Another medically dominated day.
We started out with an appointment at St Joseph’s to get a real PEG tube put in instead of the Foley Catheters I have been using. Foley’s are designed for urinary catheters and the retention system is that a small balloon is blown up with saline solution once the catheter is inserted through your ureter and is inside the bladder. That part of the system works just great even if it is being used as a PEG tube. I even had one in place from early September till mid January. This must have been a super catheter because all the others have expired in less than a month. Apparently this is because the stomach is a very acidic environment and these catheters are not designed to stay in there. MY stomach was killing them in as little as 2 days and except for the freaky months long one, which by the way was completely black where it had been in the stomach, none of them have lasted for more than 3 weeks.
When I got to the hospital today to get a real PEG tube put in place I had to wait for over an hour, in a bed wearing a gown just because some one else came in with a bleeding ulcer and they were trying to keep him from dying instead of fixing my problem. Sometimes I wonder about the priorities the medical profession decides on.
Dr Voss, was doing my work when I finally got in there. He explained that they wanted to put in a tube that would go through my stomach into the small intestine to be sure it wouldn’t get pulled out. I asked if I could drip in food just as quickly with it placed there and was told it wold be slower. It then turned out the doctor was under the impression that all the previous tubes had been physically pulled out of place. I told him I’d prefer one in my stomach so I could get food in fairly quickly when I desired it and that the others had fallen out when the balloons had deflated because of stomach acid eating them away. The doctor a delightful Kiwi native readily agreed to this and in his operating room flooded with classical music by Chopin he pulled my last Foley, which by the way had deflated the day before and been held in place by me taping it seven ways to Sunday, and replaced it with a nice new shiny white, PEG tube in about 10 minutes. No anesthetic required. No stitching. No piercing. No pain. The retention system in use on this one is that a thread is run through the tube to the inner end and then pulled tight. This coils up the end somewhat like an IUD and this coiled end rests against the stomach wall if the tube gets pulled there and keeps it form slipping out of place. Dr Voss assures me the materials used are able to withstand the environment and we scheduled a replacement appointment on June 2. It seems for hygiene reasons, and just to keep track of the condition of the tube channel they like to replace them three times a year.
In to St Josephs at 12:15 and finally out at just after 3:00 pm. Then Sheana drove me up to the Juravinski clinic where I was scheduled for a follow up appointment as part of the study I am taking part in for the chemo/radiation part of my original treatment. Dr Kim who was the doctor in charge of my case checked me out and got caught up on all the fun I’ve had in the mean time. These checkups were supposed to take place at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and one year after the end of the therapy. Today’s work, which included blood tests and a scope down my nose and into my throat was supposed to be the 6 month check for treatment that ended in the beginning of March. I seem to be running a bit behind schedule here but the nurse said it wasn’t critical to the success of the study, they can just include the actual times of the checkups. The good news is that just like a little brown nosed student there is no problems with the blood tests and no sign of cancer in the mouth or throat. Then Dr Kim had more good news for me. I was under the impression that the Commando surgery performed in November was because of recurring cancer. He informed me that although before the surgery they had thought that was the case the biopsies done at the time showed the damaged tissue was in fact caused by the radiation poisoning but not cancer. It seems then that I have been cancer free since the end of the treatment in the spring. This is much better news than recurring cancer that needs treatment so I vote for this being the correct interpretation of my case.
Now I have new surgery to correct the bone infection problem in my mouth and then nothing on the slate till a CT scan in March for the study followup and a further appointment to review the results of that scan and examination sometime in mid March.
So all together it was a long day playing with the medicos again but good news and good results all around. I can use more days like this but better yet will be days when I don’t have to go for more testing or scanning and pretend once again I’m a healthy normal sort of old fart.
Hope you all have a great day and weekend.