Kicking cancer’s ass

Wow, I’m still swimming in glee after the visit with my medical oncologist, Dr. Fischer! The news that my cancer is in remission, and there is no statistical benefit to follow-up with chemo, leaves Matt & I emotional and ecstatic!

Whew! That was big news. Matt & I both expected the doctor to say, “Here are your statistics for survival. Now you get to choose whether or not to go ahead with more chemo!”. I wasn’t looking forward to that decision, and we were both feeling a little anxious about this meeting. In spite of the potential life-saving benefits, the possible medication side effects of sickness, hair loss, neuropathy (numbing and tingling) by months of harsh medications.

My case was relatively clear cut.

The tumor was a standard stage II adenocarcinoma. The radio-chemo treatments successfully shrank the tumor, and Dr. Childs skillfully removed it and surrounding lymph nodes. The pathology tests were very extensive, and all came back in the low-risk category. The most important tests for my layman’s knowledge are:

Depth of Invasion – referring to how far the tumor grew through the rectal wall. Mine penetrated only the innermost layer, but did not emerge on the outside of the wall where blood vessels and lymph nodes are likely to pick up and spread it to other organs.

Lymph nodes – 21 of my nodes were removed and tested (standard removal is approximately 12 nodes), and all tested negative for cancerous cells.

The doctor also said, testing revealed that this was not a hereditary condition, known as Lynch Syndrome, that it was a freak occurrence… Not so comforting to me because there is still a question mark in my mind about what the heck started the tumor. I already thought I was doing the right things. But I guess I’ve got the rest of my LIFE to ponder that!
So I am proceeding with the planned course of surgery coming up in a few weeks (July 11), plus follow-up quarterly blood tests for the first year, every 5-6 months for years 2-3, then once per year through year 5. If, by year 5, test results consistently come back normal, then cancer recurrence is unlikely.

Wooooo! Matt & I did good!

And I must not forget to credit you, my friends, for the support, prayers and chants sent my way since the diagnosis. I believe a network of community support is the framework for successful recovery. Take care of yourselves and doing the right things for your own cancer prevention. Then we can all grow old together and party till we drop!

Now for the final recovery and the financial landslide… Right now I have a horrendously high out-of-pocket fee to pay plus extras insurance doesn’t cover. My days are filled with long hours of paperwork and research on financial assistance for patients. Wish me luck!

Thanks again for helping me kick cancer’s ass, and for your powerful, strong-arm prayers! They worked!

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