Monday, March 18, 2013

Getting *airquotes* normal

I had the celiac plexus block done on the 15th. It involved sticking two needles into my back and into what I've always heard referred to as the solar plexus. The doctor then injected lidocaine into the nerves to make sure he was in the right spot, then alcohol to deaden them. All in all it was relatively smooth, albeit a little uncomfortable. It's just generally a bit unsettling to know that you're getting needles stuck in your back in order to inject alcohol into a cluster of nerves.

I've been having some side effects and some pain from the procedure, but the good news is that the pain I was having before is no longer there. One odd thing is that my sense of smell seems to have been affected. Some odors and tastes seem overly strong or grossly exaggerated. I am also having some abdominal discomfort (different than the pain I was having before), but the doctor indicated that it was to be expected to experience some.

I feel like I've been sequestered from the world these past two months. After coming back from Chicago I had the follow-up endoscopy, and was totally caught off guard by the news of having the tumor pushing on the duodenum, which has resulted in me having to restrict my diet to liquid/near-liquid. I totally miss salads, peeling and eating a whole orange, biting into a crisp Fuji, taking a big bite out of a perfectly grilled ribeye, not to mention savoring the deep dish pizza I planned on ordering after returning from Chicago. Other medical staff I've been talking with have indicated that I need to change my eating amounts as well - meaning smaller more frequent meals. On top of the diet changes I then started experiencing the pain, which still isn't clear in origin. All of this happened so close together that it's been stunning. I'm just now starting to feel more (airquotes) normal, which primarily means that the pain I was having before the block is no longer present. It's odd feeling like I've lost two months coming out of the fugue I was in. Spring is almost here. I plan to parallel the natural cycle of regrowth.

I'm pretty sure the side effects from the block should subside within several days. After all, it's only been a few days since I had the procedure. I also get a break from chemo this week, so I'm focusing my energy on rebuilding my wonderful blood. I've got the CT scan to look forward to in April, and am eager (and honestly a bit anxious) to have that done, so I can hear that I can have the Whipple, and get this damn tumor out of me. It's really the only curative path. I don't want to hang all my hopes on a single hook, but the doctor's words from NorthShore Evanston Hospital are still resonate very clearly with me: there's no reason for me to not go to surgery.

I want to thank all my family and friends for helping out while I've been completely laid out. I appreciate and value your time and efforts so much, as they've made a difficult time easier to bear both for myself and my wife and sons.

1 comment:

Cathy Carbonaro said...

Well I am glad to hear that you are getting some pain relief. And I, too, am anxiously awaiting your next CT scan. Cut that bugger out I say! Second opinions are always good.

Liquid diet notwithstanding, I'd love to see you - maybe for a Jamba Juice. Woot!