(21) Time For A Tune Up

tuneup-We went to Iowa on Wednesday for a nuclear flow test… for this test they inject me with radioactive fluid, then track it as it makes its way through my body.  This test is intended to serve as a benchmark so that if I have problems in the future, they have something to compare to.

Two things they found.  One is that I have one over-achieving kidney (left does 70% of the work) and one slacker (right does 30%). 50-50 is best, but as long as my under-achiever doesn’t fall asleep on the job, things will be OK.

The test also indicated that I might have a “pinch” near the connection to my underachieving kidney.  This could be a cause of the sluggishness, or it might not (no way to tell).  It is definitely something that, over time, would have a negative impact. So….

Dr. said he’d like to go in (robotically), and basically replace about an inch of the connection.  He said it would take an hour or so.  We asked about options and after discussing it, I agreed to the surgery.  THEN came the surprise.  He looked at his schedule.  “We’ll plan on Monday the 23rd.”

That’s fast! Eileen and I are going to Iowa tomorrow (Sunday) night in order to be at the hospital at 6 am on Monday.  Surgery is at 8:15 am. The Dr. is reasonably confident that I’ll be able to go home on Tuesday.  I’m hoping he’s right. Everyone at work quickly stepped up to cover my absence.

I’m not looking forward to life on opioids again, but it may not be as bad since I’m well past the effects of chemo.  My goal is to be back at work by the end of next week.

Let Eileen know you’re thinking about her because I know this stuff takes a toll.  (My friends at the office gave me at least 50 DVDs to help get me through, so I’ll be fine.)

(22) No Reason To Hurry

12065683-silver-android-robot-with-thumb-up-smiling-3d-illustration-on-whiteDoctor Gupta had said it would take about an hour on Monday to move things around and reconnect.  But knowing that my insides are extremely fascinating, it’s not surprising that it took a little over four hours to compete the operation. I, of course, was in Looking Glass land and sleeping peacefully.

I do find it very comforting to know that Dr. Gupta, along with the resident assisting him on the robot, took their time to look around and tighten things up.  Kind of like spring cleaning.  The operation was a success, I’m feeling great, and I only spent Monday night in the hospital.

Eileen is now part of my surgical team.  I have a couple of stitches that need to stay in place for a few days, and it wasn’t practical to drive to Iowa for a 2 minute procedure. So Eileen volunteered. No, that’s not true.  She was like a little kid, “Let me do it! Let me do it!” I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her happier as she consulted with Dr. Gupta about the process. (I think most of you know that Eileen has already been granted access to “off limits” areas so that she could watch as things were “moved” inside me.) Doctor Eileen has me on her schedule for later this afternoon.  I’ve been told I won’t feel any pain.

I hope everyone has a happy Memorial Day.


(23) Happy Anniversary To Me

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Yes, it has been a year since the big operation.  To celebrate, Eileen, Henry the dog, and I went to Iowa for a check up.  This time it was with Dr. O’Donnell since Dr. Gupta has moved to Los Angeles to take care of celebrity bladders. After a review of the CT scan, I was classified NED (no evidence of disease) – yeah! – and instead of going back every 3 months, I’m now on a 6-month schedule. The doctor did confirm that the chemo knocked out enough bone marrow to make me anemic.  Seems like a small problem.

THE PHOTO: On Saturday evening, October 3rd, two days after my operation, Eileen and Tom Zimmerman kidnapped me, got me into a wheelchair, and traveled around the hospital until they found a piano they had seen earlier in the day. Tom was about to be in a piano competition, so he had his repertoire memorized. I was still in that drugged fuzzy state of mind with tubes coming into me and going out. It seemed like a grand adventure.  After an up and down elevator ride and exploring some hallways, they found the piano. Tom got right to playing.  Eileen took the video and as she scanned the room, she was surprised to see the small stained glass of a cardinal, very reminiscent of Roland’s work.  It was without a doubt the most beautiful concert I ever attended. (Click on the photo – it’s linked to a short video.)