Another activity this past year as a 3-generation family has become of high worth – walking with, or driving, our son, David, to the bus stop for his early morning ride to work in the city. For both of us introverts (who both married extrovert wives), we are in a captive space and time for at least 5 minutes, to talk with each other in a focused way on ideas of importance to start our day. And these few minutes seem to be plenty because we don’t water down our exchange with chit-chat.
It was my turn today to take 5-year old grandson, Tim, to his afternoon kindergarten session. Grandma had him dressed in his white shirt, tie, and khaki pants – the required uniform for the day at his charter school. And with his backpack in place, he strapped himself into his car seat in the back, and we were off on our 5-minute drive to school.
Today I organized 9 medications I’m to take orally. I will stop taking two of these this week, but with 7 remaining, I entered them into a spreadsheet checklist so I know which ones to take, morning and evening. At this point I’m grateful to have computer skills just to track this number of medications.
How do patients without computers follow through as directed with this kind of protocol?
In times of urgency and crisis we find that many people are there, and they care. Whether the event is an international tsunami, a regional hurricane like Katrina or an earthquake in Haiti, or a friend or family member stricken with cancer, the best in us seems to consistently come forward on the High Road to help.
Today I started the first round of a 3-week chemotherapy treatment with the goal of reducing the tumor size so that radiation and surgery can follow. After a brief visit with my oncologist at the clinic about the game plan, my wife and I move into the treatment area. Continue reading
Today I had a portable catheter inserted under my skin just below my right clavicle bone. A tube now winds its way from its base into the right atrium of my heart, ready to receive the chemo treatment directly into my blood stream.
Since my last post several days ago, I’ve been regaining strength after fasting prior to tests, and waiting for doctors to get consensus on test results. On Monday I had a 4-inch stent placed in my esophagus so I can swallow solid food again, after about 5 weeks of BYOB (bring your own blender). I’m regaining weight already.
This post is a view of my PET/CT session at the cancer institute today. (See Day 15 – More tests, more data … for photos of this High Tech scanner)
We arrive at the radiology unit of the cancer institute. I call from the phone in the foyer to announce that I’m here and ready. A nurse opens the door and invites me to follow her. No visitors allowed. My wife, and our friend who drove us here, will have to wait outside during the two and a half hour procedure. Our friend happens to be our neighbor, and is a retired cancer nurse herself. “When the patient is ready (that would be me), the helpers and healers appear” (that would be her, among many others who are appearing).
For today’s short post I’m focusing mostly on the impressive High Tech experiences of my day.
We left home today at 5:00 AM for the the Huntsman Cancer Institute, where I had an Endoscopic Ultra Sound exam, which appears to be directed by the Thoracic Oncology Program.
Tomorrow morning we will leave at the same time, and to the same place, where I’ll have a Molecular Imaging PET / CT test.
One of my jobs at home, in my pre-teen years, was to fill the woodbox each night during the winter, so that the fire in the living room stove had plenty of wood, especially on cold nights. Sometimes, I would dabble and dawdle in doing this chore and my mother would say, “Norman, please get the wood in now.” Continue reading