Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gimme Drugs!!!!!! Please

Just got back from my doctors office. The 2 earlier prescriptions that they gave me had no effect on the pain. I got a script for some heavy duty medication. I just wanted enough to get me over this rough period of time. If I can deal with the pain for about a week, I should be well on my way to feeling better. In the short term all I want is a good nights sleep and hopefully that will happen tonight.

Rough Night

Last night was a rough one. The pain pills that the doctor gave me, actually two different types, have been having no effect on the pain. I could not get to sleep until about 2AM. I woke up this morning and the right side of my tongue was swollen. Because of the location of where the sutured incision is, when it swells up, my molars rub against the incision. I end up putting a cold compress directly on my tongue trying to get the swelling down. This afternoon I am going to my regular doctor to see if I can get some heavy duty pain killers. I need to get something so that I can get a good nights sleep. I figure that by this time next week, my tongue should feel much better. I know that everything will heal up but it gets frustrating to have to wait until that time, especially since I just got done going through this a month ago. Two weeks after the last tongue surgery, I was feeling pretty good and the tongue was doing fine. I am hoping for the same results, within the same time frame, for this situation. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Day Of Relaxation

Today I spent the day taking it easy. I had to put a cold compress directly on my tongue because it swelled up on me. I did this several times today. I have been sticking to mainly soft foods....mashed potatoes and soft noodles. Of course there is some ice cream and popsicles and pudding thrown in there. I also watched a couple of fishing dvd's....not Wuthering Heights stuff but I enjoy them. Gets me excited about going to Canada to do some fishing.
I read something interesting today that I would like to share with everyone. Back in 2005, a Lake City, GA home was demolished as part of an ABC show called Extreme Makeovers. This is the show that Ty Pennington is in. The lucky couple whose house was demolished was chosen out of approximately 15,000 applicants. The family of the demolished house spent a week in Disneyland. While the family was at Disneyland, a new house (mini-estate looking home) was built for them. Atlanta-based Beazer Homes USA and ABC's "Extreme Makeover" demolished their old home and its faulty septic system. Within six days, construction crews and hoards of volunteers had completed work on the largest home that the television program had yet built. The finished product was a four-bedroom house with decorative rock walls and a three-car garage. The home's door opened into a lobby that featured four fireplaces, a solarium, a music room and a plush new office. Materials and labor were donated for the home, which would have cost about $450,000 to build. Beazer Homes' employees and company partners also raised $250,000 in contributions for the family, including scholarships for the couple's three children and a home maintenance fund. According to what I heard on the FOX tv channel, the yearly house taxes were also paid for the first 25 years. Now just 3 years after this beautiful house was built for this "deserving" family, the house is going into forclosure. The family used this free home as collateral for a $450,000 loan. The two-level home is set to go to auction on the steps of the Clayton County Courthouse Aug. 5. I think that all of the people that voluteered their time, the money donated for this cause and each and every person or business that was involved in this project, they are the true victims. I won't mention the family's name in order to protect their ignorance and totally irresponsible behavior, although you can find it all over the internet. I know that I will probably ruffle some feathers here but I have absolutely no sympathy for people that do things like this. I wish someone would give me a free home. They wouldn't have to send me to Disneyland, Disney World or any other nice place. Just shove me into a tent somewhere and get to building my new mini mansion.

The Day After

Good morning everyone,
I had a tough time sleeping last night. I was supposed to sleep with my head elevated. I tried that for a while and then tried to sleep like normal. No matter how I tried to sleep, it just wasn't going to work well. I did doze off and on. This morning the right side of my tongue was swollen. I have been sitting here with a cold compress on my cheek and hopefully some of the coldness is making its way to my tongue. I checked out my sutures and the doctor really did a great job. There are eight regular sutures and then another type of suture. You can't see any of them except one. I am very pleased at the suture work and I am sure that this will heal fairly quickly. It is so much better than the last time, where the two sutures had come out within 2 hours of me getting home. That is why I was in so much pain after the first surgery. It was just an open wound. But not this time. I can't express how relieved I am that this is over with. I will have to go back in a couple of weeks and have the doctor look everything over plus get the results of the lab test on the section that they removed. With a little luck, hopefully I will get good news. Now I can start looking foward to our trip to Canada. We are under the 45 day mark until we leave. I almost forgot to mention...I was concerned that the surgery on my tongue would have some type of negative side effect on my taste buds. Luckily everything seems to be ok and I can still taste everything. Today I plan on relaxing for the most part. I will get back into the swing of things as the days go by. Hopefully by this Saturday, I will be able to start going for my walks again. I will have to be careful though because we are going through a "heat wave" here...in the 90s. I think that I am going to go watch some fishing DVDs. I will talk more with you later.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Dirty Deed is Done

Hi everyone,
Well I am back at home from the surgery. Things went very well. I requested that they put mne to sleep before they even tried to shove the needles in my tongue to numb it up. They did that for me. I requested that they do a heavy duty suture job on me, to make sure that the wound would not open up and that it would help in speeding up the healing process and they did it. I requested that they give me a prescripion for some heavy duty drugs for the pain after the surgery and they did that. I felt that I was at Burger King and I could have the whole surgery my way. It was kind of weird...I was sitting in the chair and the nurse inserted a syringe into my arm...not an IV set up. I askled her if it was supposed to burn a little and she told me yes. I could hear the heart monitor in the background...checking on my vitals during the surgery. I was dreaming about fishing in Canada. The next thing I know, the nurse was waking me up. I asked her when the surgery was going to start. She laughed and told me that it was already finished. I could not believe it. Really a piece of cake compared to the last surgery. Being knocked out makes all the difference in the world. Got home and the first thing i did was eat some cold ice cream and some pudding. Then took a couple of pain pills and now I am just going to vedge for the rest of the night. I looked in the mirror at my mouth to check on the damage that was done. It did not look bad at all. It was definitely a bigger surgery...more meat taken off of the tongue but because of the really great suture job, it should heal fine. I am so thankful that the surgery has come and gone. Now for the healing process and looking foward to our upcoming trip to Canada. It is such a relief to have this behind me. An instant weight lifted from my shoulders. I will have to go back in a couple of weeks to find out whether there was any cancerous cells in the area that they removed. I am optomistic about the outcome. I was feeling stronger as the days had gone by from the last surgery and just plain feeling good about myself. I will go into the doctors office for the results being optomistic but also a little guarded...I have really bad luck on such things. Only time will tell. I will write some more tomrrow. Time to vedge out and get some rest. Until tomorrow...take care and have a great afternoon.

Getting Close Now

It's going on 12. I still need to take a shower. I am holding off on the shower so that I can get in there and let the hot water relax me right before we leave for the doctors office. This will be my last entry before we leave. Getting nervous now and I can feel my anxiety level getting higher. And for the first time in quite a while, I can feel that gnawing feeling inside......my body requesting a nicotine fix. Most likely caused by by my nervousness. It will pass. I will take some pills before I leave for my anxiety. Those should relax me for the surgery. I am really glad that I will be for the most part knocked out for the surgery. The less I know as far as what is going on, the better off I will be. Well everyone, time to sign off. I will see you on the flip side. Depending on how I feel, I will do an entry later on tonight. Wish me luck!!!

The Day Has Arrived

Well today is the day for my surgery. I got up at 5AM this morning and had a quick bite to eat since I can't eat anything 8 hours prior to my surgery. I went back to bed and had a really hard time getting much sleep. The anxiety is growing as the minutes slowly move by. Trying to get my head right and in a good place for this whole thing. I sure will be glad when it is over with. I will check in as the time gets closer.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Almost There!!!!

Hi everyone,
Been laying low and keeping myself as busy as possible. I have been doing my best to not think about my surgery tomorrow. For the most part it has worked fairly well. Really dreading tomorrow but I also want to get it over with. I want to get on the healing side of things and not the anticipatory and anxiety filled side, which I am currently on. Unfortunately my sugery isn't until 2PM EST. I am not allowed to eat or drink anything all day. As if I won't be miserable enough...now no food or drink. Not sure if I will write anything right after the surgery. I will have to see how I feel. I won't be able to eat any solid foods for several days. I tried that after the last surgery. It wasn't worth the pain involved. I stocked up on 4 six packs of pudding in various flavors and 2 cartons of ice cream and of course some cans of chicken noodle soup. Believe it or not, a person can get sick and tired of pudding and ice cream. I never thought it was possible until I had to do it. Give me steak, thin crust pizza and all of the crunchiest crackers that you can find...real food. Because tonight will be my last "real" meal for a little while, I am going to splurge. I have been wanting to try the new spicey hot chicken wings at KFC. So tonight it will be a small box of KFC hot spicey chicken wings and a large extra crunchy chicken breast. Tonight the diet goes out the window. I will definately make up for it over the next several days. Well, it's time for my walk. I will check in with y'all in the near future.

Friday, July 25, 2008

One Day Closer

I hope that everyone is doing well today. Only 4 days left until my surgery. Have you ever noticed that when you have something coming up, that you really don't want to do, time seems to slow down plus your mind gets preoccupied with whatever the situation is. Usually I can keep myself busy enough during the day that I don't think about the surgery much. Unfortunately I have to try to get some sleep at some point in time and it is at this time that my mind races around and gets to thinking about things. When I get to thinking about things, it usually leads to no good and I don't get much sleep either. I am also the type of person that when I know that I have to get something done, something that I really am not looking foward to, I get to the point where I resign myself to the fact that whatever it is, it has to be done. With that in mind, I hate waiting around for the "special" day to arrive. If I have to get it done, I would rather do it today, right now, even yesterday. That way I can put it behind me and move foward. The waiting drives me bonkers. I am sure that I am not the only one that feels this way. Can anyone else relate to this? I need to get going here. I have to go pick up my prescriptions that will be used on the day of my surgery and the days after it is done. If I have to get this surgery done, the least they can do is...GIMME DRUGS!!!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Journey Continues

Good morning folks. Well, I just got back from seeing Dr.Cross...my oncologist. He was very re-assuring and had a great calming effect during our talk. He said that the report was telling me that something was not right or normal with the cells in the area on the right side of my tongue, where the raised white spots are. He said that it is normal practice and really the only way of truly finding out if there is anything more going on, by doing the additional surgery. He told me that there is a 90% chance that nothing cancerous will be found and the findings from the next surgery will tell a more complete story. There were no other options available. No x-rays or scans that could be done to determine if there was a problem deeper under the skin tissue. Dr. Cross set me up with an appointment to see him about 1 week prior to us going up to Canada for vacation, which is the 2nd week in Sept. He wants to see me after the surgery is completed and after I receive the findings from this surgery. Dr. Cross also gave me 2 scripts for drugs. Some pills for anxiety for just prior to the surgery and some heavy duty pain pills for after the surgery. I really like to have everything set up so that after the surgery I don't have to go out and get the pills. That is something that I never could understand. A person goes through surgery and on their way out the doctors door or wherever the surgery took place, they are given scripts for drugs to ease the pain etc. I don't think that the doctors get it. Who wants to be going to a drug store and waiting around the get a script or scripts filled before being able to go home and just vedge out in bed. Who wants to deal with that. That is one thing that has always frosted my twinkies. At least this time it got taken care of before the surgery. What a novel concept!!!
With the info that I got from Dr. Cross, I called the oral surgeon and set up the surgery for this upcoming Tuesday, 7/29 at 2PM. As much as I am dreading this surgery, I am to a pont where I just want to get it over with. I have resigned myself to the fact that I have to get it down. I want to do it, get it over with and put it behind me. Also, I want to give myself enough time to completely heal up so that I can enjoy myself when we go up to Canada. I will have a little over 6 weeks to let my tongue heal up. Mentally I am kind of washed out with all of this stuff going on. I think I will give myself a break today from going for any walks and just take it easy. I will keep you abreast of how I am feeling and what is going on as my surgery date gets closer. Until the next entry...take care and have a good day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Journey Continues

I am back again. I went for a walk. This is something that I have been doing for several years. I go for a walk in the morning and another in the afternoon, depending on how much energy I have. I take what my body gives me. I tend to push it though...even when it is in the 90s. I probably walk anywhere between 4-5 miles a day between the two walks. Helps me keep my weight down.
Let's see...where was I. Oh, yes..yesterday I went back to the oral surgeon to get the results of my tongue biopsy. What I got was not what I was expecting. What I ended up having is Epithelial Dysplasia along with increased mitotic activity. Here is are links for more info... http://www.maxillofacialcenter.com/precancerDysplasia.html
http://www.phoenix5.org/glossary/mitotic_activity.html
There is also mention of parabasilar hyperplasia and cellular disorientation. It goes on to say that "because dysplasia and carcinoma can occur simultaneously, all lesions diagnosed as dysplasia must eith be removed or monitored with care". So what does all of this mumbo jumbo mean???...well after doing a little research on the ole computer, it means that there are some changes going on with the cells that aren't normal and that if left untreated, could develop into cancer. Luckily, the dysplasia that I have is considered "mild" at this time. That is the "good" news. Now the bad news is that one of the options to get rid of the dysplasia is to have it removed...cut or scraped..whichever terminology you would like to use. Exactly what I don't want to go through again, excopt this time lots worse because of the amount of tongue that they would have to remove. Granted they would not be actually cutting my tongue out but they would be cutting a nice portion of the lower right side of my "licker". The oral surgeon told me that he would removed all of the "bad" areas and then fold the two edges of my tongue together and then suture it. Not something that I would look foward to and my imagination allows me to have a very scary visual of this process. The oral surgeon strongly suggested that I get this done as soon as possible and to wait no longer than the end of this year to do it. Damn, damn, damn....just what I did not want to hear. I sat there listening to each and every word that the oral surgeon had to say. It was really kind of strange and surreal hearing him tell me what I had and what needed to be done. I left there in kind of a shock..a mental numbness, thinking that this can't be real. Obviously someone made a mistake and mixed my slab of tongue up with someone elses slab of tongue. I went home dazed. Once I got home I kept reviewing the piece of paper that the findings were written on. I checked to make sure that I had read it correctly on the third and fourth reading...that it was my name on the report...my date of birth...yes it was me on all counts. I just turned 53 this last June. Way too young to die or to be dealing with something like this. I have too many things that I want to do, too many places that I want to go to...all of these things to share with Veronica. It just can't be...it is someones idea of a really bad joke. I guess it would be proper to mention at this time, what I would call a "public service announcement"...I have always heard stories about people getting sick, getting cancer or some other disease and thinking that it will never happen to me or I am too young for that. I think that if you look inside of yourself honestly, you would have to admit that you have told yourself the same thing. I think that we all have. The unfortunate thing is that it can happen to any one of us, at any time and that there is no rhyme or reason to who it happens to. Then I keep telling myself that if only I had really tried harder to quit smoking even a month sooner..it might have made a difference as to whether I would have got the dysplasia or not. Who knows. After going through everything in my mind, I decided to call Dr. Cross. Dr. Cross is someone that I trust very much. He is an Oncologist that I see for another disease that I have been dealing with...Mast Cell Disease. I was diagnosed with this about 4-5 years ago. There are a couple of types of this disease and mine is the type that is in my bone marrow. It is not considered cancer ansd it is kind of hard to explain. Here is a link that can provide more info on the subject: http://www.tmsforacure.org/patientinfo.shtml
Dr. Cross works at the Virginia Oncology Associates at the Cancer Center that is about 20 minutes from here. I was very lucky to have found Dr. Cross. This Mast Cell Disease is rather rare and not too many doctors have had any experience dealing with patients that have this disease. Luckily, Dr. Cross has. I made an appointment for tomorrow morning to see Dr. Cross and discuss the results of my biopsy with him and to find out if there are any alternative treatments besides cutting out the bad area of my tongue. I will let everyone know how that visit turns out.
Also, after getting home, I thought long and hard whether to even mention any of this to Veronica. I was really torn about this. Part of me did not want to burden her with having to worry about all of this and I figured that I would keep it to myself for the time being or until I absolutely had to tell her. The other part of me wanted to fill her in so that she would not be caught off guard and that I could have someone to talk to about it all. Sometimes those types of choices can be difficult. I decided that it would be best to tell her what was going on and what I found out from the oral surgeon. I have my appointment with Dr. Cross tomorrow morning and Veronica will be going with me. I will make my decision on what I need to do and when I need to do it, by the time I leave Dr. Cross office. I will keep you updated as things transpire. Take care and have a good afternoon. Rick

My Journey Continues

On June 4th, I wrote about some changes that my body was going through. You can go back to that earlier written blog entry to find out how everything started. Today I decided to contunue writing about my new journey. I am usually a very private person but I felt that by writing down my thoughts, it would help me cope with all that is going on and it also might beneficial to anyone out that that is interested. I know that I have always wondered and was curious as to how it would feel to find out that you have a medical condition that could possibly cost you your life and how a person feels when going on that type of journey. Hopefully by me writing about my journey, some of those questions might be answered, you might gain some insight into everything a person goes through, how they think and feel, their ups and downs and everything in between. More importantly, I hope that by my writing down my journey, it might just help someone make a decision that could save their life. I will pick up this journey where I had left off at my last blog entry.
My family doctor diagnosed the raised white marks that are just under the right side of my tongue as being Leukoplakia. Here is a link to more information about Leukoplakia... http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/leukoplakia/DS00458 I was told that these were directly caused by smoking and that they would eventually go away after I quite smoking. I was told that they could take as long as 3-6 months to finally go away. I was also told that I should get a biopsy done on my tongue, specifically in the area where these white marks are. The doctor told me that it was a relatively simple procedure...all the oral surgeon would do is scape the area where the marks were and send the scapings to the lab. Sounded simple enough to me. I set up an appointment with an oral surgeon that my doctor recommended. On Monday, June 7th, I went to the oral surgeon. The doctor looked at the marks and told me that he would recommend that I get the biopsy done on the marks. He said he could do the procedure right then and proceeded to explain what would be happening. He told me that he would numb my tongue before giving me a couple of shots with novacaine type of substance. That way I would not feel the needle as much. A great theory but not exactly how it played out. Of course there was the usual mention that the needle going into the tongue would only feel like a bee sting. I can't begin to imagine how they came up with that analogy. I have heard that "will hurt like a bee sting" statement so many times in my life and I was always curious as to where the hell they located these bee that sting the way they do...must be some little known jungle somewhere, where the bees have 6 inch stingers on them. Point being(no pun intended)...it hurt like hell. The oral surgeon told me that he would then cut a section of my tongue out and send that section to the lab. It is amazing how different doctors use totally different terminologies to describe what is going to be done to you. One doctor says scrape and the other says cut. Believe me...there is a huge difference between those highly advanced medical terms. Did I tell you that the shots into my tongue hurt like hell....I might have mentioned that earlier but I think that a second or third mention is justified. Very uncomfortable would be an understatement but that was just the beginning of the fun that was in store for me. After letting the novacaine type of numbing agent take effect, the oral surgeon grabbed my tongue, pulled to to the left side, halfway out of my mouth and then I could feel him applying pressure with a scalpel on my tongue. Now granted my mouth was somewhat numb but just felling the pressure and with my vivid imagination working in high gear...let's just say that it wasn't one of my better moments. Of course the surgeon was talking to his assistant asking her to pull here and cut there and hold the skin this way and to give him the container, which was used to plop my slab of tongue into. The whole time this was going on, my toes were curling up....this wasn't from a orgasmic release of endorphans either.... and I could not wait for the ordeal to finally be over with. It was one of those events that never really leave your mind. Years from now I will be able to remember just how it all went down and I will get that feeling in my stomach all over again. The next thing I know, I can see the oral surgeons hand holding a small hook like thing with string dangling from it, which I quickly learned was for several sutures to close up my tongue with. Some gauze was put between my tongue and cheek to help stop the bleeding. I was given a package up gauze for future use, given an appointment to come back in 2 weeks and sent on my merry way. I left learning something....always get all information about any surgery that you are going to have. Leave no stone unturned...ask questions and get answers. That way there will be no surprises. During my entire drive home, I was switching out the gauzes. When I got home I looked in the mirror to see what kind of damage had been done. It wasn't a pretty sight but at least it was over with. At some point in time, the gauze pads must have rubbed against the sutures and got caught on them. I checked in the mirror about 2 hours after getting home and the sutures were no longer in my tongue. I found one of them in one of the used gauze pads. The next couple of weeks were rough. My tongue hurt bad and i had a hard time eating. I started of eating soft stuff like pudding and jello. Then I graduated to soup. Eventually I was able to eat regular food and was allowed to sit at the "grown ups" table again. I tried not to whine and complain too much...I did not want my wife, Veronica, to know how bad I really felt. Sometimes I keep these things to myself. As the days went by, it finally got better. It has not completely healed but at least it is not hurting like it was. I think that it would have healed up quicker had the sutures remained in there.
Yesterday I went back to the oral surgeon to have him check on my tongue and get the results from my biopsy.
The biopsy results were not what I was expecting at all. I figured that I would be told that I had Leukoplakia as I was originally told. I will continue this journey in a little while. It is break time. I will be back later.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Flower of the Day

I almost forgot this little Asiatic beauty.

Flowers of the Day

Here we have some Asiatic Lilies and some Roses.





Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Flowers of the Day

Today we have some Daylilies, Asiatic Lily and a Hibiscus.





Friday, July 4, 2008

Flowers of the Day

Here we have a butterfly on a Dahlia. The butterfly stuck around long enough to get several photos taken.




More Flowers of the Day

Here we have a couple of Asiatic Lilies and a Rose of Sharon. I really like the color on the Rose of Sharon. It is one of my favorites.



Flowers of the Day

Here we have some Hibiscus.





Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It's Hibiscus time

Here are some photos of Hibiscus. The flowers on these plants get to be the size of dinner plates.



Here is a Dahlia.

More Flowers of the Day

These lilies are like a blast of sunshine.


More Flowers of the Day

Here are some more pics of the Daylilies.




More Flowers of the Day

Here are somne Asiatic Lilies.



Flutter Winged Friend

I found this little friend hanging around the flowers. It stayed just long enough for me to get a couple of photos taken.


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