There is an old Chinese saying which goes” May you live in interesting times.” The feeling has always been that this can be both a curse and a blessing. Well so far this year life has been interesting.
Leading up to and through the new year everything in my little proscribed area of the world seemed to be unfolding as it should. My energy level and general feeling were steadily if slowly improving and I was getting close to a few follow up checks with the doctors helping treat my cancer.
The St Catharines Rowing club holds a fun run every January 1st and I decided that I would participate again this year. I was totally aware that I couldn’t even get close to running the entire route but it is a fund raiser for a group I hold in high esteem and I have run dozens of times. I was correct about not running it all the way. In fact I doubt I even ran 10% of the 3 mile course but was just happy to be able to walk/ run the course and intend to do it again next year. It was somewhat disturbing however to get the feeling that each time I broke into my trot I probably actually slowed down rather than speeding up but what the heck, it was a new year and a new start and laugh to see how slow I was compared to my youth.
On the way home from the run I began coughing quite hard but other than fiding it aggravating thought nothing of it. Anyone who has exercised outside knows that sometimes the cold air irritates you and I assumed that was all it was. Later that night, I noticed tiny traces of blood in the phlegm I was coughing up. Again this isn’t terribly unusual and i went to sleep expecting it to be pretty much gone by the next day.
Jan 2nd I got up and decided to have a shower even though it wasn’t Saturday. a couple of times I noticed blood in my effluvia again but only a tiny bit and as I finished toweling off went to clear my throat. Maybe I shouldn’t have.
Blood started filling my mouth and spilling into the sink. So much so I could barely breathe or do anything except hang over the sink so it drained out of my mouth rather than choking me. For anyone worried that this killed me it obviously didn’t because I’m writing this now. Come on people think a bit. It was however severe enough that I managed to alert the landlord up stairs and they called an ambulance for me. Of course by the time it arrived the bleeding had pretty much stopped but we went to West Lincoln Hospital anyway. I wanted a doctor to take a look and see if they could figure out what had happened. While waiting to get attention at the hospital everything felt fine again and I even told the nurse there I felt a bit foolish having bothered to come in and tied up an ambulance as well. After sitting there for a couple of hours and managing to get a magazine to look at it suddenly started again just as bad as it had been at home. It also slowed and stopped all by itself same as before. West Lincoln, decided to ship me up to St Joseph’s in Hamilton where the surgery had been done in the first place. I got the “A” trip down the QEW there at about 2 pm so if you were held up by an ambulance during that time I’m sorry.
To fail as so many people do to make a long story short. The docs determined that part of the original surgery had come away from my throat wall and some infection and decay had set up in a small pocket back there. It had gotten to and eroded a tiny pinprick hole in the right carotid artery and then that had let go and tried to perform a total oil change on me.
The doctors ended taking me back into surgery. This time they took my right pectoral muscle, severed the bottom of it and fed it up under my collarbone then through an incision into my mouth and used it to rebuild the back of the throat and protect the carotid from the pressures and strains back there. If you have trouble understanding how that works you’re not alone. It’s on my body and the guys who did it have actually explained it to me and I can still after a week just about figure out what they did. How they did it or who figured out it could be done is completely beyond me.
So now I’m back to where I was about the end of November. Try not to strain the area, keep everything clean. let the healing progress. I also have a few friends and relatives threatening serious body harm if I try doing anything strenuous till it is specifically cleared by the doctors.
I hope all of you are having a better start to the year than I had. On the other hand things are bound to look up for a bit. Oh by the way if anyone wants to challenge my 3 mile 2011 personal best time it was 50:37 seconds. It seems the steroids I was prescribed back in the spring didn’t help out all that much.