I’ve decided that I will use this blog to keep anyone interested up to date on my journey with colon cancer instead of weighing down my Facebook account with some of the less than humorous updates.
As to the title of this blog, well it has to do with a joke my daughter and I have shared with each other in various forms for a few years now. She would ask me in front of her friends if her shirt/pants/dress made her look fat. I would always respond with “No, it’s your fat that makes you look fat.” Her friends wouldn’t be sure how to take it which made it that much funnier to us.
Those of you who really know me, know that humor is how I deal with anything. When you first hear news that you have something as serious as colon cancer, being funny isn’t the first reaction that usually comes to your mind, although I did manage to crack a few jokes while I was being told. I think I handled the initial prognosis quite well. Shock probably had a lot to do with that considering I went in to the ER thinking I had a kidney stone and within a couple of hours was told, and I quote, “Well , it’s not a kidney stone, it’s cancer.” My doc could have used some bedside manners from House. (This would be sarcasm. I use it a lot.) After he explained exactly what it was he was seeing on the CT scan and what he wanted us to do next as far as tests and scans were concerned, he asks do we have any questions? My wife is still trying to keep from losing it and I’m still essentially trying to stay cool so she won’t break down.
The drive home was interesting. What goes through your mind when you are given bad news but not enough information to really tell you how bad it is? Every emotion seems to hit within those first few hours; fear,confusion, and anger the most prevalent.
That week was the worst of mine and my wife’s life. I am not usually an emotional person, but every emotion came into play that week. After all was said and done, the news was not too good. I had stage 4 colon cancer that had metastasized to the liver. Surgery was not an option due to the amount of cancer cells spread throughout the liver. I would need to start an aggressive chemo treatment in hopes that we can eventually get enough of the cancer cells in the liver destroyed so there can be a possibility of surgery to remove part of my liver.
So far I have had 3 sessions of two types of chemo. Since I was having quite a few problems with the oral chemo (Xalada) and it’s side effects, my doctor has now switched me to a replacement treatment for the Xalada. I have had one session of the new regiment. So far so good on this one.
The side effects are the toughest thing to deal with so far. They range from the expected bouts with constipation and diarrhea to hand and foot (where they literally get burned). I’ve dealt with loss of appetite although that is not a problem due to a drug called Megestrol. After getting a little too thin, I have gained 20 pounds in two weeks. Now I’m gonna need to go on a diet! The chemo treatments themselves leave me very weak. My hands shake all the time and now one of the pain meds that I am taking is giving me hot flashes. Major hot flashes. I wake up most mornings soaking wet, and they hit off and on all during the day.
With all this being said, I am very fortunate so far. I still have my hair (yay), my meds are keeping me from getting nauseous or feeling any stomach pains that occasionally want to rear it’s ugly head. And my blood work results keep coming back great. My last CT scan showed some shrinkage in some of the larger cancer cells in my liver. Good sign. I’ll have my next scan in February after about four more treatments.
I promise that most of my posts will not be this long. And hopefully there will be a tad more humorous things to report on. If anyone going through anything similar has any questions about some of the meds or side effects I’ll help with what I can.
I want to sincerely thank those of you have been faithfully praying for me and my family. You’ll never know how much it means to us. They say a strong support group is one of the keys to defeating illnesses such as this. If that is the case, then this cancer is already beaten.
“I believe in God like I believe in the sun, not because I can see it, but because of it all things are seen.” C.S. Lewis