Update

Today would normally be my regularly scheduled bi-weekly chemotherapy but when I got there they determined that my most recent blood work showed my white cell counts were too low and that I needed a shot to boost them up before I could get my treatment. They also put me on an antibiotic and told me to wear a mask over my mouth when leaving my house. It’s scary to think about how suppressed my immune system must be for them to be this concerned for my general health.

My biggest concern is that this just pushes everything back at least a week. I’m looking at end of July now for end of chemo treatments and any further delays are likely to push my reversal surgery on to next year.

I did get some chocolates from my friend Christelle today though so that was good. It’s nice to know people are thinking about me and wishing me well.

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Chemo Songs

Here is the playlist I compiled for my chemo treatment – it’s pulled from a bigger playlist called “Perfect Songs – Mellowier Edition” available on Spotify here.

Al Green — “Let’s Stay Together”
Richard & Linda Thompson — “I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight”
The Samples — “Little Silver Ring”
Ryan Adams — “Two”
The Head and the Heart — “Gone”
Booker T. & the MG’s — “Time is Tight”
Wilco — “Red-Eyed and Blue”
John Hiatt — “Feels Like Rain”
Poi Dog Pondering — “Big Constellation”
Bob Marley & The Wailers — “Waiting In Vain”
Paul McCartney — “Junk”
Rod Stewart — “Mandolin Wind”
Taj Mahal — “She Caught the Katy and Left Me a Mule to Ride”
Poi Dog Pondering — “Entrance”
Colin Hay — “Overkill”
Little Feat — “Roll Um Easy”
Jackie Greene — “A Thing Called Rain”
Cowboy Junkies — “Misguided Angel”
World Party — “Sweet Soul Dream”
Bob Dylan — “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”
The Barr Brothers — “Come In The Water”
Poi Dog Pondering — “The Shake of Big Hands”
The Rolling Stones — “Sweet Virginia”

Photo by Paulette Wooten on Unsplash

The Numbers

I met with the oncologist yesterday and he advised me to undergo a series of chemotherapy treatments to help minimize the chance of recurrence. There was a fancy test he ordered that broke this all down to numbers. It took in to account the pathology of the tumor that was removed along with other conditions such as the overall aggressiveness of the tumor and how far it had attached itself to the colon walls.

With a standard treatment the chance of recurrence would stand at approximately 21%.
With a more intensive treatment the chance of recurrence would stand at approximately 16%.
Without further treatment the chance of recurrence would stand at approximately 25%.

So with the intensive treatment the chance of recurrence goes from 1 in 4 to 1 in 6.

I start in a week or so as soon as the insurance approval comes through.

Photo by Martin Brosy on Unsplash

I’m Feeling Bionic

One of the things that is happening because of my cancer diagnosis is that I’ll be undergoing chemotherapy treatments. To facilitate this I just had minor surgery to install a catheter port – but not just any port. This is the Power Port!

Unlike other technology, I can’t talk too much about the features and benefits of such a device over others but it is interesting to me to see how such a device is marketed and branded. Apparently this one is the gold standard.

This port will allow me to receive the chemo treatments directly though the port, bypassing the smaller veins that would be damaged by the chemicals. It allows faster throughput and can be used for other IV purposes which will come in handy for my reattachment surgery later this year.

It’s odd to think about this device being implanted in to my body and I feel sort of bionic or borg-like with what looks like an ethernet port in my chest.

I feel pretty good for now. The incision from my first surgery is nearly healed, the tumor is gone, and I am symptom free. The chemo will mess me up I’m sure but it’s a necessary evil to keep the cancer from recurring.

I’ll try to keep you posted on my progress as things progress.

Things Change

So we were here – but things change.

A day or so after my last update, and 3 weeks before my scheduled surgery, I experienced some intestinal trouble which led me to the emergency room, prompting full surgery to remove the tumor and to resolve the perforated diverticulitis.

During the hospital stay I had some additional tests including a CT scan of my chest. This led to the discovery of a spot between my lungs that couldn’t be identified. I’m scheduled to have a PET scan next week to determine what this might be.

It appears that Chemotherapy is likely so with the Chemo and the followup intestinal surgery I’m looking at about a full year of days I need to get through before this is ultimately and hopefully resolved. I’m scared but I have faith in my doctors and with my lovely and wonderful wife Gina am confident we’ll get through this.

More as I know it.