Thursday, April 21, 2005

Getting back to normal, slowly

Other than some soreness in my neck and shoulders, I survived my CT scan just fine. The soreness was caused by having to hold my arms out over my head while being slid back and forth through the CT doughnut (it's a pretty rude visual, albeit a slow motion visual, if you think about it). The bit about a possible lung lesion made for some unwanted excitement/dread during the day; I'm quite glad that I won't have to worry about lung surgery in addition to my partial RPLND.

I had a brief list of questions for Dr. V, most of which were answered to my satisfaction:
  • How long do I have to keep the port-a-cath? As long as I don't mind it, he suggested two years; but it needs to be flushed regularly (not do-it-yourself mainenance, as far as I can tell). Not the answer I was looking for, but see the question about follow-up visits.
  • How long will I need stay on my Nexium perscription? I can finish up what I have, there should be no further need now that chemo is done. Good answer!
  • When can I resume modest (of course) consumption of alcohol? Right now (literally what Dr. V. said). I only wish I had brought a six-pack with me - I would have popped one right there in the examination room! Good answer!
  • What's the follow-up schedule look like? CT and blood work every two months for the first year, then every four months for the second year, then every six months for years 3-5. Well, at least having the port-a-cath will make the blood draws a bit easier. I should have no trouble satisfying my insurance deductible for the next five years.
I'm slowly starting to feel like a human being again. My red blood cells are coming back - not quite to normal levels yet, but certainly better than the past few weeks. My stomach is starting to act normally - this morning was the first time in a long time that I didn't have the gag reflex while brushing my teeth. All in all, by Memorial Day I suspect I'll be back to my usual self (minus the hair - that should return by the fall).

You'll notice I mentioned Memorial Day. Why, you ask? My RPLND surgery is scheduled for the next day, May 31, in Indianapolis. I should have a nice 5-7 inch scar down my midsection to show off afterward. I'll find out after I wake up whether or not I still have two kidneys. Then I'll start (again) the road to recovery.

Meanwhile, Dr. Foster wants a fresh CT and bloodwork (i.e., less than a month old) before surgery, so I have that to look forward to in the coming weeks.

As Sarah said from her pulpit on Sunday, "Cancer sucks." Amen, brother.

I need to get some of these t-shirts.


c1h2a3p4 said...

I'm glad things are getting better!

Andrew Molenda said...

Just remember your tolerance is going to be way lower.

Good Luck in Indy, its a helluva surgery but you'll be in good hands. And anyways its better to get that snot out than have to worry about it coming back.

Andrew Molenda said...

One last comment, why do we all look more like Don Rickles then Vin Diesel when we're chemo-bald?

Mary L Marrera said...

Good Morning Frankie...just a note to tell you that Carla received your bio and is finding it very interesting...her husband Abe will be operated on this week for his Colon take care and thinking of you and your wife how brave you both are.....Mary Lou

NYSNC said...

I am just really happy you are ok now.