it, or my toes. Unless I wore my lace up boots, I'd trip on it because I couldn't feel it on the ground. Weird

 Chemo ends and I go to Houston for a week of pre-surgery tests. I hole up in the Econo-Lodge with some cereal, a pile of microwave food and 4 novels. The novels lasted 2 days, I got tired of microwave food and dined out a bit. I never get tired of corn flakes, though, or Grape Nuts. Go figure.
My bud John Moye showed up on Thursday, we ate like pigs for 3 days, shot pistols, laughed, went to a couple of appointments, and generally just hung out. That was great.
 Liz got there on Sunday afternoon. Joe's Crab Shack was happy to see us. We dropped $90 on food, drinks and dessert. Older 2 kids got there Monday. Papadeaux was glad to see us too. Big meal, stopped for snacks and stuff. Hung out that evening. It was the last day I had any solid food, Jan 21, 2013.

 We got up and headed in for a 5 AM call time for surgery. By now I'm used to waiting so it didn't take long to get back into pre-op. Got the shots, I don't recall getting wheeled out. We did give them instructions to shake my feet when they try to wake me up. I have a thing about my shoulders, I'll grab or punch if I'm woken up by having my shoulders shaken. Scared Liz once when we were first married. Ooops

 Okay! Here's what they cut out the first time:
1/3 or more of my left lower jaw
All of the base of my tongue
Soft palate (it moved there between CT's)
4 lymph glands
Tumor wrapped around my left carotid artery
Plastic surgeon took the big muscle out of the outside of my right quad and stuffed it in my mouth.
That took about 14 hrs. The cancer hid out in different places than the CT showed

 Things go okay, I can swallow a bit, still, can't talk for shit because my tongue wonders what the hell they did to it. Something isn't right though, a couple of days in. I smell something odd, and my mouth tastes funny. There's a pulse for the muscle, but I started to question it's health. They poked, prodded and looked but it appeared okay. Until the day they were gonna cut me loose. My head surgeon came in, looked and said I wasn't going anywhere, yet. Damn thing had died. I got hooked up to IV antibiotics and scheduled for surgery the next day. It's odd having something dead in your mouth that you haven't cooked first.
 Next surgery! Go in, get the pre-op stuff, head to the table and get Nimbex, a muscle relaxant. It killed me. Apparently a drug allergy I knew nothing about. Anyway, they cut out the dead quad, and pulled my pec out to stuff in my mouth instead.
That took about 8 hrs. ICU for a couple nights. That place is no fun at all.

Back up to my floor and waiting again. Liz has been in my room since Jan 22, and hasn't left. I'm really weak now, and resistant to getting up and walking around like I know I should. I do anyway, whiny about it though. Sheesh.
 I can't swallow this time. Pisses me off. My lip and chin are more fouled up, that pisses me off. I can't speak now for shit, that pisses me off. All this was done to keep me alive, and all the cancer was gone, so I got over being pissed off. One more surgery to be certain the infection is cleaned out, that one took about an 3 hrs.
 We spent 2 days in a hotel room, then they cut us loose to come home. February 13, one month after I hit Houston, 3 weeks in the hospital. I asked about when and what I could do for PT. I was told to walk, which is okay, but not do anything with my shoulders or upper body until they said it was okay.
We went back in a week for a look over, got the okay to go home, except for the Infectious Disease Dr. He panicked over a fluid pocket and said we'd better be ready to stay, then go, then stay. I told him via my dry erase board to make up his mind or I was gonna shove a boot up his ass, as we had already cancelled my plane ticket. Cooler heads prevailed, they kicked us loose and my daughter Sarah was able to get me a seat on the same flight as before.

 Two months later, no word on PT or SLP stuff. Liz raised hell for me and got me freed up for PT and SLP. By then though, my shoulders, neck and back had started to atrophy. I was so weak I couldn't raise my arms over my head.
 For all the fabulous care, communication is something MD Anderson really needs to work on. I posted on their FB page that I felt like after I was dismissed, I became a lost child and no one there gave a shit whether I got better or not. I learned that's a fine way to get people off their ass and moving.

Later, Girls and Boys

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