The cure now begins….

Posted on October 7, 2009. Filed under: The 'C' Word |

I met with the oncologist, Dr. Silverberg yesterday.  Very, very enlightening meeting, and very positive.  (It’s all about the positive aspects of the fight, yes?)  Dr. Silverberg is a bit quirky.  Great guy, don’t get me wrong – but the more doctors I get to know, the more I realize that the more intelligent you are, the more quirky you are.  He has a tendency to answer his own questions, and says things out loud that you don’t expect in a conversation. For example, he’s talking and just stops – pauses for a minute – and says, “Wow.  I’ve been talking a lot.  I need to get some water”.  Umm, yeah – ok.

Which, in the end means that he’s human – and that’s a good thing.  I don’t much like the sterile, precise and rather distant attitude of some doctors (and professionals in my own field).  I like quirky – it’s fine.  For those of you that know me well, I’m just a tiny bit quirky as well.  🙂

He described my cancer as an early Stage III, and this is because (again, as I understand it) of the early involvement of a few lymph nodes.  But, the radiation (I see the radiation doctor on Friday) and the chemo will clear that up, as well as stop the growth and reduce the size of the tumor.

What is exciting is that my type of cancer (location, involvement, etc.- and if cancer could EVER be termed ‘exciting!’) is applicable to a current research study that is being done. What is exciting about it is that there is new drug therapies that are developed and in late stages of testing that are being finalized for use in colon cancer.  These drugs have been used very successfully in breast cancer, and the research is to study the applicable uses for colo-rectal cancer. I’ll be on the cutting edge of treatment for this type of cancer.  I am going to participate in the trials and the research for a couple of reasons:

1. People before me participated in research trials that are driving the treatment that I will receive.  I owe it to those of us that will be afflicted in the future by my experiences and the findings of this research.

2. There is no placebo (or, simply “no sugar pill”) involved in this research.  The least treatment that I will get is what is the norm today – radiation therapy and 24/7 infusions of FU-5 (fluorouracil or 5-fluorouracil – the most common type of chemo drug). 

3. I could (by complete randomization of research candidates) get one of three other approaches:

  • FU-5 and another IV-administered drug called Oxaliplatin and radiation therapy
  • Oral (by pill) chemo drug called Capecitabine (Xeloda) and radiation therapy
  • Oral Capectibane and the IV of Oxaliplatin and radiation therapy

However, the best news was received this morning from Dr. Silverberg’s office.  I was sent over to the radiology lab to have blood drawn and for a complete CAT scan, including the wonderful barium ‘milkshake’ (I’ll be pooping chalk for a week…) for an upper gastro-intestinal study and an iodine solution delivered via IV.  Both of these provide a very clear picture of the chest, abdomen and pelvis by providing a high contrast for the CAT scan to pick up any other abnormalities. (oh, and for those of you that might have to have a high contrast vein study with an iodine infusion, when the iodine hits your pelvic area, it ‘feels’ as though you’ve just peed your pants.  (You haven’t it’s normal, and you’re just fine….)

There are no other sites located – which means that the cancer is very contained and has not metastasized (invaded other organs, bones, etc.).

So, this is a really, really good day.  I’m excited about getting started on the treatment and getting cured.  There are a lot of hurdles yet to go, and there are going to be some down days in the near future.  So, I have (initially – there may be more….) 6 weeks of radiation and concurrently 6 weeks of chemo (on one of the ‘legs’ of the trial that I noted above.  After that, we wait a few weeks so that the treated areas can stabilize after the bombardment from the radiation.  Then, it’s off to the surgeon to get this little parasitic bastard removed from my bum.  Or, more appropriately, about 4 cm inside my bum.  that should take place right around the very end of December, or beginning of January.  (mark your calendars….)

If you have ever seen the movie ‘Alien’ (still on my top 3 list of scariest movies EVAR), you’ll recall that Kane (John Hurt) is ‘attacked’ by one of the egg ‘creatures’ (termed ‘face huggers’) and has an embryo planted in his chest. During dinner, this embryo – now more matured – bursts from his chest (of course, killing him) and skitters off to terrorize the rest of the ship as it grows quite rapidly into the eight foot tall alien that the rest of the crew tries, in vain, to fight off and kill.

Think of that alien embryo as my tumor.  No one – including me – wants to see that pop out of where it would pop out of.  And, certainly – not during dinner.




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One Response to “The cure now begins….”

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Rick, you are an amazing individual with the uncanny ability to make EVEN THIS serious event seem funny. I think it takes a special connection to life to be able to laugh in the most dire circumstances. You have that connection. I can\’t talk with you about any of your key interests as listed in your other blog post, because, well, I\’m a bookish girl, and know nothing about those interests. Yeah, I\’m BORING. 🙂 So as a bookish girl, I give you instead this little quote that I like:In spite of illness, in spite of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways. …Edith WhartonHope you can feel the bombardment of positive thoughts I am sending your way. …Susan

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