Saturday, July 31, 2010

Planting more trees - getting to work

I brought up a bunch of Swamp White Oak seedlings to transplant at the farm. These acorns were collected last fall from a tree on campus (UW- Madison) and have been growing in some "tree tube" pots in my back yard since spring.

Every time we come up we have trees to plant (it seems). In the past 12 years we have planted well over 100,000 trees on that 80 acre farm (ex- dairy farm) but it seems like there's always room for more. We've had great success, in general, but there are areas where we've had trouble establishing a forest.
Transplanting lanting White Oak
We're trying some different techniques to increase the chance of survival for these young seedlings. This time we surrounded each transplant with carpet pieces and covered that with pine boughs (to hold down the carpet). First we mowed a strip to knock down the weeds and grass so the carpet would lay flat. Our total here was about 15 trees (some doubles). This is a low area in the field where we have either not planted or the trees we have planted have drown out. Swamp White Oak are supposed to be tolerant of some standing water (wet roots).

Normally we wouldn't try to transplant this time of year but this year has been so wet (and continues to be forcast) that we feel a little adventurous. And these seedlings are groing so fast they need to be transplanted (root bound?).

Jordan, Roland and I spent a couple hours on this - it always takes longer because we look around at other areas while we're up there. The wet year has helped some of the slower trees get a jump. Many Walnuts have been just marking time at one to two feet for over 10 years. (We planted these from seed while there was still standing corn on the land - the last corn planted, obviously.)

There are also many of our White Oak and Red Oak, from previous transplanting, that are finally taking hold and over-topping the weeds. The Pine and Spruce have taken off over the past 3-4 years and are establishing themselves nicely. We believe these evergreens are functioning as a wind break to slow down the biting cold winter winds that whip across the plains and may be nipping the buds on the hardwoods.

Visit my web site for more information on this reforestation project ...

Lunch at Wins

My sister invited us over for lunch of lemon chicken and corn on the cob. She also invited a few family members who live in the area. It was a great time and great food. This was a spur of the moment sort of thing so everyone had to scramble some to get there. One of my brothers was meeting us at the farm and doesn't have a cell phone so Jordan and I drove down there (20 miles) to pick him up for an unexpected lunch.

We were in a little hurry to get to the farm and get busy so we didn't hang around too long to chat. But we all had a chance to catch up and I got a lot of support.

day four - worry about operation itself

Today I woke up early worrying about the operation itself. This is a perhaps a good change since the cancer is taking the back seat for a while, at least.

The surgeon said the incision will be like hernia surgery and I am remembering when Debi had that surgery. She was in a great deal of pain and couldn't take the pain stuff because it make her sick (and one thing you DON'T want with stitches in your stomach muscles is to throw up). It was amazing how much of your normal movement and bodily function involves the stomach muscles.

I think I'd rather worry about recovering from surgery - which has finite healing time and more definate results - than cancer which seems to be wide open and much more indefinate.

Anyway, I went back to sleep and actually slept in (till 9:00 which is unheard of for me).

Friday, July 30, 2010

get out-a town

We're all leaving town and going up north to work on the farm and to visit with all our relatives.

This is both a diversion and may be the last i am able to travel for a couple months. There are projects waiting at the farm that have been waiting for August and the end of summer baseball season so I can attend to some of them. So we pushed our planned trip up a week so I can be back for our appointment and subsequent surgery.

I hope to visit with family and friends who live up there.

Day three - not so bad

Today is not so bad. I'm either not thinking about it or I've gotten used to the idea a little bit. I don't catch myself shaking.

We have a task - driving north to visit family and work at the farm - which is a distraction at least.

I'm glad Jordan decided to come with us this trip. Between college and other commitments he has not been to the farm for too long (according to me). He has a broken finger on his right hand (and a soft cast) but I tell him that his left arm is strong and between the two of us we will be able to get some things done (I'm not supposed to lift anything heavy for a few more days). And we can talk about the farm and it's future , a little.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day two. Shakes

Still numb this morning. As I go around doing normal things in the morning I catch myself shaking all over. I'm scared. I ask Debi about it and she's the same way. We're trying to keep a positive attitude but that's not being easy to do. When I catch myself shaking I try to shake it off and focus on something I need to do here - some chore - like mowing the lawn or finishing a sanding/refinishing project I have in the shop.

We start calling relatives (or start getting calls) and this helps a lot. My brother-in-law had a massive heart attack a few years ago and insists that attitude is everything. He went back to work right away (sooner than the doctors thought) because it was driving him nuts just sitting around. He says this helped him a lot.

Both Debi and I are retired so we don't have that external framework of duties and responsibilities to get lost in. So we try to bury ourselves in our day to day chores and projects. But the shaking seems to come back.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day one - day we got the news.

Too numb to think and when we think it's hard to think of anything else. So we dig in to our normal daily routine and tackle chores that are waiting. I re-pot some tree seedlings. Debi weeds the gardens.

I call my brother who says; "just get in there and get it taken care of and then get on with the next project". Good advice but now we have to wait a week to see the surgeon.

We're supposed to make a list of questions to ask. We've already Googled it and checked out Web MD etc.

I woke up last night wondering why there are so few choices. Jordan said; "don't worry about that." It only seems that way because this one choice is so much better than all the rest. It only seems like one choice.

Post Op appointment - kick in the stomach

Urologist has some bad news. It is in fact cancer and it has progressed into the muscle wall. This is an aggressive form and the recommended treatment is to remove the Bladder before it can spread.

This is the first time in a long time that a doctor has said that; 'someone as young as you' would dictate a particular treatment. Usually it's; 'someone my AGE'. There are many options for replacing the function of the bladder and I am young so they will probably take a small section of my intestine and form a pouch to replace the bladder. They connect all the old plumbing (ureters from the kidneys and urethra to the penis). Since they keep the nerves with the intestine when you need to empty the bladder you get a feeling of fullness. It's a different sensation but one that you can get used to detecting.

Controlling continence is done with the muscles around the urethra. This is how it's normally done but as we get older we get lazy and let the Prostrate muscles control. She recommended working on exercising the old control system before the surgery (to restore muscle tone) since the prostrate will be taken out with the bladder (it's all one thing).

It's hard to remember much after you hear the word 'cancer'. We're both used to the shock the body takes in a tragedy and the numbness in the body (and brain) when it kicks in for self defense.

Friday, July 23, 2010

TransUrethral Resection of Bladder Tumor

Trans urethral resection of bladder tumor.


All the preliminaries take a lot of time.

Vital signs
new temperature sensor is just passed across your forehead. ('brain scan')

Fitting for IV.

Visit with Anesthesiologist - George. He asked if I had any family history two times during the visit. We have a new word in our family vocabulary; 'A George'. He is an MD.

Hook up antibiotics to IV.

Take two pills for nausia from anesthesia. PA and computer caught discrepancy in order (nice). DR had injection on 'chart' but PA knew that he always gave it in pill form. Humanity in system. Nice.

Wait. and Wait some more.

1:30 Dr stops in to say the show is ready to start.

Ride to OR. Jack up gurney and scoot over onto UroSkope - don't hit head on display. They have a special setup just for this sort of thing. Impressive.

Attendent says 'I've attached a drip that will start making you drowsy and a little numb. I tried to remember the bed time prayer: "Now I lay me down to sleep. Pray the lord my soul to keep, If I die before I wake, Pray the lord my soul to take. I got most of it. That's all I remember.

I woke up at a quarter after (something). Another person was asking me how I felt. I was fine. She said I had a cathiter. I asked if Dr had put the chemo in. She said 'yes'. I said 'that's good'. It meant that she didn't have to cut too deep.

She asked who I had waiting. I said "Yes". She asked if I wanted her to go get her. I said 'Yes, please'.

After about 45 minutes PA started a flush procedure to get the chemo out. She had to run a gallon of saline through my bladder. Since they only put in the 2-way cath. (only one tube - since they were planning on me keeping it in to go home) she would have to fill me up and then drain me through the same tube by swapping lines. She could do little under a quart per. and it took about an hour.

I took the first pain pill. Mainly for the sore penis whenever she moved the hose it stung.

Scheduled appointment with Urologist in 5 days to discuss results. Went home with catheter.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pre-Op physical

This was sort of a formality since I had just had my annual physical. We chatted about the surgery mostly. He said I'm pretty much caught up on my tests. Probably need an EKG and another urine culture before the surgery. Set up both of these for Wednesday at Dean East Lab.

His spin on the procedure is that she's going back in to get a better look at where the tumor is. Location, Location, Location - you know. She was trying to tell me this but it takes a while to sink in. It makes a big diff as to how they will treat it and how hard it will be to kill.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Urgent care

I have been trying to drink a lot of water at the request of my Urologist. Since the Cytoscope visit I have had to get to the bathroom quickly whenever I got up from sitting or laying down. This morning was the opposite. It's seemed like I couldn't go and I had a great deal of pain and bloated feeling. I was afraid I was filling up and stuck.

I went to the urgent care and quickly got to see a doctor (they weren't too busy yet). After hearing about the possibility of needing a catheter, they found a bladder scanner. This is an ultrasound-like device that registers a number that corresponds to how full your bladder is. Mine registered empty.

Apparently the pain from the infection was just like the pain from an over full bladder and this had caused me to stop drinking water. The doctor said I was on the right course of treatment (antibiotic) and this should clear up in a couple days. She wondered why I hadn't been placed on antibiotics immediately after the cytoscope procedure - said it used to be SOP.

I had a couple cups of water while still in the exam room and was able to pee before leaving the clinic. Whew.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Feaver Pitch

Woke up this morning feeling like I have a flu. I feel terrible and have a fever of 99.5.

I called Urologist (nurse called me back) and fear I have an bladder infection from the cytoscope procedure. Scheduled me for urine sample and subscribed antibiotic course (Ciprofloxacin) starting right away. Assume it's an infection and get after it right away - it takes couple days for results to come back and three days to clear it up. And there is a weekend coming up.....

I slept all morning - I was conked out till after lunch and didn't even feel like going to the clinic for the sample till after 2.

Maybe I overdid yesterday by working two 7 inning games behind the plate in the morning followed by a 7-inning game (on bases) last night. I felt fine in the morning but started feeling bad in the afternoon and the evening game was hard to get through.

This evening I had bad pain in lower abdomen and a real feeling of bloating. I was afraid I wasn't able to pee and I called Dean On Call. I talked to on-call nurse who agreed that it sounded like a bladder infection.

She me back to message center to talk to Urologist's on-call person.
Urologist called back - herself! Said to take second pill today ( don't wait 12 hours) at bed time. She said if fever got over 101 or felt like I wasn't peeing then go to emergency room or urgent care. Felt better after call

Tylenol is working for fever. Was up to 100.5 - now down to 99.

Cancelling Games

Called Umpire coordinators to turn back games for remainder of season. This infection will keep me down this weekend and surgery next Wednesday which may leave me with a catheter for 5 days.

I've already worked over 100 games this year and maybe that's enough.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Visit with Urologist - CT Scan - Cytoscope

CT Scan showed lump on inside bladder wall so Urologist needed to go in for closer look. I was prep'd for a Cytoscope. They but a camera up your penis (urethra) to look at the inside of your bladder. This isn't as bad as it sounds - really. And I got to watch as she gave me a guided tour of my urethra, prostrate, and then the Bladder. As we scanned around the bladder we saw a fingertip sized growth that looked "angry" to me (and her). It was red and white and very rough surfaced.

After getting dressed we had a discussion about where we stood. The tumor was still fairly small but it looked like cancer to the urologist (90% sure). The next step is schedule surgery (Trans Urethral Resection of Bladder Tumor) for biopsy & removal. "we need to get that out of there". If it hasn't gotten into the muscle wall this may be all that's needed. After removal they will pump in a chemo solution for an hour and I may or may not leave with a catheter.

Friday, July 9, 2010

first visit to doctor

Tests show there is blood in urine.
Doctor checked my back for tenderness around kidneys.
Check for hernia, testicular nodes, prostrate for tenderness and enlargement. All negative.

I told him:
1. urethra is tender - like I passed something through it.
2. felt something pass when pee was red.
3. all three times followed long hot game working plate (in squat)
4. first time (dark) was 10 days into doxycyclin course for possible lyme diagnosis (sore and swollen wrist).

He will schedule CAT scan and appointment with urologist for cytoscope.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dr. Says I need to be seen

I called my doctor who quickly told me this is not a result of antibiotic or squatting while working the plate on a hot day. He said I needed to see a doctor and ordered me in for a urine sample.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blood in Urine - three strikes

Tonight I got home after umpiring two legion games at Cottage Grove and when I pee'd it was red. This is the third time this has happened in two weeks so tomorrow I'll call my doctor.

The other two times happened within the past two weeks and only after umpiring the plate on a hot day as well. After I cooled down and had some more water the pee was normal color again so I didn't think much of it. I remember feeling like I'd passed something (maybe a stone) but it didn't hurt, particularily, and I couldn't see anything in the toilet.

The first two times were while I was taking an antibiotic for possible Lyme Disease (Doxycyclin 15 day - June 3 to June 18) and one of the side effects listed was dark urine or red urine.

  • June 12, 2010 first noticed blood in urine after umping behind the plate at a 14 year old - 7 inning - game.
  • June 17, 2010 second noticed blood in urine after umping double header (both behind the plate). Two 7 inning games.