Archive for the ‘Postcards from Cancerland.’ Category

Breaking Away.

Posted: February 5, 2019 in Postcards from Cancerland.

70ABF89B-AA38-42F6-8F55-4414273491D9.jpeg

We
Are
Home!!
We busted out of the hospital!!
The hospital bracelets have been cut!
My Surgeon came in to our room at 7:45 am to tell us again that we would likely get out today .
He said that it depended on my blood counts. And my oncologist would make the call.
Diana was packed and ready to go fifteen minutes later.
But we waited…
And waited…
I ate green jello for breakfast…
I ate yellow jello for lunch…
There was more poking and prodding…
A few good friends stopped by…
And we waited…
A few good nurses and CNAs who have become friends stopped by…
Some of them yanked the PICC line out of my arm, I didn’t really want to keep it as a souvenir. I grabbed the plastic urinal instead.
Finally…
The no nonsense discharge nurse came into the room to give us our marching orders.
There was a thirty four page document…
We read through all of it.
We waited for a dude to give me a magic wheelchair ride.
Finally…
At 6:30 pm we were released.
At which point, I realized that the hospital has a really bad parking lot. You don’t notice some potholes until you have fresh sutures.
For the first time in eleven days I’m wearing pants (actually they are Panthers sweat pants, but that counts, right?) I left the drafty green gown behind.
It’s good to be home.

feeling musical…

Posted: February 3, 2019 in Postcards from Cancerland.

5A1BF1FF-D280-43C5-80FE-36415AB7C898

I’m feeling musical today…

My body makes sounds like a cheap kazoo.
It ain’t pretty, but I’m happy to be making some noise!
I got rid of some heavy metal this morning.
Our awesome nurse took a little staple remover and pulled twenty three staples out of my belly.
I laid there and listened to the very groovy beat of “twink…twink…twink…” as they fell into a cup.
For the near future, I have an easy listening eating plan.
It looks like I will be on a liquid diet for about a week. That’s fine, my wife makes a killer smoothie!
I had sweet tea for the first time this afternoon…in the south, THAT is a big deal.
It really deserves a country song: “I’m drankin’ hospital sweet tea, but that’s just fine with me…”
The Doctor, who really looks and acts like a jazz musician, told us today that we might get out tomorrow.
That is music to my ears.

D5D83A11-768A-4EFA-B4E5-1E86583428B0

Weekends seem pretty calm in the hospital.
I guess other people are better at scheduling emergencies than we are.
We slept in until 6:00 am after a long, sleepless night.
We got to hang out with our daughter and see some ridiculously cute videos of the Moonpie.
That makes any morning sweet.
We talked to our Doctor and he was pleased enough with the progress that he put me on a liquid diet!!!
SOOOO….after eight days of gourmet ice chips I got Jello and some delicious cream of chicken soup!!
These are both things that were never really my favorite things.
But now they were the most AMAZING food EVER!!!
Life is weird like that, sometimes it’s only absence that creates appreciation.
We aren’t sure when we get to break out.
I’m so unbelievably grateful for the friends, kind words and hardcore prayer.
I remain beyond appreciative for a wife who proves, by her deeds, the very definition of love.
She has dug in and shown a commitment and devotion that leaves me breathless.
SOOOO, I hunker down in my green, hospital gown, thankful that while you are having Doritos and pizza during the big game tomorrow, I will be slurping beef broth and sucking on a sugar free grape popsicle.
Go Rams!!

4425EB9F-49CD-4CF0-95D6-6A4ABA8912E3

The BIG news…

The nose tube is out!!!
I’m still on a delightful ice chip diet, but those taste better without a side of snotty rubber. We have made enough digestive progress to yank it! I failed to get photos…sorry. Coming out was almost as awkwardly uncomfortable physically as it was going in, just with a ton of hope to calm the awkward.
You can get through stuff when you realize that on the other side you won’t have a tube in your snozz.
I do have metal staples in my belly, suddenly I’m avoiding magnets. But, any real pirate knows the power of a well placed scar as it becomes a story.
Things are moving along…and by that I mean things are literally moving along.
That was job one.
We are ready to get along with the business of mending.
It’s amazing how much healing has to happen in order to get busy healing.
That’s where we are at.
We have to heal from this unrelated sucker punch before we can chemo-chop the belly bully again.
We can still prayer-punch the jerk.
And that is what we do.
It was meant for evil.
But…not today…
We will turn around and beat the green nasal soup out of him with this setback.

c351f695-ef8c-467b-a320-e01baff455b1

One week ago I had emergency surgery where I was separated from eight inches of my colon.
Now it’s seven days later…

It’s only 10:00 am and I’ve already taken two nice leisurely walks around the sixth floor, it’s like a healthcare runway as I wear the lovely, well ventilated, green gown and wave at unsuspecting innocent patients.
I haven’t eaten or drunk anything in seven days.
I get my nourishment from a brown plastic bag.
I’ve had a plastic “NG” tube for seven days, I think “NG” stands for “nostril grossness”.
After the last week, I can definitely confirm my long held suspicions that having a plastic tube down your nose can complicate every thing.
Seven days of examinations and X-rays it looks like things are moving around the way they are supposed to. My days on the sixth floor may be limited.
On one of my walks I ran into a sweet young family of about seven people, I started to wave, but then I realized they weren’t in need of a howdy.
They needed a hallelujah.
There was tangible loss.
they were clinging on to each other and silently carrying each other through a unimaginable story I can only imagine.
I just looked them in the eyes and tried hard to convey the silent utterance…
I know pain.
I get the same look as I look into the eyes of God.
He knows what I feel on the weak days.

Falling for You.

Posted: January 29, 2019 in Postcards from Cancerland.

780d0162-7b3c-4c1d-9bd6-b2f1ffeae446

Sometime in the middle of the night someone came in and slapped a bracelet that read “falling risk” on my wrist along with a matching sign that ironically fell down.

Another day, another word that I can’t pronounce.
Today’s word is gastrograph.
It sounds like a cheap art gadget from the sixties like the Spirograph (remember those? You drew with math?) maybe the gastrograph would enable you to draw with farts?
Today I got to take a gastrograph test.
They took me downstairs and I gotta say, it was pretty horrible. They inserted a liquid that traveled through my system with the goal of learning if there are any obstructions in the small bowel.
I was put on a machine that looks like a modified George Foreman grill with tubes. I laid on a cold solid straight metal board for an hour while they figure how they wanted to take the pictures. Then they put the contrast in me . After a  while they took pictures.
This was followed by two X-ray sessions, one in my room and one downstairs.
Think of a very unglamorous glamor shot.
It seems that the contrast doesn’t seem to be moving around like it’s supposed to.
If it can’t escape my sexy colon, nothing can.
That’s a concern.
So I do find myself a “Falling Risk”.
Actually I have let go…that’s all I’ve got.
And I am falling.
I am falling into the big arms of Heavenly Father.
It’s all I know to do at this point.
I lift my hands, fall backwards and shout…
“CATCH ME!
I’m your boy!”

94e20017-2c04-4a6b-a3b2-351732d941cb

I woke up craving Fruity Pebbles this morning.

It wasn’t going to happen.
Because…
I also woke up with a NG tube plugged into my nose. It makes me look like a squimish Pinocchio. It is pumping unbelievable vile bile out of my stomach.
I can’t eat anything until we get the gunk out.
So I’m enjoying some savory ice chips.

We met with our surgeon before dawn this morning and he made the call to get me a Picc line so I get some nutrition.  The team was amazing, it was like a pit crew. They busted into my room, put a blankie over my face, and within minutes inserted a tube from my elbow to my neck.
So I have a bonus port that gives me food and meds.
We took a class with an awesome lady who taught us about my other new accessory, a colostomy. I basically have an extra butt, which would have made twelve year old me crack up.
I’m becoming more and more bionic!
We have had awesome visitors and friends checking in.
We have friends that are family.
We have family that are friends.
One big adventure we had today happened early when we wanted to walk. We had to get the NG tube unplugged from the vacuum. We asked our CNA to help us. She didn’t let us know that she had never done it. She ended up spilling some of the nose nastiness on me.
That wasn’t super sweet.
It smelled like prehistoric swamp gas and bad tuna.
We did get to take a couple walks, I didn’t set any land speed records, but I didn’t fall down.
As someone who hasn’t been able to eat or drink anything for days, I realize how much I take those things for granted! I’m so used to just being able to grab a burrito or root beer.
Right now, I gotta confess I would punch someone in the face for a grape…I’m not proud of that!
This has been one of the most painful weeks of my life, as I was talking to a friend today I started crying.
I didn’t cry because of pain, I cried because I was talking about the Holy Spirit and I felt his presence.
I think He is about to do something unexplainable, I believe with all my decreasing guts that something big is happening in the heavens.
The lyrics of an old Newsboys song have become my prayer today…
“Lord, I don’t know where all this is going
Or how it all works out
Lead me to peace that is past understanding
A peace beyond all doubt”