Just got over a cancer scare.....haven't had any time to think about upcoming surgery

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canon4me

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Surgery is on 6/6/2013. Haven't really thought about it at all. My bone scan just came back negative. I can't live with cancer. I can have a valve and aneurysm fixed though. I know I will wake up feeling like a semi ran over me. I delt with partial kidney removal for cancer and that was survivable, so I feel like I'm tougher than hell and I can deal with this. Two outcomes.......surgeon is successful and you wake up feeling like crap or you don't wake up and you get to see your parents and pets. Only thing that bothers me and I will be sure and tell the surgeon.....I'm claustrophobic and if I wake up with the intubation tube sticking in my throat, I'm liable to try pulling it out. He needs to realize how claustrophobic I really am and if he needs to sedate me heavily then that's what he needs to do.
 

chaconne

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Canon,

I was (and am) in the same situation as you. In 2009 I was diagnosed with Stage-3 Melanoma. I had to have a bunch of lymph nodes taken out of my leg and have CAT/PET scans every year. By far, cancer is scarier than heart valve replacement, there is no comparison. The tough thing, however, is dealing with both of them at the same time. Before my valve surgery, I had to make sure I was cancer free. Waiting for the scan results was quite stressful, and worrying about how the two problems may complicate each other.

Depending on your age and any other health problems, you may find the heart surgery is not too bad. At least you'll have some peace of mind knowing the success rate is in the high 90% range. Valve replacement is a fine science these days. I'm very glad to hear your bone scan was negative. Blessings on your recovery for your upcoming surgery
 

chaconne

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canon4me said:
I'm claustrophobic and if I wake up with the intubation tube sticking in my throat, I'm liable to try pulling it out. He needs to realize how claustrophobic I really am and if he needs to sedate me heavily then that's what he needs to do.
BTW,

They do tend to keep you very sedated when the tube is in. I vaguely remember it being in but it didn't bother me.
 

canon4me

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Well, that's good to know that I'll probably be really sedated while the tube is still in me. I get claustrophic so much that in the past after I got done working out, while pulling my sweaty tshirt off...if it came off hard, when it was over my head, I used to rip it to shreds trying to get it over my head as soon as possible. I have to be blindfolding whenever I have a MRI in the tube and then a gal has to sit in the room talking to me. I don't have a problem getting cut into, it's a problem when the nurse puts the mask over my face if I'm not unconscious yet. That isn't a pretty site:) Anyway, I've got all my appointments made and I've told my wife that this is our vacation this year - Cleveland, Ohio!
 

kimcdougc

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I am just like you. They have to give me lots of drugs to put me in the "tube". It has to be open ended for that one. I can relate to the claustrophobic like you. Won't get in a crowded elevator. Crowds do me in. Etc. I have read in some forums that they keep your hands lightly restrained when you first wake up on the vent. Not sure, but I hope they don't do that because I am likely to crack my chest back open moving around. Seems by most peoples posts that they don't even remember that part of the hospital. Sounds good to me. Good luck with your surgery and keep us posted. My surgery is May 23, 2013. I will get my husband to post how it goes.
 

Oilman

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Glad to here your test came back negative, I think having OHS is enough for a person to handle. Also nice to hear you have a date and ready to get to the other side where recovery lives.

As far as playing the theatrics of the the surgery, I too did it for two months prior to my Nov operation. I remember the tube coming out and how little it bothered me, how strange is that eh. I had never been sedated before and I'm thinking they must give us pretty good stuff, cause I remember coming around in the ICU and people going about their jobs, didn't realize I had a tube in, it's small and was bent and taped to the side of my face, the wife said so, then I remembered being told it was time to remove it, OK I thought, she said take a deep breath and we will pull it out, then you spit all the spit out, done deal, was still so relaxed..lol...good thing eh.

One minute your saying buy to the wife, being wheeled into the theatre, saying hello to everyone in the green suits, them hooking the good stuff to the IV and saying goodnight, and bang....waking up in ICU.....being very happy to be poking my head out on the other side. You both will do just fine.

Happy,happy,happy
 

epstns

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I spoke with my surgical care team before surgery about my fear of the breathing tube. They told me not to worry, that I would still be so groggy when they take it out that I wouldn't likely care. They were right. My only memory of the tube was the 30 seconds or so that it took to remove it. I was totally "out" until they began to take it out. I remember waking in "the dark" (must have only been half awake) and being told to cough the tube out. Once it was out, I went back to sleep. I did not need to spend any time being conscious with the tube in place.
 

AZ Don

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Recently found this site. While it sucks that so many people are having such significant medical issues, misery does love company and so I am glad to have found people that can relate. In January I had a routine colonoscopy and found out that I had a tumor. In February I had surgery to remove the tumor, confirmed it was cancer but had not spread locally. In March the surgeon reported the results of the scan confirmed no evidence of cancer. Later that month I got a copy of the report and noted that it mentioned I had a dilated ascending aorta. Thanks to google I found out what that meant and scheduled follow-ups. The surgeon later said that she didn't think anything of it. She had not mentioned it and I got a copy of the report from my GP, who had not fully read the report and did not notice the mention of my aorta. Just goes to show how important it is to be engaged in the management of your own health. Anyways, in April I found that I have a Biscuspid Aortic valve and my aneurysm is large enough that I meet the surgical criteria. So now in May I will be having OHS to repair (why do they call it this, it is really a replacement of the damaged portion?) my aorta. Probably going to be valve sparing. I'm still trying to understand the numbers on my echo, and this site has been helpful with that, but as I understand it I have a "normal" BAV and my numbers are good. After having other tests/consults I meet back with the surgeon May 7th and expect to get a date for the surgery.

If the cancer were to come back or spread, I would probably view it differently, but I find living with the risk of an aortic dissection/rupture and OHS to be scarier than the cancer that I had. It has been good to read about so many people that came through it successfully.

Don
 

chaconne

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Don,

I'm very glad that you caught your colon cancer early and that there is no more detectable tumors. Having a regular colonoscopy can save your life. I also had an aortic aneurism (47-48mm) and this can be scarier than cancer since it can act like a time bomb. However, to me this wasn't as scary as my cancer, because I was under the care of heart doctors and it didn't seem like an immediate emergency to them. I did choose to have my surgery sooner rather than later, however, because I didn't want to tempt fate.

The treatments for heart valve and aorta problems are well established and have a good success rate. The systemic treatments for Melanoma, on the other hand, are mostly ineffective and not well understood.
 

AZ Don

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Chaconne,
Thanks for your comments. Something to keep in mind if/when I am faced with the choice of a mechanical valve or a bio valve. The dietary restrictions for coumadin include many of the foods that are most recommended for helping to deter cancer (see the book/website: Anticancer), and which I eat quite frequently.

Don
 

chaconne

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Don,

You might want to look at the Anti-coagulation Forum on this site. You will find that many of us who are on Warfarin, including myself, eat as many greens as we want (broccoli, Kale, Spinich etc...) with little or no effect on our INR level. The key is to keep a consistent diet. But even if you only occasionally binge on greens, you would have to eat a lot (many servings) to significantly affect the levels of Warfarin. The key is "Dosing the diet, not dieting to the dose". In other words, just adjust the Warfarin levels to match the amount of greens we eat. There are vegetarians on this site who have stable Warfarin levels. Also, there is evidence that eating vegetables high in vitamin K actually helps stabilize the Warfarin levels.
 
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