August 26, 2021. Receive news from clinical trial doc that my lymph node tumors have tripled in size, so I’m off the trial. News met with not really fun PTSD and a big helping of why me.
August 27, 2021. After receiving news of bad scans, go to work the next day and angrily throw a laminate covered board onto the table of a panel saw. Said board falls off the table and onto the back of my leg. Get cut up, but the cuts are superficial enough to be fixed with gauze, bandages and antiseptic wipes.
September 10, 2021. Get pissed off at work again, try to fix previously mentioned saw, fall down and break my leg and fracture a few ribs. Unable to fix with gauze, bandages and antiseptic wipes. Also, get kinda fired.
September 16, 2021. See orthopedic doc who confirms, indeed leg is broken. 6 weeks with crutches and a brace.
My new cyborg brace.
September 17, 2021. Attempted biopsy of lymph node tumor. I say attempted, cuz when the needle went in I apparently said “Ow!” When the doc asked me what hurt I said I felt pain all the way down to my foot. He hit the sciatic nerve, and biopsy was shelved until a later date at the hospital.
September 21, 2021. I get sick. Really sick. Like, I should call 911 sick. Holly takes me to the hospital, cuz she’s smarter than me and is concerned about internal bleeding from my fall. A CT scan and an X-ray says there is no internal bleeding, but one of my tumors is pushing up against my ureter, and there’s a concern for kidney issues. Ultrasound of my kidneys scheduled for next week. No idea why I got so sick.
September 23, 2021. Routine blood and vitals check at clinical trial place.
September 24, 2021. Get call from doc that my troponin levels are abnormally high. I ask, what’s a troponin? He tells me that it’s a heart enzyme that indicates a possible heart attack. He asks me if I’ve recently had chest pains or shortness of breath. I tell him no, I feel fine. (I get asked this question about 4 million times over the next couple of days. That may be a slight exaggeration) He tells me I need to go to the ER. I ask when. He says right now would be good. So Holly takes me to the ER for the second time that week. After many tests, it’s determined that I have to stay overnight for more tests. Good times.
(Side note- My doc called the ER before we got there to make sure they knew a possible heart attack was on the way. After checking in, they wheeled me into the waiting area, and it was packed with lots of unhappy people. After a couple of minutes my name was called, seemingly jumping over everyone in the room who were waiting God knows how long. As I was leaving, I attempted a joke by saying it helps to call ahead. This joke was met with icy stares and rolling eyes. What can I say, comedy is subjective)
September 25, 2021. After waking up in the hospital, I’m wheeled down to the basement for CT scans, a stress test, an ultrasound, and two more CT scans. All with a broken leg and broken ribs. After all these tests, at 11:30am, I am told by the PA for the cardiologist that my heart is fine. So I go home. No reason given for high troponin levels.
(Side note #2. At this point my deductible for my health insurance plan has been met, and all the costs for everything is being paid by said insurance plan. The bean counters at Priority Health have to be asking themselves, “What the hell is going on with this guy?!” Which, when I think about it, makes me smile.)
September 28, 2021. Ultrasound of the kidneys. Apparently, no need to panic on that yet. Plenty of time for panic later.
October 4, 2021. Second attempt for a biopsy of lymph node tumors. Biopsy successfully completed. And the people rejoiced. (Yay)
October 7, 2021. Scan day for new clinical trial. For those scoring at home, this is my 6th CT scan in less than a month. One for my ribs, 3 for my heart and now one for my naughty bits. Wait, that’s only 5. Sorry, math is not my subject.
October 8, 2021. Yet more blood tests and vitals taken for clinical trial that starts on Monday. Nurse can’t find a vein, major pain, and for the first time, I totally lose it. I say stuff like I’m done with all this, I just want it to stop, blah, blah, blah, get angry, cry and generally make a very embarrassing scene. Cancer nurses understand, they’ve seen it all before, but it’s embarrassing and I feel really stupid. They make an appointment for me with my psychologist, and they worry that I’m gonna off myself. I tell them I’m not that dramatic, if I wanted to kill myself I would just quit going to doctors and let it happen. They seem unconvinced, and I get a follow up call later that day to make sure I’m not sticking my head in an oven.
October 11, 2021. Start new clinical trial, which is 7 pills a day taken all at once. I get to sit through a 7 hour appointment which consists of many vitals checks and blood draws to make sure I’m not gonna stroke out or that my blood starts to boil. Thankfully, neither of these events occur. (Yay)
October 12, 2021. More blood tests and vitals.
October 13- present day. Many more blood tests, many more vitals checks, I go back to work on a light duty job, (no longer kinda fired) the clinical trial is like chemo, with all the wonderful side effects like bad tasting water, and weird tasting food, get sick a few times, miss a few days of work and feel pretty much like shit all the time. Throw in some marriage stress from all these good times, and yeah, it’s been a bit of a struggle.
(Side note #3. The amount of stress that all my health issues put on my marriage is a bit horrific. Puts the whole “In sickness and in health” vow to the ultimate test. Pray for Holly, please.)
There’s more, but frankly, you get the picture.
As we head into Thanksgiving week, I’m thankful for my wife, my kids and my family and friends. You get to listen to me cry and bitch and moan, and I just want you to know that I appreciate you people more than you will ever know. The past couple of months have been the most challenging ever, and without you I would have probably just quit. A special thanks to my friend Jim, who is always there for me with a funny text, and listens when I have nowhere else to turn.
And also thanks to you, dear readers, for the encouragement you give me for reading these rather indulgent goofy blogs. Especially this one.
Thanks for reading.