Friday, January 23, 2015

Cancer Recovery: Week 17

This may be the end of it.  I had a PET/CT scan along with a flexible fiberoptic laryngoscopy (they shove a narrow tube up your honker to look at your throat) which concluded that:
  • The tongue is clean.  No cancer on the tongue.
  • The lymph node on the right side of my neck may be cancerous.
  • There is a shadow of some kind on one lung, which the doctor says is nothing to worry about.
So it's off to get a biopsy of the lymph node, then wait around for two days for the results.  Today the results came in.


So I am now officially cancer free.

Now all I have to do is wait for the deleterious effects of the radiation and chemotherapy to wear off, and I'll be back at my usual bar stool.

Thanks to all of you for helping me through this.  When I was at my worst, I'd re-read your comments and my spirits were lifted.  That helped.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cancer Recovery: Week 16

Here's the latest health news for those of you bored enough to read it.

I had a Positron Emission Tomography - Computed Tomography (PET/CT) scan last week, and the results are in.  Back in June of 2013 cancerous lesions were discovered on the base of my tongue.  These cancerous lesions have vanished and the tongue is completely clean.  The lymph node on the right side of my neck is still questionable; it may or may not be full of cancer, so I'm having a biopsy done on the 21st at the uncivilized hour of 7:30 AM.  The biopsy involves the CT machine, needles and drugs that make getting dressed up in an angle robe, tying a bedpan to your head and riding around on a gurney playing an imaginary game of polo seem completely normal.  I suppose this is not the worst experience possible, but given a choice I think I'm a little old for polo.

If the lymph node is cancerous, then it's off to surgery to have the fiendish thing removed.  With a knife.  I'm told this operation is not a walk in the park, but compared to many of the other things the surgeon does, it's pretty simple.  I'll be in the hospital 2-3 days.

Then there's the lung.  The PET/CT scan revealed a dark shadow at the bottom of my left lung.  I'm told that this may be nothing at all, or it may be a train wreck with attendant haz-mat spill, or something in between.  No one can tell exactly what it is without use of a knife on yours truly, which I'm trying to avoid.  The future is very uncertain here, and there is a likelihood that whatever it is might just go away on its own.

The good news is that ever since I had my gastrostomy tube (g-tube, used for feeding nutrients directly into the stomach) removed, the chronic nausea has vanished.  Not being sick to my stomach all the time has made it easier to eat, so my weight has stabilized around 221, down from my original 305.  My doctor says he wants the weight to remain stable for four to six weeks, then I can redouble the efforts for weight loss again.

Another problem is that I can't sleep nights.  I stare at the ceiling, toss and turn, drop off for maybe an hour before I wake up again, usually at 3:00 AM.  Nice, huh?  So it's off to my primary care physician I go, where I'm given a prescription for Ativan and instructed to get a blood test on my way out.  You see, back in June I was also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, probably brought on by obesity.  I got the news this morning that I no longer have type 2 diabetes (or any other type), most likely due to weight loss.  So I'm happy about that.

My last problem involves my gall bladder, which is malfunctioning.  The surgeon who discovered the problem wants to operate, but since I'm not feeling any ill effects from the busted gall bladder I nixed the surgery.  My radiologist agrees with this - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  So the gall bladder can stay like it is and I'll be fine with that.

And that's it.