In this addition, I will continue where I left off.
Where was I? Oh yes. I thought that being bald was the worst part of the diagnosis. So simple. Something I’d seen on my father my entire life, was going to effect me. Yes, being bald.
After several minutes passed. My mom finally came in side, with both dogs waiting there to greet her at the door. She asked me again if I was alright, and again, I nodded. I didn’t say anything because it felt like I couldn’t. After hearing the words “Cancer” in the same line as “Ty’s X-ray results” my gag reflex was at my teeth. If I tried to talk, I just knew I would throw up.
My mom sat at the computer, and proceeded to save my life. What I mean by that is, she sat down, and for 4 hours straight. She researched everything from “What to do after being diagnosed with cancer” to treatment options, and possible cures. My dad walked in the door, and sat down with my mom. And together they did better research than most government agencies. They found possible cures and best treatment options for kids with bone cancer.
The clock moved slowly for me laying there. Not sure what to do, or what to say. Before I knew it, it was 4 o’clock, and that meant it was time. For my first ever MRI. For those of you who don’t know what an MRI is, allow me to explain. It is a medical scanner. And I don’t mean faxes or copies. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. Meaning the big tubular scanner you lay in, has very big, very powerful, very.. loud magnets within the plastic case. And as you lay in the tube. With ear plugs. The machine begins to virtually cut your body in to paper thin, digital images. It takes over 400 images, and layers them all together, and sends it to the commanding computer, to which. Is a final, 3D full body image. Or 400+ 2D images. Yes, it is quite amazing when you think about it. And all this, in a semi trailer.
We drove the long (2 minute) drive to the base hospital. And pulled up to the “MRIPST” or the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Portable Scanning Trailer. This thing was the size of a full length semi trailer. With wheels and all. Amazing. We pull up, and me, in my sweats and jacket, with a bottle of water in hand. Walk to the machine. The MRI manager lady greets us at the door. We (me and my mom) walk in to the smallish room, with 5 computer screens and a small coffee maker. She sat down and asked me and my mom questions that I really can’t remember right now. But after all the talking. She said “Are ya ready?” And I replied with “As I’ll ever be.” She opened the lead-lined door, and there it was. The big loud beast, I’ve come to know as nothing more than a warm blanket, headphones, and a 45 minute nap. I laid upon the cold, plastic, sad excuse for a bed. She asked what my favorite radio station was. Me, not knowing, turned to my mom, cause if you don’t know this. Mom’s know everything. As she got the comfy, noise canceling headphones, and put them on my ears. I heard the ending of a song, I had heard before. But never really knew who sang it. She (the MRI lady) brought me two warmed blankets. Which, in a hospital setting, are the greatest thing. Period. She said we would start in a moment..
So there I was, Laying in the MRI tube. With my head just barely out of the tube. Headphones playing “Matt Carney – Closer to love” on the Christian radio station of Air1 (We listened to Air1 a lot when I was going through treatment. Mom and Dad listened all the time, I think as a way to stay positive, but hearing those songs while driving to the hospital, if I felt sick, every time I heard that song again, I’d feel sick, or if I was depressed when I first heard a song, When I heard it again, I would feel depressed yet again. One of the main reasons I don’t like the radio station anymore.. Sorry Mom.) I closed my eyes and listened to the music. As the MRI tech buzzed in, and said “We’re going to start, are you okay?” I said “Yup.” Of course I wanted to say. “No, I’m not okay, get me the hell out of this tube, It’s hot in here. I’m thirsty. Where is MY bed. I want to go home.” But there is a time and place for everything..
As the loud clanking of the machine started to reverberate through the room. I listened to the radio broadcaster take calls on the topic of. “Do you call it Coke? Soda? Or Pop?” Of course the right answer is soda. But these people went on about how “Pop this” And “Coke that.” After the short debate, a song came on the radio, that I’d heard before, and is still, to the date. One of my favorite songs. That would be “Newsboys – Something Beautiful” The words of the song when it started, described what I was feeling that day. With a catchy beat, I listened, and was amazed. Had this song been written for me? I have a feeling that it played for a reason. Just at the right time..
After the scan had finished. And I could go home. I went to my room, appetite non existent. And laid down on my bed. Wanting to wake up from this horrible dream. But I knew that wasn’t going to happen..
After the scan, we were given names, and locations. Of doctors, and the address of the hospital where I would spend most of the coming future. St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center, Boise Idaho. At MSTI Pediatrics. (MSTI [Pronounced Misty] – Mountain State Tumor Institute) My first appointment was scheduled. And all I had to do was show up.
So the day of the appointment, I woke up, showered, and threw a breakfast ‘pancake and sausage’ corn dog in the microwave. Why? Because it seemed like a good idea. Grabbed my microwaved food. And out the door we went. Of course it wasn’t just that simple. You see, at this time of year (October) The base decided that it was a good idea to start construction of the new, main gate. So every time we left for the hour long drive to Boise. We had to go out the back gate. More bumpy roads, and swerves in the road. Which, on a stomach with nothing but a microwaved corn dog and some water in it. Didn’t sit well. And, as you’d imagine. I threw up. The best part about that, was it tasted the same coming up, as it did going down. (Great mental image)
Yes, we arrived in Boise, at MSTI. Just a little bit lighter than we came. (nudge nudge) We walk into the waiting room. Filled with 12 other family’s, with their screaming kids. Cause who likes to have an IV started at 9 AM? Finally when we got a room of our own. The doctor came in. The great Dr. Chang. My personal oncologist. Came in with a lot of paperwork. All of which, I do not remember. Then one of the nurses came in, with a doll. Dubbed the “Port doll” it was an easy way to explain to kids and parents alike. That the first surgery I would have, they were going to attach a docking station in my chest. No, not for your iPod. For port needles. The lovely nurse explained it so fast, it was but a blur to me. Mom and Dad knew what it was, and said yes, before I knew what it was. All I knew, was no more sausage and pancakes in the morning..
Once that was over with, two days went by, and I was in Pre-Op. Awaiting the surgery for my port-a-cath to be attached in my chest. I took the small shot of Pre surgery meds (Also known as the
makes everyone looks funny drug) the walls started to move. And I started to doze off. I faintly remember being rolled to the OR. And getting transferred to the Operation Table. The mask was put on me, and the nurse said “Count back from 5 to 0” I said “Alright! 5..” And I woke up almost 4 hours later. Keep in mind, the port placement surgery is usually only 35 minutes long. But me being my problematic self, had something happen..
You see, usually, they make a small incision on (patient 1’s) chest, press the port on the pectoral muscle, stitch the port to the pectoral muscle, feed a tube through an artery in my chest, and attach said tube to the port, and hold it together with a zip tie or something. But noooooo. The second they put the clip on to hold the tube to the port, it broke, and the tube said “Bye Bye!” As it was sucked into my blood stream. A two foot long tube, flowing in my blood, if it would have made its way to my heart, it would have coiled in the chambers of my heart, and stopped it from beating. So they (the surgical team) rolled me out of OR, and rushed me to the nearest X-ray room. They took an X-ray of my chest, to see where the tube had ran away to. They find the tube somewhere in my lower chest cavity. So rather than cut me open, and pull it out, they go for the more.. Mad scientist approach. They take an even longer tube, with a claw on the end of it, and press it into my carotid artery. (Accessed through my right thigh/groin area) They fish around trying to find it, finally they find it, grab it, and pull it out. Patch up the small hole on my thigh. And go back to the main surgery. But this time. They think smart, and put it together before putting it inside me, they yank on the tube, making sure the clip stayed clipped. They remove the attached port, attach the new port, a little lower, feed the tube, and attach the clip. This time. It does its job. I remember waking up, seeing lights pass by, as we’re rolling down the hall way, on the 4th floor of St. Luke’s. and being backed into my parking spot in my room. Family waiting for me, as I look in the room. I see that it’s snowing and pitch black outside. I thought “It was light when I went under the knife, something isn’t right..” I came too, with two needles wrapped in gauze and padding, which really I think is to just hide it from view, which doesn’t work, because I know there are still needles in my chest. And a 12 pound weighted bag on my groin. Happy Monday to me!
Continuation Soon. Thanks for reading!
“If you love somebody, better tell them while they’re here, cause they just might leave before you get the chance”