Tag Archive for Dr. Burleson

Release Day…

On Saturday I was told that even though initially I was to be in for a week, that I had progressed well enough to go home on Sunday.  Though still in pain, I was glad to be out of the hospital!

Dr. Burleson checked me over mid-morning & confirmed that I could go home, so I called Dawnette & gave her the news.  She came up within about an hour or so & I filled out the paperwork & they wheeled me down to the waiting Caddy.

We had a friend in the hospital (Centennial Medical Center in Frisco), and even though I was supposed to go straight home, we went & saw her for about 20 minutes or so to see how she was doing.

That 20 minute detour was pretty rough on me believe it or not.  I got home & got settled into the downstairs guest bedroom & fell asleep…and I don’t remember much after that!

STILL no bowel movement through the stoma though, which was beginning to concern me as that meant that starting with the liquids on Thursday & solids on Friday, Saturday & Sunday, I STILL hadn’t had anything come out of the stoma (other than air or “gas”)…

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

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


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!