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Fighting the Dragon

thxmiker's picture
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

I have been lurking on the CSN for a couple of months. I add a few comments here and there. A lot of times I feel good advice had been given, and I had nothing to add.


My health has been declining for several months and I was getting down on myself. That is the worst when we beat ourselves up! I have been getting Chemo, Folfiri with Avastin since February 2014. My CEA is on the rise. (Very slowly) The start of the downward spiral. I knew I could not let the beast win, but I still could not muster up the strength to fight the Dragon we call Cancer.


My health took another bad turn and I was in the hospital last week. My colon stopped functioning. I had a blockage and intestinal swelling. Motility was nearly null. My back felt like I had a truck parked on it. My abdomen felt like someone had kicked really hard on the right side. If I tried to lay down, I got unbearably nauseated.


My wife drove me the 100 miles to the E.R.. I had taken enough pain killers to keep me numb during the drive. My wife had called my Oncologist and asked if he could get my medical history to the E.R. before we got there. We arrive, the E.R. is expecting me, I fill out some paper work, off to a room. NG tube inserted, IV started and pain killers injected. I am finally able to relax a little bit. I had not slept well in the previous week. I am completely exhausted and mentally depleted. The Dragon was winning.


I got a private room, an uncomfortable hospital bed, and more pain killers. I am sitting upright in the fetal position, because that is the only bearable way to sit or lie. My back is tight, the NG tube in my throat is wearing on me, and I am starving, I have not eaten in 24 hours. The Dragon is eating away at me, and I need some energy to fight back.


Over night I get an hour or two of sleep. I am in uncomfortable pain. I need to find the energy to fight the Dragon. I know I have a lot of fight in me, I just need to find it. The Dragon is not going to win.


The Oncology Surgeon for the Hospital comes in. He looks at me, and says, “I remember you.” I told him, “Well you are not running out of the room yelling, Oh no he is back.” We all laughed. The next thing he told me was what I needed to hear. “Don't worry you are not very sick.” The Dragon was starting to lose it's grip on me. “You need to relax and let the NG tube do ts thing. Then you need to change your life style and eat easily digestible food. You will not need surgery or me for a few more years.” The Dragon was taking another beating. We all had a laugh of relief. Laurie at my side squeezing my hand, the Dragon starting to lose it's grip on me, we thank the Surgeon, and he told us him or his staff would check up on us every day. If we needed him or had a question, call his office. The Dragon took another hit to the head.


My Oncologist came in and told us the same as the Surgeon, I was not that sick. I have a blockage, and it should work it self out in a day or two. If I need him call his office, else his staff would check on me every day. The Dragon took another hit. I was finding my fight again. I knew I could get this Dragon off my back. I knew this battle was mine. I finally felt like I had a lot of fight back on me. The Dragon had taken a bite out of me, but I was going to heal and fight the Dragon away.


We spent four days in the hospital. My wife got some shopping done in Phoenix. I finally got some sleep.


The Dragon lost its battle this time. He is still lurking, I know he will be back, but for the immediate time, I have won this battle.



We live in a small mountain town in Arizona. We found it while on vacation in 2010. Payson, is a sleepy town which time has forgot. The town has the charm of the 1970's. Family friendly Art or Music events almost every weekend through out the year. Add in six Rodeos, and tourists coming from Phoenix on the weekends. There are 6 lakes, and 5 streams to fish. Many trails to hike and run. We regularly take pictures of Elk, Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Falcons, Javelina, Skunks, and Deer. Many of the critters have even been in our yard.


Payson reminds me of simpler times and my childhood. We really do love Payson. AZ. We also know there will be a time when living 100 miles from medical attention will not be practical. We are going to look at Houston and MD Anderson. I have family and several friends in Houston. Laurie's family lives between Houston and Dallas. There are also more opportunities for Laurie professionally, and that has to be taken in to consideration also.


Thanks All for letting me rant. I needed to get this off my chest. I will be a more active member now that I have my Dragon under control.



Best Always,  mike


Posts: 2215
Joined: Oct 2011

You got me nervous at the begining of your post. I am glad it is not too serious and you are fighting back. It sounds like paridise where you live. I was at MD Anderson last week. It is way more than I expected, in fact the whole Texas medical center is a city within itself. I read it is the largest medical center in the world.

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

go get em man.....sorry you are in such pain....hope your well soon......oh how bowels dominate our very lives and can certainly dictate our futures.

having to go and unable is just miserable.....be well mike.


Easyflip's picture
Posts: 588
Joined: May 2013

Let's hope those critters in Payson don't include any dragons : )


annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

I was really worried about where this all was going, but thank goodness for the happy ending!

Those blockages are very rough, they can def make a body feel like it's the end of the road.  I have found that I just can't eat a ton of fibrous foods without problems developing.  I know you have a very healthy diet, so what did they suggest you change in order to avoid another blockage?

So glad you're feeling better!


YoVita's picture
Posts: 590
Joined: Mar 2010

... although as you say the dragon always lurks.  I hope you can get the blockage resolved soon.  Love your healthy efforts and your hometown sounds idyllic.  Best to you Mike for a speedy recovery. 

tanstaafl's picture
Posts: 1299
Joined: Oct 2010


ron50's picture
Posts: 1729
Joined: Nov 2001

    Sorry to see you going thru the type of situation that you have just been thru... Some times our doctors tell us what is wrong and give us meds to cope but they don't tell us the side effects .  I was told not to worry  nobody dies from constipation. Perhaps , perhaps not but you sure as hell wish you would sometimes just to end the misery. Sometimes we forget that there is another very important medical specialist who can help us. The good old chemist. I suffer from a range of auto-immune problems since cancer. I have grade two ankylosing spondylitis of the lower spine . I have fusions and pars fractures in the lower three vertebrae. I also have psoriatic arthritis , severe neuropathy, aouto immiune disease of the kidneys resulting in seven grams of protein loss thru my urine a day and just yesterday they added osteo arthritis to the list. I take targin for pain relief. I take two tablets twice a day which gives me 60mg of oxycodone and thirty mg of naloxone. The naloxone is supposed to stop a lot of the nasty side effects of oxy , particularly the opiate induced constipation. It doesn't.  The doctors really were  not sure what to suggest. When I block up I suffer badly with being unable to breathe and I suffer panic attacks in the middle of the night. I spoke to a chemist and he seemed very well versed in opiate induced constipation. He said that it is not traditional constipation. Don't eat harsh fibre,don't take fibre supplements you will just build brick walls. He said that the pain killers are putting my colon to sleep . No motility , no go. He told me to get some dulcolax and some coloxyl (not senna and coloxyl) Take two dulcolax and two 140 mg coloxyl everytime I take a targin dose. The dulcolax will restart the motility and the coloxyl will soften the stool. He told me to eat a handful of raisins or sultanas twice a day. Drink more water it is the bodies lubricant. I also eat soft fibre like green peas, banannas, and pears. I am now quite regular and the only time I have problems now is if I forget to drink enough water, All the best Ron.

chp's picture
Posts: 29
Joined: Dec 2012

Feel free to rant whenever you want.  Just glad you're feeling well enough now to do it!  Hope you get back to Payson and doing the things you love very soon!


Cathleen Mary
Posts: 827
Joined: May 2011

Bowel obstructions make it impossible to think of anything positive. 100 miles to the hospital would send me over the edge. Mike, you have a great ability to write! I was on edge the whole time. Now if you could come up with a topic other than bowel obstruction there may be a future here.

Wishing you pain free days and a dragon that sleeps.


JanJan63's picture
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Your post made me weep with joy for you. Cool

Dyanclark's picture
Posts: 296
Joined: Apr 2012

Mike what a relief.  George had a bad blockage 2 years ago boy was he miserable Had to go to ER.   His stoma once got blocked due to mushrooms he ate they don't break down well, but after first blockage he couldn't bear that tube, he put his finger down his throat took a Valium and didn't eat until everything worked it's way thru.  

Sounds like really kind doctors, hang in there March On.  George is still doing well, but has some spots on his lungs now so they may have to change his chemo.  He is learning to Fly Fish as the creek near us is protected no live bait, and catch & release.  Got his first fish with fly Yesterday.  We just made trip  to Monterey Bay & loved it.

I follow you on facebook as you know & we are thinking of visiting Dr. Lentz again.  I really enjoy your experience & wisdom you pass along.

Hugs to Mike  & Laurie from George & Diane

p.s. We love Vegtables but he can only eat Broccoli, & squash Family  Most Vegtables don't break down avoid those miserable blockages

Momof2plusteentwins's picture
Posts: 508
Joined: May 2012

So glad it turned out better than you thought.  Every little or big pain brings thoughts of cancer for us patients.  I thought I had a bowel obstruction so many times and so far has not been one.  Before cancer we would just ignore all these things, butt now thoughts immediately turn to cancer.  I hope you are feeling better at home and everything is working its way out.  Oh and sounds beautiful where you live, hope you can stay there a while longer.


thxmiker's picture
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

Thank You all for the positive comments.


This has been a difficult time for me.   I am on the mend, and it is going slowly.  We see the Doctor on Wednesday to see what we can do to speed up my recovery.  There are some drugs that help the body reabsorb the bile and make having a bowel movement more managable.  I had never before felt like the Dragon was winning.  I was a little scared.  


 I try to bring humor in to life.  Else, things can be sad.   I figure if I can not laugh at myself and the complications of life, then what is the point?  


Best Always,  mike


Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3366
Joined: Jan 2010

So very sorry for your trials of late, but glad that the outcome has been good.

May each day be better than the last.  May there be many more.


Marie who loves kitties

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