The Lead Up

At first I intended to use this blog as a journal to record my experience going through chemotherapy. While still part of the plan, it has, by necessity, expanded somewhat. I decided it would be better to start at the beginning, then take you through to the end, and beyond.

Tomorrow at noon I am going in for surgery. The problem is colon cancer. Unfortunately, that was just the beginning, we simply did not fully understand the true scope of the problem right away.

We lived in a two bedroom when this first started. There was already four of us here, and another one coming within a few months. We needed to move. We finally found a place in March and started to plan our move. My regular scheduled days off were March 30th and 31st. That was perfect timing, so we planned to do the move those two days. It did not work out that way.

I felt fine leading up to it, but at about 0400 on the morning of the 30th I woke up with extreme pain in my lower abdomen. I tried everything I could think of to no avail. The move did not happen as scheduled. By April 1 I was in the hospital.

The problem turned out to be a perforated diverticulum. This is a relatively minor, though painful, problem the solution to which was fairly simple. A drain was inserted to eliminate the leakage, and the perforation was allowed to heal, which it did.

The cancer probably already existed at that time, but was not recognized due to what was, at least at that time, a much bigger and more immediate problem. I was out of work for a solid week due to this, which is not nearly as long as I feared, but I did have to pay someone to move our stuff.

After that series of events, I tried to watch my diet in order to prevent this kind of problem from happening again. I failed. Apparently, and this is strictly my own supposition, the nutritional supplements and other things I did fed the cancer. In addition to that, when my colon was perforated, the cancer had escaped.

Meanwhile I started to notice what seemed to be some kind of obstruction in my lower intestine. I tried to use various methods over several months to clear the “obstruction.” I tried laxatives, hydration and even a full on colon cleans. By that time though, it was too late.

Finally, on July 22nd I went to the ER and learned the truth. They took me in for a C/T scan. Afterward, as I waited for the results, I was concerned about how much this was going to cost me, but relieved that I would finally know what it was and could deal with it accordingly. Though I had considered the possibility of cancer, I was not ready when it became the stark reality.

Eventually the physician on duty at the time came into the room. He had on his best poker face, but it did not work. He told me I had colon cancer. He then went on to tell me that somehow the cancer had gotten out of my colon and was affecting my liver, kidneys and even my lungs. At that point I did the only thing I could do: I declared war.

I have been here in the hospital since then. During this time I have, with exceptional assistance from an outstanding staff, prepared myself for combat. Tomorrow at noon we are executing the first major operation of the war.

The surgery is directed at removing the tumor in my lower intestine, which constitutes the vast majority of the active cancer in my body, and repairing any associated damage. This will clear the obstructions and allow relatively normal digestive function. Then I will be able to recover normally from the surgery, and recover my general health. The only real drawback is it will most likely require a colostomy, but I accepted that possibility on day one.

I have come to look at this as a reboot of my life. Whatever happens, the rest of my life is going to be very different. As I fight through this over the next weeks and months, I plan to reorder my life to make it more conducive to life. While the path forward is not quite clear yet, it is so only because I have not finished deciding what it will be.

My next post will be after surgery. I will likely not be able to post either here or on social media any time tomorrow. It will likely be some time over the weekend before I post about the surgery. I am genuinely looking forward to that.

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