It all started with what I thought was a bad Chinese take-away in Aug.
Next morning I had bad stomach cramps and diarrhoea .,., and diarrhoea .,., and diarrhoea !
A week or so later when some blood started to show I went to see the Doc.
He said it might be the booze or the food resulting in an infection or blockage in the gut ,, but with the change in my normal bowel habits he decided I needed a check out at his friend's colonoscopy den !
That's the very invasive, not to mention humiliating camera up the bum job ( no pun intended ! )
Mid way through this procedure they stopped ,,, couldn't get the camera past a "suspicious" blockage right at the entrance to the colon .,., so they took some sample biopsies and sent me home.
The next few days were like living in some kind of dream state.
A few days after that they told me I had cancerous cells.
I thought ,,, Bloody Hell ... ( Aye well it was something like that I thought ! ) Must have been bad earlier in my life I guess ?
Next step, a full body CAT scan to check deeper and more accurately for any spread !
If nothing else showed up they would be able to do a "simple" op to cut this growth out and re join my colon ,, a complete cure !
However, a whole new ball game started a week later when I was told the cancer had spread via intestinal lymph glands to my liver. Another scan was immediately ordered ,, a PET scan this time with the radio active dye etc. to show even more detail .,.,., ( why wasn't this done in the first place I wonder ? )
The waiting, firstly from the colonoscopy, then the Cat scan and now the PET scan was horrendous ,,, not knowing what lies just round that corner you can see up ahead. My beloved is a nervous wreck ,, I can't say I'm looking forward to any of the next month or two either ,, but if a cure is on the cards ,, then Bring it on !
So after much hanging around in hospital waiting rooms etc, I finally met my Consultant ,, the guy with the results of the cat scan / pet scan and who will decide my future ( assuming I have one ? )
As I feared, things have now gone from bad to much worse.
The cancer has indeed now spread even more ,, firstly from the colon ( bowel ) to the lymph glands in my intestines and to the liver. Now it's migrated to my kidneys, lungs & chest cavity ( I think my big toe has escaped ,, so far !! ) Jesus H.Christ I thought .,., ( well actually no, it was nothing like that I thought ! ) Must have been real bad in a previous life too !
There is now NO Cure .,., the disease is Inoperable so I have only one shot left and that's the dreaded Chemo, maybe later followed by the Radio, therapies ! This will hopefully slow down or even shrink and reverse the cancer but is not a cure ,, just a holding ploy.
The medics tell me this is worth a shot since I am fit & relatively healthy otherwise !! Eh ?? It might just buy me some months ,, many months possibly ,,, there have been a few cases like mine who've lasted 2 to 5-years !! Woop-de-effing-do as they say !
As you can imagine this has kinda taken the wind from my sails just a little ,, for I still feel pretty well fine ,, still playing golf every other day and eating ok, etc ,, although this last week has been a bit worse, stomach pain & diarrhoea wise .,., this seems to be because I have had a stent fitted in my colon to open up the blockage a bit and ( sorry about this "too much info" ) about a year's worth of waste has now found a way out !! The sore stomach & frequent trips to the loo are now taking their toll .,.,
However, I absolutely refuse to lie down and waste what time I might have left .,., They won't put it any anything better than "some months" .,.,., I want to enjoy and carry on as normal as possible ,,, so for now it’s a case of .,.,., Breathe In .,., breathe Out .,., Now Repeat as Often as Possible ! ( with apologies to Scottish Nature Boy )
The Big fight is on .,.,It's the Scudder Vs Big C ,, but my money's on ME !
Updates will follow on this blog as I learn more.
But for now Chemo start day is Tues. 9th. Nov. ( Can't say I'm looking forward to this at all ! )
Ok, I've now done the first week of Chemo .,., Jesus ! Don't let anyone ever tell you this is a doddle !! Don't think I've had a worse 7-days in this lifetime ,,, ever ! In fact I'm sure it's been a month ,, not a week !
I'm on something like 30-odd pills a day ,, yeah, every day !! Chemo pills, diarrhoea pills, sickness pills, & on & on ,,,,
Appetite has now almost completely gone ,, have lost about 2-stones in weight ,, have suffered light headedness, dizzy spells, panic attacks, headaches, ,, you name it ,, pain ,, oh yeah pain ,,, & more pain ,,, & not a bit of energy for anything !! Then there's the dreaded pins & needles ( the medics call it hand & foot syndrome ! ) it's more like insane asylum electric shock treatment !
There is simply no way you can get your hands ( or feet ) cold on Chemo ... or these P's & N's are your punishment .. don't ever stick a hand in the fridge or freezer they tell you ,,, ( so you try it anyway don't you ,, just to see what they mean ! ) Jesus H. Christ ( Aye HIM again !! ) It's like your fingers suddenly turn to stone ,, you're absolutely convinced they will break off at the slightest touch ,,, don't touch that cold water tap ,, or the cold water ,, or a metal door handle ,, go nowhere without your thermal gloves ,, scarf round your face ,, ( yeah it gets the pins & needles treatment too ) long johns, hat, multi layers of clothes .... I feel like Nanuk of the bloody North when I attempt to go out the door !
Session 2 Week 2 ,, now 7-days into session 2 and good ,,, well not great but certainly a lot more on this planet than I was with session 1 .,., session 1 had me almost observing myself from a far distant place ,, but this time round I'm more in control ,, more "with it " as we old rockers used to say in the 60's !!
God, don't tell me your body actually gets used to this poisoning ??
Actually I think not ,, but the hospital said that each session would be harder ,, take longer to get over ,, so I'm guessing that after the fitting of my colon stent and the dire after effects of that, that I simply wasn't well enough to have got that first session ,,, ( they too now confirm this was probably the case ! )
Anyway, this time round I've even managed out for 13-holes of golf ( should have stopped at 9 but ,,,, ) and I've done a couple of trips out with the camera ,, but oh the cold ,,, another so called common "side effect " is the chest pain ,, described as "Angina like" ,, heavy, crushing weight on the chest ,, this happens in extreme cold and can take a long time to go away ,,, not a nice feeling at all ,,, even just getting out of a hot shower and into the colder air can produce this effect !
But ,,, Then there's the positives .,., What a brilliant family and bunch of friends I've got ,, You don't really know 'til adversity hits just how fantastic it is to have good, loyal and wonderful friends .,., and I mean even folks out there on the fringe of my friends list .,., golf buddies from visiting clubs for example ,, as I've said before ,, I may be marching out of this world sooner than I'd hoped or planned but I'm not going alone .,., that's for sure ,, I have the best bunch walking with me all the way there !
Session 3 Day 2 Well yesterday was a bit of a bastard ! The infusion was upped and I was also infused with firstly a flush and then some anti-sickness stuff ! The chemo infusion wouldn't flow ,, vein apparently not FAT enough !! ( must be all the weight I've lost ? ) so they had to re-do the needle ,, out of the right hand and into the left ( these punctures in the back of the hand are sore ! and leave the whole arm feeling very painful for days after ,, ) Anyway the end result was that the 2-hour infusuion took 3 and a half ! and left me like a zombie for the rest of the day ... But today, only some 18-hours later I feel not too bad at all.
However, now there appears to be a little good news on the horizon folks .,.,
My Xmas pressie from the Oncologist perhaps ?.,., but definitely the very 1st. positive word I've had since I first attended Hairmyers !
My weight has gone up ,, some 3 Kgs( approx 6 and a half lbs. ) which is good !
My CEA blood count has gone down ??!! which is very good ,,,
My eating, general activity levels are much improved ( as are the bowel motions ! sorry too much info again there ) and they tell me therefore that they "THINK" my Chemo is WORKING !
Notice they won't actually commit to anything .,., so I'm now to have a CAT scan in the near future to confirm all this.
After only 2 sessions of the planned 8 this has got to be encouraging ( I think ! ) so I might just be winning this 1st.battle ,, how many extra "months" it might buy me, no one yet knows but it's certainly better news than the alternative !
I'll add to this blog as stuff happens but for now y'all know as much as me !
Please keep all fingers / toes and any other stuff you can cross, crossed for me .,., ta much !
OK Update #1 ....
Had the CAT scan yesterday ( 6/1/11 ) but naturally, with over 150 sliced images to check thro' they couldn't give me the results at my follow on meeting with my Oncologist ( notice the Oncologist is MINE ,, even if it is a different bloody Doc I see each visit ! ) Anyway this guy did get up the old scan pics and had a quick look at a very few of the new ones .,.,., the liver tumour is about the same ,, ( I personally thought it was very slightly smaller ), but the bowel one couldn't be seen since the pic chosen to view was obscured by the presence of the now installed stent ,,, but it hopefully hasn't grown or it would be sticking out around the stent ? Anyway that's all they could see quickly but it does indicate that the tumour(s) have not grown any since Sept. which is great news .,., They are therefore happy to proceed with all 8-Chemo sessions .,., again good news ( so long as it's not you getting the chemo !" )
So it looks as though I'm gonna get at least one more birthday in !!
Update #2 ...
Chemo session 4 started yesterday with the dreaded 3-hour infusion ... For the rest of the day I was truly f****d ! This infusion bit gets harder with each session ,, It really is a bugger. But what can I do ,, in the grand scheme of things it seems to be working and better than they could ever have imagined according to my own GP, so I simply MUST hang in there and just do it ! It could give me a lot more time with my loved ones ( hopefully .,., for I'd hate to be going thro' this for an extra week or two ! )
I've now had the meeting to discuss the results of that Cat scan done early Jan. .,.,
I was alarmed immediately when introduced to the head honcho Oncologist ,, the wuman running the entire show ,, one Doc. Dunn .,.,, I thought, naturally ? if she herself wanted to see me that perhaps the news wasn't so good. When I sat down and she asked me how I was .,., I quickly fired the question back at her ,, "You tell me Doc ,, how am I ?"
Well she said ,, the results of your recent Cat scan were very good indeed !!
WOW ! A RESULT at last !
Some of the lymph gland tumours are shrinking and others have disappeared altogether she told us ,, and the liver one is slightly shrunk too .,., so all in all about as good a result as I could possibly hope for at this point ( and this after only 3-sessions ! ) so they are definitely carrying on with all all 8 sessions ,, ( woop-de-bloody-doooo ! ) but as I said before if this is buying good time to spend with with my dear, darling wife & our kids & grandkids then Bring it On ! I can take it .,.,.,
However, on a more sober note ,, we have maybe turned a corner, maybe won battle #1 but we've still got a WAR to fight & win !
Session #5 has now happened and again it was sore ,, and took a little longer to recover from than the previous one ,, but that's as I've been told to expect ,,, so it's just a case of losing a couple / three days and then we're back on the mend again ,,, in fact after this session last Tues. I was out on the golf course on the Thurs. and managed 13-holes ,, but obviously not fully recovered for Stevie beat me !!