an update on my current treatment, for them who wonder.

Deathray

Senior Stratmaster
Dec 20, 2018
2,293
Down on the upside
Thanks for the detailed update, Monte. You have been in my thoughts a lot lately. I have no words of wisdom, just respect for who you are, and how you conduct yourself. I’d be unglued by now. The force is very strong with you.
Sending prayers and good thoughts daily. I’m glad you’re staying in the moment, as much as possible.
Keep up the good work!
 

AntStrat

Dr. Stratster
May 6, 2019
13,221
US
Whatever you do don't google anything as much as you may want to, talk with your doctors. Dr. Google will only plant more seeds of worry and stress.

Stick with fun stuff like strat talk, nature, music, porn, porn and porn.

Hang in there friend you gots tons of well wishes bombarding you at all times.
 

Tremoluxer

Strat-O-Master
Gold Supporting Member
Jul 28, 2020
514
Ypsilanti, Michigan
Where things stand:

Regarding my current health situation, I don't really know where things stand right now. I've been home from the hospital for two weeks. I still have two drains that come out of my body from a very long incision on my back (where the donor muscle was taken) that i have to empty each day and chart the volume of fluid. I can't say that these drains fill me with desire to run into people in the co-op grocery, say. Also, the place where they come out of my body looks vulnerable - to injury, infection, what have you.

At the end of the week I have a follow up appointment in San Francisco with the surgeon who performed the reconstructive surgery, but that is dealing with what's been done, not what's to come. What's to come is the part I don't know.

The local doctor, who excised the tumor and set up the surgery done in San Francisco, told me before I went to SF, that two weeks after reconstruction, radiation treatments would start, followed by chemotherapy if necessary, but that I would first meet with him and a group of doctors at St Joseph, called a Tumor Review Board, to determine the course of treatment. I have yet to hear back from the local doctor about when this process of "review" begins - so far I've not yet see an oncologist. I don't know how normal that is.

My mental energy is higher now and I'm feeling more myself in thought and speech than I have for many months. I wasn't aware how much that tumor was sapping my energy. Physically, I'm still easily exhausted. Cooking, washing dishes, - I'm doing both now regularly, but they're both tiring. Operating a kitchen is like driving a spaceship or piloting the Mary Deare, except you don't really go anywhere and when you're done, there's food!

I've had good friends suggest I use this time while the surgery heals before radiation, to really think about if I want that kind of treatment, radiation, and specifically chemo. I am thinking about it, but frankly, I don't know enough to make that decision and research on the type of cancer I had, and its treatments is not something I've wanted to do. I am very familiar with my own tendency to take things to a "worst case scenario" in a heartbeat - I don't think that's wrong, by the way - it's a useful trait when working in emergency response - being able to see with ease all of the ways things can go south - it helps one be prepared.

But in this case, the only real preparation I need is to be able to roll with developments and endure discomfort with a degree of equanimity. I'm not an oncologist, or a physician of any sort. I have no idea how to use the available information to make an informed choice regarding radiation and chemotherapy on my own. If anyone thinks they can help with this, and they have legitimate and apparent qualifications to offer advice, I am open to hearing from you. But I dont want a clamor of opnion based on hearsay and gut feelings... I've heard things and one set of intuitive leaps - my own - are plenty for me to deal with right now.

Still, outside of Laura and the staff of Humboldt WIldlife Care Center, and my daughter, my friends here have been the most critical component of staying on an even keel, which is very important to me - keeping my sense of justice (i'm not wondering why me? i'm grateful i havent got it as bad as many people much better than I who are dealt far worse hands) and fair play and humor is mission critical.

I am healing from the surgery. I am able to do more for the clinic, and that's only going to increase. I'm thankful that I only had a couple days in the hospital when I was just not available to clinic staff for cosultation due to the surgery.

At first being home, recuperating without a hospital staff at my call, was a little un-nerving, but quickly became soothing. I slept so deeply, for so many hours a day, those first few days. Now, however, I'm starting to get anxious for the next step - at least to know what it is. Hopefully I'll hear back from the local doctor today. If not I guess I go back to my primary provider and see what they have to say...

So there's my update - I'm circling the airport while waiting for permission to land. I'm in a holding pattern, but at least the drains come out on Friday! (I hope!!!!)


I was treated for leukemia in 1989, and again in 2000. Here are some of the things that helped me get through the surgery recovery, chemo, and waiting for lab results. Some may work for you, others not, but they're all I've got to share!
  • humor
  • my 8- and 12-year-old daughters
  • ice cream
  • nature
  • friends
  • guitar (I took one with me for both 10-day inpatient treatments)
  • The Blues
  • cat and more cats
  • enjoying my locales (the Pacific Ocean and SoCal beaches; the amazing greenness and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest)
  • Star Trek TNG
  • moderate amounts of alcohol administered at appropriate times.
  • being on leave from work
I wish you all the best, and hope that your treatment proceeds smoothly, that you have a complete and healing recovery, followed by many years of living the fullest life you can imagine.
 

Roger66

Senior Stratmaster
Jun 21, 2021
1,264
Port Hueneme
On a scale from one to ten, how is your pain? I won't miss being asked that!
Does it hurt when you are sitting still at least? Mine doesn't. But when I get up it's a different story. More activity=more norcos.
But I think that the activity is worth it. It's gotta heal, right? Can't let it atrophy! You Ard kicking it's ass, Right?
 

monte merrick

Most Honored Senior Member
Thanks for the good wishes, everyone

Dont worry, i've got no plans to ditch western medicine immediately! (as it I sit here with my healing microsurgically reconstructed scalp.)

i'd say my biggest concern at this point is negotiating the difference between the level of care available in San Francisco versus my little Humboldt hospitals... as the paramedic in the ambulance that took me to SF said, "if they're doing medicine in Eureka, they're doing magic in San Francisco."

And my doctor's office still hadnt returned my messages yet near the end of the day, so we called again and talked to the receptionist to discover, "oh they're about a week behind right now... I'll leave a note that you need a return call as soon as possible."

I'm going to ask the SF team they're advice for continued treatment on Friday...

I really appreciate every reply... thank you everybody.
 

Bowmap

X
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 23, 2017
11,556
X
After reading your OP, I am in awe of your state of mind. Well done sir, well done. Being anxious is expected. But here you are after 2 surgeries writing poems, cracking jokes with food no less. I will continue to send prayers your way.
 

Daddypantz

Strat-Talker
Mar 28, 2021
304
Chicago suburbs
Thanks so much for the update. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Right now it seems more information is needed so next steps can be understood and evaluated. Not knowing creates its own stress and anxiety, and only makes it harder on you. I hope the path becomes evident soon. I have great admiration for your strength, your spirit, and your character; and I am tremendously hopeful that the worst is behind you and that many years of great health are ahead!
 

fos1

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Nov 7, 2018
2,292
Texas
Be careful with Dr. Google. I call my wife Dr. Debbie. She spends a lot of time on Dr. Google second guessing my doctors. I don't mind the second opinions but when it gets to be too much I ask her to go back to medical school....
 

ukoldgit

Dr. Stratster
Feb 20, 2018
10,745
Wiltshire UK
In some way's Monte it may be a good sign they are tardy in starting your follow up treatment, it may be they are less concerned with anything other than your surgery recovery, very often Radiation and Chemo is a "just to be certain" process.
As long as it only hurts when you poke yourself in the eye with a burnt pointy stick you should be fine.
Keep calm and carry on.
 

archetype

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Nov 26, 2016
4,253
Western NY, USA
Thanks for the good wishes, everyone

Dont worry, i've got no plans to ditch western medicine immediately! (as it I sit here with my healing microsurgically reconstructed scalp.)

i'd say my biggest concern at this point is negotiating the difference between the level of care available in San Francisco versus my little Humboldt hospitals... as the paramedic in the ambulance that took me to SF said, "if they're doing medicine in Eureka, they're doing magic in San Francisco."

And my doctor's office still hadnt returned my messages yet near the end of the day, so we called again and talked to the receptionist to discover, "oh they're about a week behind right now... I'll leave a note that you need a return call as soon as possible."

I'm going to ask the SF team they're advice for continued treatment on Friday...

I really appreciate every reply... thank you everybody.

It may cost more in money and convenience, but please deal with the best physicians and facilities you can find. If the hospital in Eureka handles 2 cases/year like yours and the hospital in SF handles 20 cases/year like yours, I'd choose the latter where the accumulated knowledge is.
 


Top