Thursday, June 25, 2015

Medical Update and House Sale - Alrica

Well, major changes in the past few weeks and we are overdue for an update. If you have been following, about the same time as the house went on the market, I went to see a doctor about swelling in my right foot. This led to a discovery of a "mass" in my right hip region that sits wedged between the bone and the main femoral artery. The compression of the veins was causing the swelling, but 3 CT scans, 3 ultrasounds, and 2 biopsies later, we still don't know for sure what it is, but we want to take it out. Our best guess is that it is an osteochondroma which is basically cartilage that grows abnormally as we grow, so it shouldn't happen to people older than 16, but perhaps the most important thing is that we are reasonably certain that it is non-malignant. So I go in for surgery on July 6 and, until then, I continue to do the twice daily blood thinner injections to reduce my risk of blood clots.

Our expectation is that the surgery will go smoothly and this problem will be completely taken care of. They expect me to be in the hospital for several days (I welcome visitors to take my mind off the boredom!) and then home on pretty serious limitations. No showering, lifting, stairs, etc. for at least two weeks. Then taking it easy. As you may know, our plan had been to be out of Lancaster by mid-July so this is obviously going to delay things - probably by about a month since air travel is forbidden until late August. If I am healing appropriately, we plan to leave Lancaster around July 26 to see friends and family here in the states. We will need to drive slowly so that I can get out and walk every two hours.

Since all of our plans for the order of our trip were based on flying in early August, we are rethinking our route. In order to lighten our load, we don't plan to take winter coats and Prague is getting pretty cold by end of October. We may end up starting in South Africa and hitting Europe later in the trip but a lot depends on how I heal.

In the meantime, we have accepted an offer on the house with a close date of July 31. Since I will be unable to help during those last few weeks, I'm trying to get everything done now. It might mean living without furniture for a bit, but that is better than expecting Erich to carry heavy furniture down the stairs by himself. Wish us luck!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Friends and Plans (More on change) - Carver

My last post was about how I didn't like losing things and adapting to change. This is more on change.

Friends - There is more change to happen that is not leaving behind things but more leaving friends. I can still talk through technology (technology can do so much now) but it isn't the same. That is harder to adapt to than losing things. I am sad to leave my friends. But this is more change and I will have to deal with it like all the other change.

Plans - You would assume that was the end if you hadn't seen the title but there is more change for me to adapt to. This change is a very different kind of change, however. This is unexpected change. After lots of waiting for the biopsy and the results, we finally found out that the mass will have to be removed. It is a big lump of cartilage but it is causing problems. This will push back our plans by about a month.

Unexpected change is unexpected and hard to adapt to and expected change is not as hard because it is expected. Which one is harder for me to adapt to? I don't really know.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Early Unexpectedness - Erich

When one undertakes a journey of two years to eleven different countries, I suppose one of the things to learn is how to deal with the unexpected. And I'm sure I am not well prepared for it. But I do expect some unexpected things to occur along the way. And since I expect them, I guess that makes them not completely unexpected, more like partially unexpected.

But then the unexpected kicks you in the, well, in this case, top of the femur. Because I don't think any of us were expecting the unexpected just yet. And that's when it most wants to strike!

Last week we learned that Alrica has a "mass" at the top of her right femur that is constricting blood flow in her veins. She was admitted to the hospital. She had scans. She had a biopsy. And while no one seems to know what it is yet, the good side of it was that the tissue collected in the biopsy is not malignant. A huge relief, yes?

Of course, we weren't expecting any of this. Still, we thought the unexpectedness was plateauing. But today we were knocked back into the full unexpectedness. The osteopathic surgeon believes that the biopsy missed the mass in Alrica. He felt that the results were inconsistent with what else we know. So tonight Alrica went in for an MRI and it seems likely that the surgeon is correct. What does this mean? Well, not only does it probably indicate another biopsy for Alrica, it also means we don't know if the "mass" is malignant or benign. Because what was tested probably didn't come from the mass.

So, how do we deal with the unexpected? Just plod on. Day by day, I guess. We aren't changing our plans to travel at this point. We are just moving on with it and going to the doctors and getting the tests and doing our best to not let our dreams get shuttered away.

Besides, I am completely certain that Alrica will be fine. I call it an unabashedly positive attitude and thorough optimism. I suppose a psychologist might call it denial, but I like my spin better. Alrica is going to be fine. We are going to travel the world. And we are going to get better and better at dealing with the unexpected.