Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hi guys

I'm typing this from my hospital bed. Had surgery last night to remove a bunch of lymph nodes. This will make it more difficult for the cancer to metastasize and they will be able to do a histological examination of them to see if there are any occult or micrometastases that got missed by all the PET scans and whatnot. The doctor came in a few minutes ago and said that the nodes had checked normal on the initial microscopic scan in the operating room, which is a very good sign. It will take a week to ten days to get the pathology report back. Meanwhile, this is the first surgery I've had since having my tonsils out when I was four that they've taken anything out. I didn't even get my wisdom teeth out.

I feel better than I expected though, and even with all the tubes and things slept pretty well, if intermittently. It hurts quite a bit but there are these wonderful new things they've invented: pain killers, that are making things better (if not any easier to type) and I'm not entirely de-tubed yet. And even when I get home, I won't be running any marathons or lifting weights for a while, and I've got a friend coming to stay with me for a bit to help out. So all in all, it's been a good first step and the initial prognosis continues to look good.

Next, if the lymph nodes don't show any signs of cancer cells, I'll be doing chemotherapy next to shrink the tumour prior to conservative surgery. Which, in a weird way, I'm kind of looking forward to. I suppose there are easier ways to be interesting, but meh...I'll be taking the money I was going to spend on getting my hair done and buying a couple of hats instead.

Thank God Italian hospitals don't go of their way to make their patients miserable. In English hospitals, they don't let you have your computer or even a cell phone. Way to increase patient stress, guys, cut them off from their friends and loved ones. Good work there.

But I've been working up an essay on how the Anglo medical world has devolved into exercises in misanthropy, so they make up arbitrary rules to make sure that happens. They hate people and want them to be miserable. Italians like people and want them to be happy so they let you have your stuff with you.

I'll likely be out of commission for a week or more, but, well, it IS cancer, after all so, you know...

11 comments:

Barbara said...

Hi Hilary,

Am so glad to hear from you and get the (cautiously) positive news. Also very glad you are past the panic attacks, being treated kindly and feeling fairly comfortable.

Please continue to keep us posted in your usual, engaging manner.

Continued best wishes and many prayers.....

Jon said...

Regarding the stuff, in American hospitals they tell you that your cell signal might interfere with the monitors. Yeah, like my iPhone is gonna crash the plane.

But if you can get your wife to look the other way, ahem, and you have some skillful smugglers among your gentlemen friends, sometimes you can even get a sip of...mmmm...beeeeeer.

JamesP said...

Praying for you..

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Yes, I will forever now tell any staff member of any US, Canadian or UK hospital that Every. Single. Person. in an Italian hospital has and uses a cell phone constantly. All the patients, all the nurses, doctors and staff. Their "interrupts the monitors" excuse has been completely busted. And you may tell them so.

DP said...

Glad to hear you're off to a great start. Prayers continue.

Gary said...

Good news indeed.

Continuing to pray for you.

Seraphic said...

I had been wondering...! Glad you're okay, if covered in tubes.

Edward Spalton said...

Hilary,
You will be specially mentioned in our Church's prayers on Sunday.

I don't think it's so much active misanthropy in the English system as sheer bureaucratic, box-ticking, official indifference (resulting in misanthropic effects). Since hospital management was taken out of the hands of doctors in favour of managers and (more recently) nursing became an all-graduate profession, I have noticed the decline in simple humanity, exchanged for "meeting targets".

At a hospital near us in Staffordshire, it is estimated that 1200 patients died from neglect over a few years. Some were in such desperation from thirst, that they had to drink the water in the flower vases near their beds. Yet that hospital was meeting all its targets to acquire "foundation status" - a greater ability to manage its own affairs.

The British National Health Service is usually good, often excellent - but, when it is not, your are stuck. It is a monopoly where nurses and doctors are frightened to speak out for fear of losing their jobs and not being able to get another.

God send you a good recovery.

JPSonnen said...

Good luck and prayers!

Dominic said...

Prayers for you.

(huh. The captcha is "hated". That's quite, quite, wrong)

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Hilary Jane!

I'm glad the preliminary examination of the excised lymph nodes has been so satisfactory. Hope it continues like that for the rest of your treatment. Will pray for you.

Sincerely, Sean