Thursday, February 16, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0084 - My Diploma

My eldest son treated me very well today. He took me and my youngest son out for breakfast at Eleni's Family Restaurant in Waterloo...even paying the bill! He then went with me to the cancer centre for my final radiation treatment and consultation as well as the removal of my PICC line. He took a photograph of me with my diploma and three of the radiation therapists with the radiation machine in the background (sorry, won't be showing that here).

I'm pleased to be done stage one. My radiation oncologist confirmed that the protocol used for my treatment (chemoradiotherapy preoperatively, surgery, subsequent chemotherapy) is giving excellent results. Only 4% are experiencing local recurrence of rectal cancer with this treatment. Yes, I have Stage 3 cancer (T3N1M0), but so far so good. In his practice in another hospital before joining this cancer centre, of 30 patients treated with this protocol, nobody experienced a local recurrence.

I did receive my new itinerary for the chemotherapy followup and subsequent course of treatment which begins about 4 weeks after surgery on March 28th. April 26th I have my first consultation with the medical oncologist where we review the pathology report from the surgery and discuss how that report affects the choice of chemotherapy drugs to be used as well as the way they will be administered.

Still, despite being very happy to be finished, both my wife and I were struck today with the reality of the situation yet again. What comes next is surgery, major surgery. There is no way to spin this other than what it is. I may have graduated today, but the post-graduate process is even more significant. Stay with me on this one!
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr Spencer,

My name is Darrell L. James, age 43. I live in Kansas City Missouri, USA. I discovered your blog just today.

I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in Oct 1996, at age 33, and share similar humorous stories about the radiation treatments.

Having a lead shield, to protect the kidneys, lungs, and other areas from radition, placing my "Manly Distinctives" thru a hole in the lead shield, like some kind of kinky game, and having all these people all around!

So....THAT's what's behind those wide smiles among the medical technicians in my Radiation Graduation photo!

Oh, you've gotta laugh, or you'd cry! But I am happy to say that cancer has not returned. Ten years later, here I am!

Be encouraged in your fight against this disease.