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Posts tagged ‘Pancreas’

…And the adventure begins!

This morning Lisa and I are on our way to San Antonio.  Today is my very first round (with many more to come) of Chemo.  I can’t say that I’m looking forward to this.  I will say though that I’m looking forward to getting this whole thing started.

Today we’re going to CTRC (Cancer Therapy and Research Center) in San Antonio.  There they will put a drug called Gemcitabine into me.  The whole thing should only last about a hour (at most).  As soon as I’m done receiving the juice, then I’m going to meet with my surgeon who is going to remove the last of the tube remaining from my surgery.  That, I’m very excited about!!

One of the things I’m going to ask my surgeon and oncologist this morning is, can I have a drink?  I have not had a single drink since I originally got sick back before Christmas.  If you remember we originally thought that my liver was the problem.  As it turns out they didn’t even touch my liver during my surgery!

I’m not a big drinker, but occasionally I’d like to have a beer or a glass of wine.  Take last night for instance.  I was at the Theater last night working with the Cast of The Producers on some of their music.  It was a great rehearsal and the cast sounded terrific!  In addition I got some great news from Mary and Charlie Chapa.  I would have really like to have a beer or a glass of scotch last night to celebrate, but since I’ve never actually got the green light for that, I abstained.

Well, looking at the clock it’s time to get my shoes on and start heading to San Antonio.  Once again I’m reminded of Frank’s line (from Rocky Horror).  I want to walk into CTRC, hold my arm out and say, “Do your best inferior ones!!!!”

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Excuse Me While I Freak Out…..

I try to allow myself this every so often….an opportunity to just let out all that pent-up stress and fear and anxiety that seems to build up every once in a while. Sometimes I tell the kids that I am going to take a bath and not to be scared if you hear mom crying…..that sometimes I just need to get it out and it’s ok and I will be alright……this is one of those nights….’cept there are no kids, no jacuzzi, it’s super late and I am mildly intoxicated so this should be interesting….

Our trip to see Paul’s Primary Care Physician here at the VA was uneventful…..I didn’t really care for him…..it seemed like we knew as much about this procedure as he did……he couldn’t answer a lot of the questions we had, which we anticipated, so no surprise there…..but he kept stressing the seriousness of this procedure….calling it “the mother of  all abdominal surgeries”…….saying we are looking at 7-10 days in the hospital….unless he develops pancreatitis…..

See, it’s NEVER a good idea to be poking around your pancreas. Never. It’s a very sensitive organ and if it’s disturbed too much it essentially releases a bunch of enzymes and toxins into your body and pretty much royally messes you up. Things like tremendous pain, nausea, vomiting and in some cases severe complications…..

Notice in the diagram this Whipple Procedure is pretty much right on top of the pancreas.

The clock is ticking down…..I know it’s coming and I think it’s going to be worse than I am prepared for. But how do you prepare for this? You can’t so…..whatever…..but it’s like this is all a bad dream…..sometimes I will go through my day and think…”I’m ready to wake up from this”…..but I never do….

My hair is thinning….it started back in the fall with some teenage drama but it really ramped up since the holidays. I clean massive amounts from my hair brushes……stress does that to me…always has…..but this is the worst it’s ever been. This is going to add 10 years to me I know it……this changes you…..something inside you changes when this happens.

We are talking about things I have been dreading……living wills….orders….things like that. Why are we discussing if I can afford to keep our house “if” …….and I don’t even want to say it out loud for fear of “putting it out there”, you know? I don’t even want to entertain the notion! But you can’t dodge it….you HAVE to face it……you HAVE to talk about it …. because it’s a possibility…..a REAL possibility….not one of these “I may walk out the door and get hit by a bus” fantasy conversations and everyone hugs and says “don’t worry, that will never happen”……

It does happen…..it may not be a bus but it sure feels like being hit by one. There is still a part of me that is in total denial. Total denial. How is it possible I just kissed and toasted the new year with my beautiful husband, watched him play in a smooth jazz band, watched dancers dance to his music and we tossed a shitty 2010 out on its ear and vowed 2011 would be better…..only to have him on an operating table 3 months later with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, being cut in half and having major abdominal surgery??? How does this happen to a man that is only 44 years old??? I just can’t wrap my head around the idea that this is EVEN HAPPENING!

But why should we be exempt from troubles? “This is life”…..blah, blah, blah……I know, I know………..

Tonight I wallow…..

There will be more unpleasantness tomorrow…..logistics is going to suck……thank God my mother in law is here. I know I can count on her to just come stay here with the kids while I am gone. Rachel is going to freak I know it. She has been very homesick on her mission trip with the church for Spring Break. If we are gone 10 days that is going to be hard on her. I don’t want them coming up…at least not at first. If he is recovering I will bring them up for a weekend but I can’t have them around during the critical parts of this…..I just can’t….

So we have to look into possible hotel rooms. Which we can’t afford of course. Thank God we have friends in the hotel industry and I know the Cancer Society has free rooms so we will look into that tomorrow.  I certainly raised enough money at all my Relay For Life events so time to use it! I just want something close….that’s all I care about….because I won’t be there much. Will I only be allowed in during visiting hours? I can’t imagine it….because they are going to have to drag me out of there…..I don’t even know….and that, I am sure, is the root of the fear….

I feel like I am preparing for a hurricane…..my yankee friends might not understand since I come from the land of twisters where you only have 20 seconds to hit the basement…..hurricanes are much different…..It’s almost like a sporting event….you start getting early reports so you begin paying close attention…then you begin preparations….make sure you have canned goods, propane, bottled water and plywood……days pass and you start making plans on where you are going to go….what you are going to pack up and what stays…..TV constantly giving updates…..the last one didn’t look too bad so we sent the children off with Grandma to some friends who were inland and we stayed to “ride it out”……….the part of all this I didn’t expect……was that eerie feeling you get the day before landfall…..when everything is boarded up and you know your chance to flee has passed…..and everything is quite and you have no idea what is going to happen next……it’s Impending Doom….that feeling….and this feels the same way.

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