Well after posting a small aside about my issues with cancer, it was mentioned that I should share my story, and my testimony. I did a little blogging about it on Myspace, but during that time I was unable to focus, and really lacked much desire to be very social, so my postings were sporadic. I figured maybe I could share some with you all here. Maybe you have some signs, or maybe a loved one has cancer, or maybe you yourself are going through it, and just need to understand what happens, and how your life is affected. There are some things I will not share, as they are very personal, and still hard for me to deal with. But if you have direct questions that pertain to the situation, i may be inclined to answer them in a private message, so feel free to message me.
This is a testament to God, and what he did for me. It is also a personal viewpoint of someone who had terminal cancer, fought the good fight, and won. I hope it provides inspiration for you. I hope it offers hope for those of you with friends, or family going through this. I hope it is also a ray of sunshine if you are going through it. Finally, i hope that if you have an issue, no matter how small that makes you feel uncomfortable, that you have it checked out. If you don’t like the diagnosis, go see another doctor. Don’t do what I did. Please, please, please feel free to contact me if you need any information, what to expect, how you may feel, the side effects, the surgeries, whatever that you may need answers for. Please feel free to send your friends and families who may have questions. I am doing this to help, and to offer hope, and to help show you the steps I took to reach remission.
First and foremost I have to share there is one reason I am still here. The answer to that is quite simply God. My oncologist told me I needed 2 things to get me through this; God and a great attitude. If you want my opinion, God gave me the great attitude, so all I needed was God. He surrounded me with the oncologist and his nurses, the gastrointerologist, the surgeons, the radiologist and the radiology technicians, the nurses in the hospital, and everybody else involved. It was all God. I am so thankful that I had God in my life. I am so glad i have accepted the gifts that he has offered to me.
2 years prior to my diagnosis i went into my GP and told him i filled the toilet with blood. After a quick exam he said, since it was bright red, there was nothing to worry about. Even though he never saw it, there must be a fissure, or maybe a hemorrhoid, even though he saw no evidence of either. At that time there was still blood in my stool. But he patted me on my behind and sent me on my way. I complained for 2 years about bloody stool, and it was ignored, “No problem”. Well finally I started having issues walking, and even sitting down. Finally my wife had enough, and she went down with me and demanded the figure out what was going on with me. A digital exam, one which had been performed several times before (even less then 30 days prior) revealed a HUGE mass. The GI doctor checked and told me it was time to sit down. He told me while he needed to have a biopsy, in his years of doing this he could almost assure me I had advanced colorectal cancer, and based on the apparent size, the prognosis would likely not be very good.
2 days later I was in the hospital. CT and Pet scans as well as the colonoscopy and endoscopy revealed a huge mass in my colon (about the size of a large fist) that was pressing on my nerves in my spine, which was causing the issues with walking and sitting… acting like collapsed discs. It also revealed that I had metastasis through lymph nodes in my hips, near my stomach, and I also had signs of liver cancer, and to top it off I had appendicitis as well. So I went under the kinfe and got my appendix removed, and they began the staging process which led them to call me an advanced stage 4 cancer, with less then a 10% chance of survival. Considering the weight loss, and pain, as well as the issues with the liver, I was way below 10%. For those of you who don’t know, there is no stage 5. If you have stage 4, you are pretty much a lost case.
I was told I should get my final affairs in order. I was not expected to see the end of the year.
I am the father of 5 boys, and I am blessed with a loving wife. I had decisions to make. I watched my great aunt die from chemotherapy treatments for leukemia. I was very young when that happened to her, but I know I didn’t want my kids, particularly my youngest who is 12, to see that. His other brothers are all in their 20s, so it wouldn’t be so hard on them. But I didn’t want my son to grow up without a father, and I didn’t want my wife to be left alone either. So I had a dilemma… do I risk going through the chemo and the radiation therapy, just to prolong the agony, and let my family remember me that way, or did I just go ahead and die?
I met my oncologist and we discussed it. He is a man of great faith, so we spoke on the same level. We agreed that if I started this, and was unhappy with the results, we would quit immediately. So onward we ventured…
I was to have 30 radiation treatments, 1 each day 5 days a week for 6 weeks. I was to receive 8 weeks of chemotherapy, using 2 different chemo drugs. Each treatment was 1 day a week, roughly 5 hours worth of IV delivered chemotherapy.
Next blog: Chemotherapy and radiation.
-- Got Wood? --- Somewhere along the way the people in Washington forgot that they are there to represent the people, not to rule them.