Saturday, August 29, 2009


I'm tired of saying and writing "chemoembolization". I had my latest C-E on July 21st. It didn't seem to go as well for me this time. Maybe it accomplished what it needed to, but I've been feeling very crappy ever since.

[Continuing from this brief bit started from 8/12.]

It seemed to start off well, I remember joking with Dr. Close while getting prepped. The procedure seemed to go like the two previous ones.

Back in the hospital room after it was over, though, I noticed that my butt felt wet. I uncovered myself to find that the tegaderm over the incision had come off and that I had been bleeding a little. Perhaps that was a sign that things would be different this time. I called the nurse and they got me fixed up pretty quickly. But over the next few weeks I still had a black-and-blue mark in the area of the incision. Perhaps I was writhing around too much this time and hadn't been aware of it.

Again, I thought things would be like the times before, and so I tried eating like I had previously. But then I wasn't as up for the more solid foods as before, so I switched to more of jello and pudding meals. Even that didn't sit well, and this time around I had a couple of battles with nausea that did bring me to vomit twice. (Sorry for being graphic.)

I stayed longer into the second day than I had previously, but left the following day as I had before. My reasoning then and now is that it's better to be feeling like crap in the more comfortable surroundings at home than in the hospital. When you cut to the chase, besides the drugs administered there, there was little to be gained by staying.

I think I had planned to work on the Thursday and Friday as I believe I had done before. But this time around I even found it difficult in my attempts to work from home on those days. And I believe this same issue with pain spilled over into the next week. On Thursday the 30th, I mentioned this to Dr. Tom and he bumped me up to percocet. I remember calling the following Tuesday and mentioning that to me it had no effect; I believe I called it "junk". So apparently the pain had been much more than I had anticipated, and looking back it was more than I thought even at the time. On that Tuesday that I called, they prescribed my oxycontin to take "under" the percocet/vicodin (one or the other) and the ibuprofin. That may have taken it down a notch to tolerable, but I don't know how much I had noticed back then -- I believe it did lower my pain.

My sister Karen and nephew James had planned back in July and earlier to come visit in early August. How I will be feeling is never really something I can forecast, so it was all wait and see. Unfortunately, during the time they were here I had never really gotten back to even a nice 50% level.

I had picked them up at the airport on Saturday the 1st. On Sunday they went to Bismarck to help Mom with the plethora of issues involving Dad and his turn for the worse with his Alzheimer's. Dad had turned mean during a hospital stay, and has since been in the hospital, restrained at times early on, or in nursing care. So it has really not been a "vacation" type summer for us Sinkulas, time away from work or not.

I felt bad that I couldn't do much when Karen and James were here. It would have been nice to go to the Minnesota Zoo or some other things in town while they were here, but I couldn't really get too far away from my bed upstairs for any length of time. We did get to talk about things on a deeper level than we have before, and it was very nice to just see them again. But I really wish I'd had more life in me at the time.

On Saturday, August 8th, I believe, we did get together at my house with my cousin James and his family. It's odd that they live in the metro area but I hadn't visited in many, many years. This too was a good, albeit brief, time to visit with family for me. And again I'd wished I'd had more spunk.

Karen and James returned home on the 11th, and all that morning I tried to see if I felt like I could drive them to the airport and make it back myself. By the time it came to go, I didn't think that I could do it. Although the pain had receded by this point in time, tiredness and a queasy stomach were making a play. Perhaps they had been there before but I hadn't noticed them over the pain.

At some point during that week, I was doing partial days of working from home, and I think I made it in to the office for half of the day on that Friday (the 14th?). The following week I was still not putting in a full day in the office. It was about this time -- 10 days out -- that I was questioning my readiness for the next scheduled C-E, which was set for the 25th. After making calls to Dr. Amatruda and Dr. Close and "their people", we did decide to bump it. Likely due to the pain I was reporting, Dr. Amatruda wanted me to have a bone scan to verify that things had not spread there yet. This was scheduled for the 25th.

Hey, a new scan for me. It didn't have the no-eat, no-drink rules, so I was happy about that. I had to go in a little before 8 to get an injection of something lightly radioactive and then return for the scan at 10:30. Originally I was planning to go to the office and set up my computer which takes forever to boot up. But being a little tired and Suburban Imaging being about halfway, but closer to home, I decided to return home and just lie down and relax.

I relaxed too much, apparently, as I looked over at the clock which read 10:40 as I abruptly woke up. I quickly called to let them know I'd be on my way, and thankfully there were no appointments that followed mine. So I was able to get in and get the scan done. This one used a machine more like at CT than an MR: a thinner "donut". And I didn't need to hold by breath like I'd had to for the abdominal scans. But this one lasted a half hour. The only odd part was when my head was in the machine and one part of the "donut" was inches from my face. Other than that, it's an easy scan.

Folks other than myself tend to be anxious for the results. I decided to wait two days before calling about other things and to see if the results were in at that point. They were, and they indicated nothing new and bad. And apparently they had just called home and talked to Angie and given her this news.

So now were mostly to the present. I've been doing my best to work in the office all the last week, and the pain really given way to being excessively tired and a not quite settled stomach. Sorry I haven't updated in a while. I've been online a lot, but clicking buttons and looking at goofy pictures, or even skimming or reading, has been much easier to do than to try and sit and write this out. I know I must have forgotten plenty of things I was going to write when I'd had intentions of starting this weeks ago. But hopefully I hit the main points.

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