Just to catch everybody up with the latest:
-I had a tumor blocking a duct in my liver, and the liver's waste ("bilirubin") wasn't draining. I was itchy as HELL, and turning yellow as a result.
-They placed a stent in my liver to open up the duct
-The stent is working, but only S-L-O-W-L-Y. It still hasn't fully opened up enough to drain everything.
-They wouldn't let me start chemo last Wednesday, and they won't, until all the bilirubin is gone.
-They decided to add another approach to the problem. In addition to the stent, I'm going to receive radiation on this tumor, to see if that will shrink it up enough to open the bile duct.
-Radiation starts this Wednesday and will take 10 days.
How am I doing? I'll be frank. I am VERY, VERY ITCHY, itchy in a way you cannot imagine, torturously so, and I'm also in constant PAIN. I think it's simply pain from the stent procedure, and also pain from having a foreign object in my liver. I have to take Vicodin all the time, or else I'm in utter misery. I feel worse when I'm laying down, so sleeping has been extra difficult. Also I wake up several times during the night to scratch myself for solid hours on end (truly, no exaggeration). I rake my nails across my skin as hard as I possibly can, to the point of bruising and bleeding, and I can't stop.
I need to get this problem cleared up soon because I need to get back on chemo. And also because I can't really keep living this way. As long as I'm on my Vicodin, I'm ok. Happy and pleasant to be around. A productive member of society. But once that starts wearing off, I'm a mess.
Hopefully radiation works, the stent gets yanked, the pain/itching goes away, and chemo starts up again soon.
I should add that my kids are having a fantastic summer so far. At night they've asked me, "Can we do today all over again tomorrow?" Their easy contentment is a stark contrast to my personal state of being, with how much effort it takes me just to feel normal. But it somehow makes everything feel all right, to know that somehow I'm managing this personal crisis in such a way that they aren't even noticing anything's amiss. In fact, they're having a damned good time.