Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ninth Quarter - All Clear

Today's quarterly scan came back negative. It feels a bit uneventful to post the same thing I've been posting lately. And then I think about what I just wrote and start laughing. Uneventful is exactly what I hope for. No news. And it's been almost 26 months (nine quarterly scans) with no detectible sign.

Twenty-six months isn't really all that long, (although it's a third of my younger boys life). It seems like just the beginning, should I be so lucky. But then I think about the old timer who was standing behind me in one of the many lobbies at Sloan Kettering. I overheard him commenting to the fella who accompanied him about the three months his doctor gave him to live. A few minutes later, the three of us were on a packed elevator. As the elevator opened its doors on a different floor, the people waiting saw the few remaining spots and didn't enter. They just stood there. I looked back from the front of the elevator at the folks behind me and said, "We must be intimidating. They won't get on." And it was the old timer who was the first one to start laughing and cracking jokes with me, telling me I was the reason! He may have only three months to live, but that's just it. He's living. He probably has no idea how much he inspired me today. I'd love to sit back with him and hear some of his stories. He seems like the kind of fella who would have a few to tell. That's a hell of a place, Sloan Kettering. Shed em i ya got em. And keep living.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Again, No Detectable Sign

My scan and blood work came back negative today. As of October 28th, I will be two years with no detectable sign of cancer. It was wonderful to hear especially since I had it in my mind that it had only been one year. I don't know what I was thinking, but Dr Kemeny and I were both grinning when she looked at her notes and saw it had in fact been two years. My first thought was, "Perhaps I will be able to see my little boy grow up to be a man after all." That's what matters for those of us with kids. Not like other parents don't share such concerns. I just just have reason to remember it far more frequently.

In fact, it has taken a lot to stay hopeful these last couple of years. Yet on the way to NY today, I noticed I feel much less fear about another recurrence and I'm indeed grateful for that. Getting further and further along with no detectable sign of cancer feels more and more like the end of a chapter, like I posted the last time I left New York following my quarterly scan. There was certainly more circumstances than just cancer that effected my outlook on life, but having the cancer diagnosis and treatments further and further behind me has made a significant difference in how I take on what lies ahead.

I'm still recovering as far as physical health goes. I still suffer if I get less than sufficient sleep more than one night in a row. A few days of that and my immune system starts to tank. Supposedly by next summer my immune system will be fully recharged. Seven-months of high dose chemo "because you're such a healthy young man" really beat the living hell out of my immune system. My docs said it would take my immune system 12-24 months to be 100% again. It feels like for me it may be on the closer side of 24 months. And if that's part of the cost to stay alive, I'll take it. Today I'm deeply grateful to be alive and able to face whatever struggles lie ahead, with my little guy by my side.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nineteen Months: No Detectable Sign of Cancer

Today's quarterly scan was negative. I have now been clear of any detectable sign of cancer for 19 months. I'm in a bus in New Jersey coming out of the tunnel, looking at the Manhattan skyline, headed back home. Another chapter compete. I feel grateful right now. And I find I no longer recognize much of this life anymore. Many of the same people and places but so much of my life has changed so drastically in so many ways.  I feel much more an observer in many aspects. In other ways, such as when ego has the reins, I forget to observe and then life becomes familiar again. And all of that is in the background of a "good bill of health" for myself and my family. Amen.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Next Quarterly Scan June 12th

Wednesday June 12th is my next quarterly scan. Wow that was fast! I feel like the last time I went wasn't really all that long ago. Perhaps that's a good thing. Nothing to do in the way of preparation except not give it much thought and rock this one out just like the last one. No detectable signs since October 29, 2011.

[clicking the "Like" button]

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Good Report From the Doc

Damn good meeting with Dr. Cagir, my colo-rectal surgeon on Monday March 25th. He said the inflammation observed by my oncologist on my most recent CT scan is caused by the skin currently growing around the cadaver tissue he stitched into my abdomen to correct the hernia that was present next to my stoma. As far as the bleeding goes, he believes I may need more time to heal and suggested I stop irrigating for a month. Not my preferred way of doing things, but certainly in my best interest, so it's a no-brainer. Doctor Cagir and I had some good laughs. We always do.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Clear Scan & Blood

I went to Sloan Kettering today for a scan and blood work. All came back negative which was QUITE a relief. I've been passing some red blood and I was a bit concerned. Dr. Kemeny said there was inflammation visible on my CT scan. Now that recurrence is off the list, I've scheduled an appointment with Dr. Cagir to determine if it's a result of changes that resulted from my most recent surgery with him.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Surgical Procedure Simple & Complete

This mornings procedure was relatively simple and successful. Dr. Cagir was able to make the repairs without having to open my abdominal cavity. The likelihood of having to do so was low, but it was a possibility. As I woke up, I placed my hands on my abdomen and joyfully smiled as I felt no new incision.

In addition to correcting the stoma, Dr. Cagir also placed some cadaver tissue on the herniated area of my abdomen. I have DEAD PEOPLE inside me. AAAAAHHHHHHHHH! I know I'll be waking up to thoughts of this now and again.

It's a relief to have my large intestine as well as the hernia corrected. It had gotten progressively worse over the years. I really look forward to a far more comfortable future.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Out-Patient Procedure Time

On Wednesday January 2nd, I will have the stoma correction surgery I mentioned on November 24th. If things go as planned, it will be an outpatient procedure and I'll be released by mid to late afternoon. And my doc did tell me it could possibly be one to two overnights in the hospital, but that's all to be determined.

I feel more anxious than I normally do. I've had major surgery three times and enough minor procedures that I've lost track of how many I've had. In the past, the surgeries and procedures, were uncharted waters and since they were my chosen method of treatment, I embraced them and took them on with some curios excitement. Not like I liked it, or even wanted any thing to do with it, but I actually used to find myself a bit captivated by the experience. Kind of like watching a house fire. It's not something you want to have happen, but if it's happening in front of you, and you have no experience with such things, it can be a bit captivating.

I believe that's how I've approached my surgeries and surgical procedures in the past. But I've been through it enough that I no longer care to discover the unknown aspects. There's no longer any excitement. I signed up for this procedure because it's a quality of life issue. I just been down this road enough times. So, I do look forward to my quality of life improving. And to being home again. There's a couple hugs I'm already looking forward to.

Now I'm off to take my night-before-surgery-shower with the stinky pre-surgery anti-bacterial soap. Then back to the couch. I doubt I'll get much sleep.