A little backtracking first.
My surgery went well. Checked into the hospital at 0530am and met the team, had an IV started, and was wheeled into the surgical suite at 0730. I woke at 4pm or so. Surgery took 7 hours. Dr Pollock used the Davinci Robot on me which means smaller incisions and faster healing.
The doctor is the one with his head in the big console. He controls the five arms that get jabbed into me. His view is in 3d and the robot arms have tactile feed back allowing him to "feel" while doing surgery.
When I woke up in my room, I was doing ok. Here is a photo of my belly. I'll spare you a picture of the tube in my penis.
The bag looking object on my right side is my new colostomy bag. The rest are bandages. My pain wasn't too bad after the surgery but sometimes the cramping was goddamn awful. Pain pills and the like help but the pain still brought me to my knees a couple times.
The staff on 10east at Swedish were great and got me up walking around the floor by 8pm or so. Sooner you start walking, the sooner your bowels start working again.
My diet got advanced fairly quickly as the output on the colostomy bag increased. The first thing I had was a peanut butter shake. When calling the dietary department and placing your order, you have to be firm with them. They will insist that peanut butter shakes do not exist. My doctor told me to not take no for an answer. Finally they relented and sent up two shakes. It was delicious. One for me and another one for Pete J. He stayed with me during my stay.
My two kids visiting me in the hospital. This is the day room.
Thanks to everyone that visited me in the hospital. It really helped with my spirits.
Pete and I must have logged over 10 miles walking around in the hospital. I credit that for getting me out sooner. Surgery was Friday and I was released Tuesday morning. Should have been Monday but the output on the colostomy was too thin.
Got back to Ilse and Pete's house Tuesday afternoon and took a 3 hour nap. Sleep was and is hard to come by. I have lower back pain since the surgery and the CT scan that I had last week shows a collection of fluid in my lower back. Pretty normal for my type of surgery. Supposedly the body will absorb the fluid but it will be awhile.
Wednesday I think Pete and I went to Shilshole to get some medicine and other objects from Appa. A beautiful day of sunshine. I even had a beer. Below is my selfie of that day.
During my recovery, I was able to see the kids and hang out with some friends. I made the mistake of having green bell peppers for Cinco de Mayo. That night I thought I was going to die. So much pain from trying to pass those bastards. Never again. Not till I get "reconnected" anyway.
I took the kids out for pizza and they are very curious about my colostomy. I showed them twice how it works. They were a little grossed out but fascinated. Then we started talking about my eventual chemotherapy. Many questions asked but mostly it was concern that I am going to lose my hair. Both kids then told me that they want some hair to keep. Sammy then said something that I still just shake my head and laugh about. She said, "I want the more hair then Benny so I want the hair off of daddy's back and butt. He has the most hair there..." WTF!!!
Out eating with my kids.
When they removed my cancerous, traitorous, bastard, A-hole of a rectum, they also removed all the surrounding lymph nodes. I had to wait 6 days for get the biopsy report on them. We thought that the cancer was only in the rectal area but now I know different. One lymph node was found to be cancerous. This means that I am officially a Stage III cancer patient. It also means that the cancer got out of the initial site and is potentially anywhere in my body. I had a CT scan to confirm that no cancer has setup house in any organs but there still could be some cancer cells running around looking to settle down in my liver or some place. That is where the chemo comes in. Scorched earth policy. Kill everything but the body.
Last Friday before Memorial Day I had a port placed in my right breast so my veins can be saved. They can do blood draws and infuse poison into me all from the port. The surgery was quick and easy. I was sore in the right shoulder area but nothing too bad.
The colostomy bag has been treating me ok. I am slowly getting use to it. I am not a fan but could deal with it even if I had it for the rest of my life. Changing the bag is pretty easy. You just have to understand that the ostomy (hole in my abdomen that poop comes out of) is always active. I know this and yet got a little careless. I was at my mom's house and ready to change the bag out. I put a plastic sheet down and got everything prepared. The bag is held on by adhesive and can be quite stubborn to remove. Once off, you have to clean the skin and put a new bag on. I got the old bag off and turned to get the wash cloth, just then my ostomy decided to pull a Mt Saint Helens. With precision, the poop flew out of me, cleared the plastic sheet and landed on my shoes and clean clothes. My first thought was "Bravo". Such is the trials of having an ostomy. Needless to say that I don't keep clean anything near me while changing my bag.
When I got the call about my cancerous lymph node, this little guy was crawling on me. I needed someone to cry with and he fit the bill. Pete J was there along with Porterhouse but I only cry in front of bugs.
Today is Wednesday May 27th and I am almost done with my first chemo treatment. I get Oxaliplatin on odd weeks and the first week is an odd number. I also get my 5FU. 3 hours in the infusion suite. Side effects so far? Tired. Fingers numb. That's is about it for now. Oh. Sensitivity to hot and cold. Cold water is a bad bad thing. Like swallowing lightning. I come back next week for more. 6 weeks on and then 2 weeks off. 16 total treatments and with the 2 week breaks, it'll take 20 weeks.
The infusion suite reminds me of work. IV pumps alarming all the damn time.
Well, I'm done with day one. Once I got home, I reached into the fridge for some sandwich meat and when I touched the cold meat it felt like it had needles on it. So strange. I ate some goldfish crackers and that kicked my saliva glands into high gear and they ached. I'll be eating luke warm foods only for awhile I guess. Also drinking room temperature fluids. Hmmm. What in the hell is ok to drink at room temperature? What in the hell can I have? Oh I know...
Thanks to Pete J who stayed with me during my hospital stay and has been my advocate. My parents came by and gave much love and support. A ton of friends also dropped by. Love you guys. Thanks to my wife for bringing the kids down for me to see. I love those little guys so much!!!!!
Thanks to Mary M who drove me for my port placement and to David W who drove me to CT scan and then today, drove me to chemo. I mean do I have great friends or what.
Thanks everyone for the phone calls and love. Prayers also. They helped and are helping.
More blogging later and possibly more gruesome after the side effects really kick in!