EUS Day; The Mystery of the Surgeon’s Appointment

It’s Friday, 8 days after The News.


Thankfully I don’t have to do the bowel prep that was necessary for the colonoscopy. For the EUS (technically a “endoscopic ultrasound with flexible sigmoidoscopy”) it’s suppositories. This is my first experience with them, and to spare you the details all I’ll say is that it is infinitely better than the bowel prep. For one you don’t have to taste anything (one of the worst things I found about the bowel prep).

The first suppository needed to be taken three hours prior to the procedure, so I was up at the ungodly hour of 7:30. At this rate I’ll die of lack of sleep long before this cancer has a chance of killing me.

While this was at a different PAMF facility the pre-op routine was much the same. Multiple times they asked me for my name, birth date, and why I was there. The second or third time the nurse said that they just wanted to make sure I wasn’t there for a facelift. She didn’t think the gastroenterologist would do a good job. But if that’s what I was there for she’d see what they could do. The nurses were great and joked a lot. When they were taking my blood pressure I commented that the machine in the Palo Alto facility had died while tightly gripping my arm. One of the nurses said, “Oh yeah, we know about that one! Always needs to be recharged.” That machine is infamous. One of the nurses asked me when I’d done the bowel prep and I told her I was told to do the suppositories this time, which another nurse who was in the room confirmed. Then we got into a discussion about the Suprep bowel prep I’d used for the colonoscopy and how horribly it tasted. One nurse asked which flavor I got. Flavor? You mean there are multiple flavors? They prescribed it and I got whatever the pharmacist handed over. They suggested I get the lime flavored one next time. I’m pretty certain I had cherry, which they said was like cough syrup. About right.

Once again I had the ever-so-cool sensation of being on a roller coaster as I was wheeled into the OR. I laid on my side, and….the next thing I knew I was in recovery. And once again my clothes had magically appeared on me. I wonder if we could somehow work this out so every morning I wake up fully clothed and ready to go out into the world. It’d be a great time-saver.

While I was in recovery the gastroenterologist came and and relayed his findings. He seemed upbeat – he said the tumor was small. Maybe it could even be addressed with chemo / chemo-radiation and surgery wouldn’t be required. Didn’t see any lymph node involvement. I thought he said it was about 1 cm, but in then I wasn’t 100% recovered from sedation. [ note to self: always, always, always have the person picking me up hear what the doctor has to say after being sedated. ] When I got home I found a mysteriously unread email in PAMF’s online system sent a week earlier. It was an introductory message from the nurse navigator, sent before she called, explaining that she had been assigned to me because a 5 cm mass had been observed during the colonoscopy. 5 cm vs 1 cm? Maybe width vs depth? Maybe a 1 cm tumor can present as a 5 cm mass due to inflammation or other reasons? No sense in speculating – let’s wait for the results to be formally published in the after-visit summary.

KT picked me up. After having been fasting I was starved. We headed to Hobees to pick up lunch, and then headed to home to eat.

The Mystery of the Surgeon’s Appointment

The mystery for the day is that sometime during the morning the “New Patient Visit” with the surgeon has turned into a “Proctology Exam.” Same time, same place, same surgeon, just a new title. Now I’m really confused about what this appointment is. I tried to call the surgeon’s office, but they’d already closed for the weekend. JT is planning to go with me and I’ve told her it’s her call – it’s a long drive and I’d hate for her to waste her time, especially if it does turn out to be a proctology exam and not a consultation.

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