Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dan Deacon Saved My Life

Looking back on 2009 I would say that I'm still 90% of the person I was before my dx. Most of the differences are somewhat superficial. I use abbreviations like "dx" (diagnosis), "px" (prognosis) and "rx" (duh!) and of course the best one of all, "N.E.D." (no evidence of disease). And I know more about the colon than I ever thought I would.

But I also feel more matured and more respectful not just of the fragility of life but also the beauty in everything around us. Before my cancer I would have told you that I hate most people. Now I would tell you that I love most people.

Given the choice, I would never ever go through it again. Hell no. But am I greatful I had cancer? Maybe in some ways.

I won't be updating this anymore. Maybe if there's a recurrence and need to write. Otherwise, I'm ok.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Surgery Scheduled

I finally have a date for my surgery. I go to Mercy Hospital at 7am on Tuesday Dec 1st to have a little more than 2/3 of my colon removed.

Until then I'm off chemo and radiation.

I ended up only completing 23 out of my 25 radiation treatments. At first the side-effects we nothing and I felt great, but after almost three weeks my body started to react harshly to the radiation.

Now, though,I feel great and am going to do my best to enjoy the next month and change I have to live a "normal" life without chemo and without radiation.

It feels good to feel good.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


It's been a while since I've posted.

For about the past month I've been doing a new chemo (Xeloda, in pill form) and radiation. The current plan is to continue this regiment until Oct 8th at which point I will take about a month off for my body build up its strength in preparation for surgery some time in November.

So far the radiation hasn't given me too much trouble other than some mild diarrhea and a little irritation. The main problem I'm having now is the tingling in my hands and feet. It's quite irritating and seems to be getting progressively worse.

I'm also experience trouble balancing. I can't stand for more than a few seconds with my eyes closed before I start to fall over. It's very very odd.

Otherwise I'm handling this new regiment quite well. It's a hell of a lot better than the previous chemo I was on. I just hope it's working as well.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Stage I?

Yesterday I went to Mercy in Baltimore for another endoscopic ultrasound. I learned my lesson from the first one being awake, this time I was knocked out and slept through the entire procedure. The only adverse reaction was having to take a massive dump after the procedure. Other than that it was nothing.

I spoke to the doctor who did the ultrasound and he said things looked very good. He said that the tumor near my rectum seemed quite small, was no longer outside of the colon wall and that there didn't seem to be any lymph nodes involved. I asked the doctor what stage he thought this would put me at and he said "Stage I"!

Of course, he qualified it by saying "I might be wrong." But assuming he's not, Stage I is awesome!

My original staging was Stage 4.

Basically, I've gone from an 8% chance of living five years to greater than a 95% chance.

Even though it still sounds weird to put the next five years of your life in those terms, it still feels great to know I'm getting better.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stage II!

I had a colonoscopy a week ago today. Before the colonoscopy I was technically a Stage IV patient of colon cancer. This was because they had considered the two tumors in my colon a mastestation of one another. However, I found out today from the biopsies taken during my colonoscopy that the tumor near my ileum is benign!

My oncologist also mentioned that there didn't seem to be any lymph node involvement, which if that is the case (my PET scan on Friday will hopefully confirm this) then I my restaging could put me at Stage II!

This was excellent news.

My oncologist told me "you're ready for surgery" so I'm off chemo until after my surgery. Hopefully I'll have another 2-3 weeks before surgery to enjoy the time off chemo. Regardless, I'm happy to have any time off chemo.

Since I'm off chemo and my counts are fine, I'm thinking of getting tattooed today.

No, I've already decided that I am. :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Round #7

I went in yesterday and met with my oncologist. He said things were going well and that I was definitely responding to the chemo. This, of course, is good news.

It was a pretty uneventful round of chemo. My counts were a little low so they only gave me 75% of my normal dosage. Oddly enough, I -can- tell the difference. I don't feel as toxic as I have in the past.

Also, some of my normal side-effects aren't as prevalent as they usually are after chemo. The tingling in my fingers and toes isn't that bad, the metal taste in my mouth is only minor and I don't feel as fatigued.

I have one more round of chemo before my second colonscopy on August 3rd. I'm hoping that brings me some more good news.

I have to admit, since my diagnosis the majority of the news about how I'm responding and doing has been good. I hope it keeps up and I can be rid of this illness in a few more months.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

CEA Counts

Before I left for the office this morning I received a call from my oncologist's office. The nurse wanted to tell me the results of my latest CEA count.

CEA counts are used to measure the progress of colon cancer patients especially. Normal for people without cancer is a count of 0-3. With cancer patients it can be as high as 100 or worse. My last count was 14.

But this morning when they called me, they told me that my count was at 2! Which is within the range of a person without cancer!

Of course, this doesn't mean I'm cured, but it's just another reassurance that the chemo is working.