Throat Blog – Waiting Game

Well, 2018 has started pretty slowly. I had a brief appointment with my vascular doctor's NP. Once I run out of my current blood thinner scrip, I'm going back to an aspirin regimen, which will be a lot more convenient., Two shots in the stomach a day won't be missed.

The CT scan reading also came back. Pretty ambiguous. The area where the tumor was is now "cystic in appearance" and is probably all dead tumor, although the possibility of there still being some live tumor or metastases could not be ruled out. Also, there is an area of dead tissue, fluid and air just above trach tube, which is probably the reason for the decomp odor (which seems to have reduced). The upshot of it all is "wait for the PET scan." PET scan is on 1/31. And, so I wait.

But, not waiting completely passively. I was also supposed to have a swallow therapy appointment on 1/5, but insurance had not yet approved. So, it is now scheduled for 1/26. Not wanting to wait that long to start a little food experimentation, I bought some broth. Other than really loosening up the mucus for a while, it seemed to go down OK. I could not feel any going down the wrong way, and didn't excessively cough,. It was only about 1/4 cup, but that is progress.I

So, I got brave and went for a Blue Bunny ice cream bar. It also went down fine (actually better than the broth, as it didn't trigger extra mucus). It was, however, excessively sweet and rich. Delicious.

Today, I stepped it up a bit and tried some oatmeal. That was possibly a mistake. Triggered extended coughing. Pretty sure a .of oat flakes went down the trachea. So, backing off of that and will go back to carefully sipping broth.

Other than that, I am completely physically socially isolated as much as I can possibly arrange. I have no desire to risk exposure to the flu. I did get a shot, but from what I've read, this year's dose isn't particularly effective. Pretty sure the flu would put me back in the hospital. Working from the house (I have arranged to have actually more work than I will probably be able to complete). I will need to go into the office later this week to review some new development progress, but I am pretty sure we sent all our sick people to CES.

Oh, and I have the first part of my annual physical, tomorrow. Basically involves a lot of fluid collection with a few other tests thrown in. Part two is in February. Will be interesting to see how the last few months have affected my core health. I know my physical fitness is pretty low right now. Spent a few minutes on the exercise bike. Had to stop way too soon. Going to try to do a bit more every day.

Well, a long update considering nothing new has really happened. I'll try to say less about more next time.

Year in Review

Well, the first half of the year was not too bad. I don't have much of a blog record of the first half…I rebuilt this blog after a crash in June and lost all my posts up to that point. They were mostly boring until Guitar Gathering in July. That has become an annual highlight for me. I meet up with 40-50 folks from all over the country who are learning guitar from Steve Krentz…mostly through his Learn and Master DVD course, but also through Youtube and other on-line media. I get the opportunity to once again have it rubbed in my nose…I need to practice, more.

I am the unofficial videographer for the event…I've been able to catch some great performances by other students as well as accomplished musicians (well, quite a few of the "students" are pretty accomplished). Vince Gill, Jack Pearson, Corey Congilio, Phil Keaggy, and a lot of studio musicians who I can't put a name to right now. Some videos are linked in this blog. Others (from previous years) are on my Youtube page (https://www.youtube.com/user/popitz/feed) and some others on my Vimeo page (https://vimeo.com/home/myvideos/page:1/sort:date/format:video).

I spent many weekend evenings at Scat Jazz Lounge in downtown Fort Worth. Ate many great meals at Reata, Grace, Bird Cafe, Del Fresco's Cafe, and Waters as well as my favorite local family restaurant, La Gondola in Mansfield. Spent many Saturday and Sunday mornings at the Mansfield Starbucks, drinking coffee, getting a little weekend work done, and visiting with my good friend Doug…another guitar guru.

Then, the 2nd half of the year hit and everything went to hell. It is all documented on this site, but I made a quick timeline of major throat cancer-related events:

7/19/2017 First Pain
8/4/2017 Hoarseness Begins
8/11/2017 No Voice
9/1/2017 Noticable lump on one side
9/5/2017 Large lump across entire larynx
9/19/2017 Squamous Cell Carcinoma diagnosis
10/2/2017 First day of chemo and radiation
10/8/2017 Intestinal blood clot
10/9/2017 Emergency surgery for clot w/removal of 125cm of small intestine
10/18/2017 Discharged from hospital
10/22/2017 Swallowing becoming difficult
10/28/2017 100% PEG feeding starts
11/3/2017 Tumor noticeably smaller
11/13/2017 Last chemo treatment
11/17/2017 Last radiation treatment
11/22/2017 Noticed difficulty pulling in air intermittently
11/28/2017 Difficulty pulling in air continuous
11/29/2017 Tracheostomy tube inserted
12/6/2017 Home after tracheostomy
12/20/2017 Noted constant fever > 100.5; ER visit
12/21/2017 Cardiologist orders constant heart logger
12/23/2017 Bad odor (decomp) from tracheostomy; red, tender skin around neck stoma
12/28/2017 Dr ordered hi-res CT of neck and ordered 2 antibiotics

And that pretty much brings me up to the last day of the year. I can honestly say with heartfelt passion: thank God 2017 is over. I am so ready for 2018. I suspect I've still got a few months of bad, but am counting on most of 2018 being on the good side of the ledger.

So, tip a toast to the new year for me…I'll catch up once I can drink, again.

Jazz Improv Master Class

Here is Steve Krenz and Dino Pastin’s excellent Jazz Improvisation Master Class from GG 2017.

Corey Congilio Blues Rhythm Part 2

If you went to one of the other breakout sessions, you missed Corey’s excellent followup to the general session presentation. Here it is.

Blues Master Jam — GG 2017

The blues crew jamming out at Guitar Gathering 2017.

Corey Congilio on Blues Rhythm

This was Corey’s Masterclass on Blues Rhythm given at the 2017 Guitar Gathering in Nashville.

Time Jumpers Yodel

Ranger Doug gave a great Yodeling performance with the Time Jumpers at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville last week. The band had a lot of fun busting the accordionists chops during the song.

Jack Pearson Interview / Master Class

From jackpearson.com:

He was a member of The Allman Brothers Band from 1997-1999 and has worked with music legends from the world of jazz, rock, blues and country including The Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman, Vince Gill, Jimmy Buffett, Tommy Emmanuel, Keb Mo’, Delbert McClinton, Earl Scruggs, Chris LeDoux, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Mac McAnally, Amy Grant, Groove Holmes, Mike Snider, Faith Hill, Ronnie Milsap, Jimmy Hall, Gov’t Mule, Buddy DeFranco, T. Graham Brown, Shelby Lynne, Jimmy Raney, Lee Ann Womack, Vassar Clements, Bonnie Bramlett, Mundell Lowe, The Jordanaires, Jim Horn, Lee Roy Parnell, Kirk Whalum, Martina McBride, Taj Mahal, Trace Adkins, Dr John, Sam Moore, Eric Church, John Hiatt, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and the list goes on and on.

Here is his interview/master class session at Guitar Gathering 2017.

Protected: Guitar Gathering 2017 Student Showcase

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