Posted April 20, 2018 by joebowker
Categories: Medical, cancer

Tags: ,

2018-04-20 08.49.06I had an 8:30 AM appointment with the Radiation Oncology Dept at Kaiser. The appointment was up in Hollywood on Sunset Blvd. For all my friends on the East coast that is a long haul. Paula and I were out the door at 7:15 AM and arrived at 8:45 AM. Brutal Friday traffic. I’m glad I don’t have to do that every day.

So after the usual pleasantries of step on the scale, roll up your sleeve for the BP cuff and what’s your temp., we got to meet with an Oncology resident who talked about the plan. We talked about my history with respect to squamous cell carcinoma.

I am to do six weeks of radiation, five days a week for six weeks. The idea is to knock out any remaining squamous cells before they have a chance to settle in and get all comfy.

So then I told him that we were going to be traveling to Boston in May. Trip paid for and non-negotiable. He agreed to start the treatment on the day after we return on May 22. So far so good.2018-04-20 11.24.16

Here’s a pic of my oncologist. Actually, he is a resident. So even though he looks young, he’s got some supervision.

Two other visits were scheduled. First to see the Kaiser dentist to create some sort of gadget to keep me from moving my teeth during the treatment.

Second was a final get together with the oncologist to review the details.

One bit of good news is that Kaiser has a shuttle from their offices in South Bay and the medical center up in Hollywood. So I won’t have to do the driving myself. I wasn’t looking forward to doing 1 1/2 hour drive each way every day.


Posted April 19, 2018 by joebowker
Categories: cancer, Medical


2018-04-18 21.51.29So now that the surgery is behind me, it is time to look at treatment. I will be meeting with the Radiation Oncology Dept (aka the Tumor Board) at Kaiser on Friday. It is becoming a struggle to get Paula free to accompany me. The appointment is at 8:30 AM in downtown LA. So that means that I will probably have to be on the road by 7:00 AM. Ugh.

Well, we managed to get Dawn to watch over Mary tomorrow AM. So Paula will be coming with me. That also means that I can use the diamond lane.

Then next week I have an ultrasound scheduled on my thyroid. Did that last week but this time they need to do a dye. They were supposed to both last Friday, but the department that does the dye is a different group. sigh.

After the surgery, Dr K told me that he thought that he would be recommending just radiation and not chemo. I suppose I will find out on Friday.

I guess the assumption is that there are still some squamous cells on the lose up in my head somewhere. We’ll see.


Posted April 16, 2018 by joebowker
Categories: Family, Mary


2018-04-16 10.25.51Time for an update on Mary. She is doing pretty good for 94 years of age. Her memory though is failing badly. We try to get her out to events where people know her and will interact with her. So we get her to church on Sunday. She doesn’t seem to put up a fuss about going. We usually can get her to OES meeting. And, of course she gets her hair done on Fridays.

While Mary is under the hair dryer at the beauty salon, Paula and I get together for coffee and to do grocery shopping. Wonderful to get some time alone together.

So on Saturday, Mike and his family came over for dinner. Sunday was Mike’s birthday. We watch the kids so they can go out to a movie. So on Sunday morning, Mary sees the Happy Birthday balloon on our table and asks “Who’s birthday is it?”. We tell her “Mike’s”.

“Who is Mike?” she says. He is your grandson, we tell her. So we go out to lunch after church at the Pacific Diner. Then, on Sunday night, the question gets repeated, “Who’s Mike?”. Sigh. Then, she asks us what day is it? It’s Sunday. Don’t you remember going to church? Going to the Diner for lunch? Apparently not. More sighs. Got to get rid of the darn balloon.


Next Steps

Posted April 13, 2018 by joebowker
Categories: Health-Care, Medical

2018-04-09 21.34.41

Pic taken 4-10-2018

I had my followup appointment with my head and neck surgeon today. We found a friend of Paula’s to watch Mary, so that Paula could attend the meeting.

So here’s the deal. The surgery site on my neck is healing nicely. There is still some swelling and discomfort along the incision line, but that should go away eventually. The surgeon removed a 4 cm. tumor from my left parotid gland as well as some lymph node  glands in the area.

My surgeon believes that this is related to my squamous cell carcinoma from Jan 2016. Next appointment is scheduled for two weeks from today. My case will be presented to board of head and neck surgeons for review. He seems to feel that we will do radiation but not chemo. We will see what the collective medical brains from Kaiser have to say on the matter.

That’s enough for today. Have a nice weekend, everyone.


Surgery – The End

Posted April 1, 2018 by joebowker
Categories: Medical


2018-03-31 08.25.27.jpgWell I’m all done with the surgery. Paula came and fetched me at noon. I was feeling much better this morning. Strength beginning to return. By this afternoon, much of the swelling has gone down.

My surgeon came by and changed the bandage and removed one of the drains for one of  the lymph nodes. Second drain is scheduled to come out next Friday. Stitches come out two weeks hence.

The surgeon told me that he thought the squamous cell carcinoma from two year ago and this event were related. He removed the growth as well as two Lymph nodes. Surgery took about 5 hours.

Nurse brought all of the paperwork to sign. Other nurses and technicians came by for BP checks, blood sugar, etc. Blood sugar was running pretty high (unusual, for me), so I got a couple of hits of insulin.

I was watching the LA Dodgers game on the TV. (They won) Alas, no Red Sox on the hospital TV. Besides, I was on the table when the Sox game was on.

I had a nice RN named Deloite on the late night shift who had relocated from Chicago to LA. I asked her if she was a White Sox or Cubs fan? She said she was from the South Side, so White Sox. Sweet lady, did a heck of a job. All of the staff at Kaiser were great.

I had to wait for Paula to arrive. She couldn’t leave Mary until Mike and Theresa arrived to watch Mary. By the time Paula had arrived, I had finished all of the paper work and gotten dressed. So we could pretty much head out.

One stop at the pharmacy on the home for pain meds and antibiotic ointment. When we got home, I sat down with Jonathan to explain to him what had happened to Grandpa. He was very concerned about his grandpa. Paula hid the Easter Baskets for tomorrow. Theresa had brought take out from El Pollo Loco for lunch. I was hungry.

We’ll be doing brunch at our house tomorrow. It’s been a pretty hectic week. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers.

1 Second a Day – March 2018

Posted March 31, 2018 by joebowker
Categories: 1 Sec Every Day, 1SE

I am continuing to work on my 1SE app that puts 1 or  2 images per day into a movie. This is my effort for March 2018. Enjoy.

Surgery part 2

Posted March 31, 2018 by joebowker
Categories: Medical


Surgery all done. Woke up where was put to sleep. Surgeon said it was successful. Not much pain. Not sure if due to really good surgeon or really good drugs. Maybe both. Truth be told, I’m getting I twinge of pain on my neck

The plan is to keep me over until tomorrow. Then remove some of the drains. Paula will pick me up. No driving yet.

So they brought me some alleged hospital food. Hospital food still sucks.

Watching Dodger Giants game on the TV. 8th inning no score.

Oops. Top of ninth, SF hits solo shot. Bottom of ninth , two strikeouts and pop up behind home plate. That’s the ball game. LA 0 and 2 so far.

One more thing, cell coverage and WiFi at Kaiser sucks.