Here we go again!


Just got the news—another TACE! And this time, maybe they will actually be able to give me some general anesthesia! All that “Exhale and…don’t breathe….don’t breathe…don’t breathe…don’t breathe” stuff! I was turning blue! “Sometimes, they forget,” admitted Christie, the leggy nurse-practitioner who spoke with me afterwards.

The good thing about general anesthesia is that I don’t have to struggle to restrain from breathing. They can just stop that hissy-wheezy pump-air-into-my-lungs thing for as long as they like, and I won’t feel any distress at all!

Oh, wait…. “Sometimes they forget.” Maybe I should draw a big sign on my leg saying: “Remember: I WILL DIE WITHOUT OXYGEN! Turn on the hissy-wheezy thing!”

Other bad things about TACE:

  • They have to shave your groin on one side. I’m not a “Oh, no! My bikini area is an absolute jungle! Better get a wax” kind of guy.
  • Last time I got a bruise the size of Rhode Island. I suppose when someone punches a hole in your femoral artery, that’s the best you can expect.
  • Nursing assistants who look straight out of high school will be inspecting your ‘private area.’ I guess they have to make sure all my male parts are still there. “Sometimes they forget…”
  • I’ll have to spend the night in UAB Hospital, stuck in bed with nurses waking me up all night to make sure I’m still alive. And there was that bitchy male nurse who didn’t like me. The last person you’d want ramming a catheter up your ding-a-ling so of course, that’s just what he did. Murphy’s Law, more reliable than the Law of Gravity.

But on the plus side:

  • UAB Hospital is kind of nice. Most of the staff are perky and so friendly! The rooms are pleasant. And instead of having to eat whatever a nurse brings you on a tray, you can order your bland, tasteless hospital food from Room Service. And insurance pays for it all! “I’ll have the ratatouille niçoise, s’il vous plaît!”
  • Oh, and I almost forgot: This might actually get rid of that blasted tumor once and for all!

Keep those cards and letters coming, and keep me in your prayers. Or if you prefer, conduct a bizarre, orgiastic Wiccan ritual to send the Goddess’ healing power my way; I’m flexible.

Till next time, “May all your showers be golden!”

The Radiologist Sees All, Knows All

A CT Scanner.
Well, I went back to Kirklin Clinic for my 3-month follow-up, and dang if that darned tumor isn’t growing again. TACE didn’t stop it, ablation didn’t stop it. I think this time they are going to try hoodoo to get rid of it. Whatever they do, I hope they do it quickly. My insurance deductible and max out-of-pocket are paid through July, and for good measure I’ve persuaded the hospital to give me a break and consider me a charity case. (If I’m not, nobody is.) Without that, every CT scan costs me $1200, even with insurance.

By the way, does anyone know how to get rid of visceral fat? Everything I can find about it says you have to exercise. Isn’t there a lazy way to do it? At the clinic, I trudged up four flights of stairs as exercise. In high school, I would race up four flights of stairs two steps at a time. Those days are long gone, alas. Just 20 years ago I walked 2 miles home from work every night without a second thought. Now the 1-mile stroll to the nearest Walmart leaves me gasping for breath. But I have to get rid of that fat. Wikipedia saith that adipose tissue is practically an endocrine gland, producing …estradiol! No wonder my nipples are so sore.

Well, that nice nurse-practitioner is taking my case before the Tumor Board day after tomorrow, and they’ll decide what to do with it. My money’s on hoodoo. Anoint a candle for me. Write “Roy’s Tumor” on a piece of paper and burn it. Or put it in a bottle and throw it over your shoulder into a stream, then walk away without looking back.

Until next time, stay healthy and don’t commit any capital crimes.

Cancer free for now….

Well, after the TACE, they had to do ablation on me to get the last sliver. I hope I don’t need many more of those–they punched me full of holes! I’ll find out tomorrow–it’s CT time again. Still, the only long-term cure will come from a liver transplant. My insurance will cover most of the cost, but a little chunk of $300K is still a lot for a guy who makes $11 an hour. My GoFundMe page has earned me all of $200. Why do babies get all the money? Old people need it too!
Dear old Mom.
But the main problem with a liver transplant is dear old Mom. She’s almost 89 and can’t much get around any more. I live in her house, driving her to appointments, doing all the shopping, cooking and washing of dishes. (Other than that I agree with Quentin Crisp, who said, “There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse.”) A liver transplant would have me staying for several weeks in Birmingham, being taken to UAB frequently to get my anti-rejection cocktail tweaked. Then another 3 months to recuperate, during which I am not allowed to drive. Who’ll look after the two of us then? I have some cousins nearby, but they have other things to do. My nearest sibling is 600 miles away. Friends? We don’t get out much. I can’t afford to hire someone to do everything for us. It just seems impossible.

Then again, people manage to do things that seem impossible every day. If any of my beautiful readers think their experiences would be of use, please comment!