Here is a quick update for the past week. I scheduled an appointment to see a liver cancer specialist. His name is Dr. Sielaff and he is the head of the Virginia Parker Cancer Institute in Minneapolis. I felt it would be helpful and re-assuring to see him sooner rather than later. He was supposed to see me after my colon surgery but I thought it would be great to see him as soon as possible and let him look at my blood work and CT scans. I think this is a sure indication that I really am sick, I am excited to see another Dr. to talk about cancer. I see him next Monday morning.
This past Tuesday Karen, Dad and I went to my Pre-Op.appointment with Dr. Belzer, the colorectal surgeon. He confirmed the location of the tumor. At that time we also decided to take the lymph nodes out as well as the tumor. The thinking here is that we don’t want the lymph nodes to be the location where cancer could manifest itself in the future. So along with 1 foot of my colon, they will take out the lymph nodes and biopsy one or two of the mystery spots on the Liver. All that leads up to one heck of an incision across my abdomen.
On Wednesday I attended a colon cancer support session. It is a new group that is led by nurse Jessy. There were 8 attendees and all were friendly and helpful. I was the youngest of the bunch. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I didn’t think the group would look so “normal”/healthy. They were all at various spots in their journey, although most had already been through surgery and were doing various types of chemo/radiation. It was very informative. I learned more about all of my doctors. I also learned that the cancer developed over 10 years vs. 3 or 5 like I had heard previously. One lady had a very similar prognosis to me. She has already had the surgery and at the time of surgery they took a biopsy of one of her 7 liver spots. They confirmed that it was cancerous and staged her at 4. Since then they have ran 4 other tests that can’t confirm that they are all cancerous so they just continue to monitor her 7 spots ad keep her on a maintenance chemo schedule. One lighthearted note, the group meets next to a Breast Cancer support group. The BC’s, as I will call them, don’t like us CC’s as we are too loud, talkative and even laugh every now and then so we are kicked out before they start. I think we need to start a support group for animosity in between cancer support groups. CC’s Rule!
Thursday night we had a group session led by my brother. He organized a meeting for some family and friends to help us get ready for the next few months. I think we got the first two weeks figured out for help not just for me but the guys and Karen too. We are truly blessed. I don’t think it was just a coincidence that brought Dave and Jill back from Atlanta last year. At this session we determined the best way to communicate going forward would be to create a blog (so this is the one Sarah created for me). Sarah, Karen and I will author and maintain it.
A couple last things: I am feeling physically good right now, mentally I am coming around. I still have a lot to learn but I do feel I am ready for this challenge; after all it wouldn’t have been handed to me if I couldn’t handle it.
I learned my grandfather had colon cancer surgery at age 45 and decided to get rip roaring drunk the night before his surgery. I guess that was his way with dealing with it. He was tough. He survived his surgery and chemo treatments and lived for another 21 years. He survived being shot down by the Germans in WWII, a mine caving in on him, falling asleep at the wheel and running off the road and open heart surgery at 39. A little stage 4 cancer should be nothing for me. As my Aunt said I have “Sisu”, not to mention a whole lot of loving friends and family to see me/us through this.
Thanks for listening. I will update the blog next week.