I have been diagnosed with Stage III C metastatic colon cancer. I had 12 inches of my colon and 32 lymph nods, 14 of which were cancerous, taken out on December 14th. I start 6 months of chemotherapy tomorrow, Friday January 18th. I will get 3 days of chemo every two weeks for a total of 12 treatments. At that time CT and PET scans will be done to see if there are tumors growing. If yes then I will keep doing chemo. If nothing is growing then I might be able to take some time off. The general consensus is that I will need to “manage” my cancer for the rest of my life. As I always say 85% of all statistics are made up so I am taking the stats that apply to my condition with a grain of salt.

 

So why am I telling everyone about this? Yes, I have always enjoyed attention, but only for good things. Attention, sympathy – pity party – or being a downer are not the reasons for this post or for future posts. My reason for writing about this is to raise awareness that will lead to each of you taking ACTION! Physicals every year and colonoscopies BEFORE you turn 50. This applies to the girls too.

 

I have heard about cancer stories before, good and bad including Katie Couric’s husband and Tony Snow the White House Press Secretary for GW Bush, but I never paid attention mostly because the stories were not explained in detail and were not graphic enough. I want to make people WAKE UP and internalize what can happen if they do not take action now.

 

So here is my story. My last physical was in the summer of 2009. Everything checked out fine and the doctor told me I did not need a colonoscopy until I turned 50. Starting about 1 1/2 years ago I noticed I would get short of breath when I exercised or walked up stairs or hills. It would not last long and I was not short of breath when I was sitting. I would get frustrated while swimming or attempting to run on the treadmill. I have always been decent at distance things but I figured that I was getting old and was out of shape. I would get tired at the end of the day but who doesn’t? I would fall asleep on the train home but when I got up to exit I would see half of everyone else asleep so I did not think anything of it. 

 

I went for a physical in December 2012. The doctor gave me the thumbs up but that night the on call nurse called to ask if I was ok. She suggested I get a blood transfusion. The blood work showed that I was severely anemic which meant I did not have enough blood in my body. I was told to go back to the doctor the next morning so that they could re do the blood test. They thought it must be some sort of mistake. It was not a mistake. The doctor could not believe I had been operating with this condition. He said I must be bleeding. (They call colon cancer the silent killer because it can go undetected – even the bleeding)

 

I got a colonoscopy on December the 12th. The doctor found a big tumor that was almost blocking my colon plus a lot of lymph nods. When I woke up from the colonoscopy he told me I had cancer and needed to check into the hospital for surgery. The surgery was successful. We then interviewed several oncology groups and decided to use the group at Memorial Sloan Kettering in the city. So tomorrow I get a “port” put in my chest. It is like a hole that allows the tube from the chemo to be injected into my vein. I will go to the infusion center for a day and then take home a portable bottle of chemo that will continue to go into me for the next 48 hours. So it works out to be about 3 days of chemo every two weeks. There are side effects but they are different for each person. I don’t plan on having any side effects and will power on through the whole thing. I will not let my kids see me as anything other than the guy they have known their whole lives. That is the most important thing to me.

 

This is not going to be pleasant but I can take it. I don’t want it to happen to you so take action tomorrow. Call your doctor and schedule a physical if you have not had one in the last year and also request a colonoscopy. Don’t let your doctor tell you to wait till you are 50.

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