Friday, October 3, 2008

as to Annie Taylor and all who followed her

When I was a small boy of five or six years of age, my family lived on Long Island in New York. This would have been a very long time ago but my memory of the thoughts I had, were jarred back at me yesterday, like a huge bolt of three-phase system of alternating current power transmissions, as if thrown at me by Nikola Tesla himself.

As my dad was often know to do, we would set out on weekend trips to many interesting places where ever we lived; the subject of this particular trip being Niagara Falls. I remember being amazed at the sheer overwhelming volume of power as nature is set to amazing at that location. The falls, (all of them) are simply breath taking. During our visit, we stumbled onto an exhibit or as they would put above the door ~ a museum to the brave. The dare devil brave. There I learned of brave souls as Annie Taylor, Bobby Leach, "Smiling Jean" Lussier and many, many more.

I have to tell you all that I finished up with all the poking, prodding and other such stuff that they do to each of us. My personal favorite being the small (yeah, small my hind end) needle biopsies taken from my nodes. That, as you all know, is a pain in the neck. I got to meet my new doctor who will be setting off the atomic bomb in my neck next week. I know I sometimes say things about those who have taken the oath. Sometimes my statements are maybe colorful and cavalier. Let me be honest with you all that I have an amazing medical team and I have nothing but the most respect and yes love for all of them. They have or will have saved my life and given the most precious of all gifts, more time. OK, I am sure that I will return to my tongue in cheek self now.

Here is the nickel tour of my upcoming trip to surgery ‘la la’ land. Major hacking and slashing of the ugly black stuff on both sides on my throat, in the nodes will be done. Dr. Henni will use skin from my chest as the healing skin on the outside. There are concerns for my carotid artery as the cancer is indeed wrapping itself around that. On the other side, there is a name that I do not know of a nerve that runs to my voice box. If there is damage here, I can loose about 50 % of my voice. There is also a concern of damage resulting in ulceration into my throat, because of location. There is a minor stroke risk. Getting a feeding tube back in. There will be a general prodding, poking, moving, folding, stapling and mutating of darn near everything in my throat. Plus some other goodies and surprises I’m sure. Oh, the amount of zapping, that’s non medical talk for radiation applied directly will be about 1 ½ to 2 times the amount I had last year. Done, all at once! I have been warned that upon waking up, I will be hurting.

Now, for the really fun news. I get to come back to Tucson, see Doctor Manning and my favorite oncology nurse in the entire world for yet another month of what? You ask. Spot radiation with my face in that demandable mask bolted to that demandable table of ‘Frankenstein’ like pain. OK, I said I would be - tongue in cheek! Plus/bonus score/super wait, ‘do not order yet’ type of excitement and happy, happy / joy, joy type of warm fuzzy. There may be chemotherapy as well…… this is to be determined and pending a coming to minds between Dr. Manning and my new nuclear physicist; OKKKKKKKK radiation oncologist.

I will be at the meeting Tuesday to see all of you, but I will need to leave early as I am sure I will be requested to arrive at Medical Disneyland Scottsdale at Zero dark :30. I plan on taking my laptop up with me so I will e-mail you all as soon as I can. Heir rock star Dokotr House, oh sorry, Dr. Henni (God love and bless him) says this time the insurance is playing good so I should be in Mayo for at least a week with hoses the size coffee cans, ok an embellishment,,, medical tubes out both sides of my neck.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Now, that is enough of that. What’s this have to do with Niagara Falls you ask (?). Well, Dr. Callister gave me the following answer to some of my questions about what was going on with me. “Steve, you’re in bad shape, but your ship hasn’t gone over the falls yet.” I flashed back to that exhibit about the dare devils that rode over the falls, as a young boy and tried to figure out what was on their minds. I now know what is in my mind.

I love you all and remember to be strong.

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