Friday, July 29, 2011

Holey Guacamole!

Yes, "holey" as in "having holes" and "guacamole" as in "mostly avocados". Allow me to explain...

I went back up to Mayo at the beginning of June for a check-up. I had surgery in May to burn a couple more tumors out of my liver and when they did the pre-op scans my oncologist had said that it looked like my lung tumors may be growing again. So my return in June was to check things out after the surgery and to take a look at my lungs and decide what course of action to take. In the weeks after surgery and before my check-up my liver had been hurting pretty badly. Well, that is to say, the area in which my liver is located had been hurting, I only assumed it was my actual liver hurting. So when looking at my scans after hearing about my pain my oncologist told me that my pain was caused by the holes created in my liver when the tumors were burnt out. I had holes in my liver from previous occasions when tumors had been burnt out and apparently one of the old holes connected with one of the new holes and created a giant hole. And that giant hole was (is) filled with fluid, dead tumor, and other nasty sounding things that I have been informed my body will absorb and get rid of on its own. In the meantime, however, I have a giant hole and the crud in it is pushing on my liver capsule and causing pain. How big is my giant liver hole, you ask? According to my oncologist, it's the size of an avocado. And so therefore, "holey guacamole"! So to give you some visual reference as to how big an avocado is in relation to your liver I took some pictures... okay, I took them because they're funny too. The plush liver is made life size so it should give you an idea.

So, for a normal person, your liver is on your right side.

I, however, am not normal and due to surgeries and such, my liver is on the left.

This, folks, is an avocado.

And here is a liver to avocado size comparison for you. Can you say ouch!?

Where did I get a plush liver? I know a guy. *wink wink*
Look! I have plush lungs too!

In other, non-avocado related news, my oncologist and I discussed my lungs. Looking at the scans, my doctor said that you really have to squint at them to see that my lung tumors have grown, but that they are growing. But given that my liver is still recovering from surgery and that my lung tumors are growing very slowly right now my oncologist said he felt comfortable with, and, in fact, encouraged me to hold off on treatment until after the summer. We will look at my lungs again in September and see where to go from there.

Interestingly enough, the news that I got at Mayo that upset me the most wasn't directly to do with my cancer. About a year and a half ago I had a medi-port put in so that I could receive chemo without having to go through the trauma of getting an IV every time. My port is a PowerPort and can be used also for scan contrast. Well, this trip to Mayo I was informed that I would not be able to use my port for my scan contrast and would need an IV. Trauma! IVs and me do not work well together, thus the port, but the tech who was getting me preped for my scan looked at an older scan (something I guess they are supposed to do) and saw that the tip of my port, the part that is supposed to sit in a big vein just outside the heart, was in the wrong place. After talking to my doctor and having him look at my scans, it turns out that the tip of my port is, indeed, in a bad place. Instead of sitting just outside my heart, the tip of my port had worked its way inside of the atrium of my heart. My doctor said that this was most likely due to my being on the thin side and port tubing being made a standard length. Because I do not have enough fat to hold my port farther away the tip of mine, through repeated use, got pushed into my heart. Not good for scan contrast because they run it at such a speed that the tip of the port could flop around and hit the walls of my heart causing fibrillation or the speed at which the contrast is run could just simply blow a hole in the wall of my heart. Neither of these things sound like fun, so no scans using the port and we are going to have the port situation remedied in September. I will either have it taken out completely or, if I will be starting a treatment, they could put a new one in for me that could be fitted to my size better. Fun stuff.

So there you have it, a goofy little update. Sorry I have been absent from this blog lately, I blame the avocado hole, it still hurts. But even on the rainiest days, when life hands you avocados, there are still silly pictures to be taken and friends and family to help you while you heal and make you smile.