Surprise Surgeries Due To Prostate Cancer
Upon my diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer with extensive bone metastasis stage 4, I was relieved when my urological oncologist informed me that surgical removal of my prostate was not warranted. At the time, this gave me the false impression that I would never have to suffer any type of surgery as a result of my cancer. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Dealing with surgery
Just one week removed from that wishful statement, I was directed to report to Cabell Huntington Hospital for the surgical implant of a medi-port. The medi-port was to aid in the chemo infusions I was about to embark upon.
It seems the constant needle incursions into my arm and the effects of the chemo would eventually weaken my veins. My main oncologist and I discussed this at length, and we decided together that a medi-port was the best way to proceed.
I was hopeful at the time this would be the only surgery I would have to endure, however that hope was not long-lived.
A little over a year into my cancer treatment plan, Dr. Mitchell serving as my palliative care physician recommended I consider having a pain pump inserted into my back. The pain pump would ease the process of taking my numerous pain medications. During that period of my treatment plan, I was required to wear a fentenyl pain patch.
Concerned about a fentanyl patch
Anyone who has suffered the misfortune of having to wear a fentanyl patch can speak to the awkwardness and dangers of said patch. Dr. Mitchell became upset with me early in this process, as I would not wear the patch out of the fear of fentanyl. Fentanyl is a highly addictive and dangerous drug. I had developed an extreme fear of wearing this patch and refused to put it on resulting in a doctor’s visit.
Another reason I did not want to wear the patch had to do with the fact it was always falling off, and the information sheet that came with the patch clearly stated how deadly it would be for anyone, especially children, to come into contact with.
Having grandchildren, I simply did not like the idea of putting them and my family members at risk. So later, when Dr. Mitchell told me of the pain pump and getting rid of the patches, I jumped at the surgical opportunity.
I was certain this would be my final cancer-related surgery. I was sadly mistaken. Around two years into my cancer treatment plan, my teeth had begun to crumble and huge chunks were falling out of my mouth.
Following a quick doctor appointment, I was informed I would have to cease taking Zomata (a bone strengthening medication) and report to a dental surgeon. It seemed my affected teeth would have to be surgically cut from my jawbone. The teeth were entirely too brittle to be pulled in the traditional manner.
The dental surgery would require the removal of three teeth in total. In preparation for the surgery, I had driven to Ohio from my home in West Virginia to visit D.D.S. Timothy Kyger. Kyger, a dear friend, was the only dentist I trusted to make the decision regarding which teeth should be removed. He carefully examined my teeth and made the referral to a dental office near our home in West Virginia.
Difficult side effects
The surgery was quick enough, but I unfortunately had the side effect of uncontrollable bleeding. In addition to the bleeding, the surgery was extremely painful, and I suffered for days from the pain. It took nearly 8 hours to stop the immense bleeding, and I nearly made a trip to the emergency room.
I have now settled into the mind-set that this simply will not be my last surgical journey due to my prostate cancer or medical side effects. Cancer is a deadly disease and, at best, is a tough trek filled with many unknowns. One of the unknowns we cancer warriors must face is that of surprise surgeries related to our diagnosis.
Were you aware of family history of cancer, prior to diagnosis?