Bud Baker Posted December 20, 2009 Share Posted December 20, 2009 Two years ago today, I was at the Dallas VA Medical Center, having the upper lobe of my left lung removed. The scan that found my cancer was in November, but my doctor was so certain that it was lung cancer and I was such a good candidate for surgery, that no biopsy was done until surgery, making that my official diagnosis day, and making me a two year survivor today. I am still cancer free, with my next scan coming up next month. It's funny the things you remember from surgery. Both morphine and the anti-nausea drugs they were giving me made me sick, so just one day after surgery, I talked them into switching me to hydrochodone. They seemed leery about making that change so quickly, but I was fine on hydrochodone. I remember the surgeon handing me a spirometer and telling me I would have to do 1500 or more on it before they would let me out of the hospital. I took it and did 2000 that first try. He said, "Who needs two lungs?" When Rose handed me her spirometer last month and told me to see what I could do, I pegged it out at 4000. They had said I would be kept in the Thoracic Intensive Care Unit for my entire stay, at least five days, but in spite of how empty the hospital was at holiday time, the TICU became crowded and I was doing well, so two days after surgery, they transferred me to a regular room. It was a semi-private room, but the other bed was kept empty while I was there. I remember walking up and down the hospital halls, pushing a wheelchair with the boxes that my chest tubes were connected to in it. Getting out of bed to do anything wasn't much fun, but I did like getting up and moving about. They released me the afternoon of Christmas day. We normally have our family gathering and open gifts on Christmas Eve, but everything was kept waiting until I got home that year. It's hard to imagine a family Christmas gathering that I will enjoy and appreciate more than that one. Last year, we had a party to celebrate me being a one year survivor. It was probably the biggest gathering of family and friends that we've ever had at our house. My son drove 350 miles to surprise me and join us. This year, with Rose recovering from breast cancer surgery, and getting ready for more chemo, there will be no party. I'll settle for a small celebration here and at home. Yesterday, I did a 131 mile bike ride, as my own way of celebrating (I made sure to wear my "Cancer Sucks" cycling socks for the ride). I'm rambling, but I expect most here will forgive me. Thanks to everyone for your support. A special thanks to the long term survivors here who keep coming back. When I first found the place, it was they who did a great job of reminding me that there are long term survivors around. And a special thanks to Katie, who's energy for advocacy seems boundless. Merry Christmas, everyone! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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