What a Difference a Year Makes

What a difference a year makes.  I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions but if I did such things last year and probably the previous 30 years at or very near the top of the list would have been, lose some weight.  This year my resolution is don’t lose any more weight.  I started 2017 tipping the scales at 240 or so, I will start 2018 at 180 give or take a pound or two.  I like 180 better than 240 but there are much better ways to shed a few pounds.

2017 was a very interesting year at my house.  I will share a few of the highlights but first and foremost I want to thank God and a whole bunch of medical professionals for giving me the opportunity to see another New Year.

Some of what I have to say tonight will probably be a repeat of what I put in previous blogs, just give me a break if that happens.

I saw more medical professionals in ’17 than I had seen in the previous 74 years of my life.

I started the year with what I thought was major surgery.  I had Cataract surgery in both eyes in late January and early February.  Good news is I no longer need glasses.  Life was good, I bought some high dollar over the counter sunglasses, things are still like new.  I spent some quality lake time in the very early spring, even learned to Crappie fish a little bit.

In mid to late March I developed a little problem eating, it kind of hurt to swallow food.  A couple doctor visits a borescope inspection and some lab work revealed what no one wants to hear.  I had cancer of the esophagus.  I just thought those cataracts were a big deal.

I covered the details of the initial diagnosis and treatment in previous blogs so I will summarize.  In May and June I had Chemo and Radiation at the same time.  I also had a feeding tube, that thing was the source for about 90% of my nutrition for a few weeks.  The Chemo and Radiation were effective and prepared me for the next step in the treatment plan, surgery.

They told me the surgery was a tough one, they removed my esophagus and built me a new one with my stomach, but I didn’t think it would be that tough.  I’m still in recovery mode.  I had a couple post op incidents that I believe prolonged the recovery process.

One of the incidents was while I was in the hospital.  I think it was the fourth night after surgery, I had been on my scheduled walk down the hall and back.  About the time I got back in bed my heart kind of went crazy, it was beating very erratic at about 175 beats per minute.  They got it stabilized at about130 bpm, it stayed there for about 36 hours then returned to normal.  As a result, in addition to primary care, oncologist, surgeon and urologist, I now see a cardiologist.  With the exception of the next incident I haven’t had additional issues with the heart.

Included in my discharge instructions was, if there was any indication of an accelerated heart beat to go to the nearest emergency room.  Wouldn’t you know it, Labor Day weekend about 10:00 pm Saturday the old heart kind of fluttered and was beating at about 120.  I followed instruction and went to the ER at Norman Regional.  A good ER doc and a CT scan determined the rapid heartbeat was secondary.  My right lung had collapsed and was putting pressure on the heart causing it to go a little crazy.

The immediate corrective action was to insert a drain tube through my rib cage to relieve some pressure, I knew what those things were, I had four of them after surgery.  In addition to the young doctor there was an old “been there done that” nurse helping.  She asked if the previous tubes were put in during surgery, I answered yes, her response was “this is going to hurt real bad”; she was right. I had to stay at the hospital for a day or two.  They gave me a choice to stay there or go to OU Med center.  I opted to go see my surgeon and his crew.  I got my first ambulance ride and hopefully my last.  They charge $1828.00 to go from Norman to OKC. They sent me home on Monday to resume the recovery process.

I talked them into taking the feeding tube out in late September.  Since then I have very slowly gotten stronger and my energy level has increased.  I still sleep with my head elevated, right now about 15 inches higher than my butt.  I think that will be a forever thing, they had to remove some of that stuff that prevents re flux.  I haven’t lost any weight in about three weeks; I think I am about ready to see if the Crappie are biting and put a little wear on those sunglasses.

I almost forgot an important note.  I had a CT scan a few days ago and everything still looks good.  I cross my fingers and knock on wood when I use the term CANCER FREE, but I sure like the way it sounds.

I’m looking forward to a somewhat normal year, in addition to the lake maybe I’ll feel like running up and down the road a little and maybe find something interesting to write about.

Have a Happy New Year and consider a donation to the cancer research organization of your choice.

Good Night and God Bless

Dave

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