Category Archives: Softening Surgery

7 Tips for Reducing Pain Perception

CureToday magazine posted this article as my story. Note that it is best to talk to a health care provider before making changes based on these 7 tips.
If you click on the link and look at the article, that will help prompt CureToday to invite me to write more articles. It also will be helpful for getting the word out. Even better if you share the link. Thank you!
http://www.curetoday.com/share-your-story/7-tips-for-reducing-pain-perception

How to Survive Hospital “Nutrition”

From 1988 to 1993 there were over 2,700 articles dealing with milk recorded in the ‘Medicine’ archives. … They were only slightly less than horrifying. First of all, none of the authors spoke of cow’s milk as an excellent food, free of side effects and the ‘perfect food’ as we have been led to believe by the industry. The main focus of the published reports seems to be on intestinal colic, intestinal irritation, intestinal bleeding, anemia, allergic reactions in infants and children as well as infections such as salmonella. … Contamination of milk by blood and white (pus) cells as well as a variety of chemicals and insecticides was also discussed…  In adults the problems seemed centered more around heart disease and arthritis, allergy, sinusitis, and the more serious questions of leukemia, lymphoma and cancer.

Robert M. Kradjian, MD

Juice, milk, something processed, sugar/corn syrup drinks and processed puddings containing artificial ingredients.

While staying in the hospital after my abdominal surgery, I was started on a clear liquid diet. Then I was moved to a “full” liquid diet. It consisted of adding dairy, wheat, sugars, and petrochemicals to the menu through milk, ice cream, cream soups, and artificial colorings and flavorings.

Fortunately, before the surgery, I was able to talk to a hospital dietitian to let her know my body does not properly digest dairy or wheat, I did not want sugar, and I needed a substitute with protein.

She suggested soymilk. Too estrogenic for me with my cancer background, I said.

She was temporarily at a loss for how to help me get something more substantial on my “full” liquid day. Then she remembered she could get me some almond milk.

That works for me, I said.

I knew this would be a problem because the last time I went through abdominal surgery I was still limited to clear liquids during the 24 hours when I was supposed to get “full” liquids. I felt like I was starving after not having eaten for more than a week. I desperately needed protein and the hospital did not supply any.

Whey protein is a dairy product. Sugar and corn syrup are hardly “therapeutic nutrition.” Note the apple on the cover, and the statement “contains no apple juice.”

The almond milk option indicated to me that hospitals are getting a little more up to speed on what actually is nutritious and what is not.

Another indicator is the hospital-floor refrigerator unit available to patients. When I stayed in the hospital years ago, those refrigerators were full of sodas. I cannot imagine anything worse for someone and who has had abdominal surgery than to add carbonated beverages that fill the abdomen with even more gas than is already added through surgery. My hospital roommate 25 years ago was drinking soda and complaining bitterly of her terrible gas pain. She did not make the connection between the soda gas and her gas pain.

So I am grateful hospitals are moving in the right direction.

However, there is still work to be done. I needed something substantial without dairy, wheat, sugar, or petrochemicals. I am grateful they did have the almond milk option.

And the hospital refrigerators… see the pictures of what they offered. Items filled with dairy, sugar, and long lists of unpronounceable chemicals. Really? For people whose bodies are so compromised they are in hospital beds?

Since when do sugar and corn syrup support advanced recovery?

Where are the fruit and vegetable smoothies? Where are the probiotic drinks? Or perhaps even trays of fresh fruits and vegetables for those ready for them?

Perhaps part of the reason the hospitals are not supplying these foods is because Americans are not used to eating them and therefore the foods might rot in the fridge unless health nuts like me come along to eat them.

And real food is more expensive than these standard options. Hospitals probably don’t have big enough budgets to provide real food for every patient.

Unfortunately, a poor diet can lead to health conditions that land one in the hospital to begin with…

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

If you are going to stay in the hospital, find someone to bring you better quality food for each stage of recovery.

Source:

Robert M. Kradjian, MD, Breast Surgery Chief Division of General Surgery, Seton Medical Centre, Daly City, CA, from http://www.notmilk.com/kradjian.html

Get Thee to an ER

My bowels well up, and rest not; days of affliction have confronted me. 
Job 30:27, Darby (Christian) Bible Translation

From Dec. 12 to 14 I sat in my easy chair in pain, my bowels welling up, gassy, and juicy. My stomach kept emptying itself into the pot I kept handy. Hot water bottle, massage, playing healing sounds… all to no avail. Nothing could go down, nothing was coming out.
I finally called my doctor. “Get Thee to an ER,” he said.
When we hung up, my friend Laura Dailey, whom I had not seen in weeks, was parked on my driveway. What an angel she has always been for me. She promptly took me to the hospital.
The ER doc found a twisted small intestine on the CT scan, something I’d been warned could easily happen after my initial nine-hour cancer surgery in 2009. In 2011 I had an intestinal blockage that resolved, and in 2012 a hernia had been spotted on a scan, but my oncologist suggested I leave it alone unless it became a problem.
It had become a problem.
I texted my 19-year-old son to update him on my status. He dropped everything, went to my house to pick up a few more things, and came to the hospital to stay throughout my days of affliction. I feel so blessed.
A stiff yet flexible plastic gastro-intestinal tube was placed through my nose down to my stomach. I’d had one in 2009 for my first cancer surgery, but it was placed while I was under anesthesia. This time they placed it with me fully awake. One nurse said, “This is the worst torture we do to our patients.” I had to keep my head down and swallow a cup of water while the nurse struggled to get that hose down into my gullet. I gagged and coughed as it went down, then suddenly felt very cold and shook violently for several minutes. The severe throat pain began.
The next morning the surgeon said portions of the intestines had poked through the hole and could die if he didn’t operate. My sister, epidemiologist Dr. Roselie Bright, participated in the conversation by phone and urged me to move forward with the surgery, even though my abdomen had started softening. I opted for surgery.
There was no time to pick up the Surgical Support Series CDs from my psychotherapist. As a substitute, I repeatedly played tai chi Grandmaster Vince Lasorso’s “Relief” recording through my Wholisound Serenity Box using a new portable CD player Laura bought me for this purpose.
Laura alerted people via Facebook. Many thanks to all who supported and prayed for me!
It was another 12 hours—Thursday night—before I was wheeled onto the operating table. The surgeon updated my Superwoman abdominal scar with a 4-inch replacement.
With pain medication the tube was more tolerable, but talking still was quite difficult.           What a blessing to get that tube pulled on Saturday! That enabled me to get off daytime pain medication (which distressed the nurses) and then off all medication when I went home Sunday, 2.5 days before expected. My days of affliction are over and I’m recovering well. I am thankful for the miracles of modern medicine.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:
The nurses were distressed about my not taking daytime pain medication or taking home a pain prescription. “You need to stay on top of the pain,” I’ve been told. Well, I didn’t have pain. I only had discomfort. Part of the reason, perhaps, is because my inflammation level normally is extremely low (0.3 on a scale of 1 to 4). I keep it low with my diet. A lot of pain comes from inflammation, so without excess inflammation, injuries ares much more tolerable. If you are in pain, try reducing inflammation in your body by avoiding inflammatory foods, which can be measured with a blood test looking for C-reactive protein.

Advances in LeioMyoSarcoma Surgery

Advances in LeioMmyoSarcoma surgery was addressed briefly Oct. 8 at the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation patient symposium in St. Louis, Mo.  This was one of several cancer treatment topics that I am reporting about during the coming weeks.

Jeffrey Moley, associate director of the Siteman Cancer Center, said LMS can occur anywhere in the body and has a 50 percent mortality rate. It most commonly is found in the extremities of the body. Nineteen percent of sarcomas are LMS. High-grade LMS has a greater than 50 percent chance of metastasizing; low-grade has a less than 15 percent chance.

Sarcomas are the only cancers that are graded.

During surgery, the doctors always try to get a negative margin. To avoid amputation, one good option is to do limb-sparing surgery followed by radiation. This decreases the chance of a local recurrence by 30 percent.

MRIs and CT scans give pretty much the same information to the doctors.

The definitive treatment is complete surgical resection.

For abdominal and retroperitoneal tumors, sometimes repeat operations can be very effective, especially for low-grade sarcomas.

Surgical Management of Uterine Smooth-muscle Tumors

Surgical management of uterine smooth-muscle tumors was addressed briefly Oct. 8 at the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation patient symposium in St. Louis, Mo.  This was one of several cancer treatment topics that I am reporting about during the coming weeks.

Matthew Anderson, associate professor and director of research (gynecology) at Baylor University, said “Uterine leiomyosarcoma is a unique disease.” As many as 80 percent of women are impacted by a uterine smooth muscle tumor. About 200,000 hysterectomies are performed every year, which costs $3 to $5 billion.

“The only way to know if it’s malignant is to surgically remove it,” he said, because there are no diagnostic markers and no blood tests that can be used to determine malignancy.

Leiomyomas can arise in unusual locations. If they are morcellated, they can create other problems down the road. These myomas tend to respond to hormonal therapy.

They generally don’t tend to respond to chemotherapy or radiation.

About 70 percent of uterine LMS are discovered as isolated uterine masses. Recurrence rates are 40 to 70 percent.

With surgical debulking, doctors can increase progression-free survival from 6.8 months to 14.2 months.

Resection of pulmonary metastases can improve disease-free survival by as long as 24 months. This can include extensive resections while preserving good functional lung status.

Surgery by itself is not the answer. Unseen cells can come back. Ultimately patients have to rely on chemotherapy.

On April 17, 2014, the US FDA issued a safety communication regarding the use of power morcellation for performing hysterectomies or myomectomies. This led manufacturers to withdraw the devices and hospitals generally are not using this method.

Impact: 99 percent of the time, the uterine tumor is not cancer. Yet demand from patients for minimally invasive hysterectomies continues.

There is one case of ULMS in every 1,960 cases.

Short-term, the risk of ULMS should be discussed thoroughly with each patient.

The long-term goal is to develop a diagnostic test that can be used to determine malignancy.