Health Update: First Consult With Cardiologist

For background: I had a pulmonary embolism in February 2023, as told in these articles: Part OnePart Two

The bleeding I had already scheduled a colonoscopy to look at (which was going to happen in May) got my colonoscopy moved up, and it happened last week as told here.

For background: I had a pulmonary embolism in February 2023, as told in these articles: Part One, Part Two

The bleeding I had already scheduled a colonoscopy to look at (which was going to happen in May) got my colonoscopy moved up, and it happened last week as told here.

That resulted in a cancer diagnosis, and I saw a colorectal surgeon as told here.

Since then we’ve figured out where to get me in for an MRI and CAT scan, here in Oklahoma, which will help us determine the stage of cancer I have. We’re sure it’s at least Stage 1, and hope that’s all, but can’t be sure at the moment. An enzyme test came back with results that are consistent with it not having spread beyond the originating area, but that’s not definitive, just suggestive.

(It’s interesting how useful game design experience is with this whole 4-month flu-to-pneumonia-to-pulmonary-embolism-to-cancer-diagnosis downhill slide. I feel like the doctors made a Detect Secret Doors and Cancers check, and the GM said “You don’t SEE any cancer spreading…” Okay, got it. A good sign, but not proof there are no secret doors up my butt.)

Since I am absolutely going to have to have a high-risk surgery (and, we now think, likely chemo and radiation prior to that), I needed to see a cardiologist, both to check for heart health and to make sure my blood clots are dissolving.

All evidence says my heart remains entirely strong and healthy, so yay for that.

(The heart is strong, it’s the REST of me having issues…)

It turns out my blood thinner hasn’t been sufficiently tested on obese people to be sure it works on us… which no one mentioned when it was prescribed to me 6 weeks ago. It kinda feels like A: we should fucking TEST FOR this given the obesity epidemic in this country and B: [BurtGummer] “I feel I was denied critical, Need-To-Know, information.” [/BurtGummer]

So, I’ll need imaging on my right leg to see if the thrombosis has cleared up. If yes, we’ll assume the blood thinner is working, and that the blood clot in my lung we diagnosed (but never imaged because I’m too thicc) is also clearing up. If not, we’ll have to switch to a blood thinner that requires constant monitoring of things like my liver function. So THAT would be fun.

On other-but-relevant news my wife Lj has to have a hysterectomy (she’s okay with me discussing this publicly), and another person in my inner circle has to have his own major surgery, so we have to stuff those in around my looming cancer treatment and surgery.

[Insert actor giving the audience a deadpan, 4th-wall-breaking “Oh For Fuck’s Sake” expression here.]

That adds a lot more medical appointments I need to keep up with (just for other people), and adds a whole new wave of medical costs. They shouldn’t be as severe as mine, but every little bit is a strain atm.

Here’s the rest of my current situation:

Heart, good. Endurance, bad. Oxygen needed less, but still needed sometimes. Anemia slowly worsening. Blood clots appear to be clearing, but we’ll test for it. Cancer consistent with Stage 1, but we’ll test for it. Referral in to consult with OU cancer center surgical team, but appointment not yet set. Ear infection clearing but I have another week of antibiotics. So, still need a few hours a day in bad on my side. Gaming greatly reduced, but not entirely gone. And, hey, we completed the 2nd book of a Paizo AP this weekend! I managed to permission to get back on my prescription diuretic, but for now at a much lower dosage, so I still need a few hours per day in my bed on my back with my feet up. Two more medical appointments this week, but those are follow-ups so I don’t *expect* any major news.

At this point, I’m largely in maintenance and follow-up until imaging and the consult with OU cancer center, and then things are likely to get interesting again pretty fast.

Methods of Support

A number of folks have asked about helping me cover my medical expenses as I recover from my pulmonary embolism, and prepare to battle my cancer. While I’ll do a GoFundMe if I absolutely have to, and expect there to be a product bundles to raise funds come April, the main way to support me right now is to join (or increase your pledge level) at my Patreon, or make a direct contribution at my Ko-Fi.

Thanks, folks.



About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at

Posted on March 28, 2023, in Health and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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