Monday, March 11, 2013

The Elephant In The Room

"Is that an elephant over there?"

Folks, the elephant in the room this week is my upcoming "mapping procedure" on Wednesday. 




What is a "mapping procedure" you ask?  Good question!  This is the very invasive procedure in which my oncologist and urologist go up my you know what to examine my prostate gland to determine exactly where to implant those radioactive seeds next month.  Yep, I'm getting poked again in the nether regions.  But this time they're putting me out with an anesthetic, thank God.  However, when I awake I understand I will have a catheter in my um....well, you know.  And yes they will slide it out while I'm awake.  Prior to the procedure I have to take a Fleet enema and Gas-X pills (don't want to be farting in anybody's face now would I?)







So, as much as I try to preoccupy myself with other things these past days, including yesterday's visits to a couple of cemeteries to full fill Find a Grave.com photo requests, that ominous dark cloud followed me everywhere.  Oh I know, "Ron, you'll be just fine and there is nothing to worry about."  Hey, if you all feel that way, then I'll be glad to trade places with you.  Not to be rude of unappreciative of everyone's concern, but it is ME who will be undergoing this very invasive procedure.  


"Showtime!"

I know this is a necessary procedure if I am to delay and, hopefully, stop this prostate cancer in it's tracks and gain myself another fifteen or twenty years to annoy folks, but I am still concerned just because it is a dangerous procedure.  My past history with hospitals and doctors is that the unintended side effects have caused me more harm that the actual procedure itself.  Just last night on "60 Minutes" I watched a report of patients who were injected with a moldy steroid and some 28 deaths resulted plus hundreds of people now more seriously ill than they were before the medical treatment.  Just the thing I needed to see before I go in for my own treatment.  Thank goodness my doctors won't be injecting a steroid solution into my spinal cord.

So here we go today.  The fog is lifting, and I hear the temperatures will rise to 60 degrees today before another cold snap arrives tomorrow.  I'll go out later today and get some yard work in, including cutting back my massive pampas grass plants (and hopefully avoid paper cuts got I got last year).  



In a couple of weeks the Blogger Palooza (AKA "Spo-a-thon) takes place at the hotel. Everything is just about in place for a grand old time for this meeting of bloggers for the first time.  I am very much looking forward to that event.  By then I will be past this Elephant In The Room (the "mapping procedure") but I will have another one hanging over my head that of the actual implant of the radioactive seeds (some right through my scrotum by needles - doesn't that thought make you guys cross your legs and squirm?) 


But until then I'm managing the best I can.  I am so looking forward to that day when I don't have any more doctors' visits for at least six months.  What a blessing that will be.  But in the meantime I have this attitude of "I'll just get through this."  After all, this option is much better than the alternative.


"If you don't see it, then I don't either."


20 comments:

  1. {{{{{hugs}}}}}

    my nether regions clenched up in empathy. been there, done that 24 years ago for my own cancer treatment.

    WHAT ELEPHANT?

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    1. Thanks Anne Marie. I have to congratulate you on your 24 years of survival after your cancer treatment. You are an inspiration.

      Ron

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  2. Ron,

    In all honesty, I'm glad it isn't me. You are on the prayer list at my church. I know you don't necessarily believe in that, but I do and they do and I know these people are praying for you.

    It is because I care about you.

    Lar

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    1. Thanks for your well wishes Lar. No, I don't believe Someone is up in the sky watching over me but I'll take anything I can get. I appreciate your concern.

      Ron

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  3. I'm wishing you all the best through this, Ron! At age 19, I had an advanced malignant melanoma which had metastasized and spread massively, well beyond the original site. At the world-famous Mayo Clinic where I was treated, they'd never had a patient survive such a advanced case.

    After several surgeries, two recurrences, months of radiation treatments and the passage of thirty-one years, I am still here! And I know you will sail through your cancer journey with flying colours.

    But I`ll share a fun story with you. If recall correctly, my catheter was removed by some mean old nurse who just went `YANK!!` causing my penis to stretch out to twice it`s normal length. Oh, THE BURN!! LOL

    The whole catheter removal thing will last all of five seconds and you`ll survive it. You have more important things to worry about.

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    1. Buddy Bear,

      Nineteen is a very young age for malignant melanoma. You are very lucky to have survived. I had a totally different scenario when I was 17 years old. I had a routine hernia operation (born with a hernia, the Army wouldn't accept me until I had it removed). During the operation I contracted a staph infection which almost killed me. After the operation I complained about horrendous headaches, so much that I couldn't even stand up. My doctor thought I was "imagining things." It wasn't until I woke up one night with my incision totally open and the pus from the staph infection all over me in my bed. They took me to the Contagion Ward of the hospital. I was in and out of the hospital the next six months for a total of two more operations before the infection was removed. Seven years later I discovered quite by accident that the doctor's didn't expect me to survive my hospital stay. I thought so too because I was in the contagion ward with infectious diseases. If I didn't die of my infection I would catch something else. My first night the 13 year old boy on the other side of the curtain died of meningitis. So you can see where I am literally scared to death of hospitals and medical procedures, especially "mean nurses" who play around with a catheter. My brother had his penis tissue damaged by a careless nurse putting in a catheter. Hospitals and doctors aren't perfect, they make mistakes. I'm glad your situation turned out well. I'll be glad once I get though this without any side effects. But I am very leary.

      Ron

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  4. My legs are crossed and I am squirming. It's an unpleasant procedure but you'll be relieved and happy when it's over. I've known several men who've had this done, including my father and an uncle, and they got through it with no problems. I appreciate your informative updates.

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    1. Jon,

      This is good to know about your relatives' experience with seed implant. The men I've talked to also went through this procedure successfully. The only problem was painful urination the first few times. All the men I've talked to have had similar successful procedures. I don't like going through any procedure but this one seems the least invasive.
      I will post more about my experience in future posts. This procedure I'm having done this Wednesday is basically them looking at my prostate with an ultrasound to determine where to place the seeds.

      Ronm

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  5. Clinching in your honor. See you in 2.
    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Hopefully you never have to go through this Jay.

      Ron

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    2. I probably will. Dad dealt with it. And to top it off, mom and colon cancer.
      I'm hoping the evil drink gets me first!
      Jay

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    3. Something will get us eventually Jay. I just hope it's not too prolonged, painful and humiliating. To pass away in my sleep would be best. But we don't have a choice do we?

      Ron

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  6. Anonymous9:34 PM

    Ron,

    I want to wish you luck Wednesday. I know you will ace the whole thing because that's the kind of guy you are. Look at it as more writing material. I'll be thinking about you.

    Fran

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  7. As long as we are sharing gory stories about "down there," I had large kidney stones lodged in both of my ureters (long thin tubes from the kidneys to the bladder). They wanted to break the stones with lithotripsy, but could not do it with the stones in the ureters. So they passed stints up through the urethra and into both ureters to push the stones back up into the kidney where they could bombast them! Then I went through the lithotripsy where they send shock waves through the abdomen to break up the stones.

    I had local anesthesia for all this, so it was not too painful. BUT, they left the stints in place after the procedure, as that was supposed to help the stone fragments come out. But in my case, it did just the opposite by blocking them. After two weeks of feeling like I had to pee every two minutes, I went back. The doctor said they would have to leave the stints in place since I had not passed the fragments. I told him I was NOT leaving that room until the stints were pulled out; so against medical advice he removed them. The next three days, I peed dozens of fragments! Does the doctor always know best? You gotta listen to the patient sometimes.

    See you in about 10 days, Ron, and I know you -- you will be chipper and the greatest host(ess)!

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    1. David,

      Thanks for sharing your story with me. Having passed kidney stones twice, I know how lucky I was just to have passed them without too much complication other than the intense, almost unbearable (actually unbearable) pain. You are so right about sometimes questioning the doctor. After I passed my kidney stones a few years ago in January, the following August a really old doctor at the VA saw that I had passed blood in my urine (which you usually do right before you pass a kidney stone). He wanted to catheterize me with pen like instrument with a camera on the end to check my bladder to make sure I didn't have bladder cancer. SAY WHAT? I refused. They got another doctor in who put the heavy pressure on me. I said eventually said "yes" just to get out of there but as soon as I got home I called and cancelled the appointment. I know I didn't have bladder cancer (this was some four years ago now) and I certainly didn't need an instrument with a camera on it stuck up my penis to take pictures of my bladder. A few months after my decision I heard where 49 vets were contaminated with the HIV virus because that very instrument wasn't clean! Of course the story was quickly hushed up and no more was heard of it. I remember arguing with the doctors about the logic of testing me EIGHT MONTHS after I passed blood in my urine why such they were pushing for such an invasive non-necessary test. They said "It's to make sure you don't have bladder cancer." I said "With that logic you could operate on my brain to make sure I don't have brain cancer too." They didn't like that. The whole discussion got to be one of power. I think your body talks to you and you know what is right and what isn't. You're right, the doctor isn't always right. I should know because one doctor (when I was 17 years old) almost caused my death because of his arrogance and misdiagnosis. I've never completely trusted doctors since.

      Ron

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  8. I like elephants. In most circumstances, they should stay outside. If they are in the room, it should be a room built especially for them. Elephant barns are huge!

    At least this time you will have the benefit of some anesthesia. I hope it goes well. I'll be thinking about you tomorrow. Let us know if you survive, eh?

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    1. Thank Java for your well wishes. Actually, I was told yesterday that this time I wouldn't have anesthesia. They said the next time when the seeds are implanted they'll give me anesthesia. Tomorrow I will be wide awake while they probe and poke. By this time tomorrow it should be all over with, at least this stage which is called a "volume test". This is to see how big my prostate is, the step before they implant the seeds which will probably happen next month. At the Spotacular I will not be radioactive so I'm ready for a hug.

      Ron

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  9. with all this talk you know people are going to want you to spread your legs and bend over to see if you glow.

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    1. Dr. Spo,

      I won't be glowing yet. In a few hours I go in for my "volume test." More uncomfortable and humiliating poking around in my nether regions. I won't be radio-active until sometime next month. This morning is just the preview to the big show, to make sure my little prostate gland can hold 80 to 90 radioactive seeds.
      Just another chapter on the Old Age Expressway.

      Ron

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