I have to make a disclaimer here. I figure the next year of blogging here is going to be me whining and carrying on. Not everyone cares and I respect that. I expect that. I'm not the only one with cancer. I get that also. There really is nothing special about me. I am one of billions. Well, I make good bread and can drive a sailboat OK. Trim a sail? Not so much but that is why God made crew.
I used to ask myself that in five years am I going to care about what happened today? I say that to myself when dealing with any situation that was unpleasant which basically meant I muttered that all day long while at work. But I think in five years I very well might care about what happened today. At 1010 am I will sit down with my wife and talk with the colorectal surgeon and find out what we are going to do next. Then I have a choice to make. Do I stay with the Swedish Medical system (where I work) or do I go to University of Washington/Fred Hutchinson and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA)? Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Sounds like a team of superheros.
|Not actually the Fred Hutch/SSCA building|
"Meanwhile in the conference room on the 8th floor of the Fred Hutch building, the Seattle Cancer Team Alliance is assembling the greatest forces of good that world has ever seen!!"
They might be superheros actually. The SCCA has a new webpage and the first thing you see is their video about their superior survival rates. Complete with graphs!! I was doing pretty good till I watched that video (it is one of the scrolling panels that rotate through). While not sensationalistic, it does have a bit of a scare tactic feel to it. "If you don't get ALL your care here, your survival rate will be lower. Here is a graph with colored lines to prove it." I mean if I make the wrong choice now, will I live?
So I will call the SSCA on the way to Swedish and get a second opinion. They promise an appointment within one week. I burned up a month screwing around worrying about getting cancer. In that context, what's a week.
I get reminded that this sickness, this damn cancer is not only about me. It will affect others by how I respond to it. It would be so easy to focus just on me right now. After all, I'm the one that has it. It might kill me and although I might bore you to death, my cancer isn't going to kill you. But I am not going focus just on me. I have nothing to do anyway. Not really. Make the choice about what treatment and doctor I am going to follow and...follow. I am not trail-breaking here. Someone else gets to put my IV in, they wheel me to surgery, they do everything, well I guess I'll have to change my colostomy bag but you get the picture. A lot of the treatment that I am going to endure is me sitting there and taking it. With grace and strength. I hope...
Today I find out what stage cancer I have (I-IV with IV being the worst). I am thinking I am Stage III merely because the CT scan showed enlarged lymph nodes. That might actually make me a Stage IV but I am not sure on that. Hence seeing the doctor and getting another colonoscopy but this time with ultrasound. I have a feeling that I will be getting chemo and radiation prior to surgery and then chemo for 6 more months. The chemo and radiation prior to surgery will shrink that tumor and make it easier to remove.
|Here is a picture of the technician and the shrink ray. Photo courtesy of SCCA.|
I'll update the blog later with what we find out today. I'll leave you with some Homer Simpson and a quote from one of my favorite books.
“I don't want to die without any scars.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
This is the FIRST thing I thought of when I got my diagnosis. Honest.