The 7 habits of the highly infected calf

Greetings! I’m out of radiation therapy (for the moment), and I’m here to tell you that it SUCKS as bad as chemo. My doc hit that left lobe hard. Like so bad I ruined my own week-long vacay over it. Almost immediately after the procedure I started feeling not-so-good and the spot just below my sternum felt like it got set on fire. I thought I was managing it all right before I traveled to see family in Hilton Head last week, but it was quickly apparent I had no control over the pain and pressure I was enduring. I couldn’t really eat, I could hardly sleep. I spent pretty much all day last Monday in the ER (funny how I always seem to visit those places when I travel now) where I got nowhere except for getting a nice prescription for narcotics. Never was I so happy to return home from a week-long vacation at the beach. That’s messed up, yo.

So I was able to ‘turn the corner’ after being home over last weekend, thank goodness for Christine’s chicken noodle soup. I’m out of pain now, almost 3 weeks after the procedure, and can eat almost at full capacity once more. Which brings me to my next hurdle: increased food coming down the pipe means that tumor that is STILL in the colon, the one that started all of this, is doing a fair share of blocking outgoing waste. I swear if Virginia Tech’s offensive line could block this well, the pass protection alone would keep us in the Top 25 in the AP poll.

Today I had meetings with the doctor who did my theraspheres procedures as well as my oncologist, where I stated my desire to so SOMETHING about this tumor in the colon. Basically at this point there are 4 options:

  1. Hit it with more chemo. it responds well to this tactic but there’s the widespread destruction that chemo does to everything, not just that tumor; and it doesn’t eliminate the tumor in a short amount of time, it just shrinks it.
  2. Hit it with radiation. The main issue here is where the tumor is located, because if i’m going to get hit with localized radiation I want it to be pointed RIGHT AT the thing, and where the tumor is presents some potential movement within the colon to the point where it’s kind of a moving target, and I definitely don’t want to zap something I shouldn’t down there. Also unsure whether this would just shrink the tumor or get rid of it, not interested in just shrinking down at this point.
  3. Colostomy. Basically bisect the colon above the tumor and shunt it to a permanent colostomy bag, leaving the tumor and everything below it to be unattached. While not ever needing to use TP again is attractive, having no exit strategy for the tumor is not desired.
  4. Bisection and reattachment. My preferred treatment, it requires taking the entire tumor and just enough tissue so that they can reattach everything and make me whole again, cancer free (at least down there). There will probably be a lot of stress on the suture site, as my colon will want to move around against a fixed ending at the bottom (near the rectum) and could cause complications that may be in my best interest to not have to deal with.

My oncologist wants to get as much info in the form of another CT scan next week so he can present my case to his bullpen of doctors to see what they think is the best bet going forward. There’s no easy choices; I asked my oncologist straight up what he would do if it were him and he just stared at me, searching for his decision, for a good 20 seconds. (He hesitatingly chose #4 as well.)

We shall see what the next week holds, and what my next steps are going forward. I’ve been low energy lately but am finally finding my 2nd and 3rd gears easier now. God I need a vacation from all of this.

Every day I wake up we drink a lot of coffee and watch the CNN
Every day I wake up to a bowl of clover honey and let the locusts fly in.
Lobsterbacks attack the town again
Wrap all my things in aluminum
Beams of darkness streak across the sky
Pink rays from the ancient satellite

Every time I look out my window same three dogs looking back at me.
Every time I open my windows cranes fly in to terrorize me.
The power of the Holy Ghost
The power of the Holy Ghost

Shadow of the New Praetorian
Tipping cows in fields Elysian
Saturnalia for all you have
The seven habits of the highly infected calf

Swan diving off the tongues of crippled giants
International Business Machine
Choking on bits of barley bread crumbs
Oh this burning beard I have come undone.
It’s just as I’ve feared. I have, I have come undone.

Bugger dumb the last of academe.
Occam’s razor makes the cutting clean.
Shaven like a banker, lilac vegetal.
Break the glass ceiling and golden parachute on down.
The power of the Holy Ghost comes to town.

Shadow of the New Praetorian
Tipping cows in fields Elysian
Saturnalia for all you have
The seven habits of the highly infected calf.
The seven habits of the highly infected calf.

18 thoughts on “The 7 habits of the highly infected calf”

  1. Do glad to hear you are feeling better! We were all so worried. My grandmother had colon cancer and had issues with blockage after that. This was many years ago of course. I’ve heard that they now can use a stent to keep the are open and avoid scar tissue blockage. Perhaps this is something they would use in the resection and could help with the suture stretching??? Just a thought. Love you bro!!!!!!


  2. Eric, To say that we are all sorry to hear about what you are going through is an understatement. You are in our thoughts and prayers. If there is anything we can do…..cook you a meal, or, maybe a peanut butter pie? Please let us know. Much love to you and your family.

  3. Oh, Eric, I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I remember you as this wonderfully compassionate, hilarious, sensitive, intelligent young man who thought and felt deeply about so much. I can only imagine that those traits have doubled now that you are an adult. I see now I need to add courageous to the list. You are added to my prayer list as you fight on.
    Love, Diane Flaherty

    1. Hi Diane! Ditto to everything you said about Eric! Good to hear your “voice.” I think about you and the youth group often. Xoxo

  4. So glad to talk with you tonight! I wish it was easier, but I know you can do it. We love you, Eric! Sending our strength your way. When the going gets tough, you have your army to help!! Xoxo Danielle and August.

  5. Oh man…that sounds like a horrible couple of weeks. Keep us posted with what the docs say and how we can best support you and the family. Hope the pain stays away indefinitely!

  6. Well, that sucks. I’m so sorry. Your four options remind me of multiple choice tests where none of the answers look right, and you are just trying to find the one that seems the least wrong. It does seem clear from your description that you have decided that number 4 is the least wrong, so unless you get better information, I would say go for it. My Mom had about 8 inches of her colon removed a couple of years ago (diverticulitis) and recovered very well despite being in her 80s. They seem to have gotten pretty good at these surgeries, although of course yours might be way more complicated. And yes, the recovery sucked. But it was manageable. Sending love and strength!

  7. Keep up the good fight, man! Like you said, there are no good options, just options. However, it seems you have an amazing medical support team, not to mention your family support, so this can be overcome. I know it.

  8. Eric!! I was just going through boxes of old, old papers and ran across an email that you sent me (which still made me laugh, twenty years later.) I thought, you know I should really go to Facebook to see what he has been up to. I saw the post, located your blog, and here we are. This was of course not at all what I expecting or wanting to read, but I’m glad that I know now what you are going through so I can send you lots of positive energy and prayer your way. You are a strong person, and, although I feel our age more and more everyday, we are still young, and you will get through this — perhaps with a few inches less of a colon, but colons are overrated anyway. I’m attaching a virtual hug. Love you, stay positive, and my prayers will commence. Xoxo

  9. Eric, I’m so sorry for all you and the family are going through. I’m praying for you – strength and healing. Keep fighting the fight. We’re in your corner!

  10. That’s a tough list of options, and you are one tough dude… hugs to you and Christine during this trying time… love ya!

  11. Eric
    Glad to hear that the chicken soup put you on the mend! Maybe you need to patent it?
    I know you have some serious decisions to make in the near future. Hopefully, family and friends can help a little with this.

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