I know many of you are wondering how my simple little operation went and how I am doing. Well the answer is not good and not good, but slowly improving. Let me explain.
We checked into Duke on Sunday, October 18th which was supposed to be only a four day hospital stay. I had a tube stuck down my nose the first day which went all the way into my stomach. I then had to drink some barrium sludge solution which was to help light up my organs and show the doctors a good pathway into my stomach so they wouldn't perforate anything while installing my feeding tube the next day. On Monday I had the operation which was supposed to take around 30 minutes but ended up closer to two hours. While back in my room, recovering, when the drugs started to wear off I was thinking "what the hell, is it supposed to hurt this bad?"
That was the beginning of the next two horrific weeks. I was acutally discharged on Thursday afternoon, for about 12+ hours and stayed overnight locally to see my doctors on Friday when I was scheduled for my next round of chemo. Well when I saw my doctors, and they saw the pain and condition I was in, I was admitted right back to the hospital immediately. The pain was awful but they got it under control, I started to retain some fluids in and around my body cavity which required two "drainings" before I left the hospital. I had a terrible bout with constipation. I've continued to have "no" appetite and have been taking liquid nourishment orally or via the feeding tube. And, you may have heard, the black plague hit the area killing thousands and locusts struck the area whipping out all of the local tobacco crops, (officials are pretty much blaming these last two on me also.)
On the upside, I was finally discharged last Friday and have been at home recovering very slowly. I have the amazing love, and support, and nursing skills of my lovely wife to help me every step along the way. Additionally, you will not believe the amount of visitors I had and where some of them came from. First and foremost I had my two daughters (Pensacola, Fla and Richland, WA) one son-in-law, and two newest granddaughters come to support me and spend time with me. Robin is on maternity leave from work right now and is staying, along with Marjorie and Vivian for an extended period of time. Mark and Jackie had to go back last Friday as Mark was starting a new job on Monday and Jackie had to get back to tend to her kids as Rick had to go back to work flying.
Then I had a couple more total shockers, two old Coast Guard friends, both of whom I was stationed with in San Franscisco in the mid-80s came to visit. John from Kenai, Alaska, and Jeff from Seattle. What a pleasant surprise to see them both. On top of that Annette's sister Margaret and her husband Hall came all the way from southwestern Oregon and visited with me 3 times. Many of Annette's other brothers and sisters a nephew, and her two sons came as well (Oscar, Ike, Dianna, Bill, Myra, Lee, David, and Kelly) I hope I didn't miss anyone in my drugged up state. Thank you each and every one for the effort you made to visit this partially broken down machine.
Unfortunately, we came away from this stay with some not too great news. They said my body is too beat up from all the treatments to have any more chemo treatments, at least for now. In place of this they have hooked us up with some "home health /hospice care." I know what kind of connotation those words carry with them but we aren't thinking that way. However, and I've said this before, your prayers are even more important as they are about the only bullets left that I have to fight this awful disease.
My pain is less here now, the feedings are going fair, I still throw up a lot, the constipation is better but only with medicine to make me churn and burn. I still have no appetite, and I am retaining some body fluids but hey, other than that, I still look marvelous!
Annette and I are certainly enjoying the visit with Robin and her girls. They have brought some needed joy to our household. It is always nice to hear a childs laugh or a babys coo.
Well, I guess that is about it for this blog update. I know the news wasn't too great to hear but it is what it is. Your prayers are needed, don't forget us, please, while we continue this battle.
Drew & Annette
Note from Annette: As you can see, his humor remains intact. It is a great tool in this fight and we do our best to laugh every day. As the summer draws to an end and the trees begin to don their glorious palette of fall colors our thoughts turn to hot cider, and lemonade is enjoyed less often. However, lemonade is also enjoyed hot and spicey! Please hold us close and continue to lift us up. More now than ever .