My New Oncologist — Intro

This will be the first time I have had a real oncologist since August 2010! That was when I switched my cancer therapy to my urologist. But  my rapidly rising PSA scared him off!

The new guy has decades of experience and I got two good reviews of him. He only works one day a week in Salida but normally that is adequate for cancer treatment. My appointment today is called a  “preliminary”, a legal requirement for us to actually meet before our relationship is official.

My appointment is at 2 PM.

A Sign of the Season

As I was returning home from shopping Thursday, I could see the highway advisory sign was on. This is on the west side of the hogback that marks the west side of Canon City

At the south end, US 50 (right) turns and suddenly you are in Cañon City next to Old Max, the first prison in Colorado.

The Hogback is behind the prison. This was a natural barrier to escapes.

I got near the sign and read the message. Then turned back at the next crossover at the white house in the distance and went back down to the one south to retrace my route.

There had been avalanche warnings earlier and assumed the Pass was a mess.

This a picture of the east side of the Pass in April 2008. This is between Salida and Gunnison.

Another Doctor Appt

I finally got alarmed about my lack of stamina and made an appointment with my GP for yesterday. Especially since after New Years, I begin a different course of cancer treatment.

After some discussion, he wrote a script for a bunch of lab tests. He wants to check my liver functions, my kidney functions, my thyroid functions as well as for anemia. He seems to think the anemia is likeliest due to something called “chronic illness anemia” caused by long term medication usage. And he thought I looked a bit pale!

I made a joke about him getting to see his favorite hypochondriac. He said “You aren’t . . .” when I interrupted to say “I am not your favorite?”. It took him a while to get the conversation redirected!

Anyway, he wants to make sure the Lupron hasn’t caused any liver damage and that my thyroid is functioning OK since the Firmagon (There were some jokes about the name of this drug!) works through the pituitary gland. Which also affects my thyroid.

So this turned out to be more than just my present condition. He was a bit concerned my Urologist had not been checking anything but my PSA but he knows I am largely a self-managing patient.

So nothing changed. Yet. He will get the results either today or Monday then we will know.

New Juvie Prison

Donna and I went to Salida and behind the Pancake Patio Place is a construction project. From the lack of windows, it looks like a prison.

Oh, wait! This is new addition to the High School!

Personally, I liked the tall crane being used for the roof panels.

It has become a landmark along US50.

Donna’s Gastric Uptake Test

This was the last of this series of tests for Donna. This test followed a radioisotope from ingestion through her stomach. It was 2 and 1/2 hours long!

It started with her being given one microwaved egg with radioisotope seasoning! And 4 oz of apple juice to wash it down. Donna had NEVER had a microwaved egg before! Poor woman! One of the easiest and best breakfasts in the world is microwaved eggs and cheese (shallots optional).

Then she lay strapped on an X-ray table for the next two hours with the “camera” on her belly. This makes it impossible for her to read. Or scratch her nose. No TV. And this time the tech was busy doing at least two of these at once so wasn’t much company. She meditated a lot.

I went shopping after a very good breakfast of biscuits and gravy with unlimited coffee for $2! I went to Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply for bunny supplies: a pet baby bottle kit and some kitten milk (!). The expert there insisted the bunny would be fine with cat milk. So I bought both but a small can of the cat milk.

I got back to the hospital before Donna was done.

She actually came out a few minutes early in great spirits, maybe because it was like gaining one’s freedom from lockup! Then on to lunch. The irony is she felt sorry for ME for having to hang around! I actually had a very good morning!

I suggested Quincy’s for lunch. I was actually surprised when she agreed. The eggs made her decide to have lunch, I guess!

She had a pulled pork sandwich and I had a Reuben. Both were good. Then we went to a farmer’s market and bought eggs (from happy chickens), veggies, and bread. Then came home.

She will learn Monday what all this revealed.

Donna’s Test

We went up the river to the Salida hospital for Donna’s colonoscopy. She had not eaten in 36 hours and swigged a bottle of citrate before we left. But we managed to get to the hospital with NO emergency stops! Lol. Barely!

We had arrived about an hour early because we had factored in a stop or two so assumed an extra hour at the hospital. Nope. The nurse came out for her before she got out of the restroom! So she was taken back to the pre-op section. I went with her. She changed into the typical hospital gown and got an IV “installed”.

Then the anesthesiologist arrived. He was a Nurse-Anesthetist! This was new to me but it made sense for such a routine procedure. And he was competent. When he gave her an injection via the IV of a sedative, they rolled her out and evicted me to the waiting area!

I drank coffee, read, and waited for the doctor. He came out, still dressed in a tie, to tell me the test went well and he only found one polyp which he removed. The biopsy will determine how soon she has to have another one.

The dark thing is a Vilus, a normal part of the intestine to extract nutrients and looks like a finger. The offending polyp is circled above it, looking (to me) like a pimple! It isn’t there any more but is in the pathology lab awaiting analysis. 😉

As she recovered from the anesthetic, the post-op nurse monitored her then removed the IV and monitors. Finally the O2 canulla. Finally she was told she could dress. The nurse gave her a personal card.

This was a very nice gesture by the nursing staff.

We went, at her suggestion, to the former Bongo Billy’s Salida Cafe, now the Salida Cafe and Roastery. We had cold smoked turkey sandwiches. For 20$!! That included greasy potato chips and iced tea. Such a deal. We sat on the deck and watched the trees, mountains, and river.

The view was nice but not worth the extra cost!

Then we made a stop at Safeway for her to pick up something for dinner then drove home. She is feeling good and seems to have recovered from her exam.

Donna’s Test and My New Phone

We went up the river to Salida really early for old people like us! We left about 7. She was scheduled for a HIDA test to see how her gall bladder was functioning.

On the way down, we expected to meet the school buses anytime. Today was the first day of school! When we got to Cotopaxi. Still no buses! School started (I thought.) at 8. The buses should be picking the kids students up by 7:30 in our neighborhood. There were parents at the bus stops waiting with their children.

So I took time to drive the half mile from US50 to the school. The buses were neatly parked by the garage. I was thinking this wasn’t right. I called the office but she didn’t know. We met a bus coming back from Howard. So now I am asking the School Superintendent. That is NOT as ominous as it sounds! We are friends! He has said they were on time so I am confused. Imagine that! Lol.

We got to the hospital long before her appointment. I started activating my new phone. So that was when the nuclear medicine tech showed up to take her away! I was doing what my phone told me and they waved off! Shortly after I got the new one in service, Donna and the tech showed up again! There was some question about her paperwork from the registrar. They showed her having an appointment in outpatient but this turned out to be an error. So my wife, with an IV on her arm, and the tech went back into the inner sanctum. And I went to the snack bar for some FOOD! (I skipped breakfast.)

I had nice breakfast for under $2!! Free coffee, a scoop of eggs (!), with a biscuit and sausage gravy. Mmm! I hung around, texting and reading (I took the Kindle, its first outing!). Finally Donna came out, none the worse for wear and said, not to my surprise, “I am hungry. Let’s go eat.”! Lol.

Since this was her trip, I let her choose where we went. She picked number 2 on my secret short list: the Patio Pancake House!

[This is my first picture with my new phone and it didn’t crop like I expected but has good definition.]

She ordered Eggs Benedict, one of her favorites. Then we did some shopping; one special place in Salida was Murdoch’s, a farm and ranch store. They have the best boxes of suet in the Valley! Then a trip to Walmart. That was when she started getting sick. She finally sat down and waited for me to check out.

We went directly home from there. With Donna mentioning every few miles she may have to throw up! That made a tense trip!

We finally started up Road Gulch Road when we reached a construction zone along the dirt portion of the road. There was a berm the grader had made in the middle of the road. I started up on my side of the road when I met a dump truck coming down the same side of the road! And he was not slowing down! Donna woke up and started yelling, “Honk your horn! Honk your horn!” while I was shifting into reverse! I honked and began backing down the road! The truck had not stopped! I got down to the end of the berm zone when the truck turned into a driveway.

I continued back up the road which was very slippery from the water truck wetting the road. Maybe the truck was afraid he’d lose control but I am unsure. Donna was pretty shaken up from waking to see the front grill of a truck in the windshield! I have no idea if he needed to change his undies after this but mine got close!

But we got home OK, to Lily’s delight. Donna went to bed and crashed!

She is better but not 100%. Both times we went for a test, she has had this problem, either from the food she ate or some reaction to the tests: psychological or physical. But one was an ultrasound. What can that do?

I dread what happens after the colonoscopy! 😉 But my new phone works great except I lost all the wonderful vocabulary I spent two years creating!