Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Truckin'

Here's our ABF/UPack trailer, right on schedule.  In the morning we load.







Saturday, April 02, 2016

Moving Day Fast Approaches

Pictures Updated 4/13/2016
Welcome to Chaos Manor!
Everything Must Go!






video



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

And Now a Word From My Oncologist

This letter recently arrived in the US Mail.  Considering all of the radiation side effects I've had since the seed implant procedure on 2/29 I wonder if I'll receive another letter when the radiation declines by the first half life.


Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Brachytherapy After Ten Days

I've been home from surgery for a week and recovery hasn't been as uneventful as the pre-surgery handout from my urologist promised.

So now I've met the O/R and know that I never want to go back.  I found an O/R to be quite an assembly line.  When I was doing all of my paperwork in the waiting room prior to the big event there was a woman with a cane bitching to staff and anybody who would listen about her eye and what some distant relative nurse she found on Facebook told her to tell the doctors that they must do.  When I regained consciousness after my procedure one of the first things I heard was the same woman, only a partition curtain away, telling the doctors in the O/R what some distant relative nurse she found on Facebook told her that they must do.  I met the urologist and oncologist who worked on me prior to my going into the O/R but I haven't seen them since.  

I've seen what the Foley catheter looks like installed on/in me and unfortunately it's something that can't ever be unseen, it looked like someone had successfully grafted my Johnson to a garden hose connector ("connection adapter", shown below minus the internal parts that snake into the bladder), plumbing fit for Frankenstein.  I knew beforehand that the Foley catheter was going to be part of the show and I chose willful ignorance prior to the procedure and being whacked out on anesthesia during since there was no way I could prevent its use.  I knew that such a device existed but had never seen one because I don't hang out in hospitals or look at kinky plumbing prØn.  
Once implanted and radioactive I was uncoupled from the hospital's electronics and plumbing I was placed into a wheelchair and sent out of the hospital with a single pain pill, a handout describing what I should do to for a successful recovery and a post card where I could rate my experience and express my customer service concerns to the hospital.  All of the hospital staff that I interacted with were courteous, pleasant and polite but there was no box that I could check that said, "please don't attach hospital equipment to my wiener", so I threw the postcard away.  

My recovery is coming along more slowly than I was led to believe it would.  Other than having prostate cancer I'm in fairly good health so I feel for any guy who isn't in good health and has to withstand this kind of well intentioned abuse.  I quickly came to feel as if someone had repeatedly stomped my genital area with hobnailed boots.  I had to pee frequently but couldn't produce and I found that incredibly frustrating and frightening.  I'd sit like a girl for 20 minutes trying to fight overwhelmingly unpleasant sensations as I tried to start the flow of the river from my yellow headwaters.  Eleanor got used to me closing the bathroom door behind me and having sessions of grunting and loud cursing.  In retirement a man needs to keep his mind working  so I've taken to cursing in Russian (link NSFW!) and да (yes), I'm also teaching myself the Cyrillic alphabet.  ебаTь!

I'm leaving the house on a daily basis now and advance scouting for bathrooms wherever I go because I never know when I'm going to suddenly be in need of relief.  At night I awake and roll out of bed every hour and a half to urinate, or attempt to, and I find this incredibly annoying (although not as annoying as having an advanced cancer).  My hospital handout says that this sleep disturbing side effect of my treatment can linger for months.

Next, many physical journeys by aircraft, automobiles and truck will culminate in the new home that awaits us as I work toward living happily ever after and cancer free.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Achy-Brachytherapy

My cancer now has a 2nd glowing sole print on its ass.  I reported to the hospital bright and early and allowed them to sedate me and then to somehow implant radioactivity on the cancerous areas of my prostate gland.  I say somehow because I encouraged them to use enough anesthesia to bomb me back to the stone age.  I wasn't aware of what they did or how they did it.
Next stop: the O/R where cancer gets the 2nd of a radioactive 1,2 punch
But when they were done I sure knew.  While I was off pounding cold ones with Fred and Barney I had a Foley catheter installed.  Modesty prevents me from relating exactly what that is, where they stuck it or what it looked like when properly installed so click on the link (SFW) and all will be revealed.  When I woke up I was in pain all over.  My throat hurt because they had stuck some kind of breathing apparatus down in there.  My insides hurt where my new radioactive seeds, the ones that I'll take to my grave, now live.  My wiener hurt and my bladder was screaming that I had to pee like it was filled with jellied fire.

Not knowing where I was and not quite conscious I think that I tried to get up with the intention of finding a men's room.  But I still had tubes in me and wired sensors on me, some of which I'm told that I ripped out.  Oh, and the Foley catheter was still properly plumbed.  My struggle is what the nurse told me caused the big blood stain on the bed.   The nurse warned me that when he removed Mr. Foley's catheter it would be painful and boy was he ever right.  I screamed from the intense burning pain in a very personal place where I had never felt pain before.  They sent me home wearing a maxi-pad.

When I got home I motored around my house under my own power.  I'm uncomfortable and when I urinate it burns like I'm peeing Drano but the doctors said that I should feel better in a few days.  I'm carrying enough internal radiation to arouse the TSA or ICE from their slumber but I have a card attesting to my nuclear non-proliferation status to show them at the airport or the Canadian border.  My post-op instructions say to not allow little children to sit on my lap due to radiation and to take it easy for a few weeks.

My urologist says that if the scan I'm to receive shortly shows the seeds taking root in the right place I'm good to go, to move to our new home and to live out the rest of my days happily ever after.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Prostate Cancer - I get (Preliminary) Results


Just prior to the procedure to seed my prostate gland with radiation I can carry around I received a pre game PSA test.  A score of 4 or lower is considered normal.  I was sent to a urologist with a score of 8, which grew to an 11.

Below is proof that 5 weeks of a daily radiation blast and some hormones get results, I now have the PSA of a normal guy.


In order to keep the PSA of a normal guy I'll need to get some more radiation, this time implanted on the prostate glad itself.  I'm in the on deck circle for that right now.

All I Need Now is a Green Light from My Doctors

Assuming that everything goes according to plan with my upcoming brachytherapy here are 2 pictures of our recently completed house along with a still shot from a webcam overlooking the development.


Soon to be finished and furnished

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Graduation From External Radiation





Although I'm still left with the side effects of 5 weeks of radiation Godzilla is safely back in his cage.  Soon I will get internal radiation and then hopefully be on my way to beating cancer and selling our house.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Leap Year

Leap year comes once but every 4 years and every 4 years I do a double take when I look at a calendar and see February 29th.  I've did a double take after I found out that my next step in prostate cancer treatment, seeding the prostate gland with little bits of a radioactive substance, was scheduled for the morning of February 29th.  

So imagine my surprise when I received an email from the builder of our new house in Arizona saying that they'd like us to come on down for the closing on our house to trade a large sum of cash for title and keys on February 29th. What are the odds?  
By the time you read this I'll be move in ready!
The builder broke ground the day I received my cancer diagnosis.  So in the race to see whether I'd beat cancer first or have to cough up money for a house I can't move into until I beat cancer is over, the house won. Needless to say I can't hand over money in Arizona while I'm sedated and having an invasive medical procedure performed on me in Seattle so my wife called the builder and sweet talked them into a no cost extension, because moving into a new house is a really big deal but becoming cancer free is job #1 prime directive now.  Only after recovery can I seriously think about job #2: paying for the new house, moving to the new house and selling the old house.  New house closing date is now March 15, the oncologist says I should be roadworthy by then.

I'm in the home stretch of daily radiation treatments and can't wait to hit the 5 week finish line.  The most annoying radiation side effect so far has been on my bladder.  Driven crazy by radiation it's in perpetual freakout mode, always alerting me that it's full and ready to burst. "I gotta go!!!!!", Right NOW!  There are no half measures, no stalling, no putting it off for the next rest area on the freeway.  It's always seems like a matter of desperation.  I sometimes awake every hour during the night to stumble to the bathroom and pee and man, is that annoying.  My oncologist says that this should diminish when the daily radiation stops, only to pick up again in March when radiation will be permanently installed in the prostate gland itself.  It should permanently diminish as the radiation half life decays the radiation away, kills the cancer and the seeds become inert.  Those inert seeds will go to the grave with me.

So how is this seed installation done?  What happens after the radioactive seeds are implanted?  If you're curious click here and read,
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A SEED IMPLANT: THE FIRST TWELVE MONTHS
I received that in the US mail and it was most likely written by my oncologist as his name is first on the masthead. 

I had been under the impression that they would place these radioactive seeds in my prostate gland through my back door just as the urologist previously biopsied it but this isn't so. 

Following anesthesia, thin needles containing radioactive seeds are precisely placed under ultrasound guidance through the skin between the scrotum and rectum and into the prostate.

Yow!  That sounds like a frightening thing to let strangers do in a very tender place.  Anesthesia isn't what I thought it would be either:

The first choice is a spinal anesthetic where a thin needle is inserted in the lower back and a Novocaine-like medication is injected. With spinal anesthesia, patients are temporarily numb from the waist down and will not feel any of the needles being placed. In addition to the spinal anesthetic, patients commonly receive a sedative intravenously so that they are more relaxed and often sleep through the procedure. The spinal anesthesia is the most frequent choice of patients and the one that we usually recommend whenever possible. 

The second choice is a light general anesthetic so the patient is completely “out.” This works well but patients are often groggy for some time after the procedure. The anesthesiologist will review the details including both pros and cons of these two approaches. Sometimes the type of anesthetic is determined by the patient’s overall medical condition; other times it is a choice for the patient to make.

Make mine choice #2, light general anesthetic. I don't want to experience the lower half of my body turn numb while I watch people insert things into me.  I know that this work needs to be done, wake me when it's over.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Radiation Treatment for Prostate Cancer

I'm into my second week of 5 weeks of daily radiation treatments for prostate cancer.  Each morning I take the bus to the Polyclinic on Pill Hill, change into pajama bottoms, lay down and position myself into a plastic cast of my calves and feet and present myself to huge round device above me that looks like something out of a planetarium.

Technicians come in to verify my identity by asking for my birthday.  Then they pull my pajama bottoms down around my hips so they can find my little freckle tattoos in order to align me properly and hopefully avoid irradiating of any innocent bystander organs.

Once alignment is complete the technicians leave the room, close the door and the process begins.  I feel nothing and hear little.  Other than an occasional click there's no sensation of any kind.  When there's music it's been jazz or country.  After 10 or 15 minutes a technician comes in and we exchange pleasantries and it's over until the next time.  See you tomorrow!  I change back into my street clothes, leave the hospital and get back on the bus. 

That's it?  Beating cancer can't be that easy.  And it's not.  I've been warned that side effects are coming, specifically weakness.  And there might be some skin burning.  And other more invasive and unpleasant procedures will come after my 5 week course of radiation is complete and my diseased parts have been properly prepped.

One side effect that I am experiencing is an unusual flatulence.  It doesn't seem to matter what I eat.  It starts in the afternoon and continues for most of the night while I sleep, a sort of bubbly and near constant, sometimes painful production of gas.  Radiation is administered 5 days a week so when the flatulence faded over the long holiday weekend I suspected the radiation.

During my 5 weeks of radiation I get 5 minutes a week to talk to my oncologist so I asked him if the flatulence and radiation were related.  He smiled weakly,  nodded affirmatively and added, "there's going to be some mucus too".  Oh goody, gas and liquids.  "Will I get any warning or will it just happen?".  He smiled again.  "You'll get a warning".

It's not much of a warning though.  I'm starting to find the whole radiation experience to be just a bit creepy.  It's a treatment that I can't hear, see or feel yet I'm starting to experience the side effects.  The radiation has inflamed my bladder so I urinate frequently.  When I go anywhere my first task is to seek out and note all bathrooms.  I can't sleep more than 2 or 3 hours without having to get up to pee.  I'm looking forward to a period when I can recover from my treatment and prepare myself for the next much more invasive phase.