Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Follow Up & Results

So I had a follow up appointment today with the surgeon that did my surgery last week.  My incision looks fine, he said to wait until the weekend to peel off the super glue.  He then checked for my results and the shit hit the fan.

The doctor used a lot of words I didn't understand, all technical terms.  The 2 I did understand were Lymphoma and positive, so that's where my day went south.  He didn't touch on how bad, treatments or anything like that, just gave me the positive diagnosis.  Although he may have said more.  It was mostly I didn't understand or stopped listening.  Thankfully Katie was there with me otherwise I would have probably been useless.  She got me scheduled to see an Oncologist and I tried not to lose it in the waiting room.  Thankfully, we were able to get in tomorrow, so we won't have to wait very long at all.

I headed home and tried to call my dad, but couldn't get a hold of him.  I didn't know what else to do, so I went back to work.  I talked to a few guys there and let them know; two of my managers and another guy that is fighting cancer as well.  All three took it hard, but were very supportive.

So now we wait.  I'm going to call my family tonight and fill them in.  Not sure when to tell our close friends or people I work with.  Or how for that matter.  I know I won't be able to handle talking to too many individually.  I think we'll wait until after tomorrow's appointment when we hopefully have a gameplan for treatments.  It will be easier to explain after that.

Post Surgery

So here it is Monday night already.  I kept meaning to check in, but never sat down and gave myself the chance to.  So here goes.

We got a Thursday morning saying we could come in early if possible.  Katie and I shoved the kids off to school, dropped off Robb at daycare and headed to the hospital.  We got there maybe 20 minutes early so it didn't really change much.  We checked in and got called back, so I got to sit around naked in a chair for a little while.  The nurse did some tasteful shaving of the area and Katie came back to wait until it was my turn.  While we were sitting in the pre-op room, Katie got a call saying Eva had a fever at school.  She explained what was going on, so she was going to have to hangout for a while in the nurse's office until she could get away from me.  I wasn't really worried about surgery; from what the doctor explained, it was pretty simple and straight forward.  They chose to remove the lymph node from my pelvis area, mostly because it was the easiest to get to and would be the least painful for me to recover from.

After some waiting with Katie, they wheeled me into the surgery room.  People were hustling around getting things ready, but they were all very kind and upbeat.  I remember scooting off the movable bed I was laying on to the operating table and laying down.  They moved my  arms around a bit and put a mask over my face.  That is about all I remember.  It felt like I was awake and alert one second, and gone the next.  I remember waking up in the general recovery room next.  The nurses noticed I was up and came over, but I'm not sure what I said.  Probably something incoherent and embarrassing.  I think I went back to sleep and woke up in a different room with Katie there.  I know I had to pee before I left, so they gave me some water or juice and some toast to test my stomach.  Everything came out ok and shortly after they sent me home.

This is where it gets a little weird.  I know we had to stop at the pharmacy at West Acres.  I know I stayed in the truck while Katie went inside.  I know I had my phone.  I don't quite know how I managed to email my bosses at work that I was on my way home.  I guess I rambled on about how much I enjoy working there (which is true) and that I appreciate their patience with all of this (which is also true), but I don't remember sending it.  I think I texted my dad, too.  After that, I remember getting home and climbing into bed and it was dark for a while.  And I was ok with that.  So if you got a random email or text from me on Thursday, that's why.

The rest of the day and weekend went pretty well.  I wasn't feeling much pain, even after my meds wore off.  I took a hydrocodone mostly to stay ahead of the pain I was expecting, but all it really did was upset my stomach.  I had a hard time sleeping Thursday night, but eventually conked out and actually slept pretty well.  Eva stayed home with me Friday due to her fever, I think we both slept most of the morning, but I stayed in bed the rest of the day just trying to rest.  I felt really good, but didn't want to tear open the incision or anything.  I managed to empty the dishwasher, but otherwise slept for the most part.  Saturday and Sunday were about the same.  Not much activity, Tylenol here and there for pain.  Come Monday I was ready to get out of the house and back to work.

Monday went fine as well.  It was nice being around everyone at work again.  I had only told my managers about what was going on, but there is a great guy that is dealing with cancer that I talked to for a while as well.  He understands what's going on and talked about his experiences so far, and I'm very thankful.  We're not giving up hope yet, but I think both Katie and I understand it is a real possibility.  Joe pulled me aside and talked for about 30 minutes and it was nice.  I also had to take Robb to an appointment, but moving around has been a lot easier.  My incision feels fine, but the swelling in my leg has kept up.  It is starting to limit movement in my leg so that is pretty annoying.  Right now, it is right in my hip so I don't have full range of motion there but hopefully we can figure something out to get the swelling down.

I'm finishing this Tuesday morning.  I have an appointment with Dr Dees (who did the surgery) and 10am this morning.  I don't know if I'll get any results or anything yet; I think it is just a follow-up appointment to make sure I'm not doing anything stupid and my incision is healing up.  I'm trying to stay calm but I keep bouncing around.  Part of me just wants to know, the other never wants to find out.  I'll check in once I hear back.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Night Before

Alrighty, just sitting here the night before I go in.  Registration is at 8:30 tomorrow morning, surgery at 10:00.  It is supposed to take an hour, then 2-3 hours of recovery before I can come home if everything goes well.  Not sure how long it will take to learn what's going on, but hopefully it'll be soon.

Last night, the swelling in my right leg really got worse.  I can definitely feel the swelling in my thigh, pushing on my knee cap and in my calf.  Not to mention a full fledged cankle.  It's pretty impressive.  It feels pretty terrible.  I can also feel a lot of pressure in my foot too, which already hurt most days.  So yeah, anxious to see why everything is so swollen.  Still hoping it isn't anything too serious.

So no foods or drink after midnight.  Being the over-achiever I am, I stopped at 8.  That and I didn't have much of an appetite.  Just have to shower and wipe down with some weird towels they gave me, then we'll see if I can sleep tonight.  Woke up at 2am this morning and my brain wouldn't shut up, so I'm hoping it'll be different tonight.  No matter what, it's go time tomorrow.  I'll check in when I'm not too drugged up to type.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A little background

So here we go.  In August of 2016, I was working on getting into some kind of shape (besides round) and was running pretty consistently.  One morning, I was stretching and felt two or three lumps on the inside of my upper right thigh.  They felt weird and out of place, so I talked to Katie and she encouraged me to see our doctor just to get them looked at.  I went into our doctor and he said we should keep an eye on them.  Blood tests came back normal, everything pointed to nothing being wrong.  So we kept an eye on them and got back to our lives.

In October of 2016, I volunteered to coach my son's basketball team.  It was a parks rec team, but it was competitive so I really wanted to teach my boys some basics and win a few games for them.  Practices were two nights a week and games on Saturdays.  This is when I first noticed the swelling in my right leg.  I'd take off my sock in the evening and it was like I had had a rubber band wrapped around my upper ankle.  Most nights, it was just a little indentation, but some nights it was up to about a quarter of an inch.  This was just from the elastic band on my sock, which most aren't tight at all.  I tend to wear socks longer than I should so loose elastic is pretty common unless I get a new pair or three.  I didn't tie the swelling and the nodes together at this point.  I could still feel a couple swollen nodes in my leg if I tried, but they weren't painful so I didn't think much of it.

So the new year rolls around.  The swelling in my right leg has gotten worse.  I'm still getting the ring around my ankle from my sock, but can also feel it in my calf and thigh.  It had started getting painful and my leg was starting starting to feel like a sausage; it wasn't terrible yet, but I figured I better schedule another appointment to get checked over.  I'm getting older, I don't bounce back as quick as when I was in my 20's and with Katie and the kids, I have more important things to worry about than just myself.  So back to the doctor I went.

Our family doctor took a look and noticed the difference between my right and left legs was noticeable.  My right thigh measured 7-8 cm larger in circumference than my left thigh, and the nodes he felt were bigger and more concerning.  Blood tests showed nothing; I think my CO2 levels were a little high, but everything else fell into the expected range of being normal.  So along with the blood tests, I was scheduled for an ultrasound and CT scan.  Two weeks ago, I went in for my scans.  I did the ultrasounds first and the tech said she didn't see any blood clots, so that was good.  Next came the CT scan.  I drank the barium dye (or whatever that nasty stuff is) and did the scan.  I got in to see the doctor and get the results the next week.  He said based on the size of the nodes, I should have one taken out so they can look at it and get a better idea of what is going on in there.  Not just a biopsy, but taking the whole thing out.  Made sense to me.  With the swelling getting worse and the pain increasing, I knew something had to change so this is where we're at.  We're all caught up.

On Thursday of this week, I go in to have a lymph node removed.  It will be one of the few surgeries I've had in my life.  I had my shoulder scoped in college, had screws put into my pinky after I broke it during practice and had the big V a few years ago after Robb was born.  Other than that, I've been pretty healthy, so this is fairly new to me.  I think I'm fine with having the surgery.  I'm not very worried about going under (or staying awake), about the pain or even the recovery.  I think I'm more worried about what comes after the surgery.  What is actually wrong with me.  Do they find something wrong that is causing the swelling?  What is the treatment going to be like?  Do they not find anything, my leg just keeps swelling up, and I just have to suck it up and deal with it?

Then on top of that, how will it affect my family?  I'm gone 4 nights a week most of the time, running kids here and there.  I'm guessing I'll have to take a few steps back for a while at least, but who knows.  I'm just trying to take it as it comes and deal with what is dealt my way.  I know Katie and the kids will be here to help.  I know the rest of my family and friends will be here too.  I'm hoping I can suck it up and get through it as well.

I'm starting this blog thing now because I figured it might be interesting.  Both for me and the people around me.  I'm hoping to share the struggles and hard times, but also hope there will be more good times and successes that will outnumber them.  Honestly, I hope after Thursday things will be just fine and I can delete this blog.  But just in case, I may as well keep track of what I'm going through.