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Sam's medical random clutter thread

samzheresamzhere BannedPosts: 10,923 Senior Member
Went to the lab/clinic of my doc today for an echocardiogram and a PET scan, where they inject radioisotope, let you sit for 45min, then scan your bod. Boooring!

During the echocardiogram I watched the screen and it was amazing (I've not always been able to see the screen nor have been well enough to care in the past). This was a new GE device and it showed color images of my heart in action. And yeah, I've got one -- sorry fans, ha ha.

I got a huge laugh from the techs when I asked "So what is it? Girl or boy?"

But what was fascinating was one of the views showing one of my heart valves opening and closing, just like it was some fake animation. Man, what great medical technology we've now got!

Also snapped 2 nice skyline pics from the 10th floor winders. First is of course downtown Houston w. the big Med Center partially visible to the right. The other is the newish Texans stadium on the right, the NRG exhibit and sports hall to the left (both are damn big) and the old Astrodome to the rear and center. I've been in all 3 and the new stadium is awesome, all comfy seats and easy access, a really smart design. My former company, structural engineers, designed the structure including the movable roof.

downtown%20skyline.jpg

Reliant%20park.jpg
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Replies

  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    MakeMy's post has triggered this new message:

    Why I went for the scan: In February I had total blockage of my colon and fairly extensive surgery to remove all the nasty bits. Surgery was totally successful for the actual operation.

    However, I've got liver, lymph node, and integument cancer, pretty standard for guys my age. Tomorrow the 31st I go in for a small surgical procedure, implantation of a "port-a-cath" (wiki it) in my left shoulder just below the clavicle for injection of the drugs for chemotherapy, and the next day, April 1 (April Fools Day, hey!) I start chemo. Hopefully we caught this early enough and I'm determined to beat it!

    Being one of those introspective nerdy walking-encyclopedia types, ha ha I wish, I've downloaded a huge chunk of stuff on the chemo drugs and procedures and whatever. The drugs are pretty typical for my case -- I won't bother to list them -- but with the more modern stuff I am hoping the side effect won't be too severe. When or if they are, I've got my lovely lady at my side to help. She and I went through an extensive one-on-one orientation session and we got all our questions answered. Worst is NO booze! Eeeek!

    Thankfully I have access to some of the finest medical care on the planet. The oncology group I'm going to is nationally recognized as tops, and work here with the M.D. Anderson cancer hospital as well as Memorial-Hermann where I'm a patient. And my oncologist is also a highly respected physician and researcher. I've also found the care I've already been given amazingly expert and caring, and my doc is terrific. So I'm set.

    I will be posting some notes on the chemo experience, not telling all and such, but what I can discuss. I want to be serious for a minute: What I will post will be genuine and from the heart and is meant not to "show off" but to hopefully inform others in the process, the goods and bads, so that they may be better prepared (MakeMyDay take note).

    If you have questions you can PM me of course or just post them here and if I think it's feasible, I'll answer them in the open forum. Understand that I will keep some things private.

    So wish me luck on the small surgery thing Tuesday and the start of chemo Wednesday.
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,390 Senior Member
    Athena's Blessings. The "Big C" is no fun... :angel2:
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • DanChamberlainDanChamberlain Senior Member Posts: 3,395 Senior Member
    Sam, until I made my change recently, I was an oncology nurse for 6 years. The nurses are going to ask you if you need anything for nausea. The first day, you will get medication as a matter of premeds. You will likely not experience any nausea the first day or two. When you do, don't try to be a man. Take what they offer you.

    Also, chemo isn't a weight loss program! You gotta nibble even though you may not want to. You gotta walk even though you may not feel like it. Attitude is everything. Mentally and physically, you have to help the drugs do their work. Lay there and be miserable, and you will grow weaker. Get up and move and you'll maintain your strength.

    I've had patients who were miserable.
    I've had patients who didn't let you know they felt miserable.
    I've had patients who didn't feel miserable at all. They were the ones who kicked ****

    Good luck and keep is in the loop.
    It's a source of great pride for me, that when my name is googled, one finds book titles and not mug shots. Daniel C. Chamberlain
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,973 Senior Member
    Of course, what DanC said is spot on.

    They may even give you strong amounts of steroids on day one of chemo which will have you feeling pretty good. They wear off by day three, and by day four you will be feeling it.

    The anti-nausea meds are VERY important. I used odantestron sublingual and it worked like a champ, for me.

    Eat small very high fiber meals that are all cooked, and stay away from anything raw and anyone who is sick. You don't want to fight a secondary infection of any type while on chemo. Keep your plumbing moving as best you can and you will feel much better.

    Good luck and you will be in our thoughts and prayers.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • LMLarsenLMLarsen Senior Member Posts: 8,337 Senior Member
    Good luck.
    “A gun is a tool, no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

    NRA Endowment Member
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    :angel2::angel2:
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • Make_My_DayMake_My_Day Senior Member Posts: 7,635 Senior Member
    Sam, thanks for the descriptions and the view of Houston. It looks like a real nice city.
    JOE MCCARTHY WAS RIGHT:
    THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS!
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,119 Senior Member
    Best of luck, Sam. Your attitude sounds great and you're clearly in the fight. Get to spanking this bug and back to your writing ASAP!
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • gandog56gandog56 New Member Posts: 29 New Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    This was a new GE device and it showed color images of my heart in action. And yeah, I've got one -- sorry fans, ha ha.

    Yeah. I have a CT scan of my head that shows that yes, I actually do have a brain!
    Some people think I'm paranoid because I have so many guns. If I have lots of guns, what do I have to be paranoid about?
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Thanks for all the info and good wishes. And Dan (and others), good info. My drug cocktail has anti-nausea drugs as included in the standard treatment, so taking the anti drugs is just part of the general treatment.

    This morning (3/31) I went to the outpatient clinic of the hospital and had the "port" implanted in my left shoulder, the slightly blank zone just beneath the clavicle. This was done by my regular surgeon and this is the 4th time he's cut on me. He's awesome. I was under for about 45min and woke with zero dizziness or other adverse feelings other that being thirsty. It's late afternoon and I've yet to have any pain. My shoulder is just a little stiff. The whole experience was a snap.

    I was again impressed by the professionalism mixed with cordiality and friendliness shown by everyone, from the intake clerks to the surgeon. My treatment was superb and I have zero complaints.

    Wednesday (Apr 1) I start my chemo. I'll go into the chemo org's office and sit in a recliner for about 2 hrs while the chems are infused via my new pipeline (frakking for sure!) the "port-a-cath", so I'm taking a book and my Kindle.

    Besides the implicit boredom of the long wait, one of the drugs requires a longer infusion time, ~46hrs. So I'll be given a little shoulder bag containing the drug and a battery powered pump, which I'll wear until Friday (2 days after chemo begins). I luckily sleep very sedately and don't rattle around in bed that much, so I don't expect trouble but it will definitely be annoying. 2 days after, I go back to the clinic and have the bag & infusion needle removed.

    Chemo is performed each 2 weeks and they've tentatively scheduled 14 sessions. I'll of course be evaluated several times during the process to determine progress and perhaps effect changes in the chemo routine.

    Very good client/patient support is helping a lot. I've received plenty of info and lots of intelligent and knowledgeable feedback from everyone at the chemo org/clinic, which really helps my self confidence.

    Into the fray, dear friends!
  • Make_My_DayMake_My_Day Senior Member Posts: 7,635 Senior Member
    I didn't mean to ignore the stuff about your cancer in my last post. I think I must have skipped over it. I hope you get well soon.
    JOE MCCARTHY WAS RIGHT:
    THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS!
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,484 Senior Member
    Good luck Sam.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    I didn't mean to ignore the stuff about your cancer in my last post. I think I must have skipped over it. I hope you get well soon.

    In the previous thread I just reported on the surgery and confided to just one person here via PM. But your admitting that you had the Big Damn C led me to reveal the same here.

    We're gonna beat this bastard, pal!
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    Good luck Sam and MMD.
    I've been on a chemo cocktail since last September, with one of those ports in my chest. They said it would buy me 6 months to perhaps 1 1/2 years. But March was 6 months. And it ain't working. Still taking the chemo drug Avastin for now though.
    They told me I'd be the one to tell them when to stop chemo. But I don't know what comes next. Except Hospice comes out once a week and they put a bag of goodies in the fridge.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • JasonMPDJasonMPD Senior Member Posts: 6,532 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    In the previous thread I just reported on the surgery and confided to just one person here via PM. But your admitting that you had the Big Damn C led me to reveal the same here.

    We're gonna beat this bastard, pal!

    Best wishes and thoughts are with y'all. The C runs sparsely in my family, and hopefully it's a bullet I can dodge. It's scares the s... out of me.
    “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
  • JasonMPDJasonMPD Senior Member Posts: 6,532 Senior Member
    Good luck Sam and MMD.
    I've been on a chemo cocktail since last September, with one of those ports in my chest. They said it would buy me 6 months to perhaps 1 1/2 years. But March was 6 months. And it ain't working. Still taking the chemo drug Avastin for now though.
    They told me I'd be the one to tell them when to stop chemo. But I don't know what comes next. Except Hospice comes out once a week and they put a bag of goodies in the fridge.

    Thoughts are with ya, man. I can't imagine.

    And I opened that goody bag with my mom for my grandmother. Talk about a crappy day...
    “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 10,640 Senior Member
    Sam and Razor
    Positive thoughts and prayers heading out to you both
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Good luck Sam and MMD.
    I've been on a chemo cocktail since last September, with one of those ports in my chest. They said it would buy me 6 months to perhaps 1 1/2 years. But March was 6 months. And it ain't working. Still taking the chemo drug Avastin for now though.
    They told me I'd be the one to tell them when to stop chemo. But I don't know what comes next. Except Hospice comes out once a week and they put a bag of goodies in the fridge.

    Razor, as with some others here, my thanks to you for sharing this difficult info. I know it's not easy. But if your info and feedback can help even one other person to better face oncoming chemo for himself, your commentary has been valuable. Thanks again pal, and best hope and success to you. Keep on keepin' on!
  • Miss MaryMiss Mary Senior Member Posts: 728 Senior Member
    It is always so important for anyone facing these trials to enlighten those of us who tremble at the thought, but while we tremble we are praying for the best possible results for those that are in treatment. I firmly believe in the power of prayer so you'll find me in the "amen corner" on behalf of our extended cyber family. God be with each and every one of you. (If cyber hugs help, consider it done!) :angel2:
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Thanks to all for the encouragement and good prayers and wishes. My new report, pretty amazing actually:

    Monday 3/30 I went to the oncology lab/treatment center near the big Houston med center. The pics I posted were from their 10floor winders. I had an echocardiogram and radioisotope PET scan and everyone was terrifically nice and very skilled. This oncology group (Oncology Consultants, check their website) has large facilities all over Houston and every place I've been as yet has excelled in highly trained staff, from the clerks who check you in to the oncology docs. I've never had better clinic care.

    Yesterday 3/31 I went to Memorial Hermann outpatient for implanting of a chemo injection port (trade name Power-Port) in my left shoulder socket just beneath the clavicle. My regular surgeon performed, 4th time he's worked on me. I of course was given a general but a mild one because the implant is easy and fast -- the little disc has a teflon tube that runs into my vena cava and the disc has a penetrable membrane into which they insert the chemo needle instead of chewing up your arm veins. The implant stays till they eventually remove it. So again the hospital folks are terrific, beginning with the clerks doing the paperwork to the lab folks and the surgery team, polite and also skilled. A great confidence builder for the patient.

    So they wheel me into the surgery and I scoot over to the table -- they'd already started the IV and they asked me to take deep breaths from the mask and next thing I know I'm in recovery, a little buzzy but otherwise okay. And NO pain! Not any. Doc gave me a script for painkillers but I didn't even get it filled, and the night and this morning, still zero pain or discomfort of any kind. Is he a great surgeon or what?

    So today I'm a bit scared for my first chemo session. My gf of course is the chauffeur nowadays with t the meds making me buzzy. We get to the oncology main office and at 4 minutes after my scheduled appt I'm ushered in. The take a little blood draw, check my vital signs (BP 105/60!) and the tech/RN preps me for the chemo, giving me a list of the drugs and whatever. I struck gold because she's this totally cute Chinese gal (perfect English) and a nice kid.

    Well they start the chemo and I'm of course fearing all the nasty side effects. None! Zero zip nada, except being a bit buzzy, no pain, no cramps, none of the projected problems at all. Of course part of the cocktail includes drugs to counteract the bad side effects and I guess they worked their way.

    It's evening now and I STILL have no side effects. I'm wearing this little battery pump that will infuse one of the chemo drugs for 46hrs so I go back Friday afternoon to have the pump removed.

    I have a session each 2 weeks and I'm scheduled for 14 total sessions. Of course they will assess the results during the period to determine what to do as things go along.

    Anyway, I am blown away. I had surgery w. zero recuperative pain, none at all. And now I've had my first chemo session and have yet to receive any side effects. Of course it's early into the process but I'm very optimistic and I want to share that with everyone. If you're dreading chemo, it may not be as bad as we are led to believe -- the new helper drugs that lower the side effects seem to be working better than I have every expected. And even if I DO have side effects, I'm guessing that they won't be as bad as feared.

    The worst so far? No booze! No cold glass of IPA at Rudyard's Brit Pub! No cold Bud Lite on a hot day at the Alabama Icehouse! Eeek!
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,973 Senior Member
    Sam, so glad your experience is good so far.

    I was fortunate not to have a port. 18 days of chemo over a 150 day period = 25 needle sticks. To take my blood they would start a "hep lock" draw from it and the use it for that days chemo. My regimen was fairly mild and I had little chance of collapsing a vein. Only once sis they stick both sides, and admittedly I have very good veins, unlike some.

    The port will allow you to get drugs that might damage a vein but in your port will mix with the blood and not have that effect. Make sure to keep it clean.

    In your cocktail they might give you benedryl IV to counteract any allergic responses and steroids. The combination will help you sleep through chemo infusion and then feel pretty well for about three days. Get your chemo cocktail list and go over it. Steroids can also give you an acid stomach, so I received Zantac with it and kept some around the house.

    Feel free to ask any q's

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    I'm allergic to benedryl. I have no need to sleep during the chemo infusion -- I simply read or doze without help of drugs, or read my kindle. I can always pass 3 hrs in my recliner at home doing the same thing and so I just did the same at the chemo lab. But thanks.

    It's now about 10pm and I still have zero side effects. I'm headed to bed soon or I'll stay up and watch Zorba the Greek on TCM. A great film but I've seen it many times so it's likely to bed to read a new novel I'm going to be writing a review for.
  • bellcatbellcat Senior Member Posts: 1,780 Senior Member
    Good luck.... Will be thinking of you.
    "Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see." Mark Twain
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,387 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    Thanks for all the info and good wishes. And Dan (and others), good info. My drug cocktail has anti-nausea drugs as included in the standard treatment, so taking the anti drugs is just part of the general treatment.

    This morning (3/31) I went to the outpatient clinic of the hospital and had the "port" implanted in my left shoulder, the slightly blank zone just beneath the clavicle. This was done by my regular surgeon and this is the 4th time he's cut on me. He's awesome. I was under for about 45min and woke with zero dizziness or other adverse feelings other that being thirsty. It's late afternoon and I've yet to have any pain. My shoulder is just a little stiff. The whole experience was a snap.

    I was again impressed by the professionalism mixed with cordiality and friendliness shown by everyone, from the intake clerks to the surgeon. My treatment was superb and I have zero complaints.

    Wednesday (Apr 1) I start my chemo. I'll go into the chemo org's office and sit in a recliner for about 2 hrs while the chems are infused via my new pipeline (frakking for sure!) the "port-a-cath", so I'm taking a book and my Kindle.

    Besides the implicit boredom of the long wait, one of the drugs requires a longer infusion time, ~46hrs. So I'll be given a little shoulder bag containing the drug and a battery powered pump, which I'll wear until Friday (2 days after chemo begins). I luckily sleep very sedately and don't rattle around in bed that much, so I don't expect trouble but it will definitely be annoying. 2 days after, I go back to the clinic and have the bag & infusion needle removed.

    Chemo is performed each 2 weeks and they've tentatively scheduled 14 sessions. I'll of course be evaluated several times during the process to determine progress and perhaps effect changes in the chemo routine.

    Very good client/patient support is helping a lot. I've received plenty of info and lots of intelligent and knowledgeable feedback from everyone at the chemo org/clinic, which really helps my self confidence.

    Into the fray, dear friends!

    Sam, I'm praying my ass off for you Bro, but you sound like the model patient. I think you can do this. Anyway, my second AA sponsor has liver cancer too and he was pretty down about it when I found out I think it was last September, but the doc told him lately he thinks he just might have it licked. He looked a lot better too.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,752 Senior Member
    The wife had three portacaths over a few years....pretty handy...a lot better fishing for non-existent veins. But they can be problematic i nte long term ... the damn thing scarred her veins to the point that she ended up with Superior Vena Cava Syndrome and ended up with three stents to correct it....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • Dr. dbDr. db Senior Member Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    Thanks for being willing to share. It will help those of us who may be confronted by cancer in the future.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    The mind has tremendous power over the body in certain ways. You are going to do just fine with this because you believe you are going to do just fine.

    Or, maybe you are just too much of a tough...so and so, to let this stuff get the better of you.

    Either way, you are off to a good start and that is good news Sam.

    You stay strong. We'll keep prying for ya. :angel2:

    Yeah, thanks. This morning I had the first of what were termed negative reactions. One of my chemo drugs apparently makes you sensitive to cold stuff -- there was a list of precautions a page long, that you had to wear gloves when getting stuff from the fridge, not to drink or eat cold stuff, major irritating cautions that had bothered me.

    Well, getting up, taking my normal meds (7 little bottles in a row on the kitchen shelf, mostly my cardio maintenance stuff), I grabbed a bottle of cold water from fridge and washed them down. I had a little tingly sharp pain in the back of my throat, similar to what you get if you've got a sore throat. That was it. I then drank a Kroger Ensure w. no probs. So if this is as bad as it gets, I'm good to go.

    That little pump is a nuisance. I wear this little boxy thing (about the size of an old cassette player) w. a reservoir of the drug and a battery powered infuser w. a tube leading to my port implant. I have to of course not snag the bag or jerk on the tube but otherwise it's okay, as I'm not too active anyway.

    Funny, last night it started beeping and woke me up. My girlfriend had decided to snuggle in the middle of the night and she was lying on the pump and the tube was snagged. I got it straightened up and it stopped the beep, put the pump on the other side of the bed and the snuggling was then resumed.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    I've mentioned this before but I want to restate it because it's important w. the current political climate (the "anti-gay" law that in fact is not, all the protests, extra big push on PC, etc).

    I joked about the very pretty Chinese tech/RN I had yesterday. She was a genuine cutie, competent and fluent in English too. And I cataloged these folks:

    The other staff in the chemo room were all good ol' Texas gals, one of them black.

    My principal doc was born in Scotland but grew up here, is a big Texas footballer, played I think tight end for Texas Tech. My surgeon (an amazing doc) is Chinese. My oncologist is Israeli. The cardiologist is English. My assisting surgeon was Kenyan. My neurologist is a female practicing Muslim from the Middle East. My gastro doc is from I think Syria. The med tech guy who did my presurgical screen was a tall black guy who's flamboyantly gay or at least acts so. And all the time I'm surrounded by plain white, black, and tan Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Middle Easterners, Europeans, Africans, Aussies, you name it, we've got 'em here in our med system.

    And you know what? I DO NOT CARE!

    Here I am, central hated older white conservative protestant gun lover, and therefore I'm supposed to be the worst of the worst. But I was raised differently. My folks (and I) were from the deep corners of Kentucky and therefore supposed to be racist. But I was taught that it does not matter where you're from or you skin color or anything else. What matters is WHO YOU ARE, and how you behave to others, and whether you have goodness in your heart. And I thank my folks for teaching me that, and of course the same in my church.

    And of course I know that 99% of the folks here are 99% in agreement with me. It does NOT matter the outside -- what matters is the inside. And these folks in the hospital and oncology and other healthcare places prove it.

    Okay, rant / sermon concluded.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,788 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    ...Okay, rant / sermon concluded.

    It was a good rant, Sam. :up:

    I have experienced similar in all my care-giving duties to family members over the past few years. There are good examples and bad examples of great care/poor care in the medical field, and probably every other field. Sometimes, the minority workers are better because they try harder, and sometimes they are just good people - exactly the same as good old fashioned Texo-Americans.

    The whole bigotry issue has just become boring to me - some people I like, and some I don't, and I honestly believe race, color, religion, or politics have nothing much to do with it. Sure, I profile, just as every other intelligent person does, if they would admit it. But that is only a preliminary defense mechanism, and I easily discard it as more genuine evidence comes out, as to competence and good intentions. I can get along with anybody, if they act responsibly when acting responsibly is called for, and I don't judge everybody as if they were trying to marry my daughter.

    If anyone wants to call that attitude racism, I don't give a damn.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Excellent commentary, and much like what we all know to be true.

    Naturally I've come across a few jerks in the big picture but they were of all racial and whatever type.
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