Tag Archives: surgery

Had Surgery Wednesday…

15 Feb

Same day as my surgery…that same afternoon, my mom ripped me a new one. Yep same day. Not just yelled at…my mom decided it was a good idea to tell me all the reasons she thinks I don’t have many friends here. All the reasons why people wouldn’t like me. A laundry list of things that suck about me. Then she compared me to my brother and talked about how he has no trouble making friends and I should be more like him. Then she complained about my grades (um duh! I’m distracted, of course I’m getting C’s, but at least I’m passing), and she said that I couldn’t be a doctor if I was depressed and being on depression medication will slow me down in trying to get into residency programs (which wouldn’t happen for another 3 years from now), but she just really felt like saying some more hurtful stuff. And of course I was in pain and feeling super sensitive about everything, so I really couldn’t do anything but cry while she said all this stuff, and then she said I was too sensitive and the way I deal with frustration is by crying, and that’s probably really off-putting to people. I love my mom and all, but I kinda forgot how mean she could be sometimes. I already knew she didn’t sugar coat anything, but she says some stuff that’s really unnecessary to say, too. I’m sure she said it all out of frustration and stress and everything, but I personally don’t think that’s any excuse.

I feel like all the energy and patience that I had…or sometimes just pretended to have while I was out…has been zapped. How tired can you possibly get? Not just physically, but emotionally. If I get hungry/thirsty/have to go to the bathroom…I don’t even have the energy to drag myself out of the bed to do anything about it. I don’t even want to. I don’t even have the energy to turn on the television or pick up a book. I just kind of have been staring at stuff and dozing off when I’m not on here. This is why my grades are suffering. I don’t really study much, and uh…duh! You can’t pass medical school that way! It’s just that everything seems like so much of an effort. Not sure if that’s fatigue, depression, or both. But being sleepy all the time beats steroid-induced insomnia any day!

They’re telling me we have to do a research project this summer. This is my last summer off that I ever get…ever! I don’t wanna do anything!!! I’m so tired. I just wanna stare at the back of my eyelids. But…since they’re making me do stuff >_< I applied to the in-house research program. Nothing out of state, that’d be pretty much impossible…or just super complicated trying to coordinate treatments and doctor appointments and such somewhere else. It’s just supposed to be some sort of hands-on project that I fiddle around with some stuff, present a poster, write a paper, maybe defend a thesis. Something like that. Nothing major. I just don’t feeeeeel like it! *whiny child voice* The goal is just “Do you know how to do research? Do you know the process? Do you know some lab techniques? Do you know the lingo?” Stuff like that. That’s if I get accepted, of course. If I don’t…that’s the only program I applied to, and I’m SOL…but I could possibly just go shadow people at home that my mom has connections with for the summer and such. If anything, I’d have a pretty durned good excuse as to why I didn’t do research this summer if it comes to that.

Reminds me…I got blood on a school paper once. Didn’t realize it until I got it back. The professor didn’t really know what it was. Hopefully they didn’t do anything weird like lick my paper or anything. That’s not their M.O. anyways.

Had some complications during the surgery. My BP dropped like crazy and it still hasn’t come all the way up yet. My O2 sats also dropped while I was on the oxygen, so that’s not cool either. I slept through the whole thing…like a baby. When I woke up my dad was kinda just staring at me. I was shaking cuz I was freezing!! You know…usual hospital style. Plus I was basically naked under the gown and 5 blankets and stuff…but still naked lol. I always get super cold when I’m sleepy anyways. So the surgeon came in and said stuff that sounded kinda like the adults always sound in Charlie Brown. I just needed a few minutes, they were expecting too much. But yeah, apparently my stomach and colon are all inflamed and they suspect my pancreas is, too. So it apparently wasn’t just my gallbladder. They did get the gallbladder and it’s uninvited passenger out, though. I don’t know what that means for later, but she prescribed some more meds (Oh, joy!), and we’ll see how I feel from there. As of right now…just pain. That means pain meds. That means this post was all over the place, like really?

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The Human Pincushion

14 Feb

My port was ocupado, so they had to start an IV…I’m a hard stick usually. After vomiting and “bowel prep”? Try impossible! They had about 4 nurses in there trying so hard to just get anything in there. Anything! Eventually they got this nurse from a different floor who is apparently an arm guru (not literally), and she strolled in smelling like juicy fruit and just slid the darn needle in there like it was nothing. She coulda had her eyes closed and done it. Why did they take so long to get her!?!??

Major Rambling Alert

5 Feb
Having another down day today. I talked to the counselor here, and…I’m pretty sure I felt worse afterwards. It wasn’t anything she said, but I just kind of thought she would help more or…it just made me think of all the things I’m depressed about at once, I guess. All I know is that after the appointment, I couldn’t stop crying…and I didn’t expect for it to be like that.
I tried reaching out to a classmate of mine, but he said that since he has to wake up early tomorrow he can’t talk…and it was like…6 PM. I mean, I’m sure he’s busy or whatever, but I don’t think that was the problem. I think he was just…uncomfortable maybe? I don’t know. I just…he said I could call him whenever I need to talk, so I did…and yeah, I guess I can’t actually call him whenever. So……..that made me feel even worse, and then I fell asleep for a little.
I’ve been so tired recently. I pretty much slept all day, and still could hardly force myself to wake up for the appointment today. I usually have trouble sleeping, but now it’s harder to stay awake. I’ve had a lot of pain today, too. And uh…had a bit of an “accident” which was super embarrassing. I have some nerve damage from the bowel resection surgery I got, and so…yeah, that happens sometimes.
I can’t eat any food right now, so it’s all IV nutrition. I’m ok with this, because eating is just complicated now, but I’m sure this won’t help with the weight issue…but I guess that’s the least of my worries today. But…I am kind of craving a “cutie” now…you know those little oranges that are super easy to peel and they’re small and adorable?
Yeah, that.

How Daddy’s Doing

15 Jan

So my dad had his first radiation yesterday and his first chemo today. He also had radiation today, as he does every M-F for 7 weeks. He has another chemo session tomorrow, as he’s getting the cisplatin in half doses 2 days in a row each time instead of the full dose for just 1 day each time. It takes about 5 hours, because he gets hydration before and after. He’ll have a total of 3 of those chemo cycles during the course of his treatment, and hopefully that combined with the radiation will do the trick. He’s doing ok, you know, not feeling it yet. Hope it stays that way as long as possible, but we know how these things go. His PET scan came back pretty much like we expected it. They missed a bunch of stuff behind the tonsillar fossa during his original surgery…cuz he was never scoped properly, and really should have had a plain old biopsy instead of a tonsillectomy at that point, but what’s done is done. He had a teeny tiny bit of microscopic lymph node activity. not enough to call them positive, but enough to use chemo and radiation, not just radiation. You know, just in case. Make sure we kill it dead! So…he went in and they asked if he was wearing this patch he was supposed to get in the mail to prevent nausea. He hadn’t gotten it. He was supposed to start wearing it yesterday, because prevention means start before the nausea hits, duh! WELL…they never ordered it for him! -__- So, they gave him something else, charged him for it, ordered the patch, charged him for that ($75), and then charged him up front for the chemo infusion a good $313! It’s gonna be $313 every time he goes in. They’re not gonna bill him like they bill me. Now THAT can cause nausea, I’m sure. Like what if he didn’t have $313? Would he not get treatment? “Sorry, sir, no cancer treatment for you!” Or would they just bill him then? Just seems like a stress he doesn’t need.

Anyways…I had a dream about him last night. He was at this theme park, because he wanted to do something fun before he started chemo. There was a race car driving ride, but you really had to drive it. The track was on an elevated platform. He got so good at it that he became a tiny bit of a celebrity within the theme park, and people came to watch him drive. When I came to watch, he drove around the track a few times, and it was really awesome, but when he finished, the people operating the ride couldn’t get the car to turn off, so sparks started flying, and his car flew off of the platform and landed upside down. That’s when I woke up…freaked me out!

But yeah, that’s how he’s doing. He’s alright. Just concerned because they said some medicine of his might make it hard for him to sleep, and then they were like, but get lots of rest! Hopefully that nausea medicine that may make him sleepy will cancel out the medicine that keeps him up, and he’ll go to bed at his usual time haha…wishful thinking.

We Just Want Answers!

19 Dec

So, here’s the situation. My dad’s pathology report showed a 1.5 cm tumor on the left tonsil. That was removed. Great. Then, he saw an ENT that scoped him through the nose, and did an MRI with and without contrast last Sunday, and said that there’s another tumor (or piece of tumor) still in there that’s about 2.8 cm. The cancer that is still in there is also invading the base of his tongue. This all adds up to 4.3 cm. That being said, that means that he’s probably a stage III, not the stage I or II we originally thought.

Not the news we wanted, however, this is a treatable cancer, and there’s still hope. There’s always hope. Sometimes hope is all there is..

SOOO, this same ENT wanted to do a radical neck dissection surgery to remove lymph nodes from the left side, along with the remaining tumor, and she wanted to get “clear margins of about 5-6 mm.” If she couldn’t do that, she would still remove the tumor, but the surgery would be less extensive. If she got the margins she wanted, she said she wouldn’t see the need for him to have chemotherapy or radiation. This sounds good, because chemotherapy and radiation suck, but we would probably want him to at least do radiation anyways. However, if she couldn’t get the margins she wanted, he would definitely need radiation, and possibly need chemotherapy (They usually use carboplatin, cisplatin, 5-FU, paclitaxel, docetaxel, cetuximab, and/or something of the like for this type). They put in a PEG tube early, as the treatment can cause mucositis, which would render him unable to eat.

My mom called some radiation specialists at UF’s Shand’s Hospital, and they said that the protocol for this type of cancer is not the neck dissection surgery, it is radiation alone. Radiation alone has the same cure rate as the neck dissection surgery, and is less invasive. The type of radiation used here is the usual external beam IMRT type of radiation, and not proton therapy. He would probably get somewhere between 50 and 70 Gys, 1.8-2 Gys a day, 5 days a week, for about 7 weeks. My mom was hoping for the possibility of proton therapy (they currently tend to use electrons) because there’s a reduced risk for secondary malignancies as a long-term side effect from the treatment.

This being said, we’re all a little confused as to what to do next, and we just want some answers. Three different doctors have said 3 different things, and it’s a bit overwhelming. Right now, my dad is doing okay. He just tires very easily and is sleeping a lot. His MRIs so far haven’t shown nodes, but they have shown a tumor in his brain. It’s unknown whether it’s an incidental finding or whether it’s related to the tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma. It appears to be benign, as it hasn’t grown between the 2 times they did MRIs with and without contrast on his brain. He still hasn’t gotten his PET scan, because the inflammation from his surgery could show a false positive, so he’ll be getting that in a few weeks.

Once we figure out all of this madness, he should be starting a treatment plan in earnest…obviously. I just hope that happens soon!

My surgery was yesterday morning, so my mom has been here with me. It ran longer than expected due to some complications, and I’m in a surprising amount of pain. I didn’t expect to be in this much pain, honestly. My vitals, liver enzymes, blood calcium, kidney function tests, and CBC results are ALL really crappy, too.

My mom hasn’t been sleeping recently, so I asked if she was okay, and to really be honest with me. She, understandably, feels the need to hold it together for all of us, but that leaves her holding everything inside. So, I told her to just be honest and let it all out. She started to cry and told me she was distressed, so we just held each other for a while and had a crying session. She wants me and my dad to be with her forever. She’s also scared because my brother wants to go into the Marines and then become a police officer. She’s legitimately afraid that she will outlive all of us. This thought has occurred to me before, but I’ve tried not to let it linger. It just shook me when she actually expressed it. I asked if she had anyone to talk to that she could just be honest with, someone that could listen to her and she didn’t have to pretend that she was always okay, and she said that she did. I know she wouldn’t be this open with me on a regular basis, so I had to make sure she had someone to cry with if she needed to. I’m getting her a gift certificate for a massage for Christmas, don’t tell! We’re a mess.

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Get Well Cards!

19 Dec

Thank you, guys!

I’m Home, Why Don’t I Feel Happy?

17 Dec

My dad and I are both getting PEG tubes tomorrow. Earlier, I kinda thought I was watching TV, but it took me 20 minutes to realize that I forgot to turn it on, and I was really just thinking while staring at the TV. I don’t really want to watch anything on television anyways. It’s all either stupid stuff, sad stuff, or infomercials. Merry Christmas, yay.

12-12-12!

12 Dec

Apparently my dad didn’t have the PET scan yesterday. He’ll have it Thursday instead. Why? I don’t completely understand. Some kind of paperwork issue. Whatever. They apparently didn’t get all of the cancer cells during the surgery either, so he’ll have to have a radical neck dissection and/or radiation…some combo of the two, and he may not actually need chemo, but they said it’s not completely off the table yet. My parents are getting different opinions from different doctors right now to figure out the best option from him before they move forward. It’s the best thing to do. I just want to know what we’re dealing with, what we’re gonna do, and do it! It’ll make me feel more at ease once we start attacking those cancerous little buggers! Death to the big C! (This is where you imagine some kind of Spartans “The 300” sort of imagery).

 

Update

11 Dec

My dad had a PET scan this morning, and he has an appointment with a hem/onc and a rad onc this afternoon. We’ll finally know more…stuff about…things, as in what his treatment situation will be like, and whether or not they got everything out during the surgery. I hope so! My mom will fill me in later today.

I have been so nauseous all week. I’m actually having trouble swallowing food, and then once I swallow it, it seems like it just sits in my chest. Not cool! I don’t want to have the NG tube anymore, but that means I’ll probably have to get the PEG tube again, which I don’t want either. I guess it’s one or the other, though. At least I can stop worrying about weight gain that’s usually associated with school…that’s one way to look at it, I suppose. And…if I get a PEG tube, I can get healthy gross things and not taste it! Ok, I guess it doesn’t have to be so bad…I think…or something. Whatever. I’ve also been having a harder time keeping my pain under control…the past couple days have been pretty intense, but we’ve decided that I’m going to get radiation for the bone mets, and that should help a lot. I hope it does!

In other news, I get to see my family in a few days, yay! I also get to see some of my college friends starting Thursday, woo hoo! 🙂

There’s Always Hope!

4 Dec

So, My dad is doing better from his surgery! He’s off of the majority of his pain medications. He’s eating chicken breasts and crab legs. He just has to be sure to chew his food thoroughly before swallowing. This doesn’t surprise me, as this is the same man that ate Thanksgiving dinner the day after he had his wisdom teeth removed. He’s rock solid.

The official pathology report from his surgery was supposed to be back yesterday, which seemed a bit soon, seeing as his surgery ended Friday afternoon. It’s fine, though. I’m just anxious to know where he’s going from here. They said the report should be in between tomorrow and Friday. I’ll update as soon as I know.
He was talking to me about his fantasy football league. He’s bored from “taking it easy” so he’s going to run a few light errands today. This is all good!