Archive for April 24, 2012

April 24th…

OK, so my apologies to friends & family that are following along.  I should have posted after last Thursday (April 19th), but it was a lot of information to assimilate.

As I mentioned, I had my appointment with Dr. Burleson to go over the surgery, etc.  My surgery is set for May 22nd.  It will last 4 hours!  Recovery time is 4-6 weeks!!  Unfortunately, because of the size, of the cancer, it’s location, shape, etc. I’ll have to have a colostomy.  A bit disappointed with that (OK, more than just a bit), but trying to go into all of this with a positive attitude, etc.

I’m trying to get my hands on the cancer pictures from the colonscopy, etc.  When I do, I’ll post more on the colostomy details as well.

Please continue to keep me in prayer.  It’s GREATLY appreciated!


BM’s: inconsistent daily

April 17th, 2012

This morning was ROUGH.  I got decent sleep last night…must’ve fell asleep around 1 a.m. & didn’t wake up until 7:45 a.m. when my Uncle Jim from Florida called.  I didn’t answer (I WAS asleep), and I went back to sleep.  I woke up about 30 minutes later as I could no longer sleep, but it went downhill REALLY fast.  Within an hour of being up, I had 4 bowel movements.  Again, for those asking WHY he’s mentionng bowel movements, it’s because it’s relative to my cancer.

I have rectal cancer, so when I have bowel movements, the stool passes in contact with the cancer on the way out…and it causes me excruciating pain.  I can usually deal with 1-2 per day if they’re spaced apart, but when I have 4 in the span of less than 60 minutes, it makes things quite unbearable.

I fought through it & took a much needed shower, which kinda refreshed me.  I then headed downstairs & fed the cat & dog & got my coffee started.  I then decided to call Uncle Jim back.  It was nice to hear from him & I really appreciated it.  The timing was good…emotionally, I’ve been dealing with quite a bit over the last couple of days, so it was encouraging.  Funny how sometimes God uses people in our lives to encourage us when we need it most.

I went upstairs & tried working for a couple hours.  At lunch time, I not only made lunch, but got dinner prepped.  Got a text last night that one of my best friends from home in Oneida, Jeff Reese was in town & wanted to get together.  I was stoked to hear that!  I hadn’t seen or heard from Jeff since we flew to NY last November (2011).  Anyhow, I prepped the polish sausage & the sweet & sour sauce that it cooks in.  I’ll turn the crock pot on around 3 pm or 4 pm & let it cook for 3 hours or so till Jeff gets here.

The plan is to just hang out, have dinner, shoot some pool & have a few drinks.  Jeff ended up coming over early & I gave him the grand tour of the Bruno household (though we forgot the upstairs) and we chatted for a bit.  Then we headed out to run some errands…needed to introduce Jeff to some Tuaco for shots / drinks while we play pool later & then we just needed a few miscellaneous items.

When we got back home, we had dinner & started watching a movie.  That didn’t last as we stopped the movie & just chatted for a bit.  We then went & shot a couple games of pool & then went back & sat down & talked some more as I needed to rest.  I had a GREAT time…it was SO good to catch up with Jeff!  He left around midnight & Dawnette & I picked up a bit & then went to bed…

Pain: 5

BM x too many to count!

April 10th, 2012

I know, I said I wasn’t going to blog daily after the chemo/radiation treatments stopped, but I find it somewhat theraputic.  I haven’t put as much medically into this as I had perhaps hoped, but a lot of it I am learning as I go.

Today seemed to go by extremely fast as I worked in the morning as usual, but took the rest of the day off (for the most part) as I had to go & get my mother from the hospital as she was discharged.  As usual, she was supposed to be discharged around Noon, but they don’t have their act together.  She had been asking them since 8:30 a.m. to make sure she was OUT by Noon as I was picking her up, but they didn’t have her ready till 1 p.m.  I didn’t want to wait int he car in the parking lot because I KNOW how doctors/hospitals are…I went into her room around 12:30 p.m. to wait with her & just be with Mom.

We chatted for a bit as I gave her some interesting news & then we walked out together around 1 p.m.  We decided that she was up for lunch, so we went to SaltGrass again for lunch.  I had the potato soup & fried mushrooms again (good!) & she had the steak sandwich that you dip in Aus Jus sauce (can’t think of what it’s called, sorry).

After an hour + lunch together, we headed to take her home (my folks are staying with my brother & his wife).  I then came home & worked for another hour or two until Dawnette came home.

From there, I made dinner for Danwnette & I & then worked on my new server build (for you fellow “geeks” out there, I am building a server with an 8-core AMD processor, 32GB of RAM, 128GB SSD hard drive along with a 2TB data drive (7200RPM), etc.  It’s going to be an ESXi v5 VM host server that I will then P2V my existing Windows SBS 2011 server here at the house to free up that system to replace mine, which is 5+ years old.  VERY excited!  LOVE to learn new things, and VMWare is something (fairly) new to me.

Pain: 5


A New Week…

So, Monday starts a new week.  And again it started with a migraine…at least it wasn’t as bad as Sundays!  Tried to get through the morning with the usual coffee regimeine & drinking water as I’m told that’s supposed to help….

Mondays for me are meetings, meetings, meetings.  Seems non-stop most of the time.  I do LOVE (ok, LIKE immensely) my job, so it makes it easier, as does the people I work with.  We must’ve had 3-4 small (<30 minute) power outages here at the house though…VERY strange.  I called TXU/Oncor & they said they were working on a service box or something to that effect, but when asked, No, they couldn’t have notified us in advance (really?  It IS 2012, isn’t it?!?!?!).

Anyhow, fairly quiet evening…had the migraine again in the evening, so I rested for most of the night.

Pain: 5

BM x 3


April 8, 2012…Easter!

Happy Easter everyone.  I’ll be the first to admit that, though while an imperfect, professing Christian, it’s not always easy to see Christ throughout this process.  Besides being incredibly painful, it’s emotionally taxing as well.  The obvious counterpoint is that I am going through NOTHING to the extent that Christ did on His way to the cross for us.  For that, I am thank ful…His birth, His life, His death and ultimately, His resurrection.  Thank you Jesus!

This morning was NOT a good start!  I awoke at 10:27 a.m. with another MASSIVE migraine.  I had never had a migraine prior to the cancer, and let me just say I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.  At least I now have more sympathy for my wife who gets them semi-regularly.  Having had 5-6 now, all I can say is WOW!  Normally she just goes & rests for several hours & hers goes away…however, I awoke to it, so that in & of itslelf is a bit unusual as far as I’m concerned.  I’m sure just like anything else, that they affect everyone differently.

I quickly remembered that Crystal was visiting with us, so I gathered myself together as quickly as possible & went downstairs.  She & Dawnette were chatting quietly, so I made my way to the kitchen & said good morning, grabbed an ice pack from the freezer & then hit the couch.

I could smell Dawnette had made some banana bread (normally I do all the cooking in the house, but Dawnette has attempted to pick up my slack throughout some of this).  For someone not normally being hungry throughout this process, it was making me hungry!

Crystal made some steak & eggs from the left-overs we had from Texas Land & Cattle the previous night.  Not too big on steak & eggs, but it wasn’t bad.  We had breakfast & chatted for a bit & then Crystal had to get going to head back to Amarillo, so we said our good-byes.

I continued to rest/ice down/relax, etc.  Dawnette & I watched a movie or two in the afternoon, did some work around the house & just really kinda had a lazy day.

Pain: 5

BM x 3

First Day after treatements…

OK, so I got some good sleep AGAIN last night.  After getting to sleep around midnight, I did wake up oncew about 5 a.m. or so to go to the bathroom & get another ice pack.  But I fell back asleep fairly quickly & didn’t wake up again until nearly 10 a.m.!  Plenty of rest, though I still felt “tired”.

After I got up, Dawnette & I went downstairs & had some breakfast (the donuts I had gotten yesterday on the way back from radiation) & watched a bit of TV.  We chatted a bit, talked about groceries, etc. & then I got dressed.

I went outside & got the mower started & mowed a portion of the back lawn.  After that, I took a look at the gate to see why there wasn’t any power.  After taking the silly thing apart, I found that a breaker had actually been tripped in the garage (wasn’t notice upon visual inspection, had to “touch” each one).  Anyhow, Dawnette put &  it back together for me & I finished up the remaining bit of the back yard.

As I did, it was about 2:30 p.m. or so & a friend came over to visit us from near Amarillo, TX.  She had left early in the morning to drive from there, to us.  We chatted for a bit & then I took a shower, followed by Dawnette.  We continued to chat some more & then Crystal did Dawnette’s hair in preparation for us going out to dinner to Texas Land & Cattle with some co-workers (David Urig & Greg Harden) & their spouses.  We got there just before 6 p.m., and though I had made a reservation, TXLC didn’t even seat us till 6:15 p.m. (argh!)

Gotta be honest, it was a great time of chatting & catching up!  Greg is coming back to our account after spreading his wings a bit on a different account & I haven’t seen Greg or David in months.  Matt Bernet was supposed to join us, but he wasn’t able to make it.  Perhaps next time!

A bit after 7:30 p.m., we left & headed home.  We had hoped to have a “Game Night” at our house, but got a lot of last-minute cancellations.  Seemed like some schmuck (me) didn’t put 2+2 together that it was Easter weekend!  Anyhow, the Giger family did join us & we chatted for a bit & we broke break together.  They brought a ” ” dish & I had made some seafood spinach dip along with a pumpkin pie, NY Cheesecake & berry pie.  We chatted for a bit afterwards before they had to leave as Gavin came down with an allergic reaction (to Jaz?).

Dawnette, Crystal & I played some bones afterwards for a couple of hours while we had some wine…Dawnette & I had some Sweet-Walter White Wine while Crystal had something that she had picked up previously.  During that time unfortunately, I had repeated, multiple bowel movements.  I didn’t keep track, but I would “guestimate” at least 6…

Because of it, we called it an early night around 11:30 p.m..  I went upstairs while Dawnette & Crystal picked up for us.  Before Dawnette had made it up, I had another 2 bowel movements.  By then, they were getting increasinly more painful.  I took my meds for the evening (a bit late), and laid down with an ice pack that Dawnette had brought up for me.

That’s about it…

Pain: 6

BM x (too many to count!)

Treatment Day 36…

Well, today was the last day.  Had my FINAL radiation treatment this morning.  I was COMPLETELY exhausted & was BARELY able to get up for some reason.  I got a SOLID 6+ hours of sleep last night…pretty sure I was out around 11 p.m. & woke up again at 5 a.m. (30 minutes BEFORE Dawnette’s alarm goes off) for some reason.  That’s 2 days in a row…kinda strange.

Regardless, I went to the radiation treatment & stopped to treat myself to a donut on the way home…also grabbed a kolace & apple fritter for Dawnette for tomorrow morning…I’ll surprise her.  When I got home, I pre-heated the oven & got the ingredients out for making a pumpkin pie.  I had stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home last night from Bowling & picked up the ingredients.  Anyhow, I also got 4 eggs started boiling for egg salad for lunch. I put all the pumpkin pie ingredients together & started the initial 15-minute bake at 425 (anyone know WHY we do this?).  By then the eggs were hard boiled, so I took them out & cooled them before taking off the shells & prepping them for egg-salad.

I went upstairs to ice down & begin working while the pumpkin pies baked.  I could smell them after the first 15 minutes…now to wait till they’re done AND they cool down.  Dawnette prefers hers warm (she’ll nuke it for 10-15 seconds if it’s cold), but I like mine cold with some whipped cream…which means I’ll be waiting until after lunch.  That’s fine…it’s worth the wait!

As I was working, I started to hear someone mowing my front lawn.  I peaked out the window & my neighbor Scott Latta was helping me out…VERY cool!  I was going to see if I was up to it on Saturday, but now I don’t have to, thank God! (we have a LARGE yard!).  I went downstairs & fixed my egg salad & got another ice pack to help relax.  Having already had 4 bowel movements this morning alone, I’m in pain needless to say.  Thankfully, not as much pain as I have been recently after the BM’s.

Having been up all morning, I finally decided to rest in the early afternoon.

As there won’t be a lot going on until my Dr. appointment in 2 weeks, I’m not sure I’ll be posting daily.  Perhaps 2-3 times a week, maybe only once a week.  Depends on what’s going on to be honest.

Pain: 5


Treatment Day 35…

Slept fairly well last night…didn’t really wake up until about 5 a.m., but then had a hard time getting back to sleep.  Dawnette’s alarm went off at 5:30 a.m., so there wasn’t much point.  I just kinda laid in bed & rested until having to get up by 7 a.m. to get ready for treatments.  Took a shower (…hopefully the LAST one with the chemo pack!) & then headed out.

Had my usual radiation treatment (only one more of those to go as well!) & then checked into the chemo side of Texas Oncology.  Went & got my blood work done as usual, then back over to the chemo side to see if I get my picc-line out.  Sure enough, they had me scheduled to get it out.

GOTTA be honest, it was GROSS!  I had only recently found out that the picc-line doesn’t just go into my arm, but goes all the way to my heart (thanks Chuck!).  Based on that, I “assumed” that the purple part of the picc-line that went into my arm was just a casing for the part that went all the way into my heart.  Nope, you know what it means to “assume”, right?  As the nurse started gently pulling it out, that sucker, purple casing & all went all the way.  I could FEEL it as she removed it…it was gross…and I don’t get grossed-out easily.  She kept pulling & pulling & pulling…well, you get the idea.  I would say it was roughly 18″ if not longer.  But it came out smooth (should have gotten a picture or kept the dang thing to be honest)…no issues.  The spot where the picc-line went into my arm didn’t even bleed.  The nurse didn’t do anything except put a small piece of gauze & tape, and that was it.  I was done.

The 5 1/2 weeks went fast in hindsight, but it didn’t feel that way as I was going through it!  I then went back out to the waiting room to wait on my appointment at 9 a.m. for Dr. Stone.  When I was called back, they did the weigh-in as usual (down to 259lbs!) & then I met with Dr. Stone.  He thought overall I was doing well and then began to go over what to expect going forward.

I’ll have 4-6 weeks off & then have the surgery.  I actually meet with Dr. Burleson in 2 weeks, on April 19th to get an update & schedule the surgery.  I’ll be in the hospital the first week of the surgery, then home on bed rest for the 2nd week.  Weeks 3-6 will continue the recovery.  So I guess we’ll find out more in 2 weeks.

Afterwards, I came home & rested/iced down for about 30 minutes before heading back out to go pick up my mother.  I was taking her to get her admitted to the hospital due to complications with her fluid build-up related to her cancer (she’s stage 4 breast cancer).

After I picked her up, she wanted to run an errand at Target in Lewisville.  She picked up some “contraband” for her stay in the hospital.  We then went to Salt Grass Steakhouse for lunch.  They have an AWESOME potato soup, which we both got & then we split some fried mushrooms (also pretty good!).

We relaxed over lunch & then I took her to the hospital in Lewisville to get admitted.  That took a bit over an hour, and around 2:30 p.m. I had a bowel movement that just through me for a loop for some reason…very painful.  I had intended on staying with Mom throughout the afternoon, but I ended up telling her that I needed to go home.  I was very lethargic at that point & felt like I was going to pass out.  What I REALLY wanted to do was lay down & go to sleep, but I had to get home…and quickly.

I drove home from Lewisville to quickly as quickly (and safely) as I could…felt like I was gonna pass out the entire way, so it was a bit unnerving!  Made it home a bit after 3 p.m. & had another BM & then got an ice pack & went & laid down on the couch & rested/half fell asleep.

Dawnette got home around 4 p.m. & we talked for a bit while I continued to lie on the couch and rest / ice down.  We watched a movie together & she made some pizza & then at 6:30 p.m. I felt somewhat rested enough to try bowling with the guys.  It was our first week of the Spring League & I was REALLY looking forward to hanging out with Chris Bardee, William Giger & James Apple.  James couldn’t make it as he had to work, but we had a good time none the less.  We won 2 out of our 3 games as well as the overall, so we got 3 out of 4 points.  I was exhausted by the end of the 2nd game, but I pushed through & finished the 3rd game…though my score suffered as a result.  It was good to see our “regular” employees at the alley…Kayla, Brittney & xxx.

I came home & got an ice pack & immediately went upstairs to rest.  I was COMPLETELY exhausted.

Pain: 5


Treatment Day 34…

Not sure what it is, but the multiple bowel movements continue & the pain does as well…just wish it would give me a break for a bit.

Slept off & on last night.  Woke up tired & got ready & went to my radiation treatment.  Came home & worked for through until lunch.  Went to Genghis Grill for lunch & then came home & continued to work.  Ended up passing out around 3:30 p.m. or so.  Didn’t wake up until 5:30 p.m.

Dawnette was already home at that point, so we talked a bit & then she went to Home Group (I was just too tired).  When she got home, she made a quick (late) dinner for us & we watched some TV for a bit before turning in for the night.

I REALLY need to rest BOTH in the mornings AND the afternoons, otherwise my body simply shuts down.

Looking forward to tomorrow…hopefully getting my pick-line out.

Pain: 5


Treatment Day 33…

5 Week Mark!  Only 3 more days to go!

On that note…I got to sleep fairly decently last night, but it didn’t last.  Fell asleep around 11pm, if not earlier…but I awoke around 2:30 a.m. or so.  Tried getting a snack of cucumbers, but that didn’t help, so at 3:30 a.m. I made some hot chocolate with milk…that seemed to work around 4:30 a.m., but Dawnette decided to wake me up around 5:30 a.m. (not gonna complain…read between the lines… ;o) ).

Anyhow, needless to say I was exhausted.  I didn’t really go back to sleep, but went to my radiation treatment as usual at 8 a.m.  When it was over, I went home & had my usual Monday morning meetings.  I was in immense pain as I had multiple bowel movements.  I tried icing it down during my meetings, but it didn’t do much to help.  I took an extra morphine & hydrocodone & that seemed to help some.

Nothing in the refrigerator looked good for lunch, and while I’m sure I’ll regret it later on, I jotted over to BK quickly to grab a burger & some onion rings.  I worked till early afternoon & then I simply had to rest.

When Dawnette got home, I was passed out until about 7:30 p.m.  I got up & did some minor chores (sweeping the kitchen, family, dining & living rooms).  That exhausted me, so I went upstairs & laid down & worked on bills, answered work e-mails, etc.

Finally around 9 p.m. I got a bit hungry, so I went downstairs & made us a ham sandwich, some corn nuggets & cucumbers in a vinaigrette mix.  We watched a movie & just relaxed until bed time…

Pain: 6

BM x 2