This morning I was a little out of sorts. I wasn't happy with the way things went with the chemo doc. So, as I am wan't to do, I called him. I was scheduled for a MRI of my liver at 3:30 pm, but I told him that if he didn't have a compelling reason for me to go, I wasn't. We went round and round and he finally said that he was moving forward with the chemo pills and that if the MRI was a bust we would go with the pills. All right, says I, I will go.
The MRI was uneventful, but I am scheduled for a liver biopsy based on this MRI in the morning. Results are supposed to take 24 to 48 hours. So here's the plan: Andrea and Nicole will take me to the hospital in the morning. I will ask to see the MRI. If there is no indication of a tumor, the whole gang will go for pedicures and sushi. If there is,...well then it is into the OR to get a hole punched in my gut. If the biopsy comes back positive, the whole game changes. No more pill chemo, they will install a port in my chest and begin with IV chemo. Oh, and they will have to remove part of my liver.
Got my hillbilly heroin today, so the pain has been a little better. The MRI kinda messed me up, though...been feeling weird ever since. Maybe my body is just rejecting all of the contrast dye they have been pumping into me.
Why are their so many synonyms for bad that have to do with feces? Crappy, shitty, stinky, poopy....not to mention all of the other butt colloquialisms. I guess that's just the way it is (no, I'm not gonna do that again, but Bruce Hornsby and the Range)
So, woke up around 3 am...these pills just ain't cutting the mustard. I had an appointment for a PET scan at 8 am that was scheduled by the radiation doc for "planning purposes".; meaning he could get a better look at the tumors for treatment. Immediately following, I had an appointment with the chemo doc to discuss that. The PET scan goes well. Then I get to the chemo doc...
He starts by reiterating my treatment plan. Yeah, yeah, yeah, let's do this fricking thing!! As we are talking, he gets the results of the PET scan. There are now masses on my liver. This changes everything, he says. Not only that, but the chemo pills take a week to get here, because they are so...whatever. So now he is flipping out. "Before we can start chemo, we need another MRI and we will need to biopsy the masses on your liver!" But they didn't show up on the first CT scan, I says. "I know, but if they are there than we have to change your chemo regimen" he whines. "You need to do more blood work, too" he moans. Fuck me, says I.
Here is the deal, I guess. The original plan was pill chemo for 5 weeks, along with radiation, then ripping my guts out with a clothes hanger, followed by ANOTHER 6 months of IV chemo. This would require a port to be installed on my chest. Well, if the cancer has metastasized to my liver, then he would do the IV chemo first. My thing is: I truly don't give a shit (everything is about the butt) anymore and want to get this started. I tell him to order the pill chemo and if we don't need it, ok, but at least if we do we don't have to wait another week for it. No. So we end it with another appointment for a MRI and possible a biopsy of my liver.
Then I get to go see the radiation doc, who I really like. Oh, in the interim, I told the chemo nurse, Bobbie Jo, that I was gonna go have a beer and stuff at BWW's, cuz it is close to SIH. She calls me while I am there asking if I am still in the building. No, I says, I am having a beer like I told you. You can come see me at my radiation planning appt in 30 minutes. Cue hollering. Cue me not giving a shit, again.
So I get to the radiation appointment, and he is just as flustered as I am. He is very concerned that if the tumor gets large enough to block the rectum, the 7 day death clock begins to tick.We go around and around and they all leave to talk about it. But my girl Tonica stays and asks me what I want. All I can says is that I want to get started on something. Anything. The pain and bleeding has to stop.. She says ok. That is what we will do.
So they take me back and get me mapped for the radiation machine (got tattoos in my hips for markers, lol) and the treatment starts on the 6th. MRI tomorrow for my liver (rather be a good one than have one, I guess). Got some new pain meds to try out, but didn't want to wait for a hour so I will get them tomorrow. All in all, a crappy day.....at least there is alcohol.
So...yesterday and today are kind of down days. Nothing on the schedule, but nice to just sit and relax and try to find the spot where there is no pain. I have been reading Neil Asher's Dark Intelligence. If you like SciFi/Space Opera and have not read his stuff, you are what is considered today as a loser...just sayin'. His works are phenomenal. If you need some recommendations for getting into him, lemme know.
Tomorrow is gonna be the bomb...PET scan in the morning (8 am), meeting with the oncologist at 11, and then a scanning appointment with the radiologist at 1:30...this is the final test prior to starting the whole sequence. I think that Thursday is gonna be the first day of Chemo/Rad. Not really apprehensive, just ready to get rid of all the bleeding and pain. But this also means that the clock is ticking on my decision on whether or not to do surgery.
The doc says that I can still do the things that I want with a c-bag....I just don't know. The nice thing is that I get to drive to Chicago in a couple of weeks to go to the Chicago Open Air concerts. 3 days of freakin' shredding music set to blow my brains apart. Oh, and Dave, Alter Bridger is gonna be there...schweet!!!
Dinner with Josh last night was good, Thai in Marion, IL is limited but ok and I will be seeing Ma this weekend. Me and LilRkt are going to get intimate next week as I am replacing all of the suspension components and rear brakes...love working on her. She is the only place that I feel like home anymore...
Oh, and PS, here is the definition of irony....rectal cancer has given me hemorrhoids... ROFLMAO
Today I met the colorectal surgeon, Dr. Bhattacharya. Nice guy, knowledgeable, small fingers. Ya gotta appreciate all the small things. Blink 182.
He said that they did not have the MRI results from yesterday yet, but he didn't seem concerned at all about the nodes on my lungs. Maybe they were just minions waiting for an opportunity to knock out some other bad guys. He did, however, say that the tumor inside was fully involved with the wall of the rectum, so that puts me at Stage 3. I guess the upside is it is not Stage 4, but then again, all the world's a stage. Rush.
Anywhos, after he looked me over, he (and the other two wise men) came back with the same diagnosis that the surgeon in Encino did: Chemo/Rad for 5 weeks, 2 weeks of healing, cut it all out, 6 months more chemo. This whole colostomy bag for life thing is really not getting it for me. I guess I have 7 weeks to think about it.
Pain meds aren't working as well as my lovely vicoprofen...stupid tylenol...lucky he gave me a bag full of 'em ;-)
Got a couple of new pairs of shorts and a Schoolhouse Rock tee from the french designer store....gotta love me some conjunction junction. Have a good weekend, all!
Today was MRI day. That and I finally ran out of my normal pain medication. I was taking vicoprofen (hydrocodone and ibuprofen) but Dr. Kao was concerned that it may be aggravating the bleeding, so he changed me to Norco (hydrocodone and acetominophen). I don't know what it is about me and my drug tolerance, but that stuff just doesn't seem to work as well which leads to no fun at all. Maybe heroin IS the key...
The MRI was interesting. They actually had Pandora piped into headphones that i was wearing so I had Volbeat radio playing for the couple of hours that I sat in the magnotube. The table that you have to sit on gets freakin' hot when you are in it for that long though! My ass was on fire! Plus, I had to do another contrast dye so that meant another IV.
Ah well, tomorrow all three doctors get together and discuss my case. Then I go see the surgeon for his take. Hopefully I can start treatment next week...
I slept from 10 pm to 4 am, which is pretty awesome for me. After watching some episodes of One Piece on my laptop, I started to feel a little sleepy, so I rolled over and hoped for another hour or so. In my addled brain, I thought that my MRI was on Wednesday. I woke up feeling pretty good...it was 11:30 pm! Holy Crapamoly I gotta get going! Lucky for me, the hospital called to confirm my appointment for the next day and I breathed a sigh of relief.
That is, until I got a call from Dr. Kao.
My CT scan results showed two masses on my left lung and one on my right. They were pretty small, 4 mm, but still there. My hemoglobin count was low, but it was kinda expected due to all of the bleeding. The real kick was the result of the CEA test. CEA is the Carcinoembryonic Antigen and is used as a marker for cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. A normal person is usually <2. Anything over 20 generally means that the cancer is spreading. Mine was 48.3. To try and figure out what is going on, Dr. Lao has ordered a PET scan for next Wednesday. This is a more detailed CT scan and should allow them to see if there other tumors hanging out rent free...
At least I got to have dinner with all my kids, their better halves, and the sauce...
"Rectum? Damn near killed "em!" - Classic Little Johnny joke
I guess when you tell a tale such as this, it helps to begin at the beginning, as they say. There are no reasons for what is happening; no "smoking guns", no lessons to tell children or teenagers as there are for smoking and sunscreen. Sometimes, shit happens.
A couple of years back, I was driving back and forth across the country (mostly because that is the only time that I don't have to listen to anyone else) as I am want to do. The journey is long, but enjoyable, and I get to listen to a lot of music of my choosing. Discovering Denver was another perk, but more on that later.
After returning to SoCal, I had some pain in the anal region (from now on, I will just use butt). When in the shower, a little inspecting found a swollen hemorrhoid. Off to WalMart for some over-the-counter cream and within a few days it was no longer an issue. Over the next couple of months I would have a flare and, in general, the offending tissue would be pacified. During one suck flare up, I noticed quite a bit of blood after using the can. Hmm. As I read up on the little buggers, I found that this was relatively normal.
Last year during one of my jaunts, I stopped at Dad's house for a visit (Hi, Pop!). Shortly after my arrival, I felt a rapid need to use the facilities. Lots of blood. Lots. Made me feel a little light-headed, but I seemed to be ok and that was the end of it. Back in SoCal, the movie of the week was "Return of the 'Rhoids". Again with the cream. This time, however, it didn't seem to work as well. Let's try the suppositories. Still swollen and sore. Hmm....
One night in January, the bleeding started again. After a short episode, I crawled into bed. Around midnight, I felt the violent urge to go. Upon seating myself, the bleeding began in earnest. I passed out. When i cam to, I cleaned up the mess and went back to bed. I felt better in the morning and continued on with my so called life.
Near the beginning of March, I started hanging out with a girl and the whole "having to wear a pad to keep from bleeding through my pants" was getting a little old. So I made an appointment with a prominent proctologist and hopefully get something done with my friendly hemorrhoid. Upon examination, the doc said "that is not a hemorrhoid" and took a biopsy. During the exit talk, he stated that it was most likely squamus cell carcinoma; a type of skin cancer. The treatment would be simple radiation and chemo and that would be the end of it. As luck would have it (or not), the biopsy came back as adenoidal cell carcinoma, which has to do with the glands. Cheese and rice.
Being that my only granddaughter's bithday was coming up, I made my appointment with the recommended surgeon for May 20th. The surgeon found another tumor in my rectum and felt that this was the cause of the tumor on the outside. His recommendation was chemo/radiation followed by removal of everything south of the colon. After struggling with trying to get treatment in the LA area, I decided that a short stint in Southern Illinois would serve me better...hence another road trip.
The Sky was dark this morning When I raised my head I stood at the window - Darkness was my bane
Suddenly a sunbeam arch Thrilled me to my weary heart It was the prettiest thing I'd ever seen
I knew I had to keep my Love Keep my Love alive Keep my Love - Keep my Love live
Baby I want you to roll me Hold me in your love No more habits, promises and jive Ever since I was a baby girl Wanted one thing most in this world It was to Keep My Love - Keep My Love alive
I want to keep my Love - Keep my Love alive Keep my Love - keep my love alive
You're up there under the spotlight Your silver trophy shines With all you got, my lord! You must get high You need a whole lot more than money You need more than to survive You need to keep your Love Keep your Love alive