Skip to main content

The In Between

    I've accomplished Chemotherapy, 133 Days / 5 Months - DONE, but not done, I look forward to Part 2 - Surgery.  The surgery was scheduled for March 28, 2019 right at 5 weeks post chemo.  Mentally I thought Surgery was the easiest because it was one day, then maybe some PT, but not something were I had to endure 5 months of chemo pain.  In the weeks leading up to Surgery, things were pretty much chill for doctors visits;  a sleep study, labs and a few follow up appointments, and I had returned to work about 4 hours a day, but the days "in between" were taking a toll emotionally.
    I actually missed going to the hospital on a weekly basis as I did for chemo - a part of me had gotten into a habit more or like, or perhaps it was the healthcare interaction with people.  I also had been putting together a "if something should happen" booklet, it's called Five Wishes, writing down passwords and thinking how I wanted to be remembered.  I thought of dying, of hugging my family for the last time, a waking up not on earth.   I would wake up from dreams as if I was lying on the earth outside, covered in dirt.   Vivid thoughts and dreams, it kept me up at night till the early morning hours.  I would sit back and see older folks with their grandchildren and think, that will never be me.  I knew I was in a funk, depressed.  I discussed some thoughts with a military friend of mine and he said before war, "you take care of all the loose ends, but you know you're coming back."  This really resonating in me.
    Here we go - the surgery plan.  Double Mastectomy (even though right is non cancerous) - both nipples removed, remove port (right chest), full axillary dissection of lymph nodes (left side), removal of firs layer of pectoral muscle (left side).  5 Hours.   I awoke post surgery - and said this out loud - "I'm not going to die from this fucking shit."  beep beep beep, people talking, the room started to come into focus.  I was awake, on the other side of Surgery.

Here We Go - about to roll back in the OR
On the other side of Surgery- First Walk
Hammer On
Leaving the Hospital: Knox (left) & Logan (right)
Large Ace Bandage wrapped around chest and 3 drains

2 Days post Surgery

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thumbs Up!

The day had come, Feb 6, 2019 - 5.48pm, my first breast MRI scan since I began my treatment in October 2018 for Stage 3 male breast cancer.  This is what they call the "scan" it's pretty huge for cancer patients as it shows how the cancer is.  I had had trouble with the first scan, getting overly hot as I lay face down wrapped in blankets in an MRI that I didn't lay on my back for.  So I knew going in, I would just be wearing a gown and try to get as much airflow around my head to make me more comfortable.   I had just finished my 14th cumulative chemo about 1 hour before, armed with another IV stuck in my hand right hand for the MRI contrast, I had the technician snap this photo of me standing beside my machine, with my cell phone on the safe zone as no metal is allowed in the room.  I gave the "Thumbs Up" with my left hand. 
   The scan, went great well sort-of, I was definitely cool and had good airflow around my head, so I didn't have to stop the…

HammerOn - The Story

I wrote back in November 2018 about my battle slogan, "HammerOn."  I was actually in the process of repairing my fence in Arlington in late summer of 2018 when I was diagnosed with cancer.  Working on the fence helped me take my mind off the diagnosis, combined with my childhood memories of rebuilding fences with my Dad, really got the idea into my head from beyond board and nails to a work ethic instilled in me to keep getting up and hammering on.  The symbolism of the HammerOn logo was cemented when one month into chemotherapy my cousin Andrew brought me two hammers, a ball peen hammer belonging to our grandfather and a framing hammer belonging to his dad which were used to hammer on metal and wood.  I instantly felt connected to the hammers, through the spirt of my Dad and Andrew's Dad whom both died of cancer. 
     My cancer experience while positive was emotionally difficult, in fact I didn't think I would still be alive post surgery so I didn't pursue b…

Radiation

Radiation, Part 3 of my treatment has arrived - April 30, 2019.  Can't believe I have already had 7 months of treatment, all healed up from surgery, and now ready to Hammer On with the next thing up.  I feel pretty good, sure I have the pain of two 10" plus scares across my chest and I've been attending physical therapy to regain motion of my left arm, but my mind is focused. 
   I've met with my Radiation Oncologist and another round of people added to my cancer team.  First up is "Simulation" in which they get me into the position I will be in with arms over my head, form an air cast around my body and make a series of 3D scans and CT like slices through my body to be able to plan the radiation.   I'm also introduced to the "ABC" technique in which I take a deep breath, this allows my diaphragm to pull down my heart away from the chest wall and while I hold my breath for 30 seconds, the radiation beams hit my chest wall.  O'h I also got t…