My Latest Adventures — Part One

Just one more step in my multi-year journey. 🙂

You may have noticed that we have not posted in a couple of weeks. Read on to see why.

Life sure takes many interesting twists and turns. Today, we first re-introduce the purpose of this blog. Then, we look at my latest adventures — part one. Thursday, is part two.

Why This Blog?

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if that light is not as bright as before. And sometimes, we have to fight to see that light. I am NOT a medical professional. I am not alone in my battle with cancer. This is one person’s journey, both the ups and downs – with the strong determination to have the best life possible for as long as possible.

I am a pancreatic cancer survivor. I underwent an 8-½ hour Whipple surgery to remove the cancer. I had a lot of problems during chemo. As a diabetic, I passed out from low blood sugar a few days after finishing chemo. As a result, I had to miss my daughter’s bridal shower. And I had to have cement pumped into my back. I have a lot of other stuff going on. But enough of that. I am NOT complaining. I just want you to see where I have been – and where I still am going.

With this blog, I want to offer hope and support to those dealing with any terrible disease and their families. Why? To quote the late NY Yankee star Lou Gehrig when he was honored at Yankee Stadium while dying from ALS: “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

My Latest Adventures — Part One

For quite awhile, I  had two arthritic knees, with one much worse than the other. Over the years, I had two arthroscopies on my left knee — along with both steroid and gel shots. After my Whipple surgery in 2015, I told myself that I never again wanted to have surgery that required an extended recovery and rehab process. So, I swore off having knee replacement surgery.

Well, as it is said, the “best-laid plans …” In early 2019, I had to give up walking as an exercise. It was just too painful. Everyone in my family yelled for me to have the surgery. However, I just wasn’t ready psychologically. BUT, by October I was ready. It was just too painful to walk at all. I knew I couldn’t go through life like that.

In November 2019, I sought a second opinion with Dr. Fred Cushner of the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). It is rated number one in orthopedics. Dr. Cushner concurred that I needed the knee replacement. And I decided to have him do it. Before the appointment, I had done my due diligence through online research. He is impressive on paper — and in person.

On Friday January 3, 2020, I had my surgery. They had me using a walker that same day. The next day, they taught me how to use stairs. On Monday, January 6, 2020, I was discharged directly to my home, which has a lot of steps to get to our bedroom.

I decided to use  a revolutionary new technique for the in-home part of the physical therapy. HSS offers a free one-on-one video conferencing app. What is it? On my iPad, I downloaded the software that enabled me to securely interact with a HSS physical therapist who works directly with Dr. Cushner’s team.  To you skeptics out there, I say it really worked for me. Lauren Smith, my PT specialist, could watch me walk, zoom on parts of my leg, and communicate any issues with Dr. C’s team. In my case, this tipped off Dr. C. to my need to have several blisters lanced by him. If I was using an in-home PT specialist, he/she would probably just send me to the emergency room — where the professionals have less experience with this sort of thing.

On Monday January 20 (17 days post-surgery), I started intensive outpatient physical therapy.  By Friday, which was just my third visit, they had me riding a bike and walking a treadmill for six minutes each, using a sitting stepper machine for 5 minutes, and doing various twists on a tilting machine. Wow. Who would have thought this possible? AND, I am only using a cane now!!

Look at the HSS site for knee replacement by clicking the image below. And learn a lot about topics related to knee replacement and the options. A very informative discussion.

 

My Latest Adventures -- Part One
 

Author: Living Well with Cancer

I am a long-time business school professor, who is a Pancreatic Cancer survivor. I had Whipple surgery on February 12, 2015. In this blog, I want to help others live well with cancer. A positive attitude, caring family, strong medical team, and supportive colleagues are key. And support from other cancer survivors can be life affirming.

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