The Pregnant Man

Blogs-contributors, Dan Waeger — By on February 26, 2009 at 11:34 am

I don’t mean to make a joke of my situation b/c my stomach has been very uncomfortable and even painful at times, but lately I’ve felt like the pregnant man.

To start from the beginning, I have been bloated for nearly two to three weeks now. My abdomen was extended and felt very uncomfortable. I finally went into the doctors on Friday, January 30th. When they did the tests, my CT scan revealed the bloated feeling is actually a collection of fluid in my stomach. It doesn’t really matter what the fluid is, but the fluid is caused by the cancer.

The fluid is called ascites and pretty much your only option to have the fluid go away is to have it drained. So they were prepared and drained it immediately. I went up to my nurse’s station and a guy came in with an ultrasound. They used the ultrasound to guide a needle to numb the area. After it is numb, they insert a drain or small tube like an IV line. They took 1.5 liters of fluid out and the draining part only took about 10 minutes. It wasn’t too painful, but just uncomfortable. But as soon as the fluid is drained, you can feel the pressure leaving your abdomen almost immediately.

Unfortunately, there is no long term solution to the fluid. At that time, they said my abdomen would most likely keep accumulating fluid at a rate of every week, to 2 weeks, to 3 weeks. Well, just two days later it re-accumulated which is not good. On Wednesday of last week (Feb. 4th), I went back in for the 2nd time and they drained another 1.5 liters of fluid.

Finally, with respect to the rest of my cancer. We did not receive the best of news on Wednesday as well. The disappointing news was that there is growth in the lymphatic area around my lung. There is nothing measurable, but as my doctor described it was a thickening of the mass or lining around the edge of the lung. While it’s not measurable, it does represent disease progression and my doctor is seriously concerned. It is more concerning than the fluid. As bad as the fluid sounds, that will just be more annoying. The disease progression is not ideal and having gone through 4-5 treatments already, our options are limited.

With that being said, my doctor recommended one therapy approach which he wants to start immediately (which would be next week). I’ve asked to hold off a few days and reach out to the top lung cancer experts in the country which we did back in the summer. Thanks to my job, I have the luxury of very good contacts. We are waiting to hear back on their opinion and whether or not there is a viable clinical trial to enter right now. If I decide on a clinical trial – I would probably start in 3 weeks given all the paperwork/insurance stuff that is involved. However, a decision on all this will probably be made by the end of this week as we need to act fast.

Also, given the rate of the fluid coming back, I had to go back in today to have it drained again. While they only got 1 liter this time, I can assure you the pain and discomfort is nothing I wish upon anyone. They are finally going to insert a permanent drain this Thursday, which I will have to manage myself. It just means a small little port or IV line will be stitched to the side of my stomach and every 2 days or so I will have to release the valve on the IV line into a bottle. I will not need to carry around a bag or bottle all day. To my understanding, I’ll probably just have a foot or so of IV line or small tubing taped to my side. When I start to feel uncomfortable, I will open the valve into small bottle at home when needed.

SOOOOO – I think I gave everyone the full update. We will let you know when a decision on treatment is made. We are staying positive and strong and all of your support gives us even more strength! Thank you!!!!!

P.S. The Smoothie King put a sign on their door saying they don’t agree with the management’s decision on their towing policy. Hahaha.

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