Disclaimer: To my Facebook friends parts of this will be somewhat redundant. I have done a few “how goes it” Facebook posts. I keep those short. Getting a little wordy or maybe even carried away is one thing I like about blogging.
I know it has been a while since I pounded the keyboard, but I’ve been busy and just a bit under the weather.
On August 9th I arrived at OU Medical Center at 5:00am for the much anticipated Esophagectomy. The surgery was scheduled for 7:30am; you need to start early for something that is going to take all day. The first couple hours was the typical hurry up and wait routine. About 7:00 they injected me with a little something and I kind of dozed off.
That little nap lasted about 10 or 12 hours and they abused the old man’s body something fierce while I was sleeping. They removed the damaged part of my esophagus and used my stomach to build me a new one. The actual surgery, from first incision to final closure, was eight hours and one minute. My next stop was room 2008 in ICU, this would be my home for the next nine days.
I was equipped with a total of six drainage tubes protruding from my nose and various places on the body. I also had one feeding tube, it is still in place. About 12 hours after arriving in ICU they decided it would be a good thing for me to walk down the hall. The recovery process was underway.
The next few days I received the typical, closely monitored, ICU care including a chest X-ray at 2am each day followed by a breathing treatment an hour later. The drainage tubes slowly started to disappear and the walks became longer and with less assistance. I have nothing but kind words and praise for the surgeon and his staff and the entire ICU staff, they were tremendous.
Following surgery the Dr. sent biopsies from the esophagus and several surrounding lymph glands for analysis. The pathology report indicated the only detectable cancer was in the original tumor in the esophagus which was removed during surgery. An earlier PET scan had the same result.
The initial plan was for me to spend 7 to 10 days in ICU then go to a regular room for an additional 10 days or so. However, the surgeon and his staff decided I had progressed sufficiently to bypass that regular room stay and come to the Patten house. On the 18th of August I arrived at home cancer free, all I had to do was complete this recovery process. I was very unsure as to what I was doing or what to expect, to be honest I was nervous and a little scared.
The girls got my meds organized, some appropriate food in the house and helped me figure out the new tube feed process, and yes, it is a process. I got over the scared and the nervous to an extent and am now a couple weeks into the recovery process. I thought I would be fishing by now but that is still way down the road.
I mentioned the girls in the previous paragraph, they deserve more than a mere mention. They have been there for me and with me for the past five months. I wouldn’t have made it through this thing without them.
To complete the recovery process I need to increase my food intake so I can eliminate the tube feeding. I’m trying, but is isn’t going as well as I had expected. I’ll get there, just not sure when. I also need to get a lot stronger than I am now.
I’m kind of tired of writing about this cancer thing that has been my life for the past five months. Maybe soon I can write about a fishing trip or a ballgame or some other pleasant subject.
Please consider a donation to your comfort level to the cancer research organization of your choice.
God Bless and keep me in your prayers.