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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Post-cancer surgery

I had my cancer surgery May 31st, and spent 2 weeks in the hospital, and nearly 2 weeks in rehab. They resectioned my tongue, patched it with a piece of my arm, and then patched the arm with skin off my leg. It's now June 25. The leg is healing enough that the dressing is nearly gone, though the skin is still bright red. The arm looks like Frankenstein and must be covered for quite a while yet. My face and neck are still mostly numb. The doctors had to take a lower front tooth to have room to split my lower jaw open. Now my teeth don't match up right. The patch on my tongue is numb still. I can't swallow yet and will be fed through a tube in my stomach for the foreseeable future, until I can learn to swallow again, if ever. My perfect diction is gone forever, replaced with a garbled speech that requires therapy, and my storytelling days are over.

The tracheotomy tube will come out tomorrow, thank God. I'm hoping the phlegm and coughing subside. I haven't had more than 3 hours sleep at a time between coughing spurts since this began. In addition, something in all this gave me fecal incontinence. That has blessedly eased up. And my type 2 diabetes is now insulin dependent. I've learned to give myself the shots.

Okay, God, I know you think I'm a badass, but enough already.

Wrote this 6 days after surgery:
June 6, Tuesday.

Weird sounds the machines make. In ICU, it sounded like music; cartoon background music from the old Bugs Bunny-type cartoons, and circus music. Yesterday in here one machine sounded like a plover, and I was visioning the seashore for a while because of the hiss of the oxygen machine. Today it sounds like some deranged jungle bird. Wa-hoo, wa-hoo, wa-hoo, then a trill/giggle that is very disturbing.

Saw Rev. Sue this morning, and it was a busy day. They took out the nose feed tube and one of the drainage tubes. The nose feed has been replaced with a stomach feed. Also had a bed bath - finally clean hair! It was disgusting! So good to have it washed. They seem really worried about my blood pressure - it's never been high but evidently now is.

Krys and Diane are going to come by later. I've heard rumors I might be getting a smaller trach tube. I don't know how that will work with all the thick mucus. Trying to cough it up is scary - I feel like I can't get a breath, like the mucus is blocking my air passage.

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