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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Neck Surgery Update - Try Again

Today is Saturday, February 12, 2011, and I am finally writing to bring this blog up to date. The last chaotic jumble of posts can be referred to or ignored, but I'll try to recap here.

Carl's Angiogram
with embolization procedure done at Froedtert on Friday, Jan 21, 2011. It was a long day and a long procedure that attempted to kill off blood supply to the tumor in his neck, and the Doctors felt it went well. Carl remained in the hospital through the weekend, and on Monday, Jan 24, 2011 Carl had a surgery to de-bulk the tumor in his neck and to stabilize his neck. Monday was a long day and a long procedure, and the Doctors felt it went well. Carl stayed in the hospital a few more days and came home from the hospital late Wednesday, January 26, 2010.

Carl has been mostly staying at home and trying to recover from the surgery. He has been in a lot of pain at times, and takes a lot of pain medication. Carl takes 60mg of Oxicontin, (a long acting pain pill) twice a day, and he takes 10 mg of Oxicodone between these doses for break through pain. He takes a version of Valium to relax the muscles, up to four times a day.

Carl didn't have to return to the Medical complex until Monday February 7, 2011, when he had three appointments: 9:00AM with the Oncologist, 10:20AM with the Radiation Doctor, and 11:30AM with the wound check people. The wound check lady removed the stitches in the back of Carl's neck. The meetings with the Doctors were surprisingly unenlightening. (A friend once told me that with cancer you have to remember that every Dr. meeting is not going to answer all your questions, or even tell you a whole lot. There is no great answer at the next appointment.)

On Tuesday,
February 8, 2011, Carl went to work for about four hours. He felt good about getting out of the house and going to work. (I drove him both ways. Carl won't be able to drive for weeks)

On Wednesday, February 9, 2011, Carl went to work in the morning, and then I drove him to a 1:10PM CT simulation appointment in radiation oncology.

On Thursday, February 10, 2011, Carl had a 9:00 AM MRI appointment in radiation oncology. Carl's pain, usually bad, was even worse today. It was wincingly bad, and so while Carl got his MRI I tried to get appointments to address the pain. The Oncologist could see him at 12:30 that day, but recommended we contact the surgeon. At around 10:00 AM I call the surgeon, and they made an appointment for Carl to see them at 12:00 noon the same day. We were in the surgeon's office at noon, and the surgeon reviewed the mornings MRI (which were taken from angles appropriate for Radiation planning, not the angle the surgeon was used to). The Surgeon then ordered an X-ray which Carl had 20 minutes later. At 12:40 we were back in the Surgeon's office. He studied the X-ray and indicated that the mechanical parts placed in Carl's neck were not in the right position, a plate had slipped and a screw was out of position. He said we should have that fixed in surgery on Monday, was that OK? Carl just kind of stared at the guy numbly. The surgeon was good. He said let's schedule the surgery time to hold the time slot and you can decide later whether or not to do the surgery. I said, Carl, your going to go along with this, right? (and probably some more things...) and Carl agreed he had no real choice. (We could edit that to "Carl agreed"... but I am not sure either edit defines the real moment)

So... Carl will once again undergo neck surgery, this time on Monday, February 14, 2011, Valentines Day. Sigh....

The rest of Thursday afternoon included a pre-op appointment and expediting a CAT scan through both insurance and the hospital, and we were home by 4:00PM. Carl went home in pain, (not really numb, was he?) and so both Carl and I will just keep going.

Carl is like a exotic sports car - He's finicky. He needs a custom tune-up.

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