Category Archives: cancer

Not Years

Hey its time for an update. you’ll have to forgive my misspellings ad other errors as i have some nasty papercut-like slices across 4 out of 5 fingers on my left (good) hand. so this might need to be a bit brief.

I’m feeling the effects of all this poison now, after for back to back chemo sessions again. Almost had more today but need a 4th week to get more energy back. I’m just not the spritely 45-year-old who could bounce back from it. I’m starting to get sick of this dirty dishwater and it’s starting to show. It’s to the point  where I’m not bouncing back like I used to…

So I’m now on short term disability. I just can’t be counted on to hold down any consistent hours, mornings take a long time to get up and get ready for the day, sometimes i’ll be so pooped and if i didn’t get enough sleep the night before, i’m going back to bed. wake me up for lunch please.

It used to be that I had a full-time job and I manage my cancer on the side; now those roles have reversed. I have to do so much maintenance on myself — especially in the mornings — that by the time I get ready to go to work it’s almost noon. So it’s like I have a part-time job along with my full-time cancer.

2 weeks ago I went to go see my oncologist and we talked about… well, frankly, the usual progression of my specific cancer, what I will heretoafter be calling the ‘endgame’… at one point I straight up asked him, “based on what you’ve seen in other cases and compare them against mine, how long are we talking?“

“Not years.“

I didn’t push the questioning any further than that. Seeing as how I was feeling 2 weeks after chemo I can understand where he’s coming from. There will come a time where I can’t stand the chemo anymore and it makes me question why exactly am i suffering like this? Or the chemo just plain won’t work on my tumors anymore… at that point, I’ll have to make that decision to stop treatment and start trying to heal as best I can on my own and fight this stupid thing with the gloves off and see how far it takes us. Until then I’m looking forward to bringing this question up again to him next Halloween.

In related news, I also got (yet another) CT scan on Monday to gauge progress, which we went over today. I’m copying/pasting this stuff as my fingers are goin south on me

Findings:
Chest:
The thyroid gland is unremarkable. Right chest wall port tip within the right atrium. No axillary adenopathy. Normal caliber thoracic aorta. No pericardial effusion. Coronary artery calcifications. Pulmonary arteries are unremarkable.No intrathoracic adenopathy.No pneumothorax. No pleural effusion. Left basilar volume loss. No focal consolidation or suspicious pulmonary nodule.Abdomen and pelvis:
Redemonstrated areas of heterogeneous low-attenuation throughout the liver, reflecting sequela of prior embolization. The previously described caudate lesion currently measures 1.4 x 0.5 cm series 2 image 105, previously 1.5 x 1.2 cm. The low-attenuation lesion in the left hepatic lobe measures approximately 1.2 x 1.8 cm series 2 image 100, previously 3.3 x 2.7 cm. No new hepatic lesion. Nodular liver contour with splenic and esophageal varices.

Suspected cholecystectomy clips. Mild splenomegaly. The pancreas and adrenal glands are unremarkable.

Symmetric renal parenchymal enhancement. No hydronephrosis or urolithiasis. The bladder is decompressed. Prostatic calcifications noted.

Scattered colonic diverticula without focal inflammatory change. The known colonic mass is not well identified by CT. Normal appendix. Right lower quadrant percutaneous drainage catheter tip terminating within the left lower pelvis.

Large volume ascites. No adenopathy. No free air.

No aggressive osseous lesion. No acute fracture.

Impression:

1. Improved hepatic metastatic disease.
2. Resolved enterocolitis.
3. Cirrhotic liver morphology with findings of portal hypertension, including large volume ascites.

About as good a scan as i could hope for, though the coronary artery calcification is not good — watch heart disease take me before the cancer does. I’ll admit, i’ve finally been following everyone’s suggestion to eat what i want, especially when my arm muscles have turned into chicken wings. I’ve been on a quest to replicate a long-gone favorite of mine from Taco Bell,  the chilito. I might have to make that recipe the guy has there…

Obviously the chemo is still working. Its just the side-effects i can do without. but i have 1 more week before i get more chemo — and after that scan on Monday, i might just get back up on that horse. i will not relent. i am driven.

And thank you for the continued support. the love i feel coming from all directions, it’s overwhelming sometimes… i can sense the energy from you and it keeps me going. I love you all.

Mom and Billy, my Soul Brother #1, thanks for the visit, it was just what i needed.

i need to get up and walk more…

A call to arms

So I’ve been enjoying just taking chemo pills in the hopes that they will do the same damage to the cancer as infusions; my recent CT scan, unfortunately, has shown otherwise. The cancer is advancing (slowly) but it’s taking a toll on my quality of life already, as I struggle with a bloated abdomen and severe edema in my legs, ankles and feet. I met with my oncologist today and he has a sense of urgency for finding an alternative procedure that will help me more than just reverting me back to what I’ve been doing since the beginning: several IV bags of chemo, with the pump, etc. It’s incredibly inconvenient and the results are expected to be less than before, since I’m a bit weaker and might not be able to handle full doses. Plus, it does nothing to the cancer but beat it back for a bit.

So to all who have offered help, I’m here to ask for it now. I need some help with searching for clinical trials that might help me.

I don’t have a lot of criteria to search with, other than describing what I have and looking for trials that address it: Stage 4 colorectal cancer with metastases in my liver. I’m willing to travel anywhere in the US or even canada i suppose, i don’t want geography to impact my search results too much. If i’m lucky I might land a trial where you live (and then you can enjoy my company in person, woo-hoo)!

If you do search, please feel free to send me anything that looks remotely interesting, I can forward to my oncologist and let him make the call whether it’s a viable study or not.

Here’s the catch: I only have about a week to look, and then I need to get back on IV chemo if I don’t come up with anything. Please feel free to email me directly at eschuttler at gmail.com with URLs.

Here’s a few resources where i need to search, but I’m open to other cancer centers you might know of that holds clinical trials:

https://www.mskcc.org/why-choose-msk

https://www.mdanderson.org/

https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/clinical-trials/what-you-need-to-know/picking-a-clinical-trial.html

Time is of the essence — I love you and thank you for your continued support. Now’s your chance to help me kill this crap. Please help with a couple hours of your time, if you can, between now and July 21st or 22nd.

thank you, thank you, thank you…

I’m no good at this

Hello all, can’t believe i let 2 months slip away from my latest update…  it appears I’m not built for blog-writing. Blogs are for people who have an urge to share something on a fairly regular basis, and I think that’s where I’m failing. Not so much on the sharing something part, as it appears things happen to me almost daily. It’s more about the urge to share that I’m terrible at.

Now, I’m not walking around going “oh, folks don’t need to hear about this part of my treatment” because I know that’s important news to my friends. I do, however, seem to have a hard time sharing information via blog. Not like I’m a recluse, but I do feel like what I usually have to share is not the lightest of news – I mean, we are talking about living with Stage IV cancer here – and I just feel like a downer sometimes.

While we’re here, just a little update on my progress: Started taking chemo pills this month in place of the day-long infusion I was undergoing before. I like the pills much better, I take 2 weeks of them and then enjoy a week off of them (I’m in that off-week now). The pills are a lower dosage so the side effects are really mild, if there are any; I have yet to discover them. So I’ll take some more rounds of these pills, then check how well they’re doing with yet another CT scan in the upcoming months. if they work like we think they should, this could be a manageable long-term solution to keeping the tumors at bay. Until then, I’m enjoying the spring as I wanted, feel generally normal, and pass the time watching the hair grow back on my head. I still look like a mangy dog at the moment but at least the hair fairy came back to grace my chrome dome again.

So there’s not going to be much here after this post (not like there was much in the past 2 months before it), I just don’t think this is right for me. I dislike talking about myself in a blog-type situation but I’ll happily answer any direct questions anyone might have. Stay strong, thank you as always for your healing thoughts, and get outside and enjoy what’s left of spring. Feel free to hit me up if you have any other questions, I like to talk to people – just on a more personal level.

Love to all,
e

Sleepover

Last week I was in a bad way –  feeling really bloated in my abdomen, swelling in my toes/feet/ankles/shins, all the way up to my trunk. So I called my oncologist last Thursday and he asked me to come in for an ultrasound to see whether this might be due to clots or something. Turns out I didn’t even get to the ultrasound, as the blood panel they took when I arrived showed I was low on hemoglobin levels, so they admitted me to the hospital for the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. I was there from Friday afternoon until Monday morning, as they kept hooking me up to units of B+ blood.

Once I got settled in, one of the doctors from the hospital came in and we talked about what meds I’m currently taking and what seems to be conflicting. She was excellent in helping me see what the hell is really going on, which turns out to be a number of imbalances that needed to be straightened out, not the least of which was the bleeding in my upper GI tract that accounted for the low hemoglobin levels. And I was taking anti-coagulants which didn’t help things at all. I don’t blame my regular oncologist because I realize he has to see a lot of patients in a day and he can’t really step back and look at ‘the big picture’ as someone coming in cold, looking at the facts. I’ll probably be holding regular meetings with the good doctor and get her input when things seem wonky. Just not so wonky that I have to be admitted again.

And to be honest, the hospital stay was fine; I felt good for the most part – though after they drained 900ml of abdominal fluid I felt even better – but I equate it to basically having a sleepover with blood and drugs. There was a cool TV channel I had never seen before that played all the cool retro shows (Cannon, Mannix, Twilight Zone, old westerns, etc) that I had on 24/7. The food was passable, you could order from a limited menu (their side Caesar salad was tasty), and the nurses………..

I cannot say enough about the quality of care I got. Each nurse assigned to me (both day / night shifts) was engaging, friendly, and sweet to me. After I came home I tried to design some sort of card for them, but had lost all of my work on it; I was despondent. Perhaps it’s because my mother is a retired nurse but I have a soft spot for them. A week later, I still can’t think of any of them who helped me last weekend without tearing up.  I have a tough time still feeling like I deserve help, I guess.

Anyhow, I was finally released on Monday, only to go across the street to get my next round of chemo before returning home. I’ve been put on a low maintenance chemo dose now, and mo more Xarelto for me. That stuff makes me bleed in the WRONG places. Right now, I’m okay, feeling the fatigue from the Neulasta injection (which is also on its way out soon) and generally pretending I have the flu, even though I got my shot in October. bleah.

Onward and Upward. FWIW, once they took me off of a couple conflicting drugs, my hair is starting to grow back. Like, in a hurry. I love it. Can’t wait for Spring to finally warm up. Much love to you with hopes that your Spring is good as well.

The Dance Begins Again

Got my baseline CT scan yesterday and went over the results with my oncologist today. Basically the effects of not being on chemo since late May has resulted in some tumor growback, as well as swollen lymph nodes. It’s hard to imagine it’s been 5 months since chemo, since over half that time was spent trying to heal from the effects of all the radiation therapy I put myself through over the summer. Unfortunately that 5-month break allowed the tumors an opportunity to grow a little.

This isn’t surprising to me anymore; I’ve come to the realization I may never get rid of this cancer. Generally the best way to be cured of cancer is to cut the cancer out of the body, and if I keep getting shut down over the possibility of being operated on, then obviously an alternate method needs to be discovered. Chemo won’t kill cancer outright, something else needs to eliminate it.

So if I’m not ever going to be operated on, then I’m looking at a chronic case which will constantly need some strength of chemo to keep the tumors at bay. And then it’s a matter of playing for time – until someone discovers a cure, or I run out of insurance to pay for chemo. I’m not being negative, I’m just seeing the reality of the situation for what it is. Of course my attitude continues to be to fight this until it’s gone, I just can’t be disappointed if it doesn’t go away on its own, which is a long shot statistically.

Part of the issue with the radiation therapy I had, was dealing with a sour stomach and the lack of appetite that goes along with it – I entered sort of a negative feedback loop with not being able to eat consistently and I dropped a bunch of weight. I didn’t feel like cooking for several weeks, Christine had to step in and make dinner while I stared numbly from a couch. Got all the way down to 180 lbs, which is a little gaunt for me. I can’t remember the last time I weighed that much – some time in high school probably. So finally my oncologist put me on some medication to stimulate my appetite and told me I should eat anything I wanted in the short term, while I get my weight up. Now, I’m a good 10 lbs heavier and hungry all the time, I need to stop taking that medication before I start going after the kids’ Halloween candy.

Having to deal with this much discomfort while I was trying to recuperate after my Theraspheres insertions sort of put me at a disconnect with myself and others; I’ve not been in the best moods and have been keeping a low profile while I’ve waited and wondered whether this pain is my new normal. I’m happy to say that it isn’t, I feel better than I have since July, and I’m mentally getting back on track. More chemo is looming – I have an infusion scheduled for the 14th – but at least I know how that affects me and how my body reacts to some of it. It’s definitely the lesser of the 2 evils for me.

Thanks to all who keep sending me positive energy, you’re propping me up here. Also many thanks to those who nourished me and my family with dinners while I was indisposed, it meant so much to not have to worry about what to cook. And the apple pies from Cassie, my mother-in-law, could revive me from a coma. Or, if I ate enough, put me into one.

Okay I need to snack again. Onwards and upwards! I’m getting up and brushing myself off, the fight still continues! I love you, thank you for still being here with me. I need to figure out a way to finish off this cancer, without being operated on…

An update

Things have moved so quickly around here that I’ve not been able to provide an update on the CT scan I had done a couple weeks back:

Findings:
Chest:   Right chest wall port catheter terminates in the superior right atrium. The visualized thyroid is unremarkable.
Heart size is normal. Trace pericardial fluid. No pleural effusion. The central airways are patent. No suspicious pulmonary nodules. Stable granulomas in the right lung base.No mediastinal, hilar, axillary or supraclavicular lymphadenopathy.
Abdomen and pelvis:
Heterogeneous areas of geographic low attenuation throughout much of the right hepatic lobe, consistent with postradiation embolization changes, and similar to recent CT scan. There is increasing enhancement of a left hepatic lobe lesion (series 2 image 128), as well as decreased conspicuity of two additional left hepatic lobe lesions (series 2 image 112). Additional multifocal metastatic disease is not significantly changed from prior examination, including a 1.4 cm caudate lobe lesion (series 2 image 22). The main portal vein is patent. No biliary ductal dilatation. Stable calcification of the gallbladder, which may represent metastatic disease. Unchanged portacaval and gastrohepatic lymph nodes. For example, a portacaval lymph node on image 123 measures 1.7 cm in short axis, previously 1.7 cm. Enlarged, possibly necrotic periceliac nodes are also seen.
Mild splenomegaly, similar to prior. The pancreas and adrenal glands are normal. Symmetric enhancement of bilateral kidneys. No hydronephrosis. No suspicious renal lesions.
The esophagus and stomach are normal. There is a single, mildly dilated loop of small bowel (series 2 image 173-203), gentle tapering to more decompressed bowel at either end, which may represent a focal ileus. Compared to the prior and may 2017, there is in the sigmoid mass at the site of the known primary (series 2 image 225) measuring 3.7 x 4.2 cm. Increasing perihepatic and diffuse ascites. No free air.
Bladder and prostate are unremarkable. No acute or aggressive appearing osseous lesions. The abdominal aorta and its central branches are patent and normal in caliber.
Impression:
1.  Post embolization changes in the right hepatic lobe with stable to slightly increased conspicuity of left lobe metastatic disease. Recommend continued attention on follow-up.
2.  Increased sigmoid mass compared to May 2017; this mass is stable compared to examination dated 8/7/2017.
3.  Stable retroperitoneal and perihepatic lymphadenopathy.
4.  Increasing abdominal ascites.
The main issue here are the ascites, as that’s what’s keeping me from going under the knife at this point. So my option 4 (from my last post) will have to wait. It’s option 2 – low doses of localized radiation therapy – for now, in an effort to reduce this constriction in my colon so I have some relief. I’ve already gone in for 4 of my 10 daily radiation sessions and I’m acquainting myself with the special side-effects of this particular method of torture treatment, which is mainly fatigue and some low-grade nausea. But I’m starting to get some relief as well, and between having 3 days off from the radiation — along with that great Virginia Tech win over West Va. last night — my strength and energy have rebounded over this past weekend; how long I can hang onto it for the rest of the treatment schedule remains to be seen. (Va. Tech plays about 3 cupcakes for the next few weekends so I have high hopes.)
Why I scheduled these daily treatments before going into work instead of at the end of the day, I have no idea…
More posts as soon as things change again, I promise. I’ve only now felt up to post and I’m already halfway down another path, the scenery changes quickly around here. I’m hoping after the rest of these treatments that I can let my body finally rest for a bit and heal after all I’ve been through this year. It’s been a much more aggressive year, treatment-wise, than last year, and I’m very much looking forward to the results when my liver is ready to be scanned again. I’m getting stronger again but I just need a time out to catch my breath, Coach.
We lost one of my musical heroes yesterday. Walter, thanks for letting me make crappy graphics on your band’s website way back when. Rest easy my friend.

July ’17 Update

First off, apologies for the strange edits floating around from the last post; I now realize I need to proofread and edit my posts BEFORE initially publishing. I had changed my mind about what I wanted to say after I published last time and it made for some strange reading.

I had my first phase of Theraspheres (again) last week, everything went well. Though I dislike starting so late in the morning (10:30am) because I have to stay away from eating and drinking anything until the procedure was over, which makes for a very hungry patient by the time I’m allowed to eat. In my surgeon’s defense, this year’s series of procedures are going a lot quicker than last year’s, with my time spent under mild anesthesia only being about 40 minutes for the first insertion of radioactive beads, as opposed to about 2 hours last year, i think.

I had a follow-up consult this afternoon, and my PA was very optimistic about my progress – she asserted, that of all her patients, I was faring the best with my treatments. (I like to be at the head of the class, it’s a position I strove for but rarely achieved growing up.) I let her know – and I’m paraphrasing here – I felt I had the upper hand and that I was curb-stomping the cancer down like a little bitch, and she shared my optimism based on her clinical experience.

It’s only a matter of time, folks, and that’s something I am blessed to have based on my age. I just need to start doing the legwork involved with researching what I need to do to keep it away. If there’s one thing I’m a little anxious about, it’s a recurrence; I’ve noticed that if it manages to come back, cancer seems to be more vicious the second time around. We don’t want that, no way. So I need to start reading. I already possess a large volume to read, but if anyone has other good information I should read, feel free to send it my way. Together we’ll find out what is the key to keeping my cancer away for good, once it’s gone.

This time away from the chemotherapy has softened my killer instinct, as my hair grows back and my skin clears itself from the acne; I’m enjoying the healing I experience the weeks following the last chemo treatment. With radiotherapy, there’s little in the way of side effects. I did have a few hours of fatigue after last week’s procedure but it was nothing 2 tylenol couldn’t take care of. I’m seriously considering asking for more time without chemo after this last Therasphere insertion into my left lobe of my liver in a couple weeks, if I can get to a non-chemo protocol that also shrinks tumors. Again, I need to do some research to figure that out.

Thank you for being here with me after all these months. I’m slowly getting better, and I only want to take steps forward, no more regression. I get a sense, judging by the speed at which I’ve been scheduled for these procedures, that my oncologist sees opportunities where we might be able to completely eradicate my illness soon. As long as I continue to receive your healing energy and prayers, it’s a forgone conclusion we will emerge triumphant. I got this shit right where we want it, and I gain strength every day to continue beating it.

Never give up, never let go.

Catching up

 

I like to think I used to be a pretty smart kid, growing up and going off to Virginia Tech. However, I was hopelessly ignorant about who was paying my tuition and didn’t bother asking about it. Being a teenager, I naturally thought tuition payments grew on trees. It took my mother’s divorce from my step-father to make me realize that after my sophomore year, I was out of funds. So I started to take responsibility for my financial situation, took a year off from college while staying in Blacksburg, VA so I could research what it took to apply for financial aid. Meanwhile, I’d need a steady source of income to be able to live.

Luckily my buddy Ken had a lead on a short-order cook position at a local restaurant where he worked part-time, which sounded interesting. I like to cook, my maternal grandmother would let my brother and I make sugar cookies when I was in first grade so I’ve been comfortable around a kitchen from a young age. So I started working at Bogen’s (“Casual with Class” was its motto) and in the 3 years of my stint there, slinging waffle fries, I struck up friendships that I’ve maintained to this day.

Four of my friends from these days visited me this past weekend, and it was a wonderful experience… until Saturday night, when the weather suddenly went frigid, and I caught hold of a fever that has lingered for 3 days now (hopefully I’ll be better tomorrow). It’s a stark reminder to me that my health is compromised, and after a few months’ worth of chemo, I don’t bounce back like I used to. I went in for another scheduled round of chemo today and they had to turn me away because of the fever. Better luck next week, I guess.

Wait a minute, why am I still on chemo, you might be asking. My oncologist and I are working on a long-term plan where I get low doses of chemo on a fairly regular basis while we set up another radio embolization round, sometime probably in June. My hospital has started a new clinic for this, so I don’t have to constantly travel to Durham for this procedure now.  Of course my wife has to do most of the driving for those, because I’m usually pretty whacked out after the procedure that I can’t drive myself home anyhow, so this is mostly for her benefit; but having the Interventional Radiotherapy (IR) clinic literally in the same place as my oncologist is as convenient as it can get. So, there won’t be the same issue as I encountered last year: as you might recall my case was delayed because of miscommunications and delays with getting the proper approvals and all that time off of chemo (I had to be chemo-free so the doctors could perform the radioembolization) allowed the tumors to grow back a bit, which was quite discouraging. This time, I’ll be on chemo until I’m absolutely ready for the second round of radioactive beads, which will be confirmed with a quick walk across a corridor, instead of having to start an email thread or set an appointment with Big Duke. We’re not taking our foot off the gas this year.

I’m loaded up also with new supplements based on my recent findings from sending off my DNA to 23 and me.com. The results came back with a lot of cell mutations that I went over with my sister-in-law and we’ve determined which supplements would be most beneficial for my healing while I’m still working through the chemo and radiation therapy that’s coming up. One of the items in this report shows a genetic mutation I have that favors celiac disease, so she has me on a gluten-free diet so my body can focus on healing and not having to process gluten. So far it’s not been too bad but I find myself hungry more often.
So that’s the latest news from here — still keeping the pressure on the cancer with chemo, until they’re ready for my catheterization! Now if I can just shake this fever…

ugly boy

ugh. last infusion coming tomorrow. i need a blower. so many bleeding fingers…. toes…. nose….. face…

Marilyn Manson, Aphex Twin, Dita Von Teese, Jack Black, The ATL twins, Cara Delevingne, and Flea all make appearances here. see you on the next round.

this helps from my better half.  Anything you want, Christine, you got it…..
Ooh I love my ugly boy
So rough and tough
Don’t care about anything but me
Yes I just love him cause he’s so crazy
Just crazy about me
Ooh I love my ugly boy
So rough and tough
Don’t care about anything but me
Yes I just love him cause he’s so crazy
Just crazy about me
Aye, you and me make the whole world jealous
God knows I know my homegirl’s precious
Life is crazy I know god bless us
Chill the fuck out I got this you
Got nothing to worry about trust me
You trust in ninjie cause he don’t play
Everything’s going to be okay
I can make your problems go away
And I ain’t scared of shit
Whatever the fuck it is I take care of it
If you’re strapped for cash, heading straight for a crash
I can make cash rain on your ass
Anything you want (you got it)
Anything you need (you got it)
Anything at all (you got it)
Just keep it real with me (you got it)
Ooh I love my ugly boy
So rough and tough
Don’t care about anything but me
Yes I just love him cause he’s so crazy
Just crazy about me
Yes I love my ugly boy
So rough and tough
Don’t care about anything but me
And I just love him cause he’s so crazy
Just crazy about me
You fuckin’ mental, my crazy little girl
Maybe the most psycho chick in the world
You mystical shit just’s not physical
What you and me got’s unfuckwithable
Respect me receive my protection
I’m always right by your side like a weapon
Love me I grant you there will be love
Fuck with my girl there will be blood
All my bitches love me, aw man it’s tough
One crazy girl’s more than enough
This is not ordinary love
This thing you an’ me got girl (mm)
I believe it’s magic (magic)
I believe it’s magic (magic)
I believe it’s magic (magic)
Magic (magic)
Ooh I love my ugly boy
So rough and tough
Don’t care about anything but me
Yes I just love him cause he’s so crazy
Just crazy about me
Ooh I love my ugly boy
So rough and tough
Don’t care about anything but me
Yes I just love him cause he’s so crazy
Just crazy about me
Ugly on the skin
But you’re lovely from within
An angel kiss from me to you
Always there for me when I’m feelin’ blue
You say you’ll stick with me and I know you well
I just get so emotional
When I’m down and feeling weak
With tears streaming down my cheeks
You say the sweetest things
Like material stuff don’t mean a thing
But you take care of me to keep you safe
You so freaky babe
Yo
Anything you want (you got it)
Anything you need (you got it)
Anything at all (you got it)
Just keep it real with me (you got it)
Ooh I love my ugly boy
So rough and tough
Don’t care about anything but me
Yes I just love him cause he’s so crazy
Just crazy about me
Yes I love my ugly boy
So rough and tough
Don’t care about anything but me
And I just love him

Progress Report: Part 2

Got good energy coming in with my brother and family visiting since the weekend – here’s the hyena in his natural habitat with his siblings (Adam on the left, Billy about to grab my ear):

 

Got my scan results and my marching orders for the rest of this round of chemo. Generally there is good progress, and my oncologist will continue through the next infusion (2 weeks from today) and then work on scheduling yet another session of radioembolism — evidently he saw enough promise in the PET scan that going this route is the best way to go at this point. Hey, as long as I don’t have to pay for it… that bill is scary.

He’s also spoken to the powers that be, so I’m not having to wait several months this time just to have the treatment done, this is what took away so much of my progress from last year. While it was nice to be off of chemo and heal, I just didn’t have enough of an effective protocol (or healing energy) to continue the onslaught without meds as we’ve learned from the last CT scan. Because, let me tell you, if you wanna get rid of cancer, you sorta need some meds to do so. I’ve learned that hard nugget of truth the only way you can. But, I’m still hard at work researching what to do when the chemo goes away, and will be employing new tactics when the time comes where I’ll be told i’m all-clear from cancer. Looking at the results below, it’s quite easy for me to visualize that scenario, as it’s the only dream that’s been formed in this thick skull of mine for the last 18 months. I thought I was going to get there by my birthday last year, that was a most optimistic prediction.

But we’re winning here. We’re going to be winning so much you’re going to get sick of it. I’ve not gotten sick yet… a little icky maybe, but that’s to be expected from chemo.

I’ve bolded the phrases below that stand out to me. I admit I tend to look at only the positive stuff but in case someone decides I’m only looking at the good parts, I will point out that they also saw “scattered coronary calcifications”, which is the same plaque they warn you about in health class. While my oncologist doesn’t think it’s an issue, it’s time I ate a little better to get rid of those deposits in my blood vessels.

CT Chest with IV Contrast
CT Abdomen and Pelvis with IV Contrast

Comparison: CT chest abdomen pelvis dated January 3, 2017

Indication: f/u colon cancer, C19 Malignant neoplasm of rectosigmoid junction (CMS-HCC), C20 Malignant neoplasm of rectum (CMS-HCC), C78.7
Secondary malignant neoplasm of liver and intrahepatic bile duct (CMS-HCC)

Technique: CT imaging was performed of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis following the uncomplicated administration of intravenous contrast (Isovue-300, 150 mL at 2 mL/sec). Iodinated contrast was used due to the indications for the examination, to improve disease detection and to further define anatomy. The most recent serum creatinine is 0.7 mg/dL.
3-D maximal intensity projection (MIP) reconstructions of the chest were performed to potentially increase study sensitivity. Coronal images were also generated and reviewed.

Findings:
Chest:
There is a right chest port with tip terminating within the proximal right atrium. The visualized thyroid is unremarkable. There is a four vessel aortic arch with the left vertebral artery arising from the aortic arch.
The heart is normal in size without evidence of pericardial effusion. Scattered coronary calcifications, noted in the LAD. There is no evidence of mediastinal, hilar, or axillary lymphadenopathy.

The central airways are patent. Stable 2-3mm calcified nodule in the right lower lobe anterior segment. There are no suspicious pulmonary nodules visualized. There is no pleural effusion or pneumothorax.

Abdomen and pelvis:
The liver is normal in size. There is capsular retraction and nodular contours in the inferior and anterior right liver, which may be pseudocirrhosis due to treated metastases. Again seen are numerous hepatic metastases, some of which are calcified. There is interval decrease of ill-defined low density metastases within segment 2 (series 2, image 101). The majority of lesions are stable or slightly decreased in size compared to the prior examination. Representative partially calcified lesion in segment 6 measures 2.3 x 3.4 cm, previously measured 3.6 x 2.3 cm (series 2, image 137). Partially calcified lesion in segment 5 measures 2.1 x 2.1 cm, previously measured 2.3 x 2.3 cm (series 2, 2026). No new hepatic lesions identified. There is no evidence of intrahepatic or extrahepatic biliary duct dilatation. There is irregular thickening and nodular enhancement within the gallbladder which is stable and likely due to metastatic disease. The pancreas and bilateral adrenal glands are unremarkable. The spleen is large in size measuring up to 16 cm.

The kidneys enhance symmetrically without evidence of focal renal lesions or hydronephrosis. The urinary bladder is unremarkable. The prostate is large in size measuring up to 4.9 cm.

The small and large bowel are normal in caliber. Redemonstration of small gastric varices. Previously seen sigmoid mass is less prominent. There is interval long segment sigmoid colonic bowel thickening, some of which may be due to underdistention or to treatment effects. The appendix is normal.

The abdominal aorta is normal in caliber. There is interval decrease of lymph node near the gastric lesser curvature, which is subcentimeter  (series 2, image 115). No evidence of abdominal or pelvic lymphadenopathy. There is trace fluid in the pelvis.

There are no aggressive lytic or sclerotic lesions identified.

Impression:
1. Slight interval decrease in size of some of the left hepatic metastases. The remaining hepatic lesions are stable in size.

2. Previously seen sigmoid malignant mass is less conspicuous on the current examination. There is interval long segment sigmoid colonic bowel thickening, some of which may be due to underdistention or to treatment effects.

3. No significant change in a probable metastases involving the gallbladder. 

4. Interval decrease in gastrohepatic lymphadenopathy, compatible with treatment response.

5. Trace free fluid within the pelvis without definite nodularity.
Attention on follow-up.

Look, we’re beating up my cancer like a little bitch. It’s only going to claim me if I decide to quit fighting it altogether, which is not going to happen. The one-sided battle continues and we continue to use the Force. I feel like dancing.

I must believe
I can do anything
I can heal anyone
I must believe
I am the wind (yeah)
I am the sea
I am the wind
I am the sea
I am the sun
I can be anyone
Oh this world is mine (this world is mine)
For all of time (for all of time)
I can turn any stone
Call any place my home
I can do anything
I know I’m gonna get myself together (yeah)
Use the force
I know I’m gonna work it out
Use the force
I know I’m gonna get myself ahead (yeah)
Use the force
Use the force
I can go eagle high
Circling in the sky
Learn to live my life (no)
I don’t need no strife
I must believe (I must believe. I must believe)
I’m a rocket man (I must believe. I must believe)
I’m a superstar (I must believe. I must believe)
I can be anyone