THE BIG ‘C’

2/24/12 Friday PM

The colonoscopy turned up cancer, very definitively, no question. Dr. Lai said that two years ago it would have been a polyp, and he would have removed it then. But now it’s full-blown, and it’s compressing the space in my colon, sapping my nutrients. It could have been growing since before then. No symptoms until recently, no warning.  It is a 5 cm mass in the sigmoid colon. There is also a neighboring 1 cm polyp which was removed for biopsy.  I could see colored pictures of the mass just below my name on the report, just minutes after the procedure.

Dr. Lai sent me across the street right away to get a CT scan of my whole abdomen. This test will show generally if there were other occurrences of cancer. The results of the scan, blood & stool diagnostics will be explained during a follow-up appointment with Dr. Lai this coming Monday afternoon (3 more days away!).

I’m having trouble making reality out of this. I’m too young, too healthy! And I don’t feel sick!

When I finished the scan, I found Matt outside the office on the sidewalk talking on the phone. He was talking to his daughter Chloe. She lives close by, and suggested a visit from us. I said, of course, as I was feeling fine after all the exams.

Chloe was very reassuring that I would come through any treatment fine, and I would return to a healthy life. Matt is confident, too. He had already left a message with Chloe’s mom, Olivia, who was asleep on the other side of the world (OZ).

We returned home and Olivia called immediately when she got the message, and offered assistance: finding doctors, sharing info, emotional support, etc. Olivia had survived breast cancer in ‘93/’94, and has since thrived on building foundations, support resources and a hospital/retreat for cancer patients called ‘Gaia’ (located in Australia) for patients all over the world. Amazing woman! So, I feel honored to personally have Olivia’s support. Very sweet!!! She advised me that hard times would come, breakdowns, etc, and just go with them. Just let fly and feel the emotions. “Oh yes,” I’m thinking, “I know already, I’m in for a ride…”

I hate that Matt has to go through this again after going through it years ago with Olivia. I know he will be far better equipped now than during Olivia’s ordeal. Matt is devoted to my emotional needs and to making me better, whatever it takes.

I also hate that my cousin Aaron, ulcerative colitis sufferer, is worrying for my health after going through his colon removal trauma.

I also hate that my mom and dad are in Portland, 1000 miles away, worrying.

Oh, what does this mean? Why me? Why now? What caused it to start? What could I have done differently? No answers for me, I know. I can’t complain. There are so many other people going through the same thing as me and worse. So, it is what it is!

Incidentally, the colonoscopy and initial diagnosis were the same day that 2 years ago Matt went in for his planned hip reconstruction surgery. Feb. 23rd, an auspicious day, no?

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