Monday, January 18, 2010

The Stricture Gets Stretched

As usual I am later than promised but I want to let you know about the throat stretching procedure I had last Friday.

It appears it was a success, at least for a start. First I have to explain a little about what they did because I was mistaken when I explained it in my last posting. Normally the procedure is done the way I described it, from the top through the mouth. But because my throat was so narrow they couldn't do that, so they removed my feeding tube and ran a wire up through the tube opening in my stomach and out my mouth. Then they used wire-guided dilators (see the picture) to go back down from the top and stretch the opening.

What they do is use a series of incrementally larger dilators to gradually open the stricture. They can't stretch it too far all at once so they did as much as they could in one procedure. I am scheduled to go back in about 2 weeks for another round to stretch it even further. At this point we are not sure how many of these procedures it will take but as long as we make progress with each session we'll keep going.

The good news is the doc thinks he stretched it enough so that the next procedure can all be done through my mouth, they won't have to go through the feeding tube opening. That should make the procedure quicker and easier.

I had no bad symptoms after everything was done, just a slightly sore throat on Saturday. I also was very loopy from the anesthesia they used; my memory of anything I did Friday evening is spotty at best. Kind of frightening to hear about things I did or said that I had no recollection of the next day - it brought back scary memories of drinking too much as a youngster! I do not like that feeling.

Today (Monday) was a much better day! My friend Chris and I spent a some time at the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) museum in Oshkosh. Chris had off for MLK day so we thought it would be a good opportunity to go gawk at airplanes for a while. The museum is a fascinating place where someone like me could easily spend a couple days so the few hours I had today was definitely not enough to satisfy me. But my hips would not take any more walking and I didn't want to view things from a wheelchair. I'll have to plan another trip in the near future. Good thing admission is free to us EAA members!

Tomorrow is another follow-up appointment with my oncologist. Since my last appointment I have put on a few pounds and am feeling much better and stronger than when I went into the hospital. I expect that he will want me to restart the Nexavar. I'm not looking forward to the side effects that will come from restarting it but they are a small price to pay in order to have something fighting the cancer cells in my body. I'll report back after the appointment.

In the meantime - Be Well and Be Blessed!


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