Thursday, July 31, 2008

Where I'm at and where I'm going

I had my first post-surgery visit with my oncologist, Dr. G, today. He went over the pathology report from surgery:

1. The tumor in my colon was 20% of its original size. It was removed (along with 10 inches of my colon).
2. All 20 lymph nodes that were removed were negative for cancer.
3. The spot that was and then wasn't in my liver really was there. It was removed.
4. The cancer cells in the liver were the same cells as my colon tumor.

Dr. G said that my tumor was/is very sensitive to chemotherapy (which is a good thing) and that I responded very well to radiation too. He also said we need to keep an eye out on my liver and that I will probably need yet another MRI in the near future.

So what's next? Chemotherapy and lots of it.

In a little over two weeks I will start a chemo regimen called FOLFOX. Every two weeks I will go in for 2 hours of chemo via an IV. Then I will be given a pump that will administer 5-FU for 46 hours. Then I get to recover.

The current plan is to do eight rounds (i.e., 16 weeks) of this. If I do "good", I may get an additional four rounds. (Lucky me!)

Dr. G says that I will probably experience nausea and diarrhea, but I won't lose my hair. Personally, I'd be willing to trade the hair for less nausea, but apparently I don't get to choose.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Okay. I have finally wised-up and enabled anonymous comments for this blog. In other words, you don't have to register to leave a comment.

'sorry I'm so slow.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Stupid bureaucrats

On Wednesday, 23 July 2008, I was all set to go home, except that the hospital folks insisted that I have a visit from a home health nurse scheduled for the following day. Well, since they couldn't seem to make that happen, I got to spend another night in the hospital. (I'm sure my insurance company is gonna love that.)

Anyway, the next day they announced that I could go home and I asked, "what time is my home health nurse coming over?" I was informed, "oh, we don't have an appointment, but she'll call you before she comes over." Yeeeeeah, oooookaaay. I believe you all. Bye!

So, Friday, 25 July 2008, rolls around and, you guessed it - no call. No visit. No nothing.

I'm a bit chapped by this. Basically, I could have gone home a whole day earlier and received that exact same level of non-care that I got by staying an extra day. Stupid bureaucrats.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Random notes from the hospital

1. My sister-in-law and brother are the best people in the world. They flew down from Chicago the day before my surgery. On the day of my surgery, Norman, my brother, went with me to the hospital for surgery while Kerry, my sister-in-law, helped Marjorie get Kyle off to school. After that, Norman and Kerry carted my family to the hospital every day, played with Kyle, and helped-out immensely. I don't say this enough, but love them both.

2. Thanks to everybody who dropped-by, sent cool stuff, or called. I really appreciated it.

3. Having a tube down your nose that sucks goo out of your stomach is not fun.

4. Waking-up from surgery is a good thing.

5. Waking-up from surgery with five different tubes going into or out of your body is not much fun.

6. Walking with all five tubes is difficult (at best). (Hospitals are very big on walking as soon as you can, even if it takes 30 minutes or more to get all of your attached gizmo's moved to an IV pole with wheels.)

7. Staples (instead of stitches) look weird and when you have over twenty of the little suckers, it looks like a freaky zipper down the middle of your belly.

8. Many nurses are bright, energetic, and proactive. Many are not. My nurse my second to last night fell in the latter category. She started her shift by telling me my blood sugar was high and that she would be back shortly with an insulin injection. Five minutes later, she came back and said, "sorry, wrong room."

9. Some nurses can be intimidated (usually the ones that are not bright, energetic, and proactive). When Nurse Wrong-room woke me up at 3:00 AM and said it was time for me to get IV's put in my feet, I yelled, "YOU GOT THE WRONG GUY. I'M GOING HOME TOMORROW!" and she backed-out of the room in less than a second.

10. IV's in your feet really, really hurt. Before my surgery, I signed-up for this study on a new blood thinner. In classic double blind technique, I got a "mystery injection" every day and only some dude in the pharmacy knew whether I was getting the standard drug or the new drug. On the last day they wanted to see how everything looked by doing a "veinogram", which involves sticking and IV in your foot, injecting dye, and taking lots of x-rays really quickly. (So Nurse Wrong-room wasn't entirely off base, but the order said to start the IV's around 8:00 AM, not 3:00 AM.)

11. Getting out of prison is easier than getting out of a hospital. When I was in the FSU Circus, we preformed a show at the Jack T. Rutledge State Correctional Institution outside of Columbus, GA. After the shows, we tore-down our equipment and loaded it in my pick-up truck. It took less than 30 minutes to have to guards thoroughly check my truck and its contents before I was allowed to leave. In contrast, it took nearly 18 hours (yes, I said "hours") for me to leave the hospital once the word "discharge" appeared on my chart.

12. Being on a "clear liquid" diet for seven days straight sucks.

13. Three spoonfuls of Cheerios will make you full if you've spent the last seven days "eating" nothing but water, juice, broth, and jello.

14. Coming home is the BEST THING EVER.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Life goes on: Pop-pop turns 97

Today is a great day because I finally got home from the hospital. But it's even more important because my grandfather was born on this day 97 years ago.

That's right people, my grandfather (who I always called "Pop-pop" for some unknown reason) turned 97 today.

That's three years short of 100.

That's way more than twice my age.

That's a whole lot of life.

Norman Randolph Lynch was born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to Irving and Charlotte Lynch, who owned a small farm near Berlin, MD. Norman was the first of ten children. He grew-up hunting, fishing, and doing farm work.

At age 16, he left home to work for a dredging company on the Delaware River. Over the years, he worked his way up from a deck-hand, to a hard-hat-diver, and to finally to a boat captain.

Norman Lynch in June 1942

Along the way, he met and married my grandmother, started a family, bought a home, and (as near as I can tell), lead a happy life.

Now, after 97 years, he's slowing down a bit: he can't see or hear very well, he needs a cane to walk, and he doesn't drive anymore. However, he's still mentally sharp and interested in the world.

I should do so well when I turn 97. Life goes on.

Finally home

So I'm finally home. It feels great to finally be out of hospital.

More news/posts once I get a little caught up.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Small hiccup

Okay, we were hoping to bring Doug home today from the hospital but that has turned out to be an adventure in itself. Alright, adventure is an understatement. It's been more of a series of unfortunate events.

We ended up going home and we're currently waiting to hear from Doug.

They won't release him from the hospital until the home care arrangments have been made but the good news is that he may be released sometime this evening, so we're hoping that he calls to ask us to pick him up.

I will post another update as soon as I know anything.

- Marjorie

Quick Announcement

First of all, I apologize for not updating until now.
Doug has been making a lot of progress at the hospital and it looks like that he is tolerating the small amount of solid food he is able to eat, so they are talking about releasing him today.

I am not sure when today but I am guessing that it will be mid afternoon.

- Marjorie

Saturday, July 19, 2008

on the loose

Doug had his drainage tubes removed this afternoon and took his third walk around the ward for the day with Kyle.

He was tired out from the exercise but he is doing better and is drinking water without the aid of a green sponge on a stick.

I mentioned to him that I had been posting updates on the blog and he told me to mention that he's still waiting for the strippers that his friend Sam offered to send to cheer him up to arrive in his hospital room.

Um, yeah...I hate to break it to you but that's not going to happen in this lifetime...sorry, babe. *chuckling*

If he's making little quips like this...then, he's definitely showing signs of his old self. :)

- Marjorie

Does this hospital gown make me look fat?

He's amazing, isn't he? He still manages to crack a smile despite the fact that he's feeling like death warmed over.

The staff got him up twice yesterday to walk around the ward and he managed to do it without stopping.

nurse: "Do you need to take a break, Mister Lynch?"
Doug: "No. I'm fine."

Yeah...fine. Understatement of the century but he's determined (okay, stubborn) to get better.

He's currently on an IV diet but we're hoping that they will remove the drainage tubes in the next day or so and Doug will be able to have a drink of water.

The sponge on a stick is nice but it gets old after a while, especially when you're thirsty.

I have had a couple of folks call the house. It looks like the hospital is restricting calls to immediate family right now but he is allowed visitors.

I checked with the hospital and apparently any time after 10 am is fine.

I forgot to mention it in the last post but you need to take "Elevator A" in order to get to the ninth floor if you plan on dropping by.

The box from Oregon (Thanks, Jonatron!) and the fruit basket from the folks at work were a huge hit....with Kyle.

I think I heard Doug chuckle when a small hand snapped out and snagged a plum before he started driving the new electric green matchbox car all over the floor and furniture.

I've been impressed how well Kyle has been dealing with his father being in the hospital.
He's handling it better than most folks would in his position and Doug is thrilled to see him.

Right now, Kyle is the best therapy for Doug and if regular visits from his son is what makes him happy, I will continue to take him.

I've noticed that Kyle can be just as stubborn as his father.

Doug keeps insisting that there are no stubborn Lynchs but I'm not buying it anymore. *chuckling*

Me: "Kyle, if you want to stay here at daycare for a little longer - that's fine."
Kyle (gets mulish expression on face): "I want to go see daddy at the hospital."

Since I need to live with these two, I am more than happy to let them have their way in this matter.

I need to go for now and get Kyle organized but I will post another update this evening once we get back from the hospital.

- Marjorie

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Invasion of the Blog Snatchers - Update on the Slack One

I just thought I would post an update to let everyone know how Doug is doing.

The operation went well and Frank was removed as well as his sneaky little friend who was found hiding on Doug's liver.

Doug is currently recovering in his hospital room and despite some discomfort, is doing well.

The doctor is estimating that Doug will be in the hospital recuperating for roughly 7 to 10 days before he can be released.

Folks who wish to send flowers, call or visit - he is staying at the Florida Hospital, Orlando and his room number is 9238.

- Marjorie

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One week to go ...

... before the operation.

Not much is going on right now - I'm basically in hurry-up and wait mode.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008, I go in for my pre-op checks (chest x-ray and blood work).

Wednesday, 16 July 2008, I get to flush my system (oh joy!) and pick-up my sister-in-law and brother from the airport.

Thursday, 17 July 2008, I go the hospital for surgery at 5:30 AM in the morning. (What kind of evil sadistic morning person schedules these things?) I'm not sure, but I'm guessing I should be out of surgery sometime around noon.

I'm not sure how long I'll be in the hospital; I'm guessing three days but it could be a week.

I'll keep you posted.