Story 03Dec2021: Cancer

It is hard to type the word “cancer” today. I do not want to upset folks or ask, yet, for help. I want to keep my blog writing honest and record my experience (the parts I believe my audience would wish to know and I am comfortable writing). So I will discuss my new personal journey that began six months ago when the unexplained bleeding started.

There was no actual start of Friday. There was no sleep as all the prep for the colonoscopy had to be done almost around the clock. The details of that I will not cover.

I picked up Wayne Weld-Martin in Air Volvo, and we drove to Portland. There was some traffic at 6:30ish into Portland, but I still took the tunnel. I parked the car on the street and paid Kitty Park, an app for parking in Portland. Wayne would have to wait in the car as waiting rooms stays are not allowed in a Covid world.

I will leave out most of the details of the process I remember, but I will cover that I had the fastest and least painful IV in my hand before I even knew it.

I have to admit I was scared of the Endoscopy (throat). I fear breathing issues as I have had terrible dreams when having an asthma attack while sleeping. I tried to stay calm, and the calming drug they gave helped. My last action before I faded was a thumbs up, despite the fear, to the staff that got a relieved look from the team.

The anesthesia was Propofol, and I recognized the name, but at the time, I could not remember why. Also, they injected a local anesthetic to prevent me from feeling the burning of Propofol. I remember the room fading out and losing definition, and then it was over.

My recovery from Propofol was fast. I did not feel ill nor that fuzzy-headed thing. Instead, I felt a bit washed out. I could function, but I suspected a complex question would mystify me. I dressed and was done, and Wayne drove us to Sherri’s, piloting an unfamiliar but easy-to-drive Air Volvo through Portland traffic (outbound) without issue.

The news from the procedure was poor. A large mass, likely cancer, was nearly blocking my colon. I would need a referral and would receive confirmation of the cancer diagnosis in a few days. This fits with my expectations.

I had breakfast with Wayne and then went to sleep at the house for a bit. Trying to clear the lack of sleep, process the cancer news, and get over the Propofol.

Note: My memory was that Propofol was in the news was correct. I was trying to remember the report about using the drug in executions in the USA. But according to a Google search, it has never been used for executions as Europe and other countries threatened to ban the drug’s import if used for executions. I did not remember the execution controversy at the time of my intake of the drug–That would not have impacted my calm, but it makes my experience relevant as I understand the process now.

It was hard to do much, and I was banned from travel, so I called the hospital twice. I even spoke to Susie on the phone. It was hard to understand some of her words, but she could handle a phone–and that is an improvement! I told her I made it through the procedure without issue. I left out cancer discovery as that would be best to cover in person. The nurse said that Susie was having a good day and was not eating enough. I see I am needed and will return on Saturday.

Jeff and his assistant continued their work on the remodel of the bathroom. The tile was installed on the floor and will dry this weekend. They will return next week to finish the job.

One detail on the work is that the floor and wall tiles are larger. This is more economical, has a more straightforward design, and helps with fundamental decisions. The seat in the shower is one tile wide, for example. The interior of the shower, in this photo painted black with waterproof paint, and the baseboard tile will be done after the floor is dry.

Returning to the story, I ordered a gyro from Gryo House, delivered. I could only eat about 1/2 of it. I ordered hummus and bread with it, and that filled me up. I will pick up some more flatbread and eat this for Saturday night’s dinner.

The gastroenterology called me and let me know that a CT scan was ordered and I could schedule it now. I was sort of amused that it was up to me, slightly simplified by drugs, to schedule. So I called the CT folks at Legacy and will have to cut my visit short on Monday with Susie to get a CT scan in the same hospital that evening. Done.

My doc messaged me after I messaged him and called, asking the simple question, “what now, doc.” I have a referral and the name of the next docs and will contact them on Monday to begin the voyage in earnest. In the note from my doc, he explains that the CT scan will determine the amount of spreading, if any, of my newly discovered cancer. Doc was reassuring:

I am sorry that you and Susie are going through this at this time but we will get through it –
Dr. B

Dinner was late as details still escaped me, pizza delivered. While eating, Corwin and I enjoyed the HBOMax show, Warrior. Corwin had not seen it, but he really liked the show. I have described it before in this blog and thus will just write a few words about it. It is a near-all-action wire-fu show set in the conflict between nearly super-powered Chinese folks and the exploitive 1878 San Fransico Americans. With all the sex and violence of Game of Thrones recast into wire-fu and the old west. Pizza, chicken with bacon on a ranch-style sauce, from Dominos delivered about 9:15ish.

The Smiths are all in New York City and called me just to chat about NYC and their trip. Their call was a nice distraction from cancer news. They had gone to a Turkish place in the Upper Eastside and had my fav of Turkish coffee with Turkish delight and other desserts. I was wondered about the time of the call, near midnight in NYC on a Friday night, and they did not seem tired. Yes, Turkish coffee. It was nice for them to remember me and NYC. I do miss NYC and the Smiths (plus Jason).

I managed two episodes with a massive headache, went to bed too early, and slept until 6:30 AM.




3 thoughts on “Story 03Dec2021: Cancer”

  1. Dear Michael,

    If you need an help, please let me know. I live in Southern Beaverton and happy to drive any time to help. I’m so sorry. You are not in this alone.


  2. I’ve had two cancers, the last a continuation of the first. I survived even the stage 4, but took really good care of myself as long as I could. Walking every day & yoga practice several times a day. Good diet also, although I did lose 12 pounds. I believe you’ll do just fine, Mike. You have a lot to live for and many prayers coming your way.


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