The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

In between

That is my status right now. I am in-between the first chemotherapy round and the surgery to remove my two reduced tumors. The chemo has halted, and I am slowly beginning to look familiar in the mirror, thanks in some part to a knock-out regimen of Prednisone.

(Prednisone is a steroid. Steroids are a group of hormones with similar chemical structures. They are normally produced by your adrenal glands, located on top of your kidneys, and your reproductive organs (ovaries and testicles). Steroids help control metabolism, inflammation, immune function, salt and water balance, development of sexual characteristics and your ability to withstand the stress of illness and injury.

One of the steroids produced by the outer portion of the adrenal glands is called cortisone. It normally helps regulate the body's salt and water balance and reduces inflammation. Introduced in 1955, prednisone is a man-made replica of cortisone. The adrenal glands normally produces an amount of steroids equivalent to about 5 mg. of prednisone a day. When prescribed in doses that exceed natural levels, prednisone suppresses inflammation and can help treat a variety of diseases such as severe allergies or skin problems, asthma, arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease. Prednisone is also used to help prevent rejection of organ transplants. - from online.)

Since I am on a starting dose of 50mg, I will tell you that it also jacks the heck out of your energy (read, Ed is more frenetic than usual, and has not slept well for the past two nights) and plays havoc with all kinds of other stuff. I am supposed to wean myself down by chopping up the horse pills in the coming days, and hopefully that will put an end to the acniform rash that is on my chest and thighs - as I said, my face is clearing up already.

But there is this other in-betweenness too... the "thinking about major surgery" part. I am both excited and afraid about May 25 and then May 31. On May 25, we go up to OHSU for the pre-operative activities. I get a CT scan and its results (hoping that we find only the two smaller tumors in my liver and nothing else that appeared over the past three months), and then have another consultation with the surgical team. I imagine that this is where I hear about all the potential risks that accompany surgical intervention (like that will cause me to re-assess my decision?!?) and other stuff. Then there is the surgery itself on May 31... consciously deciding to render myself unconscious for several hours while highly-qualified and experienced doctors cut and poke around my abdominal cavity. Unfortunately, I have very clear memories of the post-operative recovery and the potential for excruciating pain. Not something that this boy hopes will repeat this time.

That's all for today. Maybe its time to do some weeding.


PN said...

Hello Ed, Wishing you peace, joy, and a great afternoon in the garden!

Jeanne Sather said...

Hi Ed--I found your blog because you had put up a link to my blog. I'd like to write a post about your blog, and then link to it if that's OK.

If you have the time and energy, please e-mail me and let me know that it is OK to write about you.



David P. Craig said...

Nothing in between about my perspective. I want you healthy & well ASAP. I know you and everyone who loves you is also just as resolved. Hope to see you for 'Tender Bar'

Dorothy S. said...

Ed, I'm in awe of your medication regime. I suffer for you, just reading it. Wish I could take all your discomfort, for at least one day, to give you a "day off" to enjoy. You certainly deserve it.