Friday, September 24, 2010

Walter Pulled Through

Oh yes! He made it through surgery. He made it through post-op. Through a night in Cardiac ICU, CICU. Back upstairs to Telemetry, the heart unit. Slowly but surely they've pulled out this tube and that, let him take off his oxygen cannula here and there. Our bad hearts always complicate our other surgeries, so he's on a heart monitor.

He still gets a gazillion breathing treatments a day, and they put him back on IV fluids today. Hmmm. The chest tube is still in, draining and draining.

But they decided to transport him to his next stop, a Respite Care place.

And the first news on the tumor came back.

They got it very, very early. Stage 1A. Very small, almost too small to operate on him. Walter didn't know which kind it is - we hear there are several. But if it were the awful one, small cell, they'd be throwing everything but the kitchen sink at it.

Which they aren't. He won't have to do chemotherapy. He may have to do some radiation therapy, but not for very long.

It looks like this awful thing, lung cancer, might have a good outcome after all. Am I happy? Is he? Oh my goodness, YES!

You know what else? If we hadn't broken up, they would not have caught it so early. Perhaps not for a long, long time. It was only through an odd series of coincidences that they gave him a chest x-ray. And that he agreed to have it. See, he'd just had one three weeks before.

That x-ray showed nothing there at all.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm Still Here

I have been tremendously ill for a long, long time.

Communication has been difficult - with anyone, in any way. I see your comments from time to time and feel it's been a one-way street. Yet you're endlessly patient with me. I see footprints from you checking back, wondering what was happening with me. That means a great deal to this blogger, living in a hospital for a year and a half, battling onslaught after onslaught that many a strapping healthy young person would not have survived.

It's been another world, and a distant one. I've had to devote all my physical and mental resources to staying alive. But now it looks like I've turned a corner. I may, at last, be relatively safe. More on that another time, okay?

I want to assure you all that I haven't had a stroke or anything as permanently devastating as that. Some permanent changes? Yes, of course. Mostly, though, of the type that will heal. The lack of communication from my end isn't due to that. It's just been the battle fatigue.

Walter and I have split up. It was in the works for a long time. I've needed 24-hour caretaking for all that period of illness, and still do today. It's a terribly difficult job, caretaking someone who's seriously ill. Essentially, he burned out. He could never let himself rest. Going our separate ways has been very good for both of us.

And are we friends again? You betcha. Groan or snicker all you want, we don't care ;- )

Today, though, I'm back at the same hospital - but our roles are reversed. Today, Walter is the patient, and I'm the visitor. I'm getting a taste of what I was so certain of every time I've gone into another surgery - that it can be harder for those who wait than for the patient.

Help us, please, with all the positive energies and prayers and good thoughts you can summon up.

It looks like Walter has lung cancer. He's in surgery now, as I speak. The docs are removing the mass they discovered, together with surrounding tissue. He opted not to have a "lobectomy." That would remove about half a lung, and leave him totally and permanently disabled. His five-year survival expectancy would only increase by about 10%. It wasn't worth it to him.

Perhaps you noticed I said --it looks like lung cancer.-- That's because, even with all the tremendous technology at hand, they weren't able to do the usual biopsy first.

The mass that appeared in the cat scan was hiding behind a rib - nearly perfectly obscured. They couldn't get a clear image to guide the biopsy needle; and the straight needle they use couldn't get behind the rib to grab a piece of the mass anyway. So, while everyone is convinced it is lung cancer - and I believe it probably is - I don't forget there's a tiny chance it could just be an infection or something, We'll know in a few days, after Pathology has a chance to do the definitive analysis.

So now that I've finally broken my silence, what do I do? Very first post back, I ask for your help. Sheesh.

I'm not sure I really know what Walter's beliefs are. Maybe I'm wishing for those positive energies for myself instead. I keep thinking of Bane's prayer warriors...and a rare yellow rain lily, something with strong Bane associations in my mind, has been blooming in my front yard.