Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DAY 873.5 - Day 723.5 in Recovery Paradise

Happy to have awakened at the end

Happy to have arrived at the Party
Another small saga in my life is complete.  I arrived at the Cardio unit at Kaiser at 8am for my first of many birthday celebrations. 

I changed into a chic paper dress with matching paper shoes presented to me, just for the occasion.  It was very fashionable affair as all the other guests wore matching outfits, however,  I was surprised to discover it was also a costume ball, as they all wore masks.  

As I was the only guest from the 60's, I got all the drugs and the guests (hopefully) went without. 

Lots of wires and electrical hook-ups, as it turned out I was not only the birthday boy, but also the entertainment.  I was probably an electrically charged  marionette as the main attraction.  Having gotten up early and consumed my "legal meds" through a convenient IV hookup - I was a party pooper and slept through the whole show. 

I am hopeful that a home video of the party will show up on YouTube later tonight, as I am curious how I only got half my chest shaved.

Song of the Day:  Happy Birthday - Stevie Wonder

DAY 873 - Day723 in Recovery Paradise

Well, here we go de'ja' vu on the cardioversion procedure.  The cardiologist originally described the procedure (electric shocks to the heart) as "rebooting " my heart...but changed the description to "changing channels" IE. TV land.  People at my work made the clicking the channel changer motion as I left yesterday...ha.

Regardless of how it shakes out, I had time to get one more adventure in...Class IV Whitewater Raft Trip down the Middle Fork of the American River.  Run by W.E.T. River Trips out of Coloma, it was a total blast.  Lise and I went with some of her friends from work and some people from the Chamber.  Hit all the Class IV hard rapids with no problems and then caught a submerged rock on a milder Class III section and the raft flipped, dumping all, including guide, out.  Lucky me and two others were rescued post haste by another raft down river and shuttled back to our now righted boat.  All of us agreed that it was the best part of the adventure.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME..ta da - got to be 63 today.  I am not recommending jump starting your heart on your birthday, but if it buys me a few more, then good-on-me.

Song of the Day:  Magic Carpet Ride - Steppenwolf

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

DAY 867.5 - Day 717.5 in Recovery Paradise

...quick update.  Will not have my procedure today.  I had a 1/2 bowl of heart healthy bran flakes with antioxidant blueberries this morning and I was supposed to not have anything in my stomach 8 hours prior...

 So - checked out and off to work.  Actually this turns out be an interesting twist and probably, eventually,  a much better story (who doesn't love a good story), as the reschedule is for 8:00 am on the 31st of August...my birthday.

My Best Days Are Ahead Of Me

DAY 867 - Day 717 in Recovery Paradise

...if last week's chapter in my Book of Life (with the CT Scan results) was called Surviving with a Bad Spot in your Apple,"  today's chapter could easily be entitled "When Good Body Parts Go Bad."

'Tis 6:30a on Wednesday and I have an 8AM appointment with my Cardiologist to "jump-start" my heart with an electric shock to fix the A-Fib issue.  Kind of like fine tuning your motor that is idling kinda funny.   On the table by 8a - they hook me up with electrodes and such - put me out and do their thing.

The info says I will be in recovery for about two hours and then can be released home with "close supervision" for four hours.  Some that know of my past may argue that I should have been under "close supervision" my whole life.

Woke up at 3:00 am with close personal conversations with myself and came to the irrevocable conclusion that I have had a great life full of Love, great family and friends and absolutely memorable experiences. 

Every Day is a Gift.

Will post again later today.

Song of the Day


Friday, August 20, 2010

DAY 862 - Day 712 in Recovery Paradise

...Usually they make we sweat for 3 days for my CT results (great diet plan as I have no appetite), but oddly enough I got my two-year CTScan results back in 2 hours today....ALL CLEAN!  Below is the readout I just got from the radiologist.  I did see one glaring error that troubles me in the report - it says "visibile portions of the brain appear to be normal"...disappointing after all the hard work I have put in since the 60's to change that - has apparently not paid off...ha 

The pre-op carioversion meeting went well- the doctor revised the "rebooting your computer" analogy to "like changing the channels on your tv", so I feel a bit better going under for the procedure.  I don't have to give away all my cool stuff just yet.  8am next Wed for that op.  Have to have a driver and be baby-sat in recovery for 2 hours and then for another 4 hours at home...I hate that part...I am not an ideal patient...I will have to ask if decaf margaritas are prescribed.

Cardio Doc. says I am totally off all caffeine now...with me sitting there with a Double Latte from Starbucks...had to hand it over to Lise, sadly.  Told me I would have to take the heart meds for the rest of my life...which I took as an omen that there would be a long life left to invest in the pharmaceutical industry...

Use the precious time given to be an example for others..and then we will surely live forever.

CT result
Robert L Welton
8/20/10 9:57 AM
Hi Mr. Welton,

Below is your CT result from today. All looks good. Hope you're feeling well!

Radiation Oncology


** HISTORY **:
Clinical stage III squamous cell carcinoma of the oral pharynx
involving the left tonsil and base of tongue, status post
chemoradiation therapy

Comparison: 02/20/2010

Technique: Axial images from the skull base to the sternal notch
were obtained with the administration of 100 mL Visipaque.

There is no evidence of cervical mass or lymphadenopathy. Fat and
fascial planes are preserved. The salivary glands and thyroid
gland are normal. Vascular structures demonstrate normal contrast
filling. Visible portions of the brain and skull base are normal.
No significant osseous abnormalities are seen. Apices are clear.
There has been no significant change since the prior study.

No evidence of residual/recurrent mass or lymphadenopathy


"I'm still standing here." - Rocky

Thursday, August 19, 2010

DAY 861 - Day 711 in Recovery Paradise

Even though it is not technically two years since the end of my Tonsil Cancer treatment, my "two-year post-op" CTScan is tomorrow at 7am. As always before a check-up, I awoke with a worrisome sore throat and a sore lump on my tongue. In the past, all symptoms disappeared when I later read the "all clear" results.

I have to take pre-op meds starting at 7pm tonight and another round at 5am - two hours before the scan. The threshold that Cancer patients look for first is the two-year survival mark. Your odds of survival jump dramatically if you can make it that far. At five years, you get to say you beat the devil.

The interesting irony of the test tomorrow is that it is followed 1/2 hour later with a consult with my cardiologist. Long before I was diagnosed with Tonsil Cancer, I had been diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation and was taking a bunch of meds to slow down my heart rate and not have it jump around and use up my lifetime minutes prematurely (like sitting in your car in the driveway in neutral with the gas pedal pushed to the floor). Recently, I started having heart rate issues again and the Holter monitor results showed that the meds were no longer working and I was in "A-Fib" all the time again.

S0, I have been scheduled for a Cardioversion next Wednesday to "reboot" my heart with electric shock treatment. My doctor used the "like rebooting" your computer analogy. I asked him "doesn't that really mean turning it off and then back on again and hope that it starts?" He seemed to think that odds were good (99.5%) with a 70% chance of fixing the problem.

It seems that most of my body warranties have lapsed. I am thankful that my Glaucoma is under control, so I can read the results of the other tests....ha.

Still - much to be thankful for and still consider myself the luckiest guy around. Each of these "bumps" just serve me well in reminding me to preserve my "attitude of gratitude".

What if I was dirt poor with no medical insurance?

What if I was alone with no loved ones around?

What if it was 1810 or 1910 instead of 2010?

What if I didn't have a great life to look forward to?

What if I didn't have memories of an overly full lifetime of grand experiences already behind me?

What if I hadn't lived long enough to see my boys turn into men...with a very cool grandson to be proud of?

What if I hadn't asked Lise about her PGE bill nine times as a neighbor in a tiny 4-plex, to have an excuse to meet her?

What if I didn't live long enough to be the father of a beautiful, talented, young woman, who rightly so, was voted "2010 Renaissance Woman" at a recent summer camp?

What if I didn't live long enough to establish an wonderful adult relationship with my baby sister and come to the realization that she is one of my treasured best friends?

Regardless of the results of the next week's adventures, I feel I have already won the race to have a great life...I am in the icing phase now anyway.

Song for today:
Feeling Good....Adam Lambert