No More Port

Hello everyone,

Flurry was happy to cuddle when I got home from the hospital!

I don’t have much to write today, but I just wanted to share some more “good news”, and puppy pictures.

In the wee morning hours today, I had my medi-port removed!

It was a simple procedure. Though I was under anesthesia (they said maybe I wouldn’t even fall asleep!), I recovered nearly immediately after waking up. When the port went in, I had a heck of a time that day. After a long nap once arriving home, I was just a little sore in the operation area.

Too much work!

Post-radiation, I am doing well. My side-effects are mostly gone. I am still getting nauseous, and having tenderness in my throat. We’ll keep monitoring that for a few weeks. If it doesn’t get better, we may have to look into it further. My energy levels are increasing every day, my “sunburn” is healing, and my hair has yet to start growing back.

I’ll have another CT scan sometime in May, intermixed with some follow up visits. From there, it’s yearly scans and checkups. I’m basically done. I suppose there really is no “done” when it comes to things like this, but with today’s port removal, I feel freed from the shackles of cancer and treatment.

Off to the park!

Flurry is growing up, and learning fast! I took them to a park so we could do some “running” together. Well, embarrassingly, I’ve gained some weight since treatments started. I suppose I don’t mind that too much, but what really bothers me is the state my heart and lungs are in. I knew going into this that these would be affected adversely. I’ve said before that a flight of stairs is pretty difficult. Well, running with two goofy dogs isn’t much better. So, slowly, but surely, I will be getting back into “shape”, but also back into “health”. I can’t waste this new lease on life. I have to come back stronger than ever!

Yay park!

Finally, I want to express, generally, my sincerest gratitude to all of you for listening to, reading, and supporting me throughout this journey. Most recently, the parish were I am primarily a musician has been doing a fundraiser for me to defray medical costs. I’ve been working there since 2017, and I can’t say I know everyone there. Even so, the kindness and generosity of even complete strangers has been so heartwarming. I will write more about this in the future, but for now, I just wanted to again say “thank you”.

“Talk to you soon!”

Close Chapter – Open the Next!

Hello everyone!

As of this past Friday, I have completed my radiation regiment! Yahoo! This means that now, my cancer treatment is complete. There are still some things to go – port removal, another PET scan, follow-ups, etc etc etc. Besides recovering from surgery, the worst is behind me now. Hallelujah!

The proton center gave me this medal after my last treatment. They call it a “challenge coin”, like that which you may find among members of military units. I guess I am the 5495th patient they’ve had there. Anyway, it is a nice token to remember all I’ve been through and those who have also dealt with worse or less. I got to ring one more bell, and tear up one more time. The nurses and staff were wonderful to me every step of the way. I always felt like I was in good hands. At the first treatment I was nervous, but by the end I was sleeping through the treatments.

What they were doing

I had been hoping to have this earlier, but I finally got these images this week, and wanted to share them. The first one shows where and how much the radiation was administered. As you can see, the yellow areas were the highest concentrations of radiation, getting smaller going outward. The outline of this corresponds almost exactly to the “sunburn” and hair loss on my chest. I made the image larger than I usually do for clarity.

The second image here gives an example of how they would “line me up” at each treatment. They would take x-rays every time, and compare them to the original x-ray. From there, they would make any needed adjustments to me or the motorized table I was on. If you look closely, you can see my medi-port. eek!

So I am glad that is behind me, in a way. I will still be dealing with the side-effects for another few weeks. Mainly, fatigue, the “sunburn”, and a very sore throat. It has been quite difficult and very painful to eat/swallow over the past week. It will continue to be that way for a while. The right combination of Acetaminophen and Naproxen seem to make the pain bearable for now. My ears and head hurt too. Just overall unenjoyable. I’ve had a bit of nausea also in the past few days, and that old familiar rawness that goes deep in my throat. Soon it will all be a thing of the past.

The next chapter

Well call us crazy, but we decided to adopt another dog this week! Her name is Flurry!

She comes to us from the same shelter Bella came from. She has made herself right at home with no issues. Bella has been getting used to her, but I think she’s happy to have a playmate in the house now. Well, probably a bit annoyed, too, at this puppy who won’t stop nipping at her!

Anyway, that’s all I have to share for now. I’m not sure what’s next or when I’ll write again. Seems like I got a lot of work to catch up on, and a bit more work here at home! 😉

I can’t wait to get the port out and recover from everything else, and get back to normal activities. Physical activity will be very important for me, much more than it has been typically in my life. I’ve got to restore my heart and lungs to good condition – better than before all the treatments. I feel how much weaker I am now. It only takes a flight of stairs for me to be reminded how much work I have still ahead of me.

Thank you for reading. God Bless!