12 July 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Apologies all around for the delay in posting this update. I have been a little woozy and somewhat physically uncomfortable since Monday. If you landed here without knowing anything about my ongoing health situation, you may want to start here and follow the back links to get enough information that you are not lost.

First, let's start with the ugly. On Monday afternoon, my doctor removed what was described to me as a "rather large" cancerous tumor from my bladder. The bad - despite expectations for an outpatient procedure, I had to spend the night in the hospital on Monday. But, the good - well, the good is REALLY good - (a) the doctors believe that they got the whole tumor; (b) while they are still waiting for the pathology report to confirm this, it appears as though the tumor was not nearly as embedded into the bladder wall as it appeared from the previously taken surgical photos, and I may not need to have my bladder removed; and (c) ALL of the people that I encountered at Moffitt were top notch.

The only way to look at this, at this point, is that Monday's surgery produced about the best possible outcome that anyone could have hoped. I am trying to temper my enthusiasm until the pathology report comes back, in much the same way that I did not allow myself to get too down about things when they looked a little more bleak. Still, it is my doctor's belief that whatever treatment remains, it is very possible that it will be medicinal in nature, as opposed to surgical - and any way you slice that, it appears to be good news.

While I was initially bummed that I had to stay overnight, I realize that it was absolutely the right thing. What upset me was that I was told it was outpatient, and the only reason I would be staying overnight was if there was a complication during the surgery. So, when I was coming to (but, still groggy), and realized I was being taken to a room, I got really worried. When I was told that things were very successful in the OR, I understood that it was just for observation purposes - not because something had gone wrong.

Random stuff - Every person within the medical profession that I have encountered since this whole mess started has asked if I am a smoker. I am smart enough to know that there is a strong link between cancer and smoking, but it seemed as though the only reaction everyone had was regarding smoking. I finally asked about this while at Moffitt. One of the anesthesiologists that was working on me told me that in all their time in medicine, they had never seen anyone with a tumor in their bladder that was not a smoker. Wow. I like the idea of being a trailblazer, but this isn't exactly what I had in mind.

More random stuff - The Moffitt Center is a first-class, top-rate facility. I realize that my hospital experiences have been pretty limited until now, but these guys did some things that really impressed me. They have complimentary valet parking - and the valet even refused a tip (we didn't have small bills - and he didn't have change - so, he told us to "get him next time" - amazing!). They gave my buddy who drove me full access to the floor's pantry - which was stocked with sodas, Gatorade, snacks, ice cream, etc. - all complimentary. Yes, I realize that I am paying for this, but it is nice to think that visitors looking to spend time with family members - some in pretty bad shape - aren't being nickeled and dimed for everything, least of all a can of soda. Speaking of visitors, there are no pre-set visiting hours. It occurred to me that these types of amenities are in place to ensure that any family and friends visiting cancer patients have one or two less things to worry about. How do you tell someone that they can only visit with their dying father or grandmother between 3-7 pm?

My buddy and I had the nursing staff (and anyone else we encountered) in stitches. I always try to be a good patient - heck, these people are the ones caring for me, and if you were in the position of giving care, who would you want to help - the guy who makes you laugh, or the guy who is a pain in the ass? Of course, my way of dealing with nerves is to just crack jokes - and my nerves were damn well shot. By the time we checked out on Tuesday, I think they were a little sorry to see us go!

Unfortunately, there is little to do right now except to sit back and wait for the pathology report. My next appointment is in 10 days or so. Keep your fingers crossed until then that all of this good news will pan out as such.


gems4me said...

I am glad to know you came out surgery and everything went according to plan. I wish you the very best with many happy, healthy days.

Melissa said...

Hey! I'm so glad to hear the prognosis is good. My very most happiest thoughts are with you-- you need to hurry up and get better so you can come party with me in Seattle again! :D

In all seriousness, I feel for you that you have to go through all of this. I know you're handling this with plentiful good humor that we all know and love, and that can make all the difference in the world.

Boston Gal said...

Hi TravelinMan,

Sorry I have not checked in with you - I got your email about your cancer scare right before leaving for vacation and frankly forgot to check back once I returned.

I am so glad your spirits are high and things are looking positive. It sounds like you are surrounded by caring professionals and excellent friends.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that you get positive results soon :)

- Furry Happy Muppet Monsters

ellen said...

Hi Steve,
So glad to hear your surgery went smooth...(plus the fact the cancer did not appear as embedded in the bladder as first thought)

Let us know when you get that pathology test back..
meanwhile I'll think good thoughts..

ellen in NJ

Anonymous said...

How's everything going?

Anonymous said...

who knows? everything is suddenly
"hush hush" with him.

Anonymous said...

hey Mr Blog master,

how you doing? everything working for you again?

I'm thinking about starting my own blog.

What words of advice due you have?


you have a friend in clothing

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