Posted by: cg00n | July 4, 2009

Bits and Pieces

I haven’t got anything very specific to blog about at present so I thought I’d just tidy up a few loose ends of things I may have omitted to mention, things I’ve figured out and news that has crossed my radar recently.

There are now enough doctors in my life that I am going to give them aliases to make talking about them easier:

  • Dr. B:  the plastic surgeon who took out the original tumour
  • Dr. C: the psychiatrist
  • Dr. D: the oncologist
  • Dr. G: the general surgeon who will be doing the perfusion
  • Dr. H: the general surgeon who took out my popliteal lymph nodes
  • Dr. J: my family doctor
  • Dr. L: the dermatologist
  • Dr. M: the plastic surgeon who did the wide excision around the tumour site

I don’t think I’ve left anybody out.  So, on Monday I meet Dr. G for the first time.  At that point I hope he can tell me, at least approximately, when he will be able to Do His Thing.  From what P has been telling me (based on her extensive web research) none of the perfusion procedures has ever gone seriously wrong and the recipients seem to be hobbling around more or less normally in 2-3 months.  I expect to be in hospital for a few days so I am stuffing my iPod with listening and viewing material.  Sometime soon I also need to call PT and ask him to give me some idea of how the recovery process works.  Since the surgeon will also be hacking out any melanoma bumps he can find I anticipate having the VONs visiting me on a daily basis for a few weeks as well.

One thing I forgot to mention was that when Dr. H called a few weeks ago she said that, based on the PET scan and the current spread of the melanoma, she doubts if anyone is going to use the word “cure” to describe my condition in future.  It’s probably here to stay.  By now I’m pretty much at the point where that is sad but OK.  I can look at the lumps on my leg and think about the future with complete equanimity.  The mindfulness practice, the visits to Dr. C and the hypnotherapist and probably the passage of time have combined to settle my subconscious – at least for now.  I’ll keep working on it.

We are looking forward very much to visits from distant friends this summer.  One of them should be arriving in a couple of weeks to spend a few days.  Her father died of cancer some years ago and she has shared some useful insights with me.  Another couple are scheduled to show up in late August by which time I might be showing signs of activity again.  The third set of visitors are tentatively expected in early August so they can expect to entertain me and generally help revive my joie de vivre (or whatever).

In other news:

  • I really feel sorry for the 21-year-old Brynessa Gradley who had surgery for malignant melanoma a year ago.  CTV news reports that:

    Young people aged 15 to 29, especially women, seem to be contracting melanoma at alarming rates. It accounts for seven per cent of all new cancers found among young men, 11 per cent among young women….

  • Apparently red meat and dairy products increase the odds of your getting pancreatic cancer, and that’s without even barbecuing the meat.
  • Also according to the BBC, it seems that an immunosuppressive drug can actually help boost immune system response when combined with a vaccine.   This may, eventually, help in cancer treatments which increasingly rely on getting the immune system to do much of the dirty work.
  • Finally, there are two articles which talk about dealing with terminal cancer.  Facing a diagnosis is  something certain people manage relatively well and as a result manage to end their lives fairly peacefully.  The Globe and Mail also talks about how this might be accomplished. Both suggest that I am making all the right preparations for the day that something or other will prove terminal.  In the meantime my mental quality of life seems to be improving even if I am declining physically.

I hope that’s all worthwhile food for thought and I wish you all the very best with your own assorted battles in life.

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