Since Monday the 12th, Rich has been having bad cramps off and on. They feel a bit like binding gas but will eventually "pop" and give him relief. It's been cyclical where he feels best in the morning and then worse over the course of the day until he needs prescription pain meds to sleep. Needless to say, this has worried him which has then worried me. This week, he flew to Nashville for his CT scan, blood work, check up with Dr. Bendell, and drug infusion. He arrived for his CT scan yesterday morning and a large amount of the contrast he drank came out of his fistula. The fistula that has been closed since Christmas. So that was alarming.
They had someone look at his CT scan at the imaging unit to make sure he wasn't leaking all over and needed to go to the hospital. They said he was "fine" and sent him to see Dr. Bendell. He called me and was very disappointed at the output, but I convinced him to get a smoothie all the same so he stayed hydrated and had some nutrition.
Dr. Bendell broke it down like this: His bowels are irritated, most likely from the reintroduction of food after seven months. This causes them to swell and kink, leading to cramps, binding gas, and general discomfort. He's still processing food fine, though, so no need to revert to TPN. He should just be aware of what he eats. The tumors have not grown noticeably, so they are not what's causing his stomach cramping. He doesn't have a blockage other than the swollen bowels causing some restrictions. He has some lesions on his liver that have grown a bit but that's normal with the immunotherapy he's getting.
Dr. Bendell is not worried about anything she saw.
Rich feels like this is a regression, mostly because the fistula is leaking. But it's not leaking very much so he just needs a piece of gauze versus an ostomy bag. And he's still allowed to eat. He just wanted to hear that the tumor has gotten smaller. He wanted some good news, not just a lack of horrible news.
Yesterday was a roller coaster of emotions for him as well as tiring travel. He's taking it easy today, but we will rally from there.