My last post, about the endoscopy, was very short on details. That’s not surprising, because I was still a little loopy from the anesthesia when I wrote it. A lot took place before, during, and after the procedure. Here are the highlights.
The endoscopy was scheduled for 8:30 AM on a Thursday. The night before I went to bed about 11:00 PM. I was still wide awake at 4 AM and it became clear I wasn’t going to be able to go to sleep at all. The odd thing about it was I didn’t feel the least bit anxious or nervous. I just couldn’t go to sleep. I told (and believed) myself that I wasn’t worried about a stomach cancer diagnosis, because I already have cancer.
Turned out I really didn’t sleep at all. I arrived at the Endoscopy Clinic on time and was prepped for the procedure. A couple minutes before they started I asked which anesthesia they were using. The anesthesiologist said Propofol. I casually asked, loud enough so all four people heard me (the doc, anesthesiologist, and two assistants), if that wasn’t the drug that killed Michael Jackson. Everybody froze and then turned to look at me. The anesthesiologist was the first to start talking, saying yes, but that was a much higher dose and it wasn’t delivered in a hospital setting. Before she could say anything else the doc chimed in. The two got very excited and were talking over each other. I had to hold my hand up to stop them, so I could say it was OK. I’d heard the drug was misused and was actually a very good anesthetic. Sounded like they’ve had patients that refused to take it. I had no idea their reaction would be so strong. It probably was a good thing I did it. I suspect the anesthesiologist was extra vigilant in keeping me alive.
Next thing I knew I was starting to wake up in the recovery room. I say starting to wake up, because I think it took the whole day to fully awaken. The doc told me they didn’t find anything, so they were going to assume, for the moment, that it was muscle spasms, and put me on some pills. If they worked, success. If not, a colonoscopy was next.
You might think the story ends here with me waiting to see what happens taking the pills. You would be wrong.
I came home and slept for about 5 hours. I was pretty hungry, since I hadn’t had anything to eat that day and it was now about 3:00 PM. Trying to be safe I ate bland mashed potatoes. Didn’t matter, the anesthetic hadn’t sufficiently worn off, and I wound up vomiting. The vomiting didn’t worry me too much, but after I finished I noticed a muscle in my jaw felt pretty severely strained. I figured it was due to the vomiting and would get better in time. The rest of the day and evening were uneventful.
The next morning when I woke up, I found out what had really caused my jaw pain. The lymph node on the right side of my neck was significantly swollen and very painful to the touch. Wonderful. I put a call into the doctor’s office and then felt a flood of fear overwhelm me. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. I wondered if it could be a met of my prostate cancer. I hoped it was an allergic reaction. At some point I realized this level of fear and panic had been with me all along. Before the endoscopy the fear came from stomach cancer, now it was a met to a lymph node. I couldn’t sleep that night before the procedure because of the fear. I was able to push it out of my conscious mind, but my subconscious was in panic mode and wouldn’t let me sleep. The day after the procedure I was too drained to keep the panic under wraps when the prospect of a lymph node met surfaced. I took a couple Xanax and eventually settled down.
The callback from the doctor wasn’t particularly encouraging. He had no idea what it could be. The only thing he was sure about was that it wasn’t an allergic reaction. In the end he advised me to take Aleve and if that didn’t help over the next couple days, I’d need to see him.
The swelling did go down and the pain subsided as we hoped. I’m still a little nervous about what caused it, though. I have an appointment with the oncologist at the end of the week, and I’ll ask him about it.
On the bright side, the muscle relaxant pills, most of the time, are doing a pretty good job of taming my stomach problems. I’m not sure how long I’ll need to take them. That subject will be broached at my next meeting with the GI doc, in a few weeks.
With this cancer stuff it’s always something…