Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's Benign!

Just a quick update to let you know that, as of this morning, the biopsy results are in and the tumor removed last week has been confirmed to be a benign Lipoma.  Apparently Dr. Monson removed a small amount of fat and a lymph node sample as well from that area, both of which also came back clean.  Yeah!

On a recovery note, I went back to work on Monday (a little earlier than originally planned) and have been doing fairly well.  However, over the last day or so, I've definitely noticed much more pain and swelling in that area.  I'll try keeping an ice pack on it today as Holly swears that will help more than anything.

And man do I ever need a full shower!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Colonel Mustard, in the Dining Room, with a Camera*

This is a picture** of my right arm & shoulder area from yesterday, prior to quite a bit of scrubbing to remove the Betadine.  I was covered with this stuff from my chest all the way up my right arm and getting it off was quite the trick.  Simple soap and water couldn't "cut the mustard" (so to speak).  It took rubbing alcohol and a few dozen cotton balls just to tone down the stain.

The good news though is that I'm doing just fine.  I've had no problems with bleeding and the pain has been manageable.  What pain I do feel can best be described as dull, achy, and sore; it kind of feels like someone punched me in the armpit repeatedly (not that this has ever happened before or anything, but I can only imagine it must be similar).

My mobility with my right arm is somewhat limited, though mostly by choice at this time.  I'm purposely not trying to do too much with it as I don't want to risk disturbing the incision area.  But after the bandage comes off (Saturday afternoon), I'll likely start doing more.  Even so, I need to keep that area clean and dry, which means avoiding outside work (especially in our Hotlanta 90+ degree weather) and not washing that area for the next couple of weeks.  I'm sure the guys in the office are gonna just love that when I return next week!

Overall, I've got no complaints and I'm quite relieved that this all went so smoothly.  And I promise to post updates in conjunction with my pathology results and my follow-up appointment in 2 weeks (Mom!), though I don't expect either to be eventful.

Have a great weekend!

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* For those who don't have a clue about this title, it was supposed to be a reference to the Clue Game, where Colonel Mustard is one of the characters in this murder mystery.  And given my mustard colored arm and the fact that I'm in my dining room . . . well I think you see what I was shooting for.  And yes, I know: if I have to explain it, then it must not be very funny.  :)

** Some email clients block pictures, so if no picture is present, you can click on the Bold Blue Title in the email and that will take you directly to this post at my blog site, where all will be revealed.

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Part II: iPhone 4 Mini-Review



I know you're probably thinking that this is way out in left field, but actually several people emailed me asking how I was liking my new iPhone 4 and wondered what was so great about it.

Here are all of the things I love about this phone:
  • Retina Display -- I've never seen a phone display so crisp, clean, readable, and bright as this one!  It has a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch and currently has the highest resolution of any phone on the market (960 x 640).
  • Faster Processor -- For those with older iPhones (I had a first-generation phone), you'll be impressed with the performance improvements in this phone (thanks to the A4 chip).  Everything is noticeably much snappier.
  • Better Battery Life -- Apple claims up to 40% more talk time with this new battery.
  • Voice Control -- This feature will keep me a lot safer on the road.  Instead of fumbling through my phone book, I can simply hold down the Home button and tell it who to call!
  • iPod -- Of course, you can't overlook the fact that the iPhone 4 any iPhone for that matter) also includes a full-featured iPod (for listening to music and watching videos.  This has always worked seamlessly with the phone part: the music fades, pauses, and the phone rings.  Once you're done with your call, the music resumes.
  • HD Video Recording -- No need to carry around your Flip video when you've got this baby.  For a phone, it shoots really amazing video!
  • FaceTime -- Yes, there's actually a front-facing camera designed primarily for video conferencing (presumably with others that have an iPhone 4), but which can also be used for self-portraits.  Don't know that I'll be making a lot of use of this feature (as I am a bit camera shy), but I can see this coming in handy.  What's also cool is that you can switch between the front- and rear-facing camera during your FaceTime call.  Currently the FaceTime feature requires a WiFi connection (as AT&T is trying to keep data traffic down on their 3G network).
  • Camera Improvements -- The new camera is now 5-megapixels and includes digital zoom and a built-in LED flash!  This isn't gonna replace my nice camera for trips or anything, but it's comforting (for me) to know that I have a decent camera with me at all times should I ever need it.
  • eMail Improvements -- Now if you're not the type who checks their email frequently, you likely have no business getting a Smartphone at all.  Connectivity is really the backbone of all Smartphones, and the iPhone 4 is no exception.  New with iOS 4 (the operating system released with this phone) is a feature called All Inboxes, which consolidates the Inboxes of your various email accounts into one location.  No longer do I have to go digging through my 3 email accounts individually; I've got everything in one nice location, and all available from my phone.
  • Rich Texting -- Text messages are no longer restricted to just words; you can now include photos or even video in your text messages.
  • Applications -- Like all Smartphones, you can download and run a ton of different applications on your iPhone.  Most applications are either free or really inexpensive and Apple claims the world's largest app platform, with over 200,000 apps in practically every category.  One category of applications is gaming, and the iPhone is becoming a bigger and bigger gaming platform with every new release.
  • Multitasking -- Up until iOS 4, you could pretty much run only one application at a time on your phone (though you could always do some pseudo-multitasking with the phone and music).  And I was pretty much OK with all of that and didn't need more.  But nowadays, with such a huge variety of downloadable applications and games, being able to truly multi-task is almost a necessity (at least for many).  Multitasking allows you to switch between multiple applications and pick up right where you left off.  One good example of this is making (or receiving) Skype VoIP calls while other apps (or games or movies or whatever) are running.  Just think about how you multi-task on your computer at home (whether you know it or not) and apply this reasoning to your iPhone.  You get the picture.
  • New Data Plans -- With the release of the iPhone 4, AT&T has announced that new customers must subscribe to a limited monthly data plan (either 200MB @ $15 or 2GB @ $25).  Existing customers have the option to keep their unlimited data plan (which is $30 each month), but should likely first check their data usage to see if they can't live with something less (simply call *DATA# and data useage information will be sent to your phone for free).  And of course this does not include messaging, which is an additional $5 for 200 messages.  AT&T is doing this because their 3G network is already overloaded and they need to encourage people to keep their bandwidth in check.  For me, I've singed up for the 200MB @ $15 plan and the 200 messages for $5 deal.  That combined with the fact that I use WiFi whenever possible (instead of the 3G data service), I am always under 200MB each month.  Plus, I can switch to the 2GB plan if my needs should change.  For some iPhone 3G users, this new data plan might actually result in a price break!
Bottom Line: if you're the type of person who can justify a Smartphone and don't mind paying an additional $20 a month (or more) for the data + messaging service, this is the phone for you!  Pay no attention to those new Android phones (not this year at least) and Crackberry's still got nothin' on iPhone!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A little off the top, please

All indications are that the surgery was a complete success!  So far, my pain is quite manageable, though I suspect it will likely go up a few notches by tomorrow.  My marching orders (post-op) are:
  1. Take the dressing off after 3 days.
  2. Follow-up with the doctor on Friday, July 9.
  3. Do not drive or operate heavy equipment in the next 24 hours.
  4. No alcohol for the next 24 hours.
I’m good with most all of these instructions, though I did make it clear “no promises” regarding the 24-hour moratorium on alcohol.  J  The Lipoma itself was approximately 4cm x 6cm and I'm told that the pathology results should be available within 7 - 10 days (though nobody is really expecting this to be anything other than Lipoma, which is benign).

Prior to the surgery, I got a little bit nervous when Dr. Monson mentioned, “Yeah, that thing’s in there really deep.  Removing that huge Liposarcoma on your leg was easy given where it was at; this will be a bit more complicated.”  Moments later, the Anesthesiologist followed up with the comment, “Wow – that really is an unusual location.  Surgery there can really be painful.”  All I can say is I’m just glad that I’m the kind of guy that really likes to hear people tell it to me straight!  Otherwise, a “panic attack” might have been in order.

Seriously though, this medical team is incredible!  I’ve got one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the southeast operating on me, awesome nurses, and an Anesthesiologist (named Heather) who really listened to my history of getting sick after surgery.  She described this as PONV (Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting) and told me she had it covered.  And sure enough, for the first time I didn’t get sick following surgery!  Yeah!

I’ve rented 2 movies and plan to start watching them as soon as I get something to eat.  Plus I plan on playing with my new iPhone 4, which was delivered today (perfect timing I might add).  I'm such a technogeek!

Thanks to all for your support, comments, emails, etc.  You-all are awesome!

A Cut Above

Yes, the time has finally come to get a new scar “tattooed” to my body.  At high-noon today, I will go in for that lipoma surgery that I mentioned in previous posts.  And this isn’t just any run-of-the-mill, dime-sized lipoma either (I have several of those); this one is much bigger and buried deep within my right armpit.  The main reason it’s coming out is because the location makes it difficult to monitor and we don’t want it to grow unchecked and become a problem.

I’m not really expecting this to be a big deal or anything, but I do think this is gonna hurt!  I just remember the pain that Holly was in after she had her right axillary node dissection (15 months ago) and I think this operation will be very similar.  I’m just glad I’m in the capable hands of Dr. Monson, who did such spectacular work on my leg 15 months ago.  Don’t know if I’m going to need any drains yet for this procedure (I’m hoping I won’t).  The surgery itself will be taking place at the Emory Spine Center (Executive Park) on an outpatient basis.

Once this is behind me, the exciting thing is that Holly and I will now have matching scars under our right armpits!  Now how cool is that?!?  I know that some couples like to get tattoos and all, but we (apparently) do things a little more “out of the ordinary”.  And trust me, the experience we’ve been through is just as permanently etched into our bodies, hearts, and minds as any real tattoo.  I’d say we’re a match made in Heaven!

Well, here’s to careful cutting, a speedy recovering, and a scar that’s just slightly bigger than Holly’s (for bragging rights, of course)!   J




Recent CT-Scan.  The area circled in red is the Lipoma that will be removed today.