Stage III. Barely. My TNM score, that's Primary (T)umor, Regional Lymph (N)odes and Distant (M)etasis, is T3, N0, M0. I'm not at Stage II because the tumor breached the wall of the colon. Missed it by millimeters. If I was Stage II, no radiation. So what does it all mean? On the 18th I meet with my oncologist Dr Gold. I then get to have another doctor. A Radiation Oncologist. They will tattoo me with marks so they can shoot radiation into me and hit the tumor. The tattoos are like a cross-hair on a rifle so they limit the damage to the surrounding tissue. I also start taking a chemotherapy pill. I get this for 8 weeks. Radiation five times a week. One hour at a time. Side effects of the radiation will be burns to my skin and irritation to bladder and colon, green skin, and a possible super-power. I am hoping for invisibility.
After eight weeks of that, I go to surgery. They will open me up and take out most of my colon. The radiation will have damaged the area so much that I will have to have an ileostomy. I also get a port-a-cath placed. Recovery from surgery is 5-6 days in the hospital. I will start chemotherapy then and have 6 months of that. After 6 months or so, I will go back into surgery and they will reverse the ileostomy (hopefully, sometimes this is permanent). The surgeon says next year this time I should be almost feeling normal. Maybe.
I looked at myself in the mirror this morning at my bare abdomen and tried to imagine a huge surgical scar there and a bag hanging of my lower belly. First I got scared and then I got mad.
I have to say that I have never been angrier in my life. I just wanted to scream. Bellow. Burn the sky. Destroy everything beautiful. I was mad at everything. Mad doesn't do it justice. Hate. Boiling rage. Seething fury. I was careful not to lash out (mostly, sorry George) and kept it in but I was pissed.
We had Christmas brunch at my mother-in-laws club and I left early. Told my wife I was going outside and I walked around and around the block. My good friend Pete told me couple days ago that anger is useful but only when you are out of options. Use it when you get sick on chemo and frustrated with life and feel you can't go on. Fight that feeling with anger. Anger now, while healthy, is wasted. Well screw that. I am angry now dammit. I texted with my cousin Eric and vented. I vented to my mom. I raged to the sky (Seattle is full of crazies, it is the mild weather. I wasn't noticed). I emailed Ken, I talked with Janine, I emailed my uncle. All of this helped but still...
Eventually I got back home with the family. Anger still there. Like a cancer... My wife left with the mother-in-law and I was home with the kids. I sat in the living room and stewed. I started a blog post but it was so full of hate that I deleted it. Then, when I thought I was going to scream, Sam came up to me and gave me a hug. Just after that, my wife called and said Hi. Gone. Hate, anger, all of it. Gone. I should add while hugging me Sam was asking if she could have screen time but I'll take any sort of hug at this point.
“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” – Kenji Miyazawa