Erik MH:

blog entries: health

More pan­icked about pack­ing for a week in the hos­pit­al than for the surgery

That’s either a good thing, of course, or it means I’m in deni­al about the sur­gery itself!

Again, though, so far so good: I’ve been on a liquid diet for the past two days (and a low-fat diet for the past week) in pre­par­a­tion for the sur­gery. Not exactly what I would choose, but Kar­en and Camer­on have helped by mak­ing a deli­cious tur­key broth and by purée­ing some non-fat honey Greek yog­hourt with some milk; these aug­ment the Carna­tion Instant Break­fast and the yoghurt drinks.… But at least I can still have cof­fee, and I was able to enjoy a won­der­ful tur­key din­ner when we cel­eb­rated Thanks­giv­ing on Friday.…


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I really don’t expect to have much more news until after the sur­gery: a CAT scan and a PET scan have shown that the tumor is basic­ally gone (or per­haps com­pletely gone — they can’t say for cer­tain until they’ve seen it in per­son), and that there’s no longer any sign of it in the nearest lymph node, either. That, coupled with my abil­ity now to eat basic­ally any­thing (so long as I don’t eat fast), some sol­id weight gain, and gen­er­al good health mean I’ll be in good shape for the sur­gery when it comes.

The pro­ced­ure itself is a fairly big deal: 7½ hours of robot­ic laparoscopic/​thoracoscopic sur­gery; I’ll end up with twelve or thir­teen incisions and — if all goes well — spend sev­en to ten days recov­er­ing in the hos­pit­al, with all kinds of drains, tubes, cath­et­ers, IVs, and epi­dur­als pok­ing out of me (or into me). I don’t think any of them will be removed until day №5.…


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Feed­ing backpacks

A num­ber of you have expressed enthu­si­asm for my “inven­tion” of a feed­ing back­pack. And it’s cer­tainly true that — giv­en the idea of car­ry­ing my feed and pump around inside a back­pack and run­ning the feed­ing tube out one side — I did indeed fig­ure out a very depend­able, work­able way to accom­plish what was needed.…


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Meals, maps, & Montréal

I’m sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve pos­ted. No news is more-or-less good news, though, as I’m sure you’ve guessed.

So, on Monday the 9th, on the way to Mon­tréal for the con­fer­ence, I fin­ished my radi­ation ther­apy. After bid­ding a fond farewell to the tech­ni­cians, I got to ring the lovely brass I’ve-finished-my-therapy bell that had been donated to the cen­ter by an early patient. What fun! …


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Mobile feed­ing, and a car­to­graphy conference

So just over two weeks ago I was reminded of a cartography conference that I had wanted to attend. It’s held in a different location each year and, though I’d heard good things about it, I’d never managed to attend before. I’m not a cartographer, of course, but I’d heard it was particularly welcoming to those working in neighboring fields and those who are simply interested in mapmaking. Since I am working on maps, I’d hoped at some point to attend and learn everything I could.

A backpack on a kitchen counter, opened to show a clear pouch of liquid food hanging above a battery-operated pump
My tallest back­pack, with food pouch at highest pos­sible height and pump at the low­est, with cloth for catch­ing dribbles

This year was to be a particularly simple year for me to attend, as the conference is right next door (3½ hours away) in Montréal.

But then I got cancer.

And a feeding tube....


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