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Posts Tagged ‘portal vein’


Yes, I can…

April 15, 2011

er name was Lea. She has been working at the hospital for more than 12 years, mostly in the radiology department. I can tell she knows her stuff as an ultrasound technician. She is also from the Philippines. She gets the warm gel and puts a healthy dab on my stomach.  That feels good.

“So they took out your right liver?” She asks.

“Yup. And my gallbladder too. I was first diagnosed with colon cancer in March 2008, then it came back in November 2009 and had metastasized to my liver. In April 2010, after a few rounds of chemo they decided to remove the right lobe. Lately, my oncologist noticed my elevated liver function test and wanted to be sure there are no blockage.”

“They did a good job on your right liver. They managed to save a portion of it including your portal vein. Listen.”

She turned up the volume and I listened to the strong surge of blood flow in rhythmic harmony with my heart beat. Amazing.

This brought up memories of Dr. A, an excellent liver transplant surgeon (see his picture in this post ‘I will remember thee’). I have described his hands as those similar to being touched by God. I am indebted to him and everybody who have helped me come this far.

“Did they take out your kidney too?” She interrupted thoughts.

Huh? Was I robbed of an organ?

“Oh. I found it. It moved since there was a space left when they took out your right liver.” Whew!

She went about looking for my pancreas, spleen, veins, and arteries taking pictures of them along the way. Except for a liver cyst she noted, she did not seem concern. But the doctors will have to make that assessment.

I received the results the following day as I was having my treatment. My wife read the results and told me everything was fine. However, my blood test came back again and my liver function test results were still elevated. This thing is going to bother us. I have learned my lesson not to ignore any signs of abnormality. My monthly chemo treatments constantly reminds me how fragile life can be.

When it is time for my monthly treatment, I have this battle in my mind about the limitation put on me. I can’t get invited to the ultimate dance – a Boston Qualifier. I can’t travel far or meet that deadline. I can’t run fast.  I can’t…I can’t.  It is dangerous to go down the path of ‘I can’t’. So it is a constant ordeal for me. Writing about it helps. Meditating.  And of course, waddling.

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 16, I have been invited to the starter runner for the Novacare Lakefront 10 miler. I feel honored.  I have waited a year for this.  Last year, they invited me to be their starter runner but my liver surgery got in the way.  There is no way I am going to miss this event, come rain or shine.

Thanks to Noreen, Jamie, and the amazing Novacare staff they helped me get back to running when I had ITB problems in time for the 2009 Chicago Marathon. Another set of people I am indebted to!

I will speak about ACS and the fullness of life.  You see, life is full of opportunities once you get past ‘I can’t’.

Cheers.

PS:  As part of the deal, they gave me bib number 1.  Woohoo.

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