Surgery , thoughts , and follow up

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April 7th 2014
Published: June 24th 2014
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April 7 – Monday - I was having my surgery today. I haven’t eaten anything since Saturday when I was put on a liquid diet. I just chewed on cracked ice.

The nurses gave me a bottle of some kind of laxative to clean me out which I drank. It wasn’t as bad as the other stuff they gave me on Friday, or as much. The nurses also gave me some special surgical soap to take a shower with this morning so I dutifully used it to take a shower with.

My surgery was scheduled for 1PM. My mother, brother Danny, and sisters Gail and Debbie came by to visit. When they took me down to the surgery floor they were allowed to come and we all got in a little room and visited while they took my vitals again and checked out my IV needle where it was plugged in. The anesthesiologist came in and talked to me as well.

They also gave me a different kind of robe which I guess I needed for the surgery so I changed into it.

After a bit they came and got me and everybody wished me luck as
William June 3, 2014William June 3, 2014William June 3, 2014

My hemoglobin level has been restored and I am full of energy. I feel like I'm 50 again.
they wheeled me out. On the way to the operating room they asked me if I minded if students observed the surgery and I said no, I didn’t mind.

So they wheeled me into the operating room and there were about 20 people in there. They jacked up the bed I was on till it was even with the operating table and asked if I needed help scooting over. I told them no, I could do it and they kind of held me to be safe as I scooted over onto the operating table. After that there were all kinds of hands doing all kind of things and they put a mask on me and told me to breathe normal. I guess that is what they used to put me out because after a few seconds of breathing in I was out.

The next thing I remember was I was in a large room with a few other patients and the nurse was asking me if I was ok. I said yes and she told me to just rest a bit and attended to another patient. After a bit she came and got me and I believe took me to a room, on the 3rd floor. I don’t think I went to intensive care or anything like that. I’m kind of fuzzy about what happened then or even if someone was in the room when I got there, but I think I just went to sleep for a bit.

My brother Danny told me later that the doctor had talked to my mother and him after the surgery while I was in the recovery room and that I didn't go to intensive care but was brought up to my room later asleep. After the doctor talked to my mother my sister Debbie had taken my 92 year old mother home and my brother Danny and Sister Gail stayed with me when I got back in my room. It’s kind of strange how this played out. I’m the one who no one thought something like this would happen to. I’ve always been strong, healthy, and happy.

And I didn’t smoke, drink, take drugs of any kind, or chase lewd women. I ate a healthy diet and tried to get in a walk each day even if it was just going to Wal Mart and parking at the far end of the parking lot and walking in. Oh well……what can you do.

One thing I didn’t care much for was they had a bag for collecting urine on a hook by my bed and a tube stuck up me. I followed the tube up with my hand and was surprised to find it was stuck up through my penis!!! I’m glad I wasn’t awake when they did that!

They weren’t giving me anything to eat or drink. Just cracked ice to chew on. They said that was all I was going to get till I had a BM. They said to make sure to let them know when I passed gas. Geeee.

Isn’t life strange… month I am exploring the pyramids of the Yucatan and then just a month later my main concern in life is that I pass gas.

April 8 – 9 – The next couple of days I just recovered, ate my cracked ice and took walks in the hall of the hospital. The nurse went with me at first but soon she asked if I needed her to go with me and I told her I would be ok. The doctor had said I needed to walk as much as I can, so I did. When the nurse removed the tube and bag from me she told me if I didn’t urinate in a couple of hours then I was blocked and they would have to push a tube up my penis again to unblock it. This seriously motivated me to urinate and I managed to do it in an hour or so, much to my relief.

I asked the nurses each day if the results had come in on the test to see if the lymph nodes had any cancer but they told me the results weren’t in yet.

April 9 – Just waiting on the lab results on lab test of the Lymph nodes they removed. I guess we will fnd out tomorrow. Still no gas.

My brother Danny brought me a bathrobe because it was cold in here. He has headed home now. I guess I will try and get some sleep.

April 10 – 11AM – The surgeon J. M. just came by and told me that the test on the lymph nodes they checked out came out negative, so thank God for that. It was such a relief to know that. That meant that the cancer probably hadn’t spread. Also the doctor said there was nothing on my liver as well.

I was so relieved I teared up after he left. Thank God! That meant I didn’t have to make the terrible decision of whether to go through Chemo or not. The alternative would have been to die of cancer but my two friends went through Chemo and all that suffering and died anyway. There really weren’t any good choices. Maybe Chemo would have stopped it and maybe not.

Of course there would be the other option of taking the long swim, taking up hang gliding, cenote exploring or cliff climbing, or going to another country that allowed a peaceful exit, but I didn’t have to consider those options now. Thank God.

So now I can go back to my life expectancy of 82 years. Unless, of course, I get ran over by a Mexican cab driver or traffic somewhere else as when walking in unfamiliar surroundings has almost happened a few times already. And I almost went off a cliff in Colorado in Colorado national monument, once when I fell asleep driving but veered right scraping the cliff face instead of left and over the Cliff. I survived the Vietnam War, 2 car wrecks, a train wreck, 33 years of a very dangerous job, some crazy girlfriends, and almost getting run over by a motorcycle on a pedestrian sidewalk in Paris.

I have just had a very active life and now will continue to do so again. I guess I could add not having a heart attack on all the mountain hikes, walking up to acropolises, and climbing I have done, as well as all the hiking and walking I have done the past year while being severely anemic, but I have a very strong heart.

I passed gas today and so they put me back on clear liquids. I had my first BM at 9:15 tonight. So that was a very good deal. Guess I will see what tomorrow brings.

April 11 – Friday - I did 3 BM’s last night so that’s good. They were all almost all liquid. So today I will be getting full liquids and they should be removing my IV so I will take pills for pain now. I must honestly say I have felt no pain whatever. Just the pulling on stitches one would expect when they tried to move around.

The doctor is concerned because I’m still anemic. He says he doesn’t want to give me iron yet because it will constipate me and we don’t want that. He said they may be able to release me tomorrow.

He said they don’t want to give me any more blood as there could be problems with that.

April 12 – Saturday - 06:23 – I was just told that my hemoglobin level was back up to 9.1. That’s very good news. It means that my body is recovering after the tumor was removed and the blood loss stopped.

At 9:05 they came in and took out all my IV stuff. So that was good. After they took my IV out I carried a cane for my walks in the hallways as a precaution.

9:16 - A Dr C.who is filling in for Dr J. M. came by this morning and checked me a bit. She said they should be releasing me around noon. I got ready but the process dragged on into the late afternoon and I didn’t get out till around 5. I ended up telling Danny to do whatever he wanted and I would call him when I was released.

At 13:06 the nurse came in to tell me they were waiting on paperwork.

When they finally came in with the final paperwork it was just a little. I figure I spent the whole day waiting for some doctor to sign the prescription for my pain pills and other pills. I was released around 4PM.

I was surprised because I had expected to be wheeled out in a wheelchair. Instead they just told me I was free to go and the elevators were over there. I had thought they took you down in a wheelchair whether you wanted to or not for legal reasons. The nurse said she would walk down with me if I wanted but I told her I could do it myself, Thanks anyway.

When I got downstairs I called my brother Danny and walked out front to the turnaround and in a bit Danny picked me up. It felt so great to be getting out of the confinement of the hospital and be free again.

On the way home Danny and I stopped at Walgreens to get my two prescriptions filled, as well as get some MiraLax and some multiple vitamins.

My prescriptions were:

Pantoprazole 40 mg. – for heartburn - take by mouth once daily… else would I take it? Internet said to take 30 minutes prior to meals.

Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen 7.5-325 T(substituted for Norco 7.5/325 tablets) – for pain. However I never had any so after a couple of days of taking one before I went to bed just in case, I didn’t take any more of them.

Take MiraLax – a gentle laxative and stool softener for a week.

I had a follow up on my surgery at the cancer clinic a couple of weeks later and my hemoglobin level was only 8.9 so the doctor told me to buy some Ferrous Sulfate iron and take 2 a day. I bought some over the counter Feosol which she suggested.

When I had my hemoglobin level checked June 2nd again it was 14.1 and I felt Great!!!

June 19 - I’ve had a PET scan and it didn’t show the nodules in my lung to be cancerous. Dr. W. ran several blood test and a urine test trying to identify what the dark spots were and the doctor figures it is some mold or fungus from the Texas Gulf Coast or somewhere else I have been. He said my strong immune system would probably deal with it and we would wait and see.

I told him I was planning a trip up the Rocky Mountain Range from New Mexico to Canada and he told me to go ahead and we would check my lungs again when I got back.

I have what they call a CEA blood test on June 25 which is supposed to be a “cancer marker” to see if the cancer has tried to return. The blood test after my surgery had shown my CEA level to be dropping and they want to make sure it kept on dropping.


24th June 2014

Thanks for the details!!!
And the great news.
24th June 2014

You're welcome. I appreciate your concern. I know this blog isn't strictly a travel blog but many people have never been in a hospital before and so I wanted to share what was a first in a lifetime experience for me with others who may wonder what it is like. It surely was a journey to a place I had never been to before for me.

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