Thursday, September 27, 2012

Boy, that went well. Maybe even too well.

I suppose that I should feel guilty somehow, but I don't, thank you.

On Monday I paid my dues and respect at Lake Hospital Systems' Lake West Hospital (us old timers still call it "West End Hospital").

For the entire summer I knew this trip was necessary if I ever was to lick the two cancerous tumors that were growing inside my prostate.

During that time I had lows and highs in emotions, the level depending upon how much anxiety was bubbling just beneath the surface. A few times it even began to boil over and spill onto my wife, Bev.

Pity because I never meant to hurt anyone, especially my wife of 40-plus years.

So I sucked it up and did my best to live a normal summer life. Even if that life was overflowing with other pressing health issues.

None, though, took on the significance  of dealing with cancer.

Yes, I know all about the huge survival rate if prostate cancer is caught early on, and mine was unearthed before the tumors could be felt as bumps during a doctor's physical examination.

Visiting first with an urologist, than with a radiological oncologist and finally with both at the time of Monday's procedure, the best cure option was to have what is called a "brachytherapy."

This is where specialized physicians inject hollowed-out, rice grain-sized titanium pellets called seeds into a man's cancerous prostate gland.

I would also like to note here that the pellets contain radioactive isotopes. While the radiation don't actually kill the cancer cells it does shake, rattle and roll their DNA in such a way that the bad little guys cannot reproduce.

When the urologist and the oncologist got done with me they had installed 70 strategically placed radioactive pellets.

The whole thing from when I entered the hospital at 8:15 a.m. until I left took just five hours.

Five hours out of my schedule isn't much when you consider that the procedure will give me a lifetime of enjoying my family, friends and the outdoors.

As far as the procedure itself, well, even the anesthesiologist called it boring.

Boring is fine by me, I told the assembled hospital staff as they readied me for the trip to the O.R.

Don't ask me what was going through my mind during my short journey aboard a hospital gurney.

Anesthesiologist and fellow Bible Community Church member John Hagopian  made sure of that by squirting some happy juice into the I.V. tube connected to my left wrist.

I was asleep before we rounded the first corner of the pre-op room.

Yet this is the part where I'm sort of feeling guilty for not feeling guilty.

Back in the recovery room an hour or so later and about the only thing I didn't request was something for the pain. That is because there was no pain.

Yeah, you read correctly: No pain. None. Zip. Naught. And anything else you kind find in a thesaurus, for that matter.

Even after Bev piloted me back home, helped me up the few steps and into the house, I felt comfortable, you know, down there.

Frequently exchanging a warmed-up ice packs for a freezer-chilled one I would press the intended pain- relief package up against where the seed-shooting needles had clipped skin and tissue.

This effort was strictly precautionary. The reason being: There was no pain down there. Nor anywhere else.

And though I was given a script for some pretty potent pain-killing synthetic-morphine substitute only one of the paperwork's capsules was swallowed. Just one, for crying out loud.

It was all truly amazing stuff, actually. Everything I read, every man who has had this procedure, everything just oozed to expect some level of discomfort.

But it never came, for which I am grateful beyond words.

Yes, my body is still in over-drive, trying to adapt to what's happened. There's some burning when I do have to urinate, and the urge to do so has increased markedly.

And there are times when that tap on the bladder comes a little to late.

Each of those things will eventually ease up, likely to nothingness, the doctors have said from Day One.

I can live with all that, I figure, especially considering the alternative.

Even so, not having something pain-wise to complain about leaves me stalled for comment.

I guess then all I can say is "thank you, Lord" and enjoy a day free of pain down there, all the while knowing that the odds are heavily stacked in favor of me verses the dreaded C-word.

The last thing I want now is to also take a guilt trip.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

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