Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hey Toto ... We're Not In Kansas Anymore

Lately ... it's been a little like Oz-ville at my house.

Last month I was the Scarecrow. You might remember one of my April postings "Stuck Here For a While"  (about a fun day inside an MRI).

Well ... the results showed that I had a "schwannoma". I thought, at first, that was a brain tumor for little Jewish guys like me. It turned out to be benign and treatable ... just irritating because it sits on a sensory nerve making the right side of my face numb so that during high level meetings I might drool or speak in tongues. Other than that ... and not tasting food ... it's a "no brainer".

I went to see the Wizard (Dr. Steve Klasko, my great friend, Pop Night guru and King of ALL that is medical at USF). He and my Internist, Dr. Dick Hoffman, set me up with a great neurosurgeon Dr. Harry Van Loveren who planned my course of treatment. It's called Cyberknife and it is done through a big robotic x-ray machine that sends out directed bursts at the tumor ... all non-invasive and no side effects. It kills the tumor without surgery. Great ... all set for the following week.

Feeling better I headed down the Yellow Brick Road once again ... but forgetting I was STILL in Oz ... I realized it was time for the Tin Man.

Last Friday I had a stress test because I was having a series of skipped heart beats and feeling kinda tired. As luck would have it ... the cardiologist told me that I needed to get a heart cath done immediately because there was strange electrical activity going on in there.

The Yellow Bricks on the road started to get slippery.

"Hmmmm" ... said the conference of doctors who were looking at my test results (the neuro, the cardio, the internal med and the Wiz) ... what should we do first? The cyberkinife or the heart cath?  There is a window of opportunity for the schwannoma based on the size of the tumor ... but you gotta take care of the heart first. What to do?

I have amazing luck.

Just about that time on Saturday morning, I decided to go to the annual USF graduation exercises at the Sun Dome where I was part of the processional on stage where, sure enough, I became ... The Cowardly Lion.

Sitting on stage, I felt the room spinning and gingerly made it down the stairs ... ending up at Tampa General Hospital.

The decision was made. Get the little Jewish guy in the Cath Lab!

Dr. Cohen (Woody Allen on steroids) was the cardiologist who admitted me, Dr. Stromquist (a former flower child of the 60s) was the cardiologist who did my cath and Dr. Gallardo (looked like he just took a break from the "Country Bear Jamboree") was the EP cardiologist.

Oh ... that reminds me. I need to tell you this: You are NOT asleep when they thread that wire through your crotch into your heart. I don't care what they say ... I saw and heard everything. I didn't feel anything ... but I know where the nurses went on vacation, who likes country music, why American Idol sucks and who takes the most potty breaks. I also was part of the process and was instructed by experts ... they were great!

I had two stents (tiny metal springs that open) which are permanently placed into an artery that was 80% blocked. I was also told I might have to have another procedure for the electrical misfiring of my heart beat. Who would have thought, huh?

They are resetting my schwannoma procedure to give me a brain ... now that I have a heart.    

Other than that .... I'm fine!

I'm home now with my medicine cabinet filled with a wonderful array of new drugs (One pill makes you larger ... One pill makes you small). And unless Toto bites my ankle or some flying monkey whisks me away ... I will continue to ...

Ease on down ... Ease on down ... the road ....

Special thanks to my family ... my wife Debbie who has been with me through it all and has the patience of (and even looks like) a saint. My great and brilliant kids ... Alissa and Josh and Dr. Nicole (who by the way was there at the hospital helping me figure out stuff, taking notes, telling me to stay healthy and worrying about me). All of my great doctors who I HIGHLY recommend if you have the fortune of meeting them and the misfortune of needing them. And all of my terrific family, friends and co-workers!! Love you all.


A Daft Scots Lass said...

What an awesome post! Very creative and entertaining...

I hope your health issues get sorted out chop-chop

Anonymous said...

You have a heart, a brain, and a fine sense of humor. Such a package. No wonder you are everyone's favorite character. Be well; we are all worried! Helen

joel said...

@Gillian ... thanks so much. I cant remember who said it ... but I'll steal it, "If I knew I was gonna live this long, I would have taken better care of myself."

@ Helen ... Thanks! Don't worry ... it's bad for your health!

Anonymous said...

I may be one of the few who lived with you and knew about the brain, the heart, and the sense of humor. You always had a great sense of humor but I do remember that your heart was very large. Leslye and I hope that your recoveries are quick and you return to a "normal" way of life that we 60+ year olds now have! Keep us posted...Steve & Leslye

joel said...

@Steve L ... Thanks buddy. "Normal" seems to change every year you know?

Bobby Allan said...

Oh my goodness! Glad you're doing better. At least they didn't include the pill that mother gives you. They don't do anything at all.

joel said...

@Chrissy ... Lol. I think I might need to switch to The Stones and grab Mother's Little Helper after this, ya know?

Anonymous said...

You are too funny! We enjoyed having you as a visitor.


joel said...

@Robin ... Everyone at TGH was wonderful. Please thank them for taking such good care of me and listening to me whine. Truly professional staff all the way around. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

What Saint Does Debbie look like?????

And don't you think it's ironic that the little brainy tumor-y thing has a very Jewish sounding name???
makes me wonder - if your mother in law had the same thing...would it be a Mary-noma...just sayin.

Anonymous said...

As my mom says - be grateful for the parts that still function.

Of course, that's subject to interpretation in some cases.

Glad to hear you are surrounded by good people who care about you. You've always deserved that and more.

Ann @ ACH

Michael said...

Damn, man, when you left the stage, I just thought you just didn't like my cologne (see what Egoiste will do for you?). I did move over so there wasn't a big gap in the photos ...

joel said...

@ Ann ... My parts were subject to interpretation years ago. Tx for thinking of me!

@ Michael ... Actually the cologne was the final straw. My lungs stopped working. You just wanted the extra chair huh?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Mumford.....well when you do give it your all....always showing off!!! Can you tone it down just a bit?

You take care of your young self. I'm sure you are now really thinking..."What's so good about feelin' bad?"

I'm thinking of you, and through all of this you at least kept your sense of humor!!

Take care...hugs....Denisee

joel said...

@Deniseee ... Good to hear from your very young self. Doing fine. Hugs back at ya.

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