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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

PRE ADMIT

Yesterday, 2-27-17, I had an 11:30 appointment at the Gulf Coast Surgical Center to complete the Pre Admit procedures.  I signed a lot of forms, was weighed (174lbs), blood pressure taken (150/80), and an EKG.  The nurse went over all procedures to be done to me on March 6th.  She informed me that I will get a call on Friday to tell me what time to be at the clinic on Monday morning for tonsil surgery and biopsies.  If no call by 4:00pm I am to call them.

I confided in the nurse that I was still in a state of shock about all of this.  She told me that she too had a battle with cancer of the kidney and had it removed.  Her father also had kidney cancer and died from it.  When I was walking out to leave, the nurse reached out to me and hugged me.  I fought back tears and hugged her back.  I'm a pretty tough person and have been through tough times in my life but this battle is going to be the toughest.

Left the clinic and went to Walmart to buy some liquids and puddings to have something on hand for after the surgery.  I'll be going through this on my own with no family to stay with me or cook and prepare meals for me so I have to be ready.

Last night I read more testimonials online and today I watched some Youtube videos of actual radiation procedures.  I'm hoping that by seeing these procedures I won't be so scared and anxious when I have to have them.  That mask thing that must be worn during treatment is going to be a big problem for me.  Being strapped down with my face covered and rolled into a machine looks otherworldly.  I'll have to XANAX myself to the max in order to go through with it.

Tonight I'll research some more online and maybe look for some meditations that will help me with the anxiety.




Saturday, February 25, 2017

MIND IS RACING - Can't sleep

When I returned from the ENT clinic all I wanted to do was sleep.  I was in shock and didn't feel anything except the need to escape.  I was caring for two dogs that had scheduled appointments with me so had to stay awake for them.  They will be going home in a few days.  I've cancelled other sitting jobs for next month.  Still have bookings for April and May but will wait and see how things are going at that time.

I confided in one of my doggie parents named Becky and she informed me that she is also a throat cancer survivor.  After sharing her experiences with me I felt my spirits lifting out of the depression I now find myself in.  She was kind enough to offer to visit me after work as well as care for my dogs if necessary.  That was very sweet of her.  I will accept her offer graciously.

Have been online and reading more testimonials from Throat Cancer survivors and it gives me a good feeling and sense of relief to know what to expect in advance so I can emotionally prepare.  Reading one after the other I feel that they are talking to me directly and get a sense of support that I would like to get face to face but for now this will do.

Called my son today, who lives a couple of hours away, and informed him of the situation.  We are making arrangements to meet in Baton Rouge at Capital One Bank for him to sign some papers in order to be placed on all of my accounts.  My mood improved after a long conversation with him.  It sure does help to talk to someone about all this.  The good mood doesn't last long but every spurt helps.



Before all of this started happening, I was in the process of pressure washing my house and painting.  No money in the budget to hire someone so I am doing it myself.  Yesterday I really had to force myself to get off the sofa and put my paint clothes on and do a little more painting.  After a while I felt much better.  Today I did the same thing and felt good for a little while.  It was a beautiful sunny and cool day and I spent hours of it outdoors.

But no matter what I'm doing my mind races back to the fact that I have to go through this horrible ordeal that lies ahead of me.  The unknown is very frightening.


My beautiful blue townhouse.  I have since painted the deck white and added a carport.




  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

FOUND LUMP ON NECK


I'm a 69 year old retired Mental Health Professional who currently runs a small Dog Sitting Business out of my home in Houma, Louisiana.  I enjoy camping in my RV with my two little Shih Tzus and we prefer the beach.  I've always been a Beach Bum.

This blog is going to serve as a log of ongoing events during this voyage of the damned.



On the morning of February 3rd 2017, after brushing my teeth, I looked up in the mirror and saw a lump on the left side of my neck.  Immediately felt that this was serious and not just a swollen gland.  Just a gut feeling but very scary.

Naturally, it was the weekend so had to wait till Monday February 6th to made an appointment with my family doctor Scott Haydel.  I was seen on that day and treated with a 10 day regimen of Amoxicillin for an infected lymph node coming from somewhere in my throat.  I felt that it was not just an infected lymph node but much worse.  The antibiotic made me ill and I only took it for 6 days with no improvement in the lump.  Went back to Dr. Haydel and he ordered a CAT scan.

On February 9th I had the CAT scan.  Nine days later Dr. Haydel called me to inform me of the results.  He said that there was a nodule found on my scan and I was referred to an ENT doctor.

On February 22nd I saw Dr. Byer at the ENT clinic.  He looked at my throat with an instrument that went through my nose.  He saw the ulcer, at the base of my tongue and said it was three quarters of an inch in size.  He examined the lump on the outside of my left neck.  He explained that he would perform surgery to remove my left tonsil, do a needle biopsy of the lump, and take a biopsy of the ulcer.  About 5 months ago I started to feel like there was something stuck in my throat but thought it was due to stress and that it would go away.  I don't know how long this ulcer has been growing in my throat but it seems that it took 5 months for it to infect my lymph node.

On February 23rd I saw Dr. Byer again.  This time was to go over the paperwork and explain in detail what he was going to do during surgery.

On February 27th I am scheduled to go to Pre Admit at the Gulf Coast Surgical Center.  Then on March 6th I am to have the surgery.

Of course I had to google and read and inform myself of what to expect.  Not sure that was a good idea.  The testimonials were frightening.  The removal of the tonsil will cause much pain and last up to 2 weeks.  The good thing about the readings is that tips were given to help with the healing process as well as what I'll be able to swallow during that time.

Last night I ordered a cool mist humidifier online which was recommended to ease the discomfort in the throat which dries out and causes pain.  Also read about using Hydrogen Peroxide mouthwash to aid in preventing bleeding.  I will be given pain meds but read that Liquid Cherry Tylenol and Benadryl for swelling is also helpful.   Maalox or Pepto Bismol also for nausea and upset stomach.  All in all, I found the testimonials helpful although depressing.  Didn't sleep well last night.  My mind is in turmoil.

During all of this, I've continued to work at my Dog Sitting business and it is very hard to care for the dogs while my mind is on what is to come.  Just cancelled two sitting jobs for March at a loss of $200.

My Humana insurance has an office visit co-pay of $50 which I paid at both visits.  The PreAdmit department called and said I would owe $225 at my upcoming visit on February 27th.  They informed me that my insurance was going to pay 100% of my bill for their Surgery Center.  However, there will be separate bills from the anesthesiologist and the doctor.  So far I'm looking at out of pocket $325.

I know I shouldn't be thinking too far ahead but I have a pretty good idea what treatment for throat cancer is about.  I watched my dad suffer and die from this exact same thing - 28 years ago this week.  Two years after his diagnosis he was gone.  He was a smoker and heavy drinker.  Dr. Beyer told me that there have been some improvements in the treatment since 1989 and that was encouraging.

I can't help but wonder why I have this as I am not a smoker or drinker.  Reading online I discovered other reasons why people get throat cancer.  I guess I fall into one of those categories.

 I'm going to need some emotional support through this and am looking online for someone to talk to.  Joined a couple of Facebook groups and am looking for a group locally.  My neighbor Evelyn will be taking me to the surgery center which I am grateful for.  My friend Sylvia said she would come and stay with me if I needed her.  I probably will.  My friend Carolyn said she'd help out caring for my pets.

Haven't called my son in Baton Rouge yet.  Wanted to wait till after the surgery but I think he needs to know before, just in case.