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Meaning of life

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." ~ Pablo Picasso

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Cancer Chronicles 29

Oh Where, Oh Where Can He BEE? DON'T BUG ME!

Well it's been a few weeks since I've posted. Things have been a bit ruff around here, so I've been taking it easy.

I was to have a surgery on my tongue May 19. Dr. Hanasano, if you remember, has finally agreed that there is too much skin in my mouth. Something I've complained about since day 1! The plan is to remove a small sliver of skin that I bite when I attempt to chew. This causes great pain and makes me run for the pain meds, which isn't always a bad thing!

I mentioned to the doctor's assistant that I feel the flap has grown a bit. It honestly feels bigger to me and I swear I'm slurring my words more..hummm come to think of it maybe it's all the extra pain meds I'm taking. Anyway...because of this, Dr. Hanasano wants me to see Dr. Clayman to make sure there is nothing out of the ordinary causing this. So, they had to move my surgery to June 5th in order to accommodate both doctor's schedules.

Meanwhile back at the ranch... I was out in the yard enjoying a beautiful afternoon playing in the garden. It was sunny and warm with a mild wind. The only problem was a pesky mini bee flirting around bothering me, a VERY small variety. As I dug the ground on my knees turning the soil, I felt a bug just under my eyelid on the side of the face I was most heavily radiated on. Since there is not a lot of feeling on that side of the face I didn't realize I had been bitten. I brushed the little bugger away and continued enjoying my afternoon.

When I went back inside, I felt an itch on my cheek and went to the mirror. I noticed a small welt where that little bugger bit me. By morning I looked like the elephant man. It was so bad I could barely see out of my left eye. The whole side of my face had swollen up and was a beautiful inflamed red color. Just the thing to tarnish what had otherwise been a wonderful day out in the yard.

Fortunately, by the end of the week I was looking more normal again. But the saga would continue. What? You think my life is easy? Last week I had hooked myself up to my feed bag attached to an IV pole and jumped into bed to watch TV. As my butt hit the mattress I felt a tug on my belly and grabbed the tube to secure it. When I looked at what was in my hand it was more like a scene from Alien. Before me was the wiggling black tip of the end of my feeding tube. The part that was supposed to be securely placed in my stomach! I had pulled that sucker right out of my belly!

Well...what do you do when that happens??? You go to emergency! Let me rephrase that...What do I do when that happens??? Put it back in! The problem is, the tube pig tails at the end, so you can't just put it straight in. Applying a little logic, I corkscrewed that sucker and in it went. Yes, this is the same tube I had a plane to catch with! By the way...This is NOT suggested!

Problem solved right??? WRONG! Here's the deal...when a new tube is installed, it has a wire and a string that runs down the middle of the tube. The wire helps keep it straight so it goes directly into the stomach. After it's inserted the wire is removed and the string is then pulled causing the tube to curl up in a knot securing it, so it can't be pulled out. The string is then locked into a little device called a Mac-Lok. In my case, I assume, I put too much pressure on the tube and the string either broke or was pulled out of the locking device.

Even with the tube now in place, it slips right back out with the slightest movement. A lot of tape does the trick for now, but it needs to be replaced. I called my dietitian, Denise who suggested I call Dr. Clayman's assistant and explained the situation. His assistant, Rolando said he could arrange to have a new tube installed when I get to Houston next week if I could keep it secure, or go to the emergency room now. I figured I can wait.

While we were on the phone I also complained (big surprise there) that this feeding tube is so inconvenient. I get it caught in the dishwasher, the clothes dryer, the dresser drawer, the car door. It's almost a foot long. They have to make something better!! If not I'll design something. It was then that he told me they make a device called a MIC-KEY. It's only about an inch long. SAY NO MORE...I WANT ONE! Slip me a MIC-KEY!!!

This is a low profile gastronomy feeding tube. From what I can tell from the manufacturer's web site, my belly will look like a beach ball. You know the little part you pull out of the ball with the cap to blow it up? Well that's how it will look. Kinda gives a whole new meaning to blow me!

You're probably asking, "If you're going to have the tongue surgery to allow you to eat, then why worry about the feeding tube?" Even Rolando rolled that around a bit. When I spoke with Dr. Hanasano about removing the tube after the surgery, we both agreed it would be a good idea to leave it in a few weeks or longer after the surgery. This would allow the mouth to heal without causing trauma. It would also be a benefit in the event this surgery failed it's objective.

So there ya have it. I head back to MD Anderson on June 1st for a week. I'll have the new tube installed, the surgery to the tongue, and the usual oil change.. blood work and CT scans to see if the cancer has returned. Life can be so wonderful, and then you get stung!

Here's a much friendlier visitor I found in my garden. This is a strikingly beautiful dragonfly. I think it is a Halloween Pennant (Celithemis Eponina) but I'm not an expert. It is the first of this variety I've ever seen.


Peace BEE

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Hey Brian,

Best wishes, positive thoughts and prayers your surgery is successful. I look forward to reading your update about how you sailed thru the surgery, recovery and will be able to remove that feeding tube soon.

I still remember we have to share burgers together apart!

Words To Live By:

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others." -Mahatma Gandhi