Another “Bump in the Road???”

I’ve been writing this blog for nearly 5 years now! Granted, I’ve been pretty quiet the past two years. In fact, the last entry I did was June 11, 2013, nearly two years ago! Sorry about that. But the old saying “No news is good news” pretty much fits.
Patty is doing amazingly well! She’s healthy as can be. Her cancer exams have been pushed back to yearly exams and come December, she’ll have been cancer free for 5 years!!! That “elephant in the room” has been laying low at our house… until yesterday.
So… Going through my blog, I realized this is my 100th blog entry! It’s somewhat of a milestone. So I guess it’s appropriate for this entry to be about me…
About a month ago I was showering and while soaping up I felt something unusual in my groin area. I wondered “what the heck is that?” It was hard and shaped like a small egg. Being hypersensitive to cancer after going through Patty’s ride, I told Patty about it and we both agreed I should go to the doctor and get it checked. You know how it is when you call the doctor’s office to get an appointment… you can never get an appointment within the next few days. It’s always weeks out, which was the case here. I explained my concern to the woman scheduler and tried to make her understand I had a sense of urgency. She understood and was able to “squeeze me in” the following week. So, that “egg” was making its presence known to me over the next six days. It wasn’t painful. It’s just there and I know it’s there if that makes any sense. I made it to my appointment early and only had to wait a few minutes to see the doctor. I explained my findings to him. He felt around and said he couldn’t feel anything where I was able to immediately pinpoint its location. He still couldn’t find it. His comment was “Well, you know your body better than I do so I believe there’s something there, but I can’t find it.” So, he ordered an ultrasound which ended up being two weeks later.
I went to my scheduled ultrasound this past Monday. I was joking with Patty earlier that I hoped the ultrasound tech would be a male since there’s some “private parts” right in the area where they be working! I checked in and had a seat. Shortly thereafter I heard a door open behind me and a female voice said “Edward?” I turned and wouldn’t you know it… she was gorgeous, tall with long blonde hair! She smiled at me and said “Hi Edward. My name is Gretchen. I’ll be doing your exam today…” Gretchen? Are you kidding me!!! Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! I wanted a male! Well, suck it up Ed. I’m sure she’s done a number of these and she’s seen men’s “private parts” in all shapes and sizes. Still… these were my private parts. Damn it, Damn it, Damn it! OK, it turns out I freaked out about nothing. We went into the exam room and she had me all wrapped up like a cocoon. There was no way possible for my “stuff” to pop out while she did her thing. Phew! The exam took about 15 to 20 minutes and I was done. Now the waiting game begins to get the results.
I was at work yesterday and received a phone call around 2 pm. I answered and there was a woman on the line saying “Hi this is Scripps Clinic calling with the results of your ultrasound.” I thought “Wow that was fast!” I said “And, what are the results?” She replied “Your doctor is referring you to a urologist and you need to call this number and make an appointment. She said “Tell them you have a mass in your inguinal region.” I asked “What does that mean?” She said “The urologist will have to explain.” Great! I immediately called the urologist’s number and was connected to the scheduler. I told her my doctor referred me to see a urologist and also that “I have a mass in my inguinal region… whatever that means!” She told me the urologist’s schedule was pretty full and April 23rd was the first opening he had available. She then asked my name and I provided it to her. She brought me up on their computer and said “I need to put you on hold” click! She came back on the line and said “Can you come in at 4 this afternoon?” Hmmm… this is suspicious. Why did she move it from the 23rd to this afternoon??? I told her 4 would work for me and next thing you know, it’s 4 o’clock and I’m sitting in the waiting room. As I sat in the waiting room I saw a nurse practitioner named Susan that was Patty’s angel when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. Susan gave Patty so much hope at such a scary time. I wanted to say something to her, but she appeared busy. Finally my name was called and off to the exam room to see the doctor. Of course the nurse had to take my vitals as they usually do. My regular doctor had prescribed new high blood pressure medication for me about a month ago. I take it daily and my BP has been in check normally running around 130/75. But, not today! The nurse slapped the BP cuff on me and I watched confidently waiting for the results. 176/90!!! What???? She said “Are you nervous?” I replied “Obviously!!!” She laughed and didn’t seem too concerned with the results. “The doctor will be in shortly.”
Next thing I know, there’s a knock on the door an in walks my urologist. He introduced himself and shook my hand. I noticed his hand was wet when I shook it. He said “Oh… I just washed my hands… you know, a urologists joke!” OK, I like this guy. He has a sense of humor! He asked me to take a seat and he sat on his stool and rolled in close to me. In a very sincere and empathetic tone he said “Edward, do you know why you’re here?” Wow… immediate flashback to when Patty met with her surgeon. He did the exact same thing to Patty. They must learn this trick in the “Delivering Bad News to Patients 101” class in med school. Who in the world would go to the doctor and not know why they’re there? Anyway, I acknowledged why I was there to him. He then asked “Is there a history of cancer in your family?” Oh no… this conversation is going south quickly! I told him my father had two bouts with prostate cancer years ago. He said “hmmmm… I see.” I’m thinking “Well? Tell me what’s going on!” He slid his stool back a little and said “I’m not sure what it is!” What? All this drama to tell me you don’t know what it is??? Then he changed his story a little and said I have a Para-testicular tumor 30% of which are malignant. Bam! Just like that! I immediately had this sick feeling in my stomach. Get control Ed!!! I’ve always been the guy whose glass is half full so hearing that news told me that 70% are not malignant. That’s pretty good odds! Still, my mind is saying “but what if?” He said he wants to go in as soon as possible to get it out of me. I like that plan! Once it’s out they’ll biopsy it and have an answer of what’s going on. Next step is they’re scheduling an MRI hopefully within the week. I hate, hate, hate MRI’s! I’m claustrophobic and being in that little tube for 20 minutes or so just freaks me out! I had three last year with my back issues and fortunately my surgeon prescribed Xanax which gave me some relief. This doctor did the same thing for me. Phew! After the MRI they may schedule a CT scan then surgery. He said the timeline will be within a month.

Am I scared? Absolutely! Am I worried? Absolutely! Has Patty’s elephant now taken residency with me? You bet! Will God get me through this? 100%!!!

So… I’m trying to look at this as just another “Bump in the road” or an “Inconvenience” or even an “Adventure.” Whatever you call it… it sucks. Let’s just hope and pray 70% is in my favor!

I’ll keep you posted…

Back in the waiting game…

Ok… so we got through the surgery!  Phew!  Now we’re back in the waiting game to hear the results of the biopsy!  The surgeon told me that the biopsy only determines what kind of treatment Patty will need for the remainder of the fight.  Let’s just pray that other than the one lymph node we know of that had cancer cells, the others are clear.  That would make the treatment phase for Patty much easier.  As Patty said last night: “Either way, it is what it is and I just have to deal with whatever treatment they want me to have!”  Patty really has a good positive attitude which is so important right now.  Like I’ve said so many times before in this blog, she’s still terrified, but she’s also ready to fight.

Patty only spent one night in the hospital and came home on Friday afternoon.  She was in quite a bit of pain Friday night going in to Saturday morning.  Needless to say, we had a long night.  But it was still good to have her home!  Then Saturday afternoon rolled around and suddenly she got her color back and it was very obvious that she had turned the corner!  Since then, she’s been getting  better and stronger every day!  She even had part of a cocktail last night which definitely tells me she’ s on the mend!  I think one thing that has really helped in her recovery is the fact that she’s an avid Jazzerciser!  She Jazzercises at least 4 times a week (must be nice to be retired!).  She in really good shape!

Patty’s sister, Kathy, came out from Prescott, Az, to give us a hand this week!  She’s been such a huge help!  “Alone time” has not been a good time for Patty.  This is when her mind wonders and she get’s scared.  Kathy is keeping her busy, and in doing so, she’s keeping those “demon’s” at bay!!!  Thanks Kathy!

So… Patty’s next doctor’s appointment is Monday, 8/9, sometime in the afternoon.  Hopefully we get good news!

“Treating for cure” means more doctor appointments!

Things have been moving so fast since the doctors are now “Treating for Cure!”  We met with two more incredible doctors over the past two weeks!  First was with the surgeon who will remove the cancer. 

Patty and I had an appointment with the surgeon on Wednesday, July 21st.  She is the kind of woman that you just feel comfortable with the moment you meet her.  She’s probably around her 40’s but has a bio that’s a mile long.  She has a great bedside manner and had Patty laughing harder than I’ve seen her laugh since this whole nightmare started!  She explained that she could “try” to do a lumpectomy but felt a mastectomy would be best to minimize reoccurrence.  Patty agreed with her suggestion.  She also suggested that we start the breast reconstruction at the same time as the surgery.  The doctor explained that once she removed the breast she would biopsy some of the lymph nodes in her breast which would determine what type of post operative treatment she would need… chemo… radiation… hormone therapy or a combination of treatments.  She said they’ll biopsy two or three lymph nodes and if they come back positive for cancer they’ll keep biopsying them until they find some that are clear.  Once they find the clear ones, they stop.  Hey, she’s the doctor.  At the end of the appointment, she said if everything works out, she could have the surgery by the end of the following week!  She obviously knew the urgency of this situation we were in, which the doctors at the other hospital failed to see!    (Hmmm.. do I sound bitter?)  It was close to noon and she said: “let me see if I can get a hold of the the reconstruction surgeon and see if he can see you.”  She left the room and came back a couple minutes later saying: “he’s just eating his lunch and I told him to put his lunch down and see you.  So he’s waiting for you right now!”  We thanked her and went downstairs to the reconstruction doctors office.  There he was, standing outside in the reception area waiting for us.  He took us in and conducted an exam with Patty.  He then sat us down and explained how the reconstruction procedure would work.  He was very thorough and made us feel very comfortable.  He then introduced us to his office manager who put things in motion for the surgery.  She coordinated both doctors schedules and whamo… a surgery date of July 29th!  We actually had a surgery date!  You don’t know how much we’ve wanted this date!