Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ned – My favorite farm worker

I had my first post-treatment cancer scan this week. I was pretty apprehensive prior to the scan. For me, as I said in the previous post, even though everything has gone so well with the treatment and the operation, with the post-op biopsies being clean, fast recovery, and now feeling as fit as I ever have, there is still that lurking fear that perhaps one cell got away. That it’s moving around inside the newly modeled bronzed Adonis body that I now have, looking for a nice little place to settle down and have gazillions of children. I’m sure that fear is with every cancer survivor to some extent. And as the time comes closer to actually look inside the body to see if the children are there, the apprehension increases.
So I scuttled off to the hospital last Thursday with this tiny dark cloud of concern over my head, trying and failing to hide it with cheerful banter. The process does nothing to cheer you up either, drinking copious amounts of barium sludge (berry flavored – yeah right) and then lying in the washing machine while it exposes your insides to the world. I had the scan at 8:00 a.m., but had to wait until 11:00 a.m. to see the ologists and the little dark cloud slowly grew during the wait.
Good news however. Still no evidence of disease – NED. This is now my favorite word. It used to bring to mind a grizzled old farm worker. “Arrr, Ned lad, will e go and milk the cows, oi fancy a bowl of cornflakes for me tea”. Now it has a whole new meaning. The little dark cloud dissipates, leaving the merest wisp of concern ready to slowly grow over the next three months to the next scan.
The other big deal over the last two weeks has been the start of self-dilations. I gave you the basic details in the previous post. Last week I decided to give it a try. Before the first go, I was concerned about the gag reflex and how to get over it. So I turned to my trusty computer and innocently Googled “overcoming gag reflex”. Whoa. Good grief. Well, I suppose I should have known. I had opened a gate to some of the most interesting web sites and news groups that I have ever seen. I suppose if I’d given it some thought I would not have been so surprised, but I was.
Anyway, among all this stuff was a web site for dentists, with lots of tips on how to overcome the gag reflex. One strong tip was for a throat spray called “Snore Relief”. Meant to relax the tissues in the throat, so off I went and bought some. It does seem to work, not completely but enough. I popped the tube – it’s called a bougie for some reason – into my mouth and guided it down. It got a little way down and encountered the restriction, so I chickened out at that point. I was concerned about tearing the stomophagus that I now possess if I forced the issue. I decided to wait until I saw the surgeon and take some advice. Sure enough, he said to whack it on down, so since then I have carried out daily dilations. I’m still not all the way down yet but a little more each day. It seems to be working out well. It’s really quite unpleasant, but better than getting a general anesthetic every two weeks.


At 3:20 PM, Anonymous said...

Hi Roger,

Just heard about your victorious journey from Rashmi. Congratulations !!
What an amazing recovery!!

Hope to see you some time soon,


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