Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The First Day of the Rest of My Life – Tats and Ports – September 4, 2019 – Day 4


Today was Day 4 and a busy and eventful day it was. The journey forward began with some serious business. To those who haven't figured this out, yet, I'm dealing with cancer. I have a tumor that probably began four to five years ago. I have never experienced any symptoms to date and I am still not experiencing any day to day symptoms. I still feel great. And, to relieve any concerns, it is not pancreatic cancer.

However, due to the nature of what I'm dealing with, the protocol is to go through chemotherapy AND radiation therapy simultaneously. After the completion of those two courses of treatment, if all have been successful, I will then undergo surgery to remove the remainder of any tissue from the tumor and tissue impacted by the tumor.

Yes, This is going to be a very serious journey, but this is what I want. I told all the docs that I'm on a 46-year plan and I have people to see, places to go and things to do. So, I want to move this along as rapidly as possible without missing any beats in getting the best treatments. I handpicked all of my docs and they made special arrangements in their schedule to get right on my case – I chose the best of the best.

Today was another 140-mile round trip and about 3 hours of driving to go to Winchester again. My first stop this morning was to go to the radiology center where I went through a simulation of the radiation treatments. The technicians created a mold for my body that I will fit into every time I go in for a radiation treatment. Radiation treatments will be five days a week for, from what I'm been led to understand, five to six weeks.

The techs did a CT Scan of me that the radiation oncologist then reviewed and showed them precisely where to mark my chest and stomach region. Then they placed small, permanent tattoos in those precise locations. I asked for a lion tattoo, but all they would give me were tiny dots. I couldn't resist trying though.

Everyone was professional, yet, at the same time high-spirited, fun and we enjoyed some humor as we went through the procedures. They took a photo for my file – and I “struck a pose” which they felt was indicative of my great attitude.

Between the two procedures, my friend (and driver) Carolyn and I went to Costco where the new sales catalog was in effect. We bought some things we wanted to add to our stock back in WV and then headed to the second appointment for the port installation. 

In the afternoon, I went to a different building about a mile away. There, again, I was met with a great team. I'd even go as far as to say awesome. Lots of humor, laughter and high spirits. At that location they had me strip down and put on a hospital gown. They put in an IV, then moved me to a procedure room. The chatter was lively and fun. We talked about music – and my background (50 years) in the recording industry and who was my favorite band. I said “Chicago” and they all loved Chicago, too. So, pretty quickly, Chicago was playing and we were all enjoying the music while they continued prepping me.

I don't remember going out, I didn't feel a thing. I remember continuing to chat with them and then they said, you're all done. I love it. I asked if I really did go out – and they said I was snoring. No way! But, I now had a port installed in my chest that fed directly into my bloodstream. The second deed of the day was complete and I was now ready for the upcoming barrage of chemicals (oops, treatment meds) and radiation, “Beam me up, Scotty.”

I wasn't allowed to eat for at least six hours before the procedure. I did have some peanut butter crackers and orange juice while I was in the recovery, observation stage after the port procedure. But, I was still seriously hungry. We stopped at the local Arby's and indulged.

That was the end of a day that was more exciting by a long stretch than yesterday. After I satiated my appetite, we headed back to West Virginia. I had to remain in an upright position for 8 hours. I've now passed the 8-hour point as I compose this. Now, I can lay down flat and go to sleep.

By the way, I mentioned that Carolyn did all the driving. It's not that I am not capable of driving or have any restrictions. Tomorrow I have to go back to Winchester for a session on chemotherapy education so I'll know what to expect, dietary requirements, etc. I very well may drive myself into town for that appointment. However, today, since they did have to sedate me for the port installation procedure, I was not allowed to drive myself. I couldn't even avail myself of public transportation if any would have been available that could have met my needs.

So, Day 4, September 4th is now in the history books. It was certainly a more interesting and productive day than Day 3. Day 5, tomorrow, should be an educational day. However, I'm really not looking forward to going back into Winchester over the 7 mountains and through the 7 valleys and the 140-mile round trip. But, it's one step closer to the end of this long journey.

Live free and be happy. EH

10 comments:

Lorraine Edwards said...

Ed, I am crying as I move from reading your message to my comment. You are much braver than I am!! I confess to NOT being up to the challenge of seven mountains and seven valleys let alone the treatments you are facing. Sending heartfelt best wishes from "Rainbows End" in Livingston, Texas.

Yeraj said...

Best wishes Ed! I'm sure that God is watching over you!
Jarey

John Abert said...

It sounds like you will experience a lot of ups and downs over the next few weeks, but that's only the roads. Everything else is all ups. Keep on...

humpy57 said...

The biggest cure is "Attitude " and it sounds like you got that ten fold !!
My brother went through the same treatments for stage 4 cancer and I swear, attitude got him cured. That was over 5 yrs ago.

Lois said...

Thinking of you today, Ed and grateful you have your friend Carolyn there with you and doctors you trust and people around you to be with you on this next adventure. Critically so important and something we don't typically consider until a time such as this comes upon us. Moving right along...

Ed Helvey said...

Thank you, Lorraine. But, don't cry. Like the Kelly Preston song says, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Who knows, maybe I'm taking the place of someone who doesn't have my attitude and strength and this would kill them. I'm still on my 46 year plan. But, I will tell you as beautiful as these WV mountains and valleys are, they can get boring 🙄

Ed Helvey said...

Thank you, Jarey. I'm sure he is or I would have been dead three weeks ago when I was walking the thin line twice within 4 days.

Ed Helvey said...

Boy, I couldn't have said that better, John. Thanks!

Ed Helvey said...

Attitude determination your altitude. I believe that. God bless your brother. His story is both inspiring and encouraging. I appreciate you sharing his experience.

Ed Helvey said...

Thank you, Lois. I am blessed. I have great wealth in my friendships. And, Carolyn is right at the top of the list. We've had each other's backs for years. It's not my time to "make my exit," yet. If it was, this could have happened in so many secluded places I've been where no one would have reached me in time. Life is good. Keep building your strength and vitality, too, so we can laugh about all this the next time I'm down your way.