Friday, September 24, 2010
I finally was sprung from the hospital yesterday...woohoo! I was supposed to be discharged on Tuesday, but, as Murphy's Law dictates, things did not quite go as planned. During the ERCP, my surgeon said that there was a great deal of bleeding; that they put in clips and they got the bleeding under control. Directly after the surgery, when I was in recovery, I had the obligatory gas issues with flatulation and belching, which was fun (hell, that's like the only time you can get away with acting like a guy...LOL!). Then, I began having discomfort up under my right breast and into my sternum area; they thought it was gas pain. I told them that I know gas and that this wasn't gas. Eventually, the docs conceded and gave me a bit of Dilautid, which took the pain away; for about five minutes.
By the time they got me to my room, the pain was becoming increasingly worse and it went from 0-60 in about 15 minutes. It was excruciating and I was sweating my ass off; come to find out, I was being introduced to pancreatitis. Let me tell y'all; lord have mercy jesus - it's not fun. Eventually, the doctor pumped me full of Dilautid and got the pain under control. The fellow came in later and told me that yes, they did inflame my pancreas a bit during surgery as things had to be moved around a bit. Nah, I am not upset as I know these things happen. Then, I am sitting there talking, and, all of a sudden, I am like "Someone please grab me a bucket because I am about to toss my cookies"; that was the first time I vomited blood. It was actually funny; I was trying to think about what I ate that was brown...I didn't know!! So, immediately, they were like "No, you will not be going home tomorrow". I ended up staying for three nights instead of one.
My surgeon said that he was able to remove all of the growth. I cheered and said "I am cancer-free, right?" and he said that he would be able to tell me definitively once the results came back from the final biopsy. I need to call later today as he said the results should be in by Friday (today). He did put a couple of stents in and I will go back on October 11th for removal of one of them (the other one will go away on its own).
I have to say, outside of my stay being much longer than planned and the complications, the staff at Smilow and the regular Yale-New Haven Hospital were fabulous. One of my main concerns was that they would under-medicate me should I encounter pain (which I did!!) as I have an enormous resistance to pain meds and usually require much more than the regular person. I experienced that during my knee replacement surgery and it was pure hell, let me tell you. However, shockingly, they were incredibly respectful and believed me and were liberal with the pain meds, so I was relatively comfortable. The nurses were wonderful; very gracious, patient and kind - not once were they condescending or nasty (very unlike Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, CT). I always try to not bother medical staff during a hospital stay unless I absolutely have to; I know they are overworked and underpaid and do not wish to be a pain in their derrieres!! I believe that common courtesy and respect go a long way.
They even had room service meal service!! I kid you not; you have an extensive menu (for a hospital) that you make your own food choices from (based on your physician's meal authorization), call them anytime and put in your order! Now, I did not get to explore the menu as much as I might have liked because on Monday after surgery, I was barred from anything except ice chips, Tuesday I was not allowed to have anything but clear liquids, Wednesday I went to full liquids and Wednesday night, I finally went to full menu but stuck with cream of wheat and egg whites. But I still thought the room service was a cool option.
So, that part is over. I just wait for the results of the biopsy now and have the stent removal. I will have to go back to be scoped every 12 months for a few years to make sure the growth does not reappear, but my surgeon said that, eventually, the time between scopings will increase.
I know I was lucky; trust me. Has this whole experience changed me emotionally? Absolutely. I really think that, if you do go through something like a cancer scare and it does not change you, you didn't pay enough attention. I just refuse to put up with anyone's B.S. or allow drama into my life. If I want to do something nice for someone, even a stranger, then I am going to do it. If I want to just be by myself, I am going to do it. I will get my motorcycle.
It's my life and I will live it; exactly how I feel like living it.