First Pit Stop

I passed the three week mark since the operation last Monday, and Wednesday I had my first meeting at the Dana Farber at SSH with the sainted Dr. Clancy.

Like all the visiting nurses I have seen the last week and a half, he told me I look “great” with the unspoken addition of “for somebody who just got about 6 pounds of internal organs removed”. I accepted it.

Evidently though, I am doing well as the scars have all healed up and I am in no pain, my appetite has started to return and I am eating better every day. I can be active with visitors for about two hours before the uncontrollable desire to nod off takes over. A 1-2 hour nap sets me up for another 2 hours of activity. Unfortunately, the cycle has no regard for night or day and I often find myself reading online at 3am before returning to bed. But even that is improving.

I can’t believe it, but I am actually getting tired of reading all day, interspersed with bouts of watching recorded “How It’s Made” episodes on TV. The days are getting a bit repetitive as I await the day I can leave the house for a couple of hours or even (dare I say) drive.

Dr Clancy answered a few questions for me:

  • No, I no longer have cancer. It was all removed.
  • I will have chemo, starting sometime in the new year to clean up any straggler cells lurking about. I am totally OK with this, but wish I could save the beard.
  • I must keep my last drain for a few weeks more at least, which is more of an annoyance than anything. I have had described to me how they remove excess fluid buildup after a prematurely removed drain, so I am happy to follow my instructions. (They suck it out with a really large needle placed in areas that cannot be anesthetized. No thanks.)
  • I should wait to get my new eyeglass prescription as he knows of several folks who complained of eyesight deterioration after a Whipple but that it reversed after they recovered a bit. He doesn’t know what the cause is, but I will wait until I am a bit built up.
  • No travel restrictions, except avoid airplanes for a few more weeks.
  • Exercise whenever I feel like exercising, but no weights for a while.
  • I am down to 165 lbs or so (I was 205 in the summer) and I have been ordered to consume all the calories and protein I can, in whatever form. McDonald’s shakes and bags of potato chips have been suggested by the nutritionist. Oh boy!

I will see the good doctor here at SSH again early on Christmas Eve next week, as he wants to spend Christmas skiing with his kids.

Kids? Family? I was under the impression that he lived in a garret above Brigham and Women’s and spent 24/7 on duty. It is kind of a relief to know that he has an outside life, but he did say that he will be in constant touch with his team and to call anytime, day or night, and he or they will respond. Amazing.

This sucks.

Our cat Sammy has been diagnosed with feline lymphoma. We heard from our vet on Wednesday, rushed him to SS Animal Hospital on Thursday for a bunch of tests and have a 45 minute operation scheduled for him on Monday to remove the offending, isolated lymph node in his neck.

This should give the little guy some clear sailing for a year or two but the recurrence, eventually, of feline lymphoma is pretty routine. Poor Betty now has another burden to carry as we really love this 2.5 year old cat and are committed to his recovery.

Everyone at the vet’s is very optimistic, so we have decided to be optimistic as well.

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