Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend Update

I have successfully gotten through my 4th round of chemo.  The 4th and 5th days were long, slow, and anxiety producing since being on a hospital bed for 6 hours a day getting pumped full of various fluids was getting to me.  I've been pretty tired and really low appetite the last few days.  I started getting back into things today with a series of events with my mom and sister Tracy being in town.  We made the customary trip to the Arch, and things started turning for the better around lunch.  Anna joined us for a trip down to the Schlafly Taproom for a pig roast/garage sale.  Surprising enough I didn't have much of a problem getting down my pulled pork sandwich and beans which was a big change of pace from the chicken noodle soup I'd been thriving on the few days during chemo.  We spent half the afternoon at the zoo which was pretty manageable too.  Tracy was complaining more than me about being tired from walking around so I consider that a good afternoon of exercise.  Unfortunately walking is about the most strenuous exercise I'll be doing until after I recover from surgery.  Half due to fatigue and half to my lack of confidence in my cancer ridden vertebrae which is marked for removal.  My scans next week should prove very interesting both to that bone's integrity and how well chemo has been working so far.

My pelvic tumor ablation is also quickly approaching.  I met with my interventional radiologist on Thursday, and it was very informational.  First of all, Jack Jennings (the good doctor) is a very interesting and intense guy.  He strongly reinforced that my team is treating my cancer "very aggressively" and that they're going to "watch me like a hawk" as I proceed through treatment.  He told me to text or call him with any questions any time of day and will probably be walking me through my scan results over the phone Tuesday after his plane lands in Italy for a conference he's attending.  Secondly, I now know how the ablation will go.  Jack will be using heat ablation using a radio frequency needle instead of freezing the tumors which is what they were thinking at first.  They can be more accurate with the bendable heat needle than with making ice balls.  It's a little safer for my nerves too since I will be semi-sedated and will be able to alert him if I'm getting shooting pains down my leg. Ice ablation would numb the nerve so that I wouldn't feel the damage happening.  Jack isn't concerned about nerve damage with my procedure, but I'm happy playing it on the safe side.  Another benefit of heat over ice is that I can go home that afternoon instead of being admitted for a day for pain monitoring.  

The procedure is minimally invasive with only two small nicks in my ass for the instruments to get access to my tumors.  It will be CT guided so that he will have a very accurate and real time view to the areas that he is ablating.  Jack said he would be doing multiple ablutions over the whole area where my tumors were at my last MRI to get any little pockets which might not be visible in my upcoming scans which will likely show a reduced tumor size (knock on wood).  I'm hoping for the best, and I'll put up pictures from my new scans this weekend after I get back from a department retreat in backwoods Missouri.

1 comment:

  1. Greg,
    I am a former DBBS graduate student at Washington University and also have recently been battling cancer. While our stories are not the same, I thought I would reach out to you to see if you would like to connect. I have found it helpful to talk with other young adults who can relate to my treatments, side effects etc. but have also found it is difficult to locate this support system.
    Katie Adastra