An update for those interested...
While I've posted status updates on Twitter (@Mike_ODTUG - https://twitter.com/Mike_ODTUG) occasionally, on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/mike.riley.9047), and on my CaringBridge site (http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mikeriley2), it's been a while since I've given you an update here on the ODTUG website. So, for those of you that would like to hear some of the details of the past six
weeks or so, here goes...
I had my surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis on Dec. 17. I was told prior to surgery that the normal hospital stay (and everyone knows I'm not normal) would be from three to ten days. Based on this, I set my goal to be home by Christmas, a nice mid-point in that range. So, twenty-two days later, I got out of the hospital on Jan. 8. That's right, I got to spend a lovely Christmas in the hospital and then welcomed 2014 in my
hospital room as well. For more details on what happened while in the hospital, check out my Caring Bridge page.
Two pieces of good news were the result of my stay in the hospital. The first was that I lost about forty pounds in my twenty-two days in
the hospital. I could cross one of my New Year's resolutions off the list without stepping foot out of the hospital (lose weight). My BMI moved from being classified as “obese” to just “overweight.” If I ever get to “normal,” I feel I will be a skeleton. I lost a lot of muscle tone (not that I was in great
shape), so now I have to walk and build the strength back up as I can. The second piece of good news is that I no longer have to take any of my blood pressure or cholesterol medications! The weight loss must have done me good. My blood pressure was perfect during my stay in the hospital and every time it had been checked after my release, without taking medications since my surgery, so my doctor agreed and said to stop taking them.
For those who may not know as well, I had a temporary diverting loop ileostomy performed. For those not wanting details, don't click
on this link – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ileostomy. For those not familiar with this, it causes body image issues. It is also a major pain to take care of, as I no longer have control over where or when my digestive system decides to empty itself. The only good part about this is it
is a temporary inconvenience.
One piece of bad news from this long stay in the hospital: My expenses have already started to mount from my stay because some of it occurred in 2014. Hospitals are expensive places to hang out! If anyone is interested, and I certainly do not have my hand out, my friend Chet Justice set up a website to handle donations to help my family offset these expenses. And because Chet convinced me I should accept any and all help when offered, I told Chet that whatever he wanted to do to help us out would be great. Anyway, the website that Chet set up is here – http://www.gofundme.com/fmcuta.
I've been home for two and a half weeks now with no problems. I've had home health-care nurses checking in on me and a couple of doctor visits. I started chemotherapy again on Tuesday via a port. The port is not the prettiest thing, but it is temporary as well. It will help ease the chemotherapy some as they won't have to find a vein to use each time, and they'll also be able to take any blood for draws that they need from the port. I'll be sitting in a treatment room for four hours as a large bolus of the drug is put into my system, then just prior to leaving the facility they will fit me with a pump that will infuse me with forty-six straight hours of another chemotherapy drug. Once the forty-six hours are over, I'll disconnect and get to rest for twelve days before starting the next cycle. Each cycle is the same and lasts for two weeks. The duration of the treatment will be between eight and twelve total cycles. Side effects vary from patient to patient, but as I've been pretty open about everything that has been happening to me I'm sure thatI'll inform everyone about what happens in each cycle.
I expect this to be a challenging ordeal, but one with an end in sight that includes permanent remission of this cancer!
Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and deeds during this time. My family and I really do appreciate it!!