Friday, March 30, 2012

Node Negative

I took a nice two weeks off after my surgery and received my pathology results when they took out my stitches on Tuesday.  The node biopsy came back negative.  So it is back to close full body skin checks ever 3 to 6 months and some follow-up visits with the oncologist, but I'm hoping that we beat this fucker back once again.  I'm sure it will never be gone, and may be what eventually kills me, but I will fight it to the end, collecting scars along the way.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Under the Knife

Yesterday was a few firsts for me.  I had my first IV, my first anesthesia and my first (and hopefully last) sentinel node biopsy.  It was along day, but hopefully we have done what was needed to stop this melanoma again (at least for a while).

We headed to Bethesda early around 0500 and arrived in good time and found good parking.  I spent four hours in Nuclear Medicine as they injected some radioactive stuff in me and waited to see which way my lymph system moved the shit.  At first it wasn't appearing to move by after several pictures and procedures, they had the data they needed to proceed.  This was the most painful part of the day.  Keeping my arms above my head, even laying down, and not able to move at all to get comfortable became very painful.  After the last procedure, both my shoulders were completely numb.

Back to the APU then to the Pain Center.  Here I was prepared for surgery.  An IV was put in and I was given a block in my arm and armpit.  The block was weird.  As soon as it went in, I lost all feeling and use of my right arm.  It felt as if my arm was resting in my lap, but it was actually falling off to the side.  Weird.  The Intern tasked with setting up my IV was very nervous.  He was actually shaking as he tried to get the needle in my vein.  I am always a challenge when getting stuck.  I felt sorry for the young lad.

To toe OR and after a few breaths into the mask, I was gone.  I came to feeling as if someone was lifting my legs every 30 seconds or so.  It was actually a compression system that kept my blood flowing out of my legs.  I had just a little pain in my armpit and my arm was still a little numb.  After a while I was moved to the APU and Lisa came in.  I recovered nicely after a small bout of nausea as I moved into the chair.  Ginger Ale helped and I munched on my first food of the day, graham crackers. 

I took my required pee, got dressed and we were headed out sometime before 1900.  Quite a day.

We got home and I camped out on the couch while my baby babied me.  I fell asleep after eating a sandwich and went to bed with a few welcome Percocet. 

I slept ok and am doing well today.  I'm trying to schedule my follow up appointment now where I get the pathology results and they check out my incisions.  It looks like they only took out a small piece of my tattoo and they didn't cut out Brandi's name. 

Let the healing begin...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Simple Woodcraft

sim·ple /ˈsimpəl/
Easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty.
wood·craft /ˈwo͝odˌkraft/
Knowledge of the woods, esp. with reference to camping and other outdoor pursuits.
I like to keep things simple. When it comes to my woodcraft, I like to keep that simple too. When you think about it, all you are trying to do when you are in the woods is to simply continue on.
I love being in the woods. It is where I am most comfortable. I get a sense of well-being when I walk down the trail and the cover of the woods envelopes me. I feel as if I have come home.
I am by no means an expert. I am not here to dictate the one way a thing is to be done. The purpose of this column is to bring you along on a little hike with me. Maybe start a fire and talk about the things that can be done out here, simply, that make being in the woods a positive experience.
I hope you enjoy our time in the woods.
I'll see you out there...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

An Opportunity

I have been asked by an Internet friend if I would like to write some articles about survival for a magazine he is hoping to launch. I said yes. I will be calling my column Simple Woodcraft.

Easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty.

Knowledge of the woods, esp. with reference to camping and other outdoor pursuits.

I will hopefully write short informative pieces on the things I like to do out in the woods by my home, or on the trail or where ever I go into the woods.

I have started a list of ideas, but have yet to get started on any one piece. I'm still in the brain storming stage.

The first thing I will write is an introduction to myself and what my column will be about using the definitions above and expanding on how they fit into my way of doing thing.

Wish me luck...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

What a Week...

This week has been one for the books. It started out OK. Lisa left on Monday night for Philly where she was flying down to Florida with her father and sister to have some family vacation time. On Tuesday, I braved the sucky outer loop to get to Bethesda for my oncology appointment. I left with two hours to spare, but of course there were two wreaks on the beltway and I ended up using an alternate route to get there. It still took a while, but I saved some time by going around.

That appointment went well, but it was a long day. After talking with the oncologist, we scheduled my surgery for the 15th of March. They are going to cut all around the spot on my arm and then stitch it up. I may lose a little bit of one of my tattoos, but I would rather be alive. After scheduling the appointment I spent about 3 hours doing the pre-op stuff, which was mostly waiting to be called in.

Earlier that week I had found out my Aunt Collette had suffered a stroke while in WV for my cousin's baby shower. She was in a hospital in Fredrick, MD and I found out Wednesday morning that she had passed.

The rest of Wednesday and Thursday was OK as well. I had my physical therapy on Thursday and on Friday I headed to Severna Park for our weekly wallyball league. On my way home I got a call from Lisa that Shauni and her boy friend had been hit by a car while crossing the street and the asshole left the scene. They only had some bruises and scratches, but it was scary none the less.

Today is Saturday and the week is almost over. What will next week bring.

Tomorrow morning I head to PA for my godmother's funeral. Let's hope that week is a better one.