Another Journey Update…

Sorry I have not posted in a while, but I have been trying to figure out how to word things.  Then I thought, that’s stupid, why don’t I do what I always do, just say it like it is.

Well, Sandi and I spent the day together on Tuesday.  It was nice spending time with her, but it was at doctor appointments.  Spending any time with Sandi is great, even if it is at doctor appointments.

The day started with my radiation therapy.  She came back to the room and saw the exam being performed.  Radiation therapy is going well.  I have three more sessions (I will be done next Wednesday).  The pain from the mass is getting better, but not sure if it due to the doctors increasing my pain meds or if the radiation therapy is doing its job.  I have not felt any decrease in the size of the mass, but that may not happen until after therapy is done. 

We then went to see my oncologist.  He was very happy with my weight gain.  Up to 177 pounds now.  I have gained 45 pounds since the beginning of August.  We discussed starting me on a new drug (think Huey Lewis, “I Want a New Drug”).  The drug is Vectibix and we will see what it can do for me.  I will be on it for about two months and then we will do a CT scan to see if this new drug has made any difference.

The it was off to lunch.  We met up with our niece, Kristen, for lunch at Bravo.  We had a nice lunch and visit with Kristen. 

Next stop, the surgeon.  I really like my surgeon, but he can be very direct.  I like people that are direct, you know where you stand with them, but it can be painful sometimes.  He told us that he would do more harm than good if he performed surgery right now.  We did look at my latest CT scan and it looked pretty ugly.  My entire abdomen is just full of cancer.  He pointed out some of the tumors as well.  He seemed a little puzzled about next steps and noted that he is not giving up on me yet.  Yes, very comforting words.  One good thing is that he is also happy with my weight gain and so we are going to get me off of the TPN treatments.  Sunday night will be my last treatment.  We will then see if I can self-sustain my own weight.  It is also nice to get off TPN as Sandi and I would like to take a trip for our anniversary and we were not going to be able to do that if I was still getting TPN treatments.

Anyway, the nutshell is that radiation therapy is going well and will be ending soon.  Getting off TPN.  Chemo will be starting in about a week and a half.  That’s the update.  Thanks for reading!!


New Game Plan…

I have had many discussions with my oncologist over the last week or so.  I have challenged him to be more aggressive with my treatment and he has responded.  One item that he keeps coming back to is my pain.  He is on a mission to rid me of pain and I appreciate that!

As noted in an earlier post, some new masses have been found.  One of the masses is a couple inches below my belly button and is superficial.  I can feel it and it freaks me out.  Anyway, this particular mass is causing the most pain.  We have talked about radiation therapy in the past and it is not really an option for me, as my cancer is not contained in one tumor or one area.  However, since this new tumor is superficial and in an area we can “get to”, we have chosen to do radiation therapy on this single tumor to shrink it and alleviate the pain.  Wikipedia has a good write up on radiation therapy here.

I spent about three hours in a radiology oncologists offices today getting worked up and mapped out for the treatment that I will be receiving.  I start my radiation therapy treatments tomorrow and will have 10 sessions/treatments.  At that time, the tumor should be under control and the pain should also be under control.

While I am undergoing radiation therapy, I cannot get chemo.  So, when we are done with the radiation treatments, I will start chemo again.  I will be getting a new drug, called Vectibix.  It has some nasty side effects, but at this point, we need to be aggressive, so I need to look past the side effects.

That is it for now.  Radiation therapy for the next 10 days and then starting a new chemo drug after that.  Keep praying!!


Back to the grind…

Well, it is back to the grind, again.  Had a CT scan last week.  Results showed continued growth.  There are a few tumors that have grown from about an inch to an inch and a half.  There continues to be mild growth in the abdomen.  Gettin’ tired of these CT scan results. 

Started chemo again on Friday.  It hit me hard for the first five hours or so. Harder than I remember in the past, but got through it.  Will be having chemo treatments every two weeks, starting on Sept. 16th.  My oncologist is putting me back on Erbitux again.  This is the drug that gave me the very bad chemo rash.  Great.  My face gets to look like it went through a meat grinder again.

Met with my surgeon today.  At least a minimum of six more weeks on TPN.  Guess I better get used to this, even though I don’t like it.  He still wants me to gain more weight.  I have gained aoubt 20 lbs. in the last three and a half weeks.  He is happy with that, for sure.

Anyway, here we go again.  Will probably get another CT scan in about 2 months to check porgress.  I will continue to keep you all posted.

Surgeon Appointment Update…

Well, this drawing to the left is an artist’s rendering of me.  It was drawn early this afternoon and this is really what I look like, really.

Here is where this is stemming from.  I saw the surgeon this morning.  No sooner did he get into the room and starts talking about how I looked.  Let’s face it, I am tall, dark and handsome.  That goes without saying.  However, I am now tall, dark, handsome, and severely underweight.  I am 6 foot 4 inches tall and am now tipping the scales at 138 pounds.  Yep, you read that correctly, the big 138!!  I have not weighed this much since junior high school.  This is just nuts. 

Anyway, my surgeon is giving me a few days to try to get myself back on track.  If I don’t, then I will need to be put on TPN.  You can read about what TPN is here.  I hope I can get myself back on track, as I really don’t want a PICC line put in and have to be connected to a bag all night long. 

The infection in my incision in healing nicely.  Pain is really not a big issue anymore.  Eating is the issue right now.  So, that’s about it for now.  Give you all another update on Monday as I visit with my oncologist and then my family doctor.

Surgery, take 2…

Well, I am going to sign off for a little while. Surgery on Monday. No internet access while in the hospital, so I am taking a break. Sandi will be posting updates next week, so stay tuned for those.

I am ready this time. Not as scared as last time. More of a cautious feeling this time. I am physically and mentally stronger this time around, as well. So, here we go again. If you are bored, come and see me, I will be at The James for about a week!

Sandi and I would covet your prayer support again, as we go through this.


WOW, didn’t see this one coming…

Well, what do you say when your surgeon asks you if you want to live or die?  Uh, let me think for a minute, yep, I’ll take life.

Just got back from my surgeon appointment and it didn’t play out like I thought it would.  I have spent the last three to four weeks putting together what I am calling “The Summer of Memories”, only to have them all washed away in an instant.  I had trips planned to Chicago and Boston to see some ball games.  Another trip to Chicago with my wife and daughter.  AAHHHH!!!!  My summer is now called “The Summer of Recovery”.  I am being scheduled to have another surgery in the middle of June.  Although we have been told the cancer is growing slowly, it seems to be growing in many places that my surgeon does not like.  It is surrounding my liver, but not in the liver.  It is growing around my stomach, but not in my stomach.  It is growing in other areas and my surgeon says, let’s go and get it now.

We got rocked again today.  I was thinking I would be having surgery later this year, but the cancer is rearing it’s ugly head again and we need to fight a little harder.  I did not take this well.  I am not happy about this, but like he said, I can chose life or death and I think I like living.

So, we will reschedule the trips and I guess I get to drive Sandi crazy all summer.  Looks like I will save a bunch of money, too, as my golfing habit will be shut down this year.

Anyway, I need some prayer for some mental strength right now.  I knew this was coming, but not so soon.


I want a new drug…

I want a new drug
One that won’t make me sick
One that won’t make me crash my car
Or make me feel three feet thick

I want a new drug
One that won’t hurt my head
One that won’t make my mouth too dry
Or make my eyes too red

–Huey Lewis

Yep, in the great words of Anonymous, “Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it”. If you ask for new options, they will give it to you.

My chemo visit went well today. The time with the oncologist was good. We reviewed the results of the CT scan. He was quick to point out that there was a little growth. I think he was dissappointed to see that. I was also, but we then discussed that there are areas that are stable. That being said, we discussed the treatment options available to us. We have decided to put me on weekly chemo. I don’t really like that, but it is a good, aggressive stance. I have been taken off of all my drugs and am only on two new drugs. Well, almost new. I am back on Camptosar. We have also added Erbitux to the mix. One of the side effects of Erbitux is skin rash. Kinda like acne. Great, I get to relive my teenage years again!! Just my luck. It can be severe. One of the guys that I have been e-mailing (we both have stage IV colon cancer) said he got a severe rash on his face, chest, and neck, because of Erbitux. They are working adjusting his dose, so the rash is not so severe.

So, I am feeling great right now. Probably the best I have ever felt after a treatment. Again, not too happy with the weekly chemo treatments, but that is the approach right now. So, buckle up, here we go again!!