Going Home!

January 28, 1997 – Going Home!

I was awakened the next morning at around 6:00 A. M. by … guess who? A nurse of course who wanted my vital signs and other data. The catheter was supposed to be removed by 7:00 A. M., but the nurses decided to wait until Dr. Neuwirth showed up and voiced his opinion.

I was visited in rapid succession by Dr. Belknap and Dr. Neuwirth. The latter found the nurses’ objection to removing the catheter rather lame and ten minutes later it was gone. I asked him, “On a scale of one to ten, how do you rate the surgery?” His reply, as he got up to leave, was, “Ten, of course! I always do ten!”

There wasn’t much else he could tell me until the biopsy was completed and the pathology report issued. Apparently, he was able to remove all of the tumor that was visible above the muscle layer of the bladder and he also removed additional samples around the tumor and at remote sites.

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A few hours later, I was on my way home! What a shock! Four days earlier I was playing tennis. Now I was laid up for approximately three to four weeks, and I was still pissing blood. What else lay in store for me?

Fortunately, there were a large number of well-wishers calling, sending cards, and stopping by. When I arrived home, there was a gorgeous bouquet waiting for me on the porch. It turned out to be from the RND group at NGC! I was really touched by their efforts and concern.

That night, I suffered tremendously from the pain of the epidural. However, one call to Christophe gave me the information I needed to relieve the pain. He suggested three Motrin along with the vicodin.

TURBT

January 27, 1997 – First Hospital Stay, Continued

My refusal to sign the operation afforded me another whole day of waiting. In the morning, I had visits from Dr. Belknap and Dr. Neuwirth, both of which were very helpful in pointing out the pros and cons of the alternative anesthetic methods, but I still hadn’t made up my mind. I wanted to speak with an expert.

Dr. Neuwirth tried to prepare me for the best case scenario, which would involve complete resection of the bladder tumor followed by quarterly inspections with a cystoscopy and possibly coupled with chemotherapy agents inserted directly in the bladder. I found this discussion rather informative, but would have preferred a more accurate reading of my tumor.

Since my daughter was ill, my wife couldn’t be with me the whole time, so I spent the day receiving phone calls and visitors, and listening to classical music, and Dr. Rossman’s tape. Since I couldn’t eat or drink, my thoughts continually turned to food, especially when my roommate ate his meals. In between time, I continued my meditation and visualization practices, which kept me from getting to anxious about the ensuing operation.

At around 3:00 P. M., my wife returned to the hospital, just in time for the meeting with the anesthesiologist. His name was Christophe Dannello and he was very nice. He carefully explained the various options, and with his guidance, I decided to go with the epidural.

TRUBT
Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor (TURBT)

Around 6:30 P.M., they came to wheel me off to surgery. I grabbed Dr. Rossman’s tape and headed off to the operating room. I was given a sedative intravenously and placed on the table. A moment later, a small needle was applied to my lower back and I was turned over and placed into position. The oxygen feeder was placed in my nose and my legs were positioned in place for the surgery.

Then… I was gone! I woke up in the recovery room and spent what seemed like only fifteen minutes there. I was taken back to my room and my wife was with me for the next half-hour or so. Then she had to get home to the children, so there I was, lying flat on my back with a catheter in me. I started to feel pain from the epidural and was given “candy” – vicodin. This controlled the pain.

I proceeded to do my “mind story” and had a fairly good night sleep until I was rudely awakened for vital signs around midnight. Luckily, the rest of the night was uneventful, even though I was leaking blood through my catheter.