Tag Archive for Dawnette

Surgery Day…

My surgery was scheduled at Baylor Medical Center in Plano on May 22, 2012.  We arrived at 10 am & they got us into the prep room by 10:30, which I thought was a bit early given the surgery wasn’t scheduled for noon.  While they got me prepped quickly, surgery never happened at noon…they gave me my anesthesia around 11:30 a.m. & that’s the last thing I remember till they woke me up around 5 pm or so…I was in and out from there until they moved me to my room around 8 pm.

Dawnette stayed with me the first night, which was nice as I was in and out all that night in pain…I kept pushing that morphine button every 5 minutes or so…at least when I was awake!  ;o)

Believe it or not, they had me get out of bed the next morning & walk over to the chair where I stayed the entire day until it was time to go to bed.  The surgery supposedly went well, the doctor said he got everything…the cancer was about the size of a squash ball, or just a bit smaller than a tennis ball.  I guess it was one of the largest rectal cancers he’d had to remove.

That first day, Wednesday, was tough…I had a catheter where I NEVER want one again…it was incredibly uncomfortable.  They had me drinking water & chunking on ice all night Tuesday night & I guess my body adapted pretty well because around 11 am or so I heard this gurgling sound & liquid came out of the stoma.

Oh yes, I’m pretty sure I’d mentioned it already, but in most cases of rectal, colon, etc. cancer, the patient has to have a stoma (basically redirecting their bowel movements through a hole in their stomach) until the cancer area that was removed has healed completely (usually 4-6 months) and then they reverse the stoma & re-route things “back to normal”.

My situation, unfortunately, is permanent.  In the first place, was the size of the cancer…as mentioned, it was the size of a squash ball, which is quite large.  Secondly, the location of my cancer was only an inch and a half inside my rectum, so it was *extremely* low.  Lastly, the “shape” of my cancer was such that it was semi-circular.  If you think of your rectum in the shape of a cylinder, the cancer was not on the “side” of the cylinder, but it was semi-circular around the cylinder.  All of that means that my stoma/colostomy is permanent…which I’m not all that happy with to be honest…I had hoped it was only temporary.

Treatment Day 25…

Another long night…didn’t get to sleep till at least 3 again…it’s gonna catch up to me at some point.  Once I did get to sleep though, I got about 5-6 hours again.

We went to church in the morning at the Crossing where we continued our message on Authentic Faith.  Worship was very good as well.

Afterwards, we headed home & I relaxed for a bit before Dawnette & I went to Wal-Mart for the weekly fun of grocery shopping.  We finished up in just enough time to come home & put the groceries away before heading back out again to church for weekly prayer.

After prayer, we came home & made dinner & watched a movie.  Later on the bowel movements returned putting me in more pain.  I took my pills & tried to relax & get some sleep…we’ll see how it goes from here…

Treatment Day 24…

This morning didn’t start out that great…I didn’t sleep much last night…was up until at least 3 am before falling asleep.  When I finally did, I slept for about 5 – 6 hours.  But as I got up this morning I had multiple bowel movements, which caused me some serious pain.  I took my pain pills early which helped.  Dawnette & I went to pick up the Caddy at the dealership as I had some maintenance work done.

After that, Mike & Dad stopped over to pick me up so we could go to the auto show.  We picked up Jason on the way.  Dawnette was able to get me a wheel chair from her work which saved me from immense walking…

The auto show is something that we try to do yearly…kinda a Bruno guys outing, though I have taken Hannah in the past, when t she was younger.  She seemed to lose interest in cars as she got older.  Anyhow, we got to the show & Jason got the task of wheeling me, which I appreciated immensely.  Overall we had a great time – I was kinda surprised they didn’t have the 2014 Chevy Impala or the 2014 Chevy Colorado or the 2014 Chevy Silverado (perhaps those will be next year?).  It was a good time though…got to see a whole slew of new cars.

Afterwards, I came home & rested for about an hour before heading out back & working in the back yard.  I worked for about 45 minutes when Rudy came over to watch the Syracuse sweet-16 game & hang out.  We watched the game for about an hour & then ordered a pizza at Luigi’s & went & picked it up.  Got the usual…Large Pepperoni & Italian Sausage…their pizza is the best in the area, bar NONE!

Ayhow, we came home & watched the rest of the ‘Cuse game…we lost…not surprising, given our lack of rebounding, jump shots & intensity.  Oh well, it was a good run while it lasted.

Rudy left afterwards & Dawnette & I picked up around the house a bit before heading upstairs.  An eventful day that didn’t start out well, but certainly improved exponentially.

Pain: 6

The Beginning…

Let me be up front…this is going to be pretty blunt & as descriptive as possible, so if you are squeemish, you might want to hit the back button on your browser at this point.

I was diagnosed with Rectal Cancer on February 10, 2012.  It wasn’t a complete surprise.  I had joked with my wife Dawnette a couple months earlier that I had a dream that the pain I was going through was actually cancer.  Kinda interesting when you fast-forward to today.

For some background, since roughly May 2011 I started experiencing some pain…because of the location, symptoms, etc. I figured it was hemorrhoids.  I don’t get them often, but you just do the usual Preparation-H & a week or so later you’re good to go.  This was a bit different though, the pain seemed a bit more intense.  And it only got exponentially worse.

After trying the Preparation-H for a couple weeks, I eventually went to the doctor in August (yes, it’s called procrastination).  My GP (Dr. Jennifer Culver)  gave me the latex glove treatment & told me I had hemorrhoids.  After giving me a couple of prescriptions, she told me to check back with her in 30-60 days.

During this time, the pain kept getting worse…more intense and accompanied by bleeding.  Not just the usual blood-tinged stool, but it started literally dripping blood.  Bowel movements became increasingly painful as well.  The stool wasn’t hard…it was fairly soft, but it was still painful nonetheless.  It got to the point where I was sitting on ice packs to help alleviate (what I thought was the) inflammation from the hemorrhoids.

After 60+ days of no relief, I figured I would try some herbal remedies.  I ordered some Mayinglong Musk Hemorrhoids Ointment Cream from Amazon.com & that seemed to alleviate the pain, at least temporarily…perhaps “sooth” the pain might be a better explanation.  I also started using “wet-wipes” that I saturated with Witch Hazel.  That had a slight soothing effect as well.  Remember, we thought we were treating hemorrhoids.  I also purchased some Horse Chestnuts (don’t ask, I have NO idea) & Butcher’s Broom (again, don’t ask…it said it would work, so I was up to trying just about anything).

By this point, I had also started doing HOT baths with epsom salt…this also seemed to provide temporary pain relief….and then there were the ice packs…sitting on an ice pack tended to sooth what we thought were swollen hemorrhoids.

In November 2011, Dawnette & I went to New York to visit with family, go to the City (we went & saw Wicked on Broadway), etc.  On the way back (literally the day before we left), I came down with some sort of facial skin rash of some sort.  I thought we could wait it out, but the cream we bought before heading to the airport to get back to Dallas did nothing.  So on the way home, we stopped at the Frisco Urgent Care facility.  They gave me some steroidal cream & then gave me an additional prescription for my hemorrhoids.

Two months went by & I had enough…I went back to my GP (Jennifer Culver) on January 17th & had a follow-up visit, explaining to her that the bleeding wasn’t the usual blood-tinged stool, but rather, dripping blood.  She also was surprised that I was still in the severe pain I was in, so she set me up with a visit to an oncologist.

It took me nearly 2 weeks to get an appointment, but on February 30th, 2011, I met with Dr. Burlesson & got the rubber glove treatment.  He too thought it was hemorrhoids, though was concerned with the bleeding & pain.  He set me up with a colonoscopy for February 10th, 2012.

The night before was fun of course!  I delayed starting the colonscopy preparation regimine as I had bowling with the guys on Thursdays.  So instead of starting at 5 p.m. as I should have, I didn’t start until 9 p.m.  Let’s just say it made for a L-O-N-G night!  I took the stool softener pills at 7 p.m. while at bowling.  When I got home shortly after 9 p.m., I mixed the Miralax into the 64oz of Gatorade.  I started drinking 8 oz every 15 minutes.  It took effect fairly quickly…the cleaning/purging began within about an hour.  The first hour or two wasn’t so bad, but after that let’s just say I didn’t stray too far from the bathroom!  I finally finished up around 2 or 3 a.m.

A couple of hours later, we were up & headed to the facility across from Medical City Dallas.  I was a bit nervous/apprehensive, but we got there at 7:30 a.m. for the 8:30 a.m. appointment.  They got me in pretty quick, prepped me for the procedure and took me into the room.  The anesthesiologist started and I was out quickly.

The procedure itself seemed to be over in no time.  As I was awakening from the anesthesia, I remember they brought Dawnette to me where I was sent to recover.  Dr. Burleson told me that the result of the colonoscopy was that I didn’t have hemorrhoids, but it was rectal cancer.

To be honest, all this time I had been so frustrated with myself as I thought I was simply being a wuss for not being able to handle the pain from stupid hemorrhoids.  At least I knew I wasn’t being a wuss…it was something a heck of a lot more severe than just hemorrhoids!

He then told me that the cancer itself was 3 1/2 – 4″ in size (6-8+ centimeters)…the problem is that the rectum is only roughly 6 inches in size itself, so my cancer is over half the size of my rectum!  Well, that explains the ridiculous pain I am in!