Thursday, April 27, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0155 - IVC Deployed

The process was painless and relatively straightforward for the patient. I was taken to a unit called interventional radiology, put on a stretcher in what appeared to be a standard operating room but with more high-tech X-ray imaging machinery.

Nursing staff gathered tools and apparatus, cleaned the groin area where the catheter would be inserted and basically explained how the procedure would work once the radiologist arrived.

When he did arrive, he further explained what would happen and corrected a mistaken apprehension I had about where the filter would actually be deployed. It did not go to the heart, but was placed in the inferior vena cava, a major vein leading from the legs towards the heart. The groin was used to find a point of entrance, contrast die then injected (all after local freezing) to map out the vascular territory on the screen, followed by another catheter being used to push the device into the inferior vena cava, a balloon inflated to open the filter's wiremesh-like structure, the balloon deflated, and the catherers removed.

The IVC filter is now located just slightly below my kidneys in the inferior vena cava. Any deep vein thrombosis with a thrown clot should now be caught in the filter and eventually dissipated mechanically.

I recovered first in the recovery room for an hour, keeping my legs completely still, followed by another 4-hour recovery in my medical ward bed. Finally, in the late evening, I was able to get out of bed and test the closure point for bleeding by using the washroom with assistance of a nurse. I went to the washroom again on my own a couple more time during the night, and all appears to be healing well.

I need a couple days of monitoring my vital signs, eating and drinking normally, and perhaps beginning to move slowely by foot with some assistance. Today or Friday, my family physician is going to visit as well as other family and friends.

This sounds to me like hopeful news! Friends from WWITPRO dropped by a lovely card and flowers. Friends from work have sent cards. Marg tells me I'm looking good and gives me a confirmatory big kiss before leaving after each visit. My sons are starting to joke around with me again, so I suspect something positive is happening.

When I do go home, I fully intend to remain catheterized for a while. I only what one issue at a time to be of concern. I can always schedule out-patient consultation with the urologist about either self-catheterization or intermittment catheterization. After arriving home, I will need 2-3 weeks of recovery before starting the process of consultations with the surgical oncologist or the systemic oncologist or even consider chemotherapy.

I know for a long time, I won't be taking anything health related for granted.

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Susan Heran said...

Don - I'm so relieved to see today's message of hope. We're all worried about you. My prayers are with you.

Michael said...

I thought of you the other day, and wondered how you were doing. I checked your other blog, and just this morning saw this one.

I sincerely wish you and your family only the best, and all the strength and God's blessing you need to get through your cancer treatment and other challenges.

Take care,