Friday, 24 June 2011

June 23

First meeting with Dr Robert Gryfe, Tanya came along to take notes and ask extra questions. Highly recomnd this, more of a team effort. I'm sure to the doctor this becomes routine but to us it's brand new and he does not know what we might already know.

We went in prepared with a list of questions and written history covering everthing from my diet, weight, sleep habits and health over the past 6 months, few weeks and this past week. Maybe it provided a bit too much information but at least he has it.

The first message from the doctor was that this type of cancer is very hard to detect. In the early stages it can only be detected with a colonoscopy, this is not recommended preventative care for men of my age.

The second good news is the type of chemo that he thinks I will be going on does not normally have strong side effects. The treatment is every two weeks for a few hrs. After a few cycles we will re-examine surgery options.

Next steps are for a colonoscopy scheduled for June 27 at 10am. Waiting to hear back on dates for catscan and some other tests.

More news to come but glad we are making progress on diagnosis so we can move to treatment.

June 22

My doctor has been working on getting me into Sunnybrook Hospital, this is one of the top oncology hospitals in North Americal. A lot of oncology research is done, attaracting some of the best doctors from all areas of oncology.

My file was reviewed by Dr HannaDivision Head and Head of Surgical Oncology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

His recommendation was to proceed with chemotherapy first and then review surgery options after the therapy had started.

The problem was with wait times at Sunnybrook. They have so many urgent cases referred that it might take 3 weeks to start treatment. 

My doctor Sujatha S looked around for faster options. She booked an appmt for the next day (June 23) with Dr Robert Gryfe at Princess Margaret hospital. 

How I found out that I have cancer

Saturday June 18
a.       We had ice cream cake for father’s day, I had two pieces. Soon after eating my stomach and gut were really hurting, I needed to lay down
b.      I put this down to me being lactose intolerant and not having taken enough pills.
c.       I needed to lay down and rest, was wiped out for the rest of the night
Sunday June 19
d.      I was feeling much better; the family went to Ontario Place for the day, no issues. I was pulling a wagon or pushing a stroller most of the day, and went down one tube ride
e.      When we got home my gut pain flaired up, I took a 90 min nap. Most of the time when I take a nap on the weekends it’s for 30 to 45 min so this nap was longer and deeper than I had expected
f.        I was still groggy after the nap but I put this down to being in the sun pulling a wagon for most of the day
Monday June 20th
g.       Packed for a work trip to Fredericton, was Ok but still had more gut pain than was normal
h.      During the day my gut pain got worse and worse, by the time I reached Fredericton I needed help to get up. When I went from sitting to standing it felt like someone had stabbed me in the gut.
i.         After booking in at the hotel I went to a local walk in clinic – concerned I had appendicitis
j.        They sent me for blood work that afternoon at the Fredericton hospital
k.       By 10pm the blood work was back and the doctor at the walk in clinic had booked me in for a Cat scan the next day
l.         Later that night I had a large bowel movement and since then my movements have been fine, small but no problems
Tuesday July 21
m.    I had the Cat scan close to noon, at around 1pm I was told that I have cancer in my intestines and it has spread to my liver
n.      By 3pm I was on a plane back to Toronto
o.      My family doctor, Dr. Sujatha Sundaram was alerted by the Fredericton doctor and she started working on next steps

I was very impressed with the technology at the Fredericton hospital, years beyond what we have in Ontario, however the building did not have a big H or anything to label it as a hospital to someone new. I guess all the locals just know. 

The  flight home from Fredricton was the longest fight that I've ever taken. The plan was half full and I had no one sitting beside me. I was only able to talk with Tanya once before leaving. It was just two hrs of time to think all alone.

First Post and Goals

Several goals with this post, in order of importance they are
  • To keep readers current with my status as I move from learning that I have cancer to treatment. 
  • Next a log for myself, who did I meet with when and what tests were done
  • Lastly to keep track of my views of the process, not sure how this will work
Not sure who the readers of this will be. Expect that some family will be active readers along with some friends and family. 

My next few posts will be catching in to this point