Iyamken's Blog
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Jun
09

3 weeks! Wow time flies by so fast. Sorry I have not updated you more frequently. There really has not been a lot to report but I will fill you in on the changes. The picture above is a photograph of the latest X-ray which shows the hardware they put in to repair my vertebrae.

Pain-Pain-Pain. That has been the main story of the last 3 weeks. I seem to have hit a plateau that is long and wide. My typical day has a slow and sore start, the middle of the day is my best time, and then by evening I am pretty uncomfortable again. Last week the doc upped my pain meds which has helped but now I feel more zombie-ish during the day. I guess there is has to be a trade-off. I keep being told to be patient and I am really trying. I visited the store yesterday for the first time in a few weeks, to be honest I have not had the energy to do much at all. I am not doing much work from home, I can’t drive yet, but occasionally I find the energy to sit outside instead of inside! Whoo-Hoo!

The left leg is getting better – I would put my strength at about 50% now so maybe it is a nerve problem that will come back all the way. The swelling has also gotten better and I have been diligent about working on that. I elevate my legs at night and a couple times during the day. We also learned massage techniques to help with the lymph drainage. The swelling and pain in my is now mostly in the thigh and I hope that continues to improve.

So moving ahead now – I’m going back on the Nexavar! Wednesday I am going for CT scans of everything which will give the docs a baseline to show if the Nexavar is doing good in either reducing or holding the size of the tumors. Then I will start on the Nexavar as soon as the doc has the results of the scans, probably right away Thursday or Friday. They are starting me at ½ the dosage that I was on before when I had all the bad reactions. They assure me that I should have few, if any, problems at this dosage. I’m hoping so, but I figure as long as I am stuck at home recovering from one thing I might as well get started on the next.

For those of you who asked about Mom – she is now out of the hospital and at a rehab center working on getting her strength to the point where she can do things independently. She had a brief (1 day) stay at home last week but quickly found out she was not strong enough yet. (We were disappointed the hospital sent her home when she was not ready!) Now it is just a matter of her working on her strength. We will keep encouraging her!

Thanks to all of you who have harassed me about not updating this blog. I keep promising to do better and I will try harder. It is uncomfortable for me to spend much time in front of a computer and honestly some days I cannot even summon the energy to look at email on my phone. I know you care about me which is why you want the updates so I will work on it.

One other thing – Yahoo is changing their blog service so I will be moving my blog to another location. I have not figured out where yet but as soon as I do I will post the info here and email anyone I have addresses for. If you are not sure that I have your email address please drop me a note and I will be sure you get an update. Email address is kpelt@wi.rr.com

Oh yeah – I have had late donations to my fund raising efforts for ThyCa and now figure that the total we raised is darn close to $10,000!!!! You guys are awesome!!!! I never even dreamed that we could raise that amount at my little party.

Be Well – Be Blessed! I will talk to you soon – I promise! Go Red Wings!

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May
16

Hey y’all – thanks for checking back in with me. Wow – I have had many surgeries and procedures to recover from but this one has been by far the hardest and slowest. That big ole incision on my left side has been the major source of pain, which should be expected given the fact that they moved so much stuff around in there. But that has been getting better each day and I now have more flexibility than I had when I came home a week ago. I think it would heal faster but the back brace I have to wear keeps aggravating it.

2 other factors are a little more concerning. First off – I told you that the pain in my right leg was gone immediately after the surgery, what I didn’t tell you about is the pain and weakness that started in my left leg. I cannot lift the leg more than a few inches without help. The doc is not 100% sure why that happened but suggested that they may have bruised a nerve during surgery. If that is the case it is just a matter of patience while the nerve heals. But because I have so many other tumors in that area there is the possibility that one or more of those could be causing it as well. But what is the possibility of that happening at the same time of the surgery? Time will tell.

The other issue I am struggling with is a lot swelling in my legs and feet. This is an accumulation of fluid from the surgery and the IV fluids they pump into you in the hospital. Because I have not been able to lay on my back and elevate my feet the fluid cannot drain to my kidneys and pass out. Yesterday they prescribed a diuretic (water pill) to help me get rid of it. Also as of this morning I can lay on my back with a little more comfort so between those 2 factors I am hoping to see this swelling go down in the next couple of days. I have been faithfully wearing my “TEDS” which are compression stockings that should keep additional fluid from accumulating. Really I am just getting in touch with my feminine side wearing these thigh-high stockings!

So that’s my report – here is Mom’s. She got moved to the rehab unit at the hospital and they are working her hard. We got the bad news that Mom’s brother, my uncle, passed away Wednesday night. Gene had been ill for a while so his passing was not totally unexpected but still earlier than anyone thought. His funeral service is on Tuesday so Mom is working hard to be well enough to attend the service. We are all pulling for her!

Thanks to all of you who have offered words of encouragement whether it was a card, a call, a prayer, or an email. I really appreciate your support!

Be Well – Be Blessed!

May
09

I’m home – I’m home! I’ve been here since yesterday afternoon and so far so good. Still in a chunk of pain but it gets better every day.

I never told you the specifics of my surgery, it ended up being a pretty major operation. In order to get at my spine in the correct position they went in through my left side where they had a general surgeon cut an 11” incision (yes – it was so long we felt obliged to measure it) and then “move everything out of the way” so Dr Rao, the neurosurgeon, could then come in and do his stuff with my spine. When the spinal repair was complete the general surgeon came back and closed me up. I was in surgery over 6 hours and bled a lot, they replaced 5 units of blood so I have someone else’s blood flowing through my veins. I guess this would be a good time to thank any of you that take the time and effort to donate blood – you never know who you are going to help! Dr. Rao was very pleased with the way the surgery went, he was able to do all the repairs he wanted to and put in all the reinforcements he needed to all in one surgery. He told me it was unusual for such a complicated plan to all come together without problems but it worked out great! I’m sure all of your prayers are responsible for everything going smoothly – thanks to you and to The Lord for that!

I have gotten immediate relief from the nerve pain that was shooting down my right leg – I noticed it the first time I got up and walked after surgery. I did not expect such an immediate response but Woo-hoo that felt so good not to hurt! I still have a little back pain but most of the pain I have now is due to the incision. That in itself was like having major abdominal surgery, so I am having trouble using those muscles to sit up, lie back, roll over, etc. Plus they kept encouraging me to cough to clear the anesthesia from my lungs — that hurt more than anything else! Ouch! But we know that will go away as the incision heals, the main thing is to know we accomplished what we wanted to which was to relieve the chronic back pain. Success! My confidence was not misplaced!

Before the surgery I was fitted for a back brace that I learned will be my best buddy through the summer. I wore it for the week before surgery in order to protect my spine, they put it on me as the last thing in the operating room, and now Dr Rao has ordered me to wear it any time I am out of bed for the next 3 months. Evidently it will take that much time for my spinal repair to heal completely (remember – it was an Anterior Corpectomy, Discectomy, Interbody Fusion with Cages, Instrumentation L2-L4 using Allograft Bone). Lifting “smartly” is ok, but no extreme stretching or bending. I found it amusing that he told me to think of myself as a penguin, someone with really short arms or flippers. He said I need to get up close to any object to pick it up and use my legs, not my back. Anyone who has taken a basic safety course in any workplace has been taught the same thing, but I can’t say I ever heard the penguin line. Very amusing and easy to remember!

I know this entry has become an epic in itself but I have to share more good news – we are 3 for 3 on back surgeries this week! Mom and Linda both had their surgery Friday. Linda’s was done as outpatient and she came through great – also has felt immediate pain relief from the nerve pain. She is recovering at home with a back brace of her own and her subservient husband, Jerry, catering to her every whim. Mom is spending Mother’s Day in the hospital, most of it flat on her back. Her doc ordered that she lay flat for 48 hours after her surgery (she had 4 vertebrae repaired!) so the plan is to get her up finally sometime Sunday afternoon. So far it appears she has had some pain relief also but it is harder to tell so early in her case. The doc seemed very confident that she will have quick relief. Let’s all pray that she does – Mom is 87 already, let’s get her fixed fast!

Thank you Dear God for your wondrous work through the hands of talented and caring individuals this week. And thank you Dear Friends for your prayers, calls, cards, visits, love, and encouragement. Mom and I both appreciate it!

What’s next? Lots! But you’ll have to stay tuned for details of that answer!

Be Well – Be Blessed!

May
07

Another quickie for you. I may be going home tomorrow! The doc was very pleased with what happened today in terms of progress so we will evaluate tomorrow after my 2 therapy sessions. If the progress is good I’m going home!

Walking is the only therapy I will be doing. No back therapy! He was very specific about that. Walking as much as I can is what he wants me to do, so that is what I’ll do!

May
07

This will be short because I have been having problems getting entries to post if I wait too long.

2nd day of recovery since my Tuesday surgery. Yesterday was a complete bummer but today is
better. This afternoon I was up and walked a couple hundred feet with a walker, where yesterday I could hardly shuffle at all. I have been sitting up in a chair since about 10:00 and it feels good. Laying in bed was getting old!

No word yet on going home. I was hoping tomorrow but that doesn’t seem possible now. I have had every one of my tubes and lines disconnected. No more attachments! That is way cool to me. I think it’s time for a nap now!

One disadvantage of being in the hospital this time of year is I miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They don’t have the right channel! So tonight I will have to set up my phone to get updates on the Red Wings game. At least I hve been able to watch the Brewers!

Good day – Good night – Be Well – Be Blessed!

May
04

Here we are – the night before another big surgery and I am strangely calm. I can’t say that I am not nervous because I definitely am nervous but I feel confident in the doctors and their plan. The procedures I have had done at Froedtert so far have gone remarkably well so I have faith that this one will happen just as it is supposed to also. Or else the fistful of pills I pop every few hours has me calm, it really could be either!

If you want to be busy while I am in surgery feel free to browse the internet looking for the terms of what they are going to do to me. They call it an Anterior Corpectomy, Discectomy, Interbody Fusion with Cages, Instrumentation L2-L4 using Allograft Bone. Or if it is easier just go back to the last post where the doc said “we are going to scoop out the tumor and reinforce the spine”. Much easier to understand!

Please keep in your prayers 2 more people going through back surgery this Friday. First – Mom is finally having surgery to straighten an area in her back that has had her in pain for years! I am really praying that she gets relief from this procedure – she deserves it! And what a great Mother’s Day present that would be! And Linda, a very good friend of Jessie and mine, is having lumbar back surgery on Friday! I think this back thing is spreading faster than swine flu. OOPS, I mean H1N1 virus!

Between Jessica and I we will keep you updated after the surgery. Of course I will have my phone in the hospital with me so I can stay in touch through emails, blog, and texts. I’m not going as far as Twittering about it, I figure you can read the blog if you want to keep up. If not then why have you read this far????

Thanks again so much – your love and support have gotten me this far and I look forward to riding it much further!

Be Well – Be Blessed!

PS – I mailed $8309 in donations to ThyCa over the weekend! Add to that what people had donated online and some commitments I have for more donations still coming. I am so impressed with your generosity! God Bless You!

Apr
30

Just a quick note to let you know that Paul came through his surgery and is resting in the hospital. His “Tweets” said he went for a walk on the floor and got to watch the sunset. Must have had a deluxe room! Glad to hear it Paul! There was an article in the Waukesha Freeman today about Paul and his quest, unfortunately they do not let you read it online unless you are a subscriber. Kind of backwards, don’t you think? They talked about the cooperation Waukesha Memorial Hospital gave him in granting his request and how happy they were to have someone getting the word out on this important issue. Let’s hope the video gets posted on You Tube quickly. Actually I’m just looking forward to seeing Paul’s ass.

Here at the Pelt house tonight we had a delicious lasagna dinner prepared by my lovely and talented wife Jessica. Mom & Dad, my stepson Pete, and brother & sister-in-law Jerry and Terry joined us for ANOTHER birthday dinner. More cake of course also! I can really drag out a celebration! I’m such an attention-monger.

Be Well – Be Blessed!

Apr
29

I just got a shocker on the 10Pm news that I want to talk about. I’m just sitting here on my butt when Channel 6 starts a story about a man who was diagnosed with prostate cancer and is using a video blog and twitter to get the word out to other men about being checked. Then Paul Daniel starts talking about his journey through the process! Paul is my next door neighbor! He was at my birthday party Saturday night! I had no idea he had been diagnosed back in March – I guess that says a lot about my abilities as a good caring neighbor.

Paul is having surgery Thursday morning (my actual birthday!) so by the time you read this he is probably recovering. I am only sharing this because obviously Paul wants it to go public as much as possible, in fact he is trying to video the surgery and post it on You Tube. He already has several videos posted on there about his decision process, Check them out at http://www.youtube.com/user/pdiddy21154 . Paul loves all things aviation so there are some cool aviation videos there too – Check out the Mig-29 RC plane he flew in the backyard – way cool! According to Paul’s Twitter page http://twitter.com/pdiddy21154 there should be an article in the Journal Thursday as well.

If you are a male you should be listening to him, if you are a concerned female you should be encouraging your husband/father/brother/man to get checked! The test is not hard to study for, just ask your doc. Oh – and while you are there be sure and ask for a “neck check”. That will make both Paul and I very happy.

Good Luck Paul! We’ll crank up the prayers!

Apr
27

OK – OK! I know it has been 2 weeks since I last posted but I’ve been busy! I had a party to plan that grew and grew but man was it great! If you were there I hope you had a great time, I certainly did. Having a night surrounded by my best and closest friends was unbelievable therapy for me. I can’t thank you enough if you participated.

Unfortunately the 2 weeks have been eventful healthwise also. The good news is that the rash and other effects from the Nexavar are gone, just a little dry skin left. But we have learned together that this disease never stays pat and things grow when we are not watching. Evidently my spine has been busy producing and growing tumors! Remember a few weeks ago I talked about a tumor near the L3 spine? (L3 is the lumbar area – the lower back) I had one MRI on April 1st to look at it and another MRI last Friday (the 24th) because the pain had gotten significantly worse. In just 23 days between scans there was significant progression in the tumor growth and it is now pressing into the spinal nerve canal. This explains my inability to walk without pain. I don’t want to sound like a whiner (I guess that is all I do here!) but this pain has gotten REAL bad REAL fast. Walking more than a couple hundred feet or even standing for more than a few minutes causes pain that becomes unbearable. Saturday night I looked like a bobber sitting, standing, sitting, standing……………..

So today we met with an orthopedic back specialist who gave me 2 choices. Live with it or do surgery. Living with it doesn’t seem to be a great choice because it is not going to get better. Surgery is risky, any surgery is, especially when they start doing complicated things on your spine. But surgery seems to be the only chance I have of getting relief so I am going to take that risk. I certainly can’t imagine living out my life not being able to walk. Plus the tumor could keep growing and cause more problems, like paralysis. The surgery will involve removing as much of the tumor as possible then reinforcing the area with some type of bracketry. Pretty soon I’ll have more metal than bone in me! Surgery is scheduled for May 5th – wish me luck!

I’ll fill you in on more details about the party and the fund-raising efforts soon. I can tell you that I was blown away by the generosity of people!

Be Well – Be Blessed!

Apr
13

Hi all. I hope you all had a good Easter. Here in Wisconsin we had a nice day weather-wise and we spent an enjoyable day relaxing with family. Almost a week has gone by since the last update and I’ve been slowly healing up. Pretty much good news all around on that front.

The rash has receded from most areas, although my legs still look like a bad sunburn and continue to peel. I leave a trail of dead skin wherever I walk, Jessica has been following me around the house with the dustbuster cleaning up my droppings. I think I have slathered on about 5 pounds of moisturizers and creams trying to keep the skin from flaking off..

Hiccups have stopped, it did not take long for the anti-psychotic meds to put an end to those so I guess it was the right medication! And the last piece of good news is that the catheter was removed and the urinary issues have cleared up – my life has gotten a lot more comfortable!

Now the only question is when to restart the medication. I am going to start at 50% of the original dosage but frankly right now I am not mentally ready to do that yet. I also think my body needs a few more days to fully recover from the last round. I need to do a little thinking and a little praying about the answer to that question.

Thanks for checking back in – we will talk again soon!