Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Sept 11 - Update


Sorry for the delay in updating. In short, things have been going very well since the surgery.

In many ways it’s easier dealing with bad news vs. good news. With bad news you can put together a battle plan, discuss strategy with experts from various disciplines and put specific milestones in place to measure progress (positive or negative). 

In a bit more detail, my health has been great, my results are early NED (no evidence of disease), the term NED is hard to nail down and evolves over time. Both my surgeon and oncologist feel my cancer is in remission and they can find no evidence of the disease. This does not mean that all my cancer is gone but it's the best of all possible options.  

This is very rare for cancer patients in stage 4. My feeling is this is due to the great care from medical teams and Ministry staff. Having spent some time on the US side I can honestly say that we should be very happy with our medical care in Canada. Some of the comments from doctors in the US were that I was getting better medical treatment than most of their patients since the Ministry of Health was easier to deal with than any insurance company. Understand that my experience is only one out of many but it is the most important one to me.

Since getting out of surgery at the beginning of July I’ve had one CTScan performed and it did not show any cancer. My next CTScan is at the end of October, hoping all will go well but not much I can do about it. Just need to wait…. This is the hard part, no plan of attack or anything like that, I just need to stay healthy and focus on recovery. 

The only medical set back so far is a blood clot in an artery near my bellybutton. This is normal and is better to have in an artery than vein. To treat this I am on daily injections of Lovenox. I can honestly say that out of all the health care professional that I’ve had, I am the worst. Every day I start with self-injecting a prepacked siring of 150mg of the drug. Like most people I’m not very good at self injections, some days might do more harm than good. On Thur I go in my next check up on this and hope that all is going well.

The only other drug that I’m on is Imodium. This is an anti-diarrheal drug. Currently, I’m over the max daily dosage for this but trying to slowly cut down. This is normal reaction, after having a third of my large intestine and 3 feet of my small intestine were taken out. The best description that I’ve found relates to work. Think of when a department was eliminated, no matter how dysfunctional it might have been. It takes time for the remaining departments to sort out how they will function without the missing department. Over time things will get better, some days better than others ;-)

Overall my health is getting better, the normal recovery period is six months and I understand why this is. Most days are fine but after a very active weekend I spent most of Monday sleeping. My doctor also feels that I need to focus on recovery for now as well.

That being said, I’m also looking forward to returning to work at RIM at some point. From what I understand they are moving in the right direction, have addressed many internal issues and the new product looks very cool. First I’ll need to get the results from my next CTScan in late October and see what review progress again with my doctor. It is great to be thinking about going back to work again after a long period of focusing on staying alive.

Sorry again for the delay in updating my blog. When things are not going well I always update my blog. It is a way to get my thoughts in order and in most cases it results in someone reaching out to help. When things are going well or if I’m focusing on getting a plan together it is harder to updated, either not much to say or just enjoying life.

Please do feel free to reach out. Calls, emails or letters are very welcome. I will say that dropping by without calling in advance is still a risk. A few good friends have done this out of the kindness of their hearts and it has never worked out. So do call, send notes or emails. At the moment I can be flexible with my time, can travel with no problems and in relatively good health.

…. I always intend to do a short update and it always evolves into a medical lesson with project status report, oh well.

Thanks again,
Stephen

1 comment:

Andy Duchesne said...

Way to go Stephan..continued wellness, and happiness.