A Snowy Beginning
My oncologist appointment was an early one, 8:15 a.m. We awoke to find our driveway coated with one to three inches of snow. Last night Nancy and I had talked about possibly canceling the appointment. We were not going to learn anything new, we had seen the blood work and talked with Dr. Saroha about the scans.
Not one for missing time with Dr. Saroha I was up early and outside with the snow blower. I am going to stop here for a moment. I cleaned our driveway of snow using our snow blower! This is not something I would have been able to do a few months ago. Now the truth is I have paid a high price for that activity and have slept most of the day, but I did it! I am thankful for small victories.
A Good Report
My appointment went well. I am unremarkable when it comes to the cancer in my liver, this means nothing is growing. The scans did not reveal any spreading of the disease into other areas of my body. My bloodwork was all normal. The CEA was 2.0, which is even down a little.
Could it Be?
There was even the possibility of a little good news. When I was first in the hospital I was told that my right kidney was not functioning at all. While not optimal on can survive with one kidney and I had other pressing issues so we did not focus on it. My latest scan results showed,
Marked right hydronephrosis with right renal parenchymal thinning with evidence of a right UPJ obstruction. On the prior examination hydronephrosis is mild.
It appears that the technician reading the scan, Dr. Saroha, and my urologist (who I have yet to meet) were surprised by the change in the kidney. The change means that my right kidney probably has some level of function! Can it be that what was once thought dead has life after all? I have to wait until I see the urologist to get any definitive answer, but it appears there is hope.
On my way out of the office, I stopped in to see the nurses that take care of me during treatments. I have gone from seeing them every other week to maybe having a chance to visit every six weeks. Now, I am NOT complaining. I love the break from treatment, but I do miss the opportunity to connect with them.
As we talked Jeri said, “Well, I see you have your blue on today.” While a good observation, I thought it an odd comment. I had grabbed my warmest sweatshirt on the way out to work on the driveway this morning, it happens to be blue. There was no thought regarding color, my only planning was a desire to be warm while removing snow.
Dress in Blue Day
When I got home and sat down in front of the computer my Twitter feed was exploding with people talking about wearing Blue on March 1st. Dress in blue day is March 1st and it is all designed to draw attention to colorectal cancer.
Every year, more than 140,000 people are diagnosed with this highly preventable disease. They will join more than 1.4 million colorectal cancer patients and survivors living today. We go blue for them, their families, and their community. – Colorectal Cancer Alliance
I had managed to dress correctly without even trying! Score one for me.
Public Service Announcement
If you are close to the age of 50, have never had a colonoscopy make this March the time you go ahead and schedule one. I was forty-eight years old when they found out I had stage IV colon cancer. Taking the time to take care of yourself is important, it could save your life.
The Journey Continues
I have been truly blessed by the way people have responded to The Journey Continues.
It has been humbling to listen as people have shared how they found help and hope through my journey. This book began as my way of sharing and processing a diagnosis of stage IV colon cancer.
I am encouraged to see how my struggle has been redeemed and transformed into a pathway for hope and joy in the lives of others. Please feel free to share with anyone who may benefit.
Ronny Russell says
Hey Dan, so glad to hear the good news. Early on in your diagnosis, I remember a phone conversation in which I suggested that you journal your journey for others to gain strength from your struggle. I should have known. You had already conceived the idea. My suggestion was fueled by how well I know you reflectively deal with every phase of life–helping to get a non-profit launched, thinking through theological matters, plotting a flamingo flogging; it’s all so natural for you. It’s a gift. Thanks for using that gift in your book and now continuing in your blog.