Many of my readers already know the fabulous news, but for those of you that don’t, my surgeon has told me that he feels confident that he and his team got all the cancer OUT!
Yay me! Such a completely different feeling compared to when I was told I actually had cancer.
My surgeon called me on November 27th to tell me that the pathology report was as good as he had hoped it would be. Stage two, no lymph node involvement, no distant metastasis (which had already been established through a CT scan), and no cancer in margins of tissue. He said he would discuss the pathology report in more detail, and address any questions I might have, at our scheduled appointment on December 1st. So…onwards to a celebratory weekend, even if I could not drink my beloved Kendall Jackson because of the pain meds I was still on. Luckily, there’s always British chocolate!
So, accompanied by my trusty husband, we drove down Tuesday morning to my surgeons office. We were on time, but the doctor was not…shocker!
However, not even annoying medical tardiness could prevent my upbeat mood from altering. There was one other person ahead of us. She was young, perhaps late twenties, alone and she looked frightened to me. This actually did alter my mood and made me sad. Sitting there all by herself reminded me of what Shelley (my surgeons office assistant) had told me on an earlier trip to this office to pick up my pre-operative package. As Shelley handed me that package she told me how lucky I was to have so many family members supporting me. Lots of people that come to her office do not. I had been quite surprised at her statement. I just take for granted the marshaling of the troops when we have a family situation. Shelley told me of the many times she has sat down with a patient after they have seen the surgeon and comforted them or explained a bit more of what to expect at the hospital only to find out that they are dealing with this all on their own. I could not imagine this, so this is just another blessing that I have in my life.
The appointment with my surgeon went extremely well, and he reiterated what he had told me over the phone and then allowed me to pepper him with the fourteen questions I had written down carefully in my notebook. Everything from when I could go off my low residue diet (that very day!), when I could start exercising again (running I could do right away but I could expect to “run out of gas” almost immediately – – WAS HE ISSUING A CHALLENGE TO ME, PLUS DID HE JUST DROP A LITTLE COLON HUMOR??–No Pilates and no weight lifting for 8 weeks because of risk of a hernia),
and a final question about moving forward, how to stay cancer free as far as testing and follow up screening procedures (appointment with him again in three months, a CT scan at six months, and a colonoscopy a year from now, and yearly thereafter for five years).
NO, I am not going to tell you what all fourteen questions were, as some of them were personal, allegedly irrational, plus you’d be
freaked out and perhaps a bit repulsed totally bored. We’re talking about the COLON, after all. Ewww…..
So, now my focus will be on rebuilding myself. “We have the technology. We can make her better than she was. Better…stronger…faster.” Crap…I just went all Six Million Dollar Man on you, in my enthusiasm.
The great news is that, as I previously mentioned, I can start running again right now. That was something I had been told by other medical professionals that I would have to wait two months to do. HAH! Surgeons DO know best. Apparently running will not hurt me, it is any lifting, isometric exercise or body weight exercise that could cause me problems.
I tried running today and I am LOATHE to say it, but my surgeon was absolutely correct.
I was shocked by my inability to run more than 1/2 a kilometer before having to stop to walk. He had explained it to me this way: All my energy resources were going to heal the wounds (his exact word) inflicted on me during surgery. There would be little left to spare to go towards running. When he told me that I arched my brow like Spock. Hummmfffppphhh…..we will see about THAT! Well, I did see, was shocked, then a bit pissed off at myself, then I had a bit of a
temper tantrum attitude adjustment, then I shook it off, and just kept walking. I did two miles or 3.21 kilometers, Jodi HP!!! Not that I am trying to beat the challenge you issued on Facebook or anything even remotely like that…………….
It is very humbling to have to start all over again, but muscle has memory and I am confident that over the course of the next couple of months, I will be glad of this experience. It will make me love running even more than I do now, as the absence of it brings home squarely how grateful I should be that I even have an opportunity to run again.
I have had a pretty craptastic year. My mum died in April, my dad had a serious stroke two weeks later that involved weeks of subsequent rehab, and then in September I get diagnosed out of the blue with cancer. Seriously, I expected to drive home some days to find my house on fire, and of course all the firemen would look like Ed Grimley.
In hindsight, though, I have been so lucky and fortunate. The fact that I even got sent to see a GI for my colonoscopy is because my mum died. Yes, you read that correctly. My mums doctor came to her funeral, and she eventually agreed to be MY doctor. I had been searching for a doctor for ages because, well……Canada. (you’re welcome Michelle F) and because she agreed to take me on as a patient, I got all sorts of tests done that I would just have delayed further because I had absolutely no symptoms of any kind. In fact, I was feeling fantastic, which was confirmed by every diagnostic and blood test I subsequently had after my diagnosis. Yes, I am living proof you can have stage 2 rectosigmoid cancer and be very fit, run about 100 kilometers a month, have absolutely no symptoms and excellent blood work.
I am also extremely appreciative that I have close family that dropped everything for me in order to help and support me. I am also very thankful that I have been on a deliberate road of health and fitness for almost twenty five years. Staying fit and healthy did not stop me from getting cancer, but it sure as heck was the factor that allowed me to have a laparoscopic surgery instead of an open surgery. It is also allowing for a much faster recovery, plus I will never discount the possibility that my fitness level was one of the factors that kept my cancer as a low grade and slow growing one. This meant I did not need to opt for preventative or, as it is more commonly known as, adjuvant chemotherapy. (This is a VERY controversial subject within the medical community for stage two tumors). These are all things to be thankful and grateful for.
In closing this post, I also want to say how overwhelmed I have been by how this blog has been received. From my friends near and far and from strangers from all over the world (none of whom have been creepy in the least) who are reading along and sending me messages filled with hope, encouragement, and also relating stories of their own personal battles with cancer. To all you you I write…..stay tuned as there are lots more rants inside of me as well as my continued fitness adventures!!! Love to all!
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