Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


All Clear

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:49 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Everything is still clear.

The doctor said my blood work was excellent.  I put on a couple of pounds, but, then it beats the way I took off all that weight last year!  My blood pressure was lower than it’s been on a Monday in a very long time, though, that’s probably because I wasn’t at work.  The scar tissue on my right lung is about as small as it’s likely to get though, and the doctor seemed fine with that.

Everything else, medically, satisfied the doctor, who seemed quite pleased with my progress.
The one thing I do still worry about is the money.  Even with what my medical insurance pays, I’m probably going to owe several thousand dollars this year and next year and, possibly, the year after that!  The thousand dollar deductible and 20% the insurance company doesn’t cover adds up pretty quickly with all these scans.  At least I’m on the right side of the grass to deal with them, though, so, I know things will work out eventually.
And, even though we’re paying big money at the pumps, I’m very grateful to be working in an industry that services the oil fields right now.  We have work for the next three to five years and they keep me busy.  That’s something else I’m really thankful for: having a job.  It’s not too many years ago I was out of work and didn’t know when I’d work again.  I try to remember that when I have problems on Mondays or have to work late on a Friday to update the firmware on the server drive array.

On a sad note, I found out this morning that an old friend whom I’d fallen out of touch with died yesterday from pancreatic cancer.  Even though I hadn’t really talked to him in years, knowing that he’s gone makes my own results a little bitter-sweet.
Cancer touches so many lives and I count myself as truly blessed to have been spared so many of the worst aspects of it.  In many ways, I’ve been very fortunate.  I do want you all to know that I’m more than willing to talk about cancer or my treatment with anyone who may be dealing with it elsewhere in their life.  I hope no one has been touched by cancer more than they have through me, but, if you all have, know that you don’t need to be alone with it.

Thanks again for all your prayers and positive support and thoughts!

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy."


A Funny Thing Happened…

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:02 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

On the way home from the clinic.

So, I’ve been “away” for a bit.
Almost two weeks ago, I went into the clinic for what I thought would be a relatively routine check up. And, really, it was. Unfortunately, my blood work showed me having very low counts in every category, so they sent me for an immediate transfusion. I got a unit of platelettes and two units of whole blood. Now, that might sound like there was big trouble, but, honestly, based on my last set of blood work, I was kind of expecting to have that happen. Sadly, what I was not planning on was getting a fever high enough to get checked into the hospital, which is what happened.

So, I spent about a week in the hospital, even though my tempurature was normal after three days, because my white blood cell count was low. That’s bad because those white blood cells are what fight off infection. What’s worse is that I felt fine, even though I missed my best friend’s wedding, in which I was supposed to be the best man.
I came close to going against doctor’s orders and checking myself out of the hospital long enough for the wedding, then checking back in. It was only when the doctor hinted that might cause problems with my insurance company that I decided against it.
The bride and groom, however, brought the wedding to me. They came over, with the Matron of Honor, and another groomsman that the groom and I have known for years, forced me at cake-point to dress up in my tux and took pictures. One of the nurses took pictures of all of us together, as well. I’m told that these will be included in the wedding pictures by the photographers. To say that I was touched by this gesture is the understatement of the century. Words cannot begin to express the depth of feeling I have for those folks who would go so far out of their way to share that special day with me. But, for the record, the chemotherapy took my eyelashes and I get things in my eye all the time now and I was not so moved I was crying. In case anyone was wondering.

I finally got out Monday and was back getting scanned Friday. I’ll get the results this coming Thursday when I see the doctor. I’m hoping that the news I get is that I’m done with chemotherapy and on the mend, but we’ll see.
And, of course, I’ll keep you posted.


Biopsy Fun

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:14 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Right, so, I survived my biopsy.

Anne, my friend from church, got me there with plenty of time to check-in and fill out massive paperwork.  They collected the rest of my deductible for the year, which turns out to be more than I thought.  So, now I feel like I should drive recklessly to get my money’s worth out of the insurance company, but I assure you I won’t.

I was prepped and waiting for hours, in part for blood work to get done and in part for the doctors to figure out just precisely how they wanted to get into my lung for that biopsy.  I think the long waiting was about the worst part.  But, I had my own, private nurse there with me, who prayed with me and generally made me feel safe, secure and as at ease as possible.  I have no doubt that there’s a special place in Heaven for Anne, who was an absolute angel to be with me and help me through this.

About 11:00am, the came and got me for the first of several CT scans. The first the did with contrast, to help find “details” like major veins and arteries.  Apparently, it would be a “bad thing” to nick one of those while going into my lung, so I was quite happy that the radiologist took his time finding them all.  Then, they took another CT scan to line up where they were going to put the needle.  A couple shots of local anesthetic, lidocane I think, later the nice doctor had shoved a six to eight inch needle into my chest.  Then, another CT scan to make sure he’d hit his mark and he took a biopsy.  Then, I waited.  They ran the sample down to pathology to run some kind of test on it and decide if they wanted more samples.  After the longest fifteen minutes of my life watching that chest needle bounce around every time I coughed, twitched or moved at all, they took three more samples from that same needle.  Though, the radiologist did “stir” it around a bit in my chest to get a fresh sample each time.
I’ve done a lot of strange and freaky things in my time, but having a doctor wiggle a chest needle inside me rates right up there on the Freak-O-Matic scale.
But, with the third sample, he pulled the needle and gave me one last CT scan to make sure everything looked as good in the inside as it did on the outside.  And, finally, after more than twelve hours, they let me get a glass of water while I waited to have two chest x-rays done, again to confirm the wholeness of my insides.

So, I don’t know for sure when I’ll get results back, but it should be later this week.  Worst case will be in two weeks when I have an appointment scheduled with my pulmonary specialist.
I will add this, though, when they were taking samples the second time, I overheard them saying that one was for a culture.  Now it seems to be that they wouldn’t need to grow a culture of cancer to figure out what it is, so I’m hoping that means they’re leaning toward infection.  Anne tended to agree with me that, generally, one grows a culture of a mystery infection to figure out what it is and how to treat it, but that’s generally not something one would do with cancer.  At least, that’s what I’m hoping.
Of course, the results are still pending, so it could yet turn out to be the evil twin I’ve never had.  We’ll see.
When I found out more, I’ll let you all know.

But, now it’s time for bed.

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