Monday, January 2, 2012


I called my sister today.  It's not something I do willingly.  She's the keeper of the family archives.  What does that mean?  If you want to know who has died, who is in the process of dying or who is really sick, talk to Honey. I had to keep her in the loop.

I called her when the doctor thought I had a stricture of the esophagus. I told her that the doctor was going to put a scope down my throat and with either a balloon or an expansion device in the scope itself, expand my schatzi ring so that I could swallow better.  The scope had a camera in it. It also had a device to take tissue samples.  The camera showed an esophageal mass. The tissue samples came back, as the next doctor said... "I'd be surprised if the results aren't cancerous."

I was a carcinoma.

Next I had a PET scan.  That's were they injected me with radioactive fluoride to take pictures of my throat and upper GI.  It showed an area which I, in layman's terms, call scarring from stomach acid backing up through my diaphragm into my throat. Couple of years ago, I had trouble with acid reflux late at night.  Various over the counter medications would help, but finally I started taking Prilosec.  My personal physician suggested in addition, that allergies to cat and dog fur caused an inordinate amount of fluid to be passing down my throat. That fluid told my stomach to send out more acid to digest what is essentially protein. She suggested regular use of an antihistamine to stop the drainage.

Now, I've got a diagnosis and tests that bluntly say throat cancer.  If that isn't enough, I run into a man last week at the Amish farm who's had throat cancer . He speaks oddly because he's had most of his larynx and vocal chords removed. I find out late that he's been given 6 months to live. Freaks me out.

Honey, my sister tells me Uncle Bob had throat cancer and oh, yeah, Uncle John up in Eau Claire had his voice box removed.  In a sidebar she says both lived years after that.  Hard to remain upbeat after talking to my sister.  She means well.  Even when she goes into a small tirade about her son who is my namesake.  He broke up with his girlfriend.  She goes on to explain about the girl friend's thieving ways, her drug addicted son and the girlfriend's alleged affair with a neighbor.  All this is edited for brevity. Now you can scrape me up off the sidewalk with a putty knife.  If I were just depressed, I call that being a Happy Camper.

Since November 1st, eating and drinking are difficult.  I have more tests scheduled at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.  When on Christmas Day, I can neither eat or drink anything, I get worried, wait 24 hours because of the holiday and call the nurse in the gastro-enterologoy center in LAX. It takes her more than a day for her call back and say, " there's nothing we can do", i.e. get me in Mayo faster, prescribe medication, nada.  She suggests going to emergency, if I have a problem swallowing.  My personal physician says to by-pass LAX and go direct to emergency in Rochester if there is a problem.

On New Years Day the cycle starts over. I can't swallow fluid or eat anything  Tomorrow, in Rochester, I have the first appointment which is considered a "consultation". The Mayo Clinic operates under the assumption that I'm wealthy beyond means. That means I have tons of money for staying at a motel for the the endoscopic ultra sound scheduled for the next day.  I have people taking care of Mandy and the Pooch.  By the grace of God, number one son scheduled a visit after the holidays.  Little did we know then, that we'd need him to hold down the fort, so to speak.

As I write this, every so often I go to the kitchen for a drink of water or some juice.  I get temporary custody of the water or juice and, now,  know what a horror, Princess Diana's bulimia was.  I gave up on food and avoid the cooking shows on TV.  I've left off the comedic parts of the whole story. I'm 20 pounds slimmer, but don't recommend this as a diet.
Because I might start to get dehydrated if one of my guardian angels doesn't step in soon like he/she did toward the end of Christmas Day and allow me to swallow a bite of sauteed ground beef patty,drink some water, I'll demand that they start me on an IV in the emergency room after a two a a half hour drive to Rochester tomorrow. The rest is up to God.  I don't have a laptop so, I'll be offline a bit. Say a prayer. Thanks. Love ya.


T. Roger Thomas said...

I'll certainly keep my fingers crossed for you.

I hope everything goes well.

sAm said...

Prayers are on the way. I'll be thinking of you & am sure all will go well.

okjimm said...

Oh Shit!
Just get better. Ok... that's an order. No ifs ands or butter beans about it, see.

Gavrillo said...

Wow. TRT. Thanks, thanks all. So good to hear from you sAm, you're still out there!!!
Jim, I need your humorous slant on the nature of things.

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