Well, today, I will be having minor surgery at Inspira Medical Center, Woodbury.
My surgeon, Dr. John Erbicella, the guy who successfully removed that nasty fistula on my colon back in June, will be implanting an infusion port just under my left clavicle.
I thought this port would be a visible doodad poking through my skin, some kind of plastic knick-knack. It’s not. It is embedded under my skin. When I start chemotherapy next Monday at MD Anderson/Cooper in Voorhees, under the watchful eye of Dr. Marjan Koch, they will theoretically just stick a small needle through the skin into that port, making the infusion of the chemo much easier.
So, I’m ready. I have two, count ’em, two different nausea medications at the ready in case the chemo makes me nauseous. I have instructions about taking my temperature on a regular basis, staying very hydrated, when to call the doctor, night-time 24-hour phone numbers, and so forth.
Chemo might make me sick. Might make me very tired. Might cause my hair to fall out — even though I usually shave my head, I could lose my bushy eyebrows. (I read in the chemo instructions that some medical insurance pays for a wig for patients who lose their hair. I’ve been having fun asking people what kind of wig I should get. The answers range from Beatles’ hair to Harpo Marx wigs.)
So, I don’t have any idea how chemo is going to affect me.
The notion is that after six months, the doctors hope the cancer on my ureter and bladder will have shrunk some. Then, we’ll consider surgery that would remove my non-functional left kidney, the ureter and my bladder. THAT sounds like even bigger major surgery than what I went through in June.
But February is six or so months away. Who knows how things will go until then.
I know some of my readers have been with me for many, many years. I’ve always been honest about my life, so I feel obliged to share everything that’s happening with all of you.
I have an incredible support system, scores of people who have offered help or rides or prayers, all the things I will be needing. It makes me feel exceptionally lucky.
So, buckle up, my friends. This is going to be one helluva ride!