Cancer Surgery On Oct. 16

Last July I started losing weight for no reason. I went to VA Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana on September 28 and went to emergency room. I had been throwing up blood at home for about two months. The nurse inserted an NG tube in my nose on that Friday, then stayed overnight at the Pineville VA. It is called the Alexandria VA hospital, but it is actually located three or four miles from Alexandria.

Doctor sent me to Houston, Texas VA hospital, via ambulance on an ambulance ride of about 250 miles. Arrived in Houston late that Saturday night. I had no idea at the time, that I would be in the Houston VA hospital for 31 days.

Residue from a barium x-ray in Pineville VA hospital, prevented the Houston surgical team from getting a readable CT scan, thus delaying the surgical team’s decision on if there was cancer in the duodenum. The doctors knew there was a blockage, but didn’t know it was malignant till a second endoscopy revealed, that it was indeed cancerous, after the pathology report was released to the surgical team. The first endoscopy failed, since it was unable to reach the entire blockage, so a longer tube was used for the second endoscopy, which was successful in identifying the cancer. It was cancer of the duodenum.

The decision was then made by the surgical team to operate, but because it was major surgery, it was not easily worked into the surgery schedule. I spent my 68th birthday with family on Oct. 14, just two days before the cancer surgery.

Can remember well going into the surgical room for the surgery. The anesthesiologist proceeded into giving me anesthesia, but was alert for a while in the early stages of having anesthesia applied and can recall it being very painful with a burning sensation. While this was going on the surgical team and/or teams were busy making preparations for the surgery and I could see the nurses getting setting up for the surgery.

Can’t recall much about being in the recovery room, before spending two days in ICU, but the ICU was a beehive of activity. Was sent to a step down unit room next, before being sent to another room. Spent time in six different rooms during the 31 days at the Houston VA hospital.

Found out that most if not all cancer was removed and that chemotherapy would be needed, as a precaution to make sure there was no cancer left.

The surgical team watched my progress, after the surgery closely and I want to thank them for checking on me daily. They were very informative when they made their rounds. I also want to thank the nurses and other staffers in the hospital. Won’t mention names, since don’t know most of their names and it wouldn’t be fair to those not mentioned.

I was released from hospital on Monday night, Oct. 29. We returned home to Louisiana two days later and will return to Houston on November 21, to have the 26 staples removed and being making plans with oncology for the chemotherapy.

It has not been determined, whether the chemotherapy will be done in Houston or Pineville, but am hoping most, if not all of it will be done in Pineville, which is about 80 miles from here, compared to the 160 miles from here in Deridder, Louisiana to Houston.

Not sure when regular posts will return. Main objective now is to recover from surgery and see how the chemotherapy goes in the coming weeks.

Sorry to have not posted for over a month, but hope to be writing regularly in the next two months, depending on how the chemotherapy goes.

Thank you to the readers for understanding, why I have not been posting.

Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

12 thoughts on “Cancer Surgery On Oct. 16”

  1. glad to hear ur surgery went well. u will continue to be in our prayers as u prepare and go through ur chemo.

    shelley and ed atwood

    1. Thank you Shelley and Ed for the kind words. I miss not getting to sing with your mom playing the piano. She is not only a great teacher, but a great mentor for a singer with so little experience like me.

  2. Andrew, you are always in my prayers. I ask God to protect you and keep you in good health, as you are one of the kindest, gentlest people I know. You are and have always been a wonderful uncle. I am forever greatful to the doctors and staff at the VA Hospitals for saving your life. Be sure to get lots of rest so your body can heal. Wishing you a speedy recovery and a lifetime of happiness!

    1. Chrissy, The visits of you and your mom to the hospital made the time at the VA a little more bearable. I am looking right now at the plant you gave me, which is still looking great. We will be back on Nov.21, hopefully to get staples out and make chemo treatment plans.

      Thank you for being such a great niece. Your kindness will never be forgotten.

  3. My best thoughts & prayers for you as you fight this battle of cancer. I came across your blog but accident – and your entry caught my eye. Several people around me have been faced with what you are going through. Prayers for a complete recovery.

    1. Deb, Thank you for the prayers and kind words. I found out last Wednesday, that this is a cancer that has a history of returning, so that is a concern, but have to leave it to God to work his will with my health.

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