Cancer Crawl Feb 28th

Home after 16.5 days in the hospital.

Tonight, I sleep without being awakened for scheduled doses of drugs I may or may not need. Tomorrow, I bum around the apartment and cook dinner for Carrie. Anyway, the last “hospital” update unless things suddenly go south, and I really hope they don’t.

Here’s the letter I sent to my “distribution list” since not everyone follows this blog. I’ll keep posting big news here, and I have some reflections and pictures to share, but the updates might not be daily. We shall see. Given what’s going on in the US, and what the news has been reporting here, I am dying to write about my experience of Canadian healthcare. And my mom’s. Though in a way it’s premature since I’ve got a ways to go yet. On the other hand, jotting things down as I go has been helpful, as I imagine I will write more about this whole experience at some point. At least I’ve gotten encouragement to do so both from colleagues and doctors so we’ll see if something of substance develops as I gain some distance from the whole thing.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I know some of you have been following the saga on the blog, others have been waiting for news via email. After 16.5 of the most difficult days of my life, I am finally back home from surgery and hospitalization (I did have a day pass yesterday but it was with an 8pm curfew). I am lighter one full thyroid gland, dozens of lymph nodes and several pounds (wow, these jeans are kind of loose) and I’ve been trached and de-trached. I’m not totally out of the woods yet. Although, the trache is out, the stoma is closing slowly, which means I need to limit my talking for the next few days, which means I will stay off the phone and probably limit visitors until at least the middle of the week. I also have some unpleasant swelling elsewhere in my neck but the doctors are in wait-and-see mode and therefore I am too. Other than that it’s basically bumps and bruises and a hospital-grade GI virus that has worked its way out of my system after a 48 hour riot (happily, I learned today that I tested negative for c difficile).

On March 10th I am due to receive radioactive iodine, which will take me out of circulation for at least 3 more days and may bring with it other unpleasant side effects. But it can’t possibly be worse than what I’ve been through (strange metallic taste in my mouth rendering food unpalatable? Been there, done that.) When I do start accepting visitors, I won’t be accepting gifts of food (no exceptions) as I’m on this esoteric low-iodine diet so that my cells will be more receptive to the radioactive iodine that I get dosed with on the 10th. (The diet is esoteric enough that Montreal General’s kitchen actually couldn’t accommodate it, although in practice all it means is that I’m a vegan chef for 11 days–no dairy allowed–and must use non-iodized salt and avoid certain other random foods high in iodine) It’s unusual for things to happen this fast, but I told my doctors I wanted to get it over with and they have been very accommodating.

There’s always more to say and to tell, but for now please accept my broadcast thanks for all the messages of support, emails intended to relieve boredom and efforts by locals to cheer me up or to look after Carrie. It’s all appreciated and has made a major difference in my recovery and morale during a very difficult time.

For those seeking greater detail about the last 16 days, it’s all up there for the world to see on so I won’t repeat it here. Again, my sincere thanks. More personal notes to come.