First news of health irregularities

Hi Family, Good Morning (er, afternoon!)

It’s hard to remember how many details I’ve given you of my current health episode, so I wanted to bring you up to date.

20 years ago – I discovered a growth in my ear that was surgically removed, biopsied, and found to be malignant. Subsequent consultations suggested that there was nothing more to be done because of the isolation of the ear from the rest of the body systems. (But i am reminded that in the subsequent 20 years I always felt like some cancer was lurking somewhere in my body and I always felt the traitor had gone underground… but might reappear at any time.)

3 weeks (?) ago – while undergoing a routine colonoscopy, the physician identified a “suspicious mass” and marked it for further testing. The pathology report came back with a finding of “invasive carcinoma”, the recommended response to which, was surgery. Based on what they knew at the time, it all looked simple enough, with the expectation that surgically removing the “suspicious mass” would be entirely “curative”.

2 weeks (?) ago – there followed a period in which spots were discovered on my adrenal gland, the surgeon heard a heart irregularity she wanted investigated before putting me under the knife, etc.

1 week (?) ago – having resolved all the potential heart and gland problems, a colectomy was scheduled. The surgeon hoped to do the whole procedure lapriscopically, but told me that if anything went awry, she was prepared to immediately “go open”, to which I agreed.

In the event, the lapriscopic procedure failed, so they had to do an almost full abdominal operation to excise a portion of my colon, remove a dozen or so surrounding lymph glands, sew back together the two ends on my colon from where they had cut out the cancerous part, and then seal my tummy back up. (I can’t bend over far enough to see, but in addition to numerous stitches, Krysia and Monica have counted some 20 stainless steel staples that are employed, these days, to hold the skin and tissue sections together.) So a majorish abdominal invasion.  Someone observed that I had “FrankenTummy”.

I am slightly diabetic, and diabetes always complicates medical procedures. Since I was undergoing a stressful operation, my body responded by skyrocketing my blood sugar. While entirely reasonable (and even desirable) for stress, high sugar levels are very bad for healing and dangerous for a recurrence of cellulitis (because bacteria LOVE and thrive on sugars). So there was a bit of drama during my recuperation as the doctors worried my blood sugars down. In any case, by Friday, everyone thought I’d be better off recuperating at home, which I’m doing now. Blood sugars are still wobbly, bowel movements are totally unpredictable, my stomach makes incredible never-before-heard gurgling sounds (in four part harmony), but I seem to feel stronger hour by hour.

So next week, sometime, I guess I’ll find out what the oncologists recommend in light of the most recent pathology report (on the section of colon and lymph glands that were removed). The pathology report shows the cancer has involved at least one of the fourteen glands removed during the operation, and I have, as yet, no idea what that may mean. We’ll soon see what’s next on this life journey!

Great! So now we are completely up to date. Thanks for your prayers and good thoughts!

Sijo