Friday, 2 September 2011

Sept 2nd

We had a bit of drama on Wednesday before my chemo appointment. The short story is that I had a sharp pain in my lower gut on Tuesday and Wednesday. When I told the medical oncology doctors about this they were concerned that my large intestine had been ruptured by the tumour and that I would need emergency surgery to fix this.

This was one of the key concerns when I went on the chemo drug Avastin. It is an effective drug at fighting cancer due to its ability to halt the growth of new small blood vessels. Not sure why but this helps shrink tumours and delivers the other chemo drugs more effectively.

The risk is that being on Avastin extends the recovery from surgery. Basically if I had this surgery I'd stop being a cancer patient for 6 to 8 weeks until I recovered. Then I could go back on chemo but not Avastin. Not good news.

However after getting some 2nd and 3rd level opinions from radiology the doctors changed their minds; just as I was being admitted for emergency surgery. They determined it was not a ruptured wall. It was the same tumour that had changed shapes and shrunk a bit. It was now irritating another muscle that was causing my pain. No need for sugary, just need to adjust my diet. This worked well and the pain is now under control. They also competed the chemo treatment with Avastin as planned on Wednesday.

While I'm glad they were organized enough to pull all of this together in a few hours it was  very stressful for both Tanya and I. At the end of the day you just need to take a deep breath and remember they are only human and in the rush to keep me alive they can sometimes make snap decisions based on partial data. It is so important to keep your head about you even in the most stressful time and ask probing questions to help others make informed decisions.

Today I had the chemo bag removed by a Spectrum nurse (moved on from VON due to scheduling conflicts). I then went out for a good-bye lunch at a great Indian place for the end of term co-ops from RIM (Andrew you will be missed) and slept most of the afternoon. All in all it was a very good day.

TX - Stephen

Monday, 29 August 2011

Aug 29

Two more days until my fourth chemo treatment. Today and for the past few day's I've felt fine. I'm getting used to having to answer that question twice whenever I talk with someone. ... really I'm fine, maybe a bit of numb pain in my gut but outside of that I'm feeling fine.

Next week I should be going in for my next catscan and we will see if progress has been made. Until then not much I can do other than staying in shape, getting exercise and eating right.

The Wed meeting with Dr Burkes should be a long one. I've put together a few tests that I'd like run and some studies that I'd like to be part of. Not sure if I will get any push back but I feel these tests will need to be done sooner or later so why not now. I'm sure we will be able to find a way of getting the tests done that will be pain free for everyone ;-)

Not sure if you are reading this but thanks for Jane for your input and guidance. Several other people have been helpful with medical perspectives and helpful hints on what can be done and how to go about making it so.

From a much larger perspective I'd like to thank the Sisters of Saint Martha in Antigonish. The sisters "are storming the skies with prayers." I'm still in awe of the Sisters I was able to meet with. Not sure how to put into words the strength they demonstrated based on a lifetime of providing support to others. A lot of people talk about religion but it's striking when you meet people who have walked the walk of "doing unto other as ..."

I also keep with me almost all the time the rosemary beads that my cousins Joan and Judy lent me. They have a bit of a history to them that I'll keep out of the blog. To say that I have a scientific view of religion might be appropriate. However, to blindly cast aside 5,000 years of thought on the human condition and how to be a better person would be a huge mistake.

At some point in my life, many many years ago, I knew how to say the rosary. I needed to find some online Rosary Cheat Notes to help me. Since then I've said the rosary a few time. Found it to be useful in helping provide some calm and meditation on larger topics. I never would have gotten them on my own so I want to thank Joan and Judy for passing them along.

If you do have time please visit the Sisters' facebook page or the website above. The art work and stain-glass windows are straight of of 1970's catholic art work, bit of a blast from the past.

Anyways, I thought today's post would only be a few lines. I still have to post some photos from the Boyd Family reunion but that will need to wait for another day.

TX - Stephen