Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hi All,
I want to start this off by apologizing to some of you for informing you this way of the news. I would have liked to have called you all and spared you the shock, but as we all know, there are only so many hours in a day and actually I can reach a lot more of you this way.
Besides, somehow, someway, it always seems like everyday I'm running one of my kids to soccer / track / full contact astronomy practice. In the snow. Uphill. Both ways.
With that said, it is with some sadness that I have to inform you all that I have cancer.
Colon Cancer. Stage 3B. Malignant.
I’ve been debating writing about this for several months, but given the tremendous amount of people I’ve run into the last couple of months with similar “trials”, I’ve decided to let everyone know. Maybe it can help you, or someone you know.
On Friday, June 27TH, 2008, after 3 months of feeling like wasabi marinated roadkill, I had my appendix, cecum, 12" of my ascending colon (that’s on the right side, Rio Lindo), and 18 local lymph nodes removed due to the perforation of my appendix which was spewing "junk", causing my temperature to spike up to 103.7̊plus(!), creating an abscess above my right hip that was moving towards my spine (!!), and, as rumor has it, it was also the hiding place for Madoff’s billions. I know nothing about that, your Honor, and as per instruction of counsel, I assert my fifth amendment right to a run-on paragraph, grammarian felony charges be damned.
By the way, I'll answer the question before it's even asked and say no, there is no colostomy bag / stoma / man purse, double negatives notwithstanding. C'mon, we're all adults and I'm pretty sure a bunch of you Hannibal-Lecter’s-in-training were curious, right ;-) There is, however, a nice scar going up the center up my six pack (pfft, I kill me).
As some of you may know, there are 4 stages of cancer. Stage 1 is the least severe and curable, while Stage 4 is serious, and unfortunately with some types like Pancreatic, fast moving and fatal. See Patrick Swayze.
I’m one half step away from Stage 4. Stage 3 is when it moves into the local tissue, organs and lymph nodes. Stage 4 is when it decides to traverse the Suez / Panama Canals (take your pick) and move to other distant, major organs. After the surgery, there were still some cancer cells hangin’ around like dropouts who still hang around the school (doy) and which is why there is still more work to be done. That’s the bad news.
The good news. I’m fine. Because... ...I’m not doing chemo OR radiation.
Why?
Because quite simply, they don’t really work with a number of cancers, especially when the cancer moves. This is not my opinion. Reading between the lines of National Cancer Institutes statistics (which are doctored to begin with, DON’T. GET. ME. STARTED!!!) tells you that you have a 50-50% chance of remission, not a cure. Also, when I asked the surgeon who opened me up and found my car keys if he thought the chemo would work, he said quite bluntly “Nobody knows.” Thank you Dr. Jindal for your honesty, I appreciate it.
By the way, the oncologist that I was going to go with said pretty much the same thing, ‘cept he tried to pretty up the numbers by stating I had a better than 50-60% chance of remission, but “...I could be off, 10-20%”. Of course, he never clarified as to whether it was up or down, but by that time I was too disgusted to inquire. Besides after I stated that I planned on looking into alternative therapies, he reacted as if I said something about him personally, which in effect I did. Apparently, “stealing” $50-60k out of the “revenue stream” by going alternative makes one a little edgy, ‘specially when it’s a threat to their “industry” and the bonafide cures can no longer be suppressed. Unless your Tom Daschle. But that’s another story, for another day...
An aside: this same oncologist planned on using an “aggressive” protocol of chemo and radiation, simply because I’m young (41 yesterday, SILENCE!) and because I’m fairly healthy (paradox, anyone?). Natalie Cole had this same aggressive protocol tried on her for Hepatitis C (Hep C, why?), and look where it got her. From CNN:
Cole said she underwent chemotherapy in an aggressive way to fight the virus. Within four months of getting chemotherapy, both of Cole's kidneys failed. http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/04/01/natalie.cole.kidney/
My heart goes out to Ms. Cole, but I rest my case.
I'm being treated by a doctor in Manhattan by the name of Nicholas J. Gonzalez. You can read more about him at http://www.dr-gonzalez.com/, but basically the treatment protocol involves a radical change in diet (I’m now on a modified vegetarian one) and the consumption of dozens of vitamins, pancreatic enzymes (the main cancer killer) and trace minerals. This allows the body to fight the disease itself by building up the immune system and other systems which aid in the destruction of the cancer cells. With chemo and radiation, a.k.a, “poison-and-burn”, you wind up playing the "carcinoma whack-a-mole" by chasing down the disease as it moves, all the while your liver is being compromised from chemo’s inherent toxicity (the nurses administer the drugs with TWO pairs of gloves on each hand) and your immune system becomes weaker, and weaker, and weaker...
It’s not an easy protocol. I knew that going in and Dr. Gonzalez makes that abundantly clear. No more red meat (it creates too much acid and cancer loves that), no more dairy, white bread or processed anything and, drum roll: no more junk food. And yet strangely, like the Sirens of Sirenum Scopuli, every Wendy’s I pass, beckons, hoping to dash me amongst the rocks of dietary death. I know, I know, Bill Shakespeare, call your office.
Anywhoz, it’s been 7 months since I started the protocol and I feel...good. There are days when I feel OK, days I feel great (so great in fact that sometimes I feel like Superman, and then others where I just lend him my cape). But seriously, I feel good. Last Sunday, the 19TH, I transplanted 3 shrubs on my palatial estate (pfft) which wasn’t easy considering their roots when under the concrete staircase and THEN went for a one mile jog, which, had you seen me a year ago, is a miracle. After the surgery, I left the hospital weighing 195lbs., down from 230lbs. Now I’m back to 220lbs. (all muscle) and hoping to ratchet it down to 180lbs. It’s kind of hard to do though, when you have the appetite of a shrew.
You do know it’s NOT all muscle, right?
And now the best news.
It's been said that there are no atheists in a fox hole. Well, there are even fewer among cancer patients. I consider this to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me is because it's drawn me closer to God. Yeah, yeah, I know, that sounds cliche-ish and all, sort of like a deathbed conversion, but sometimes God has to give you that proverbial kick in the behind to get you to straighten up and fly right. Some people will say this is punishment from God for some past sin, but a closer reading of the Book of Job shows that belief to be incorrect. This is a test. This is only a test meant to glorify God. See John 9:3.
I hope this has been a benefit to you. If anything, please know that if I can be of any help to anyone, I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction. I’m not a doctor, I don’t play one on TV, but hey, there’s nothing better than helping a friend.
With that said, I’ll let God have the last word, from Job 33:4-28: The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Refute me if you can; Array yourselves before me, take your stand. Behold, I belong to God like you; I too have been formed out of the clay. Behold, no fear of me should terrify you, nor should my pressure weigh heavily on you. Surely you have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard the sound of {your} words: “I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent and there is no guilt in me. Behold, He invents pretexts against me; He counts me as His enemy. He puts my feet in the stocks; He watches all my paths.”
Behold, let me tell you, you are not right in this, for God is greater than man. Why do you complain against Him that He does not give an account [explanations] of all His doings? Indeed God speaks once, or twice, {yet} no one notices it. In a dream, a vision of the night, when sound sleep falls on men, while they slumber in their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction, that He may turn man aside {from his} conduct, and keep man from pride; He keeps back his soul from the pit, and his life from passing over into Sheol. Man is also chastened with pain on his bed, and with unceasing complaint in his bones; so that his life loathes bread, and his soul favorite food.
His flesh wastes away from sight, and his bones which were not seen stick out. Then his soul draws near to the pit, and his life to those who bring death. If there is an angel {as} mediator for him, one out of a thousand, to remind a man what is right for him, then let him be gracious to him, and say, “Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom”; let his flesh become fresher than in youth, let him return to the days of his youthful vigor; then he will pray to God, and He will accept him, that he may see His face with joy, and He may restore His righteousness to man.
He will sing to men and say, “I have sinned and perverted what is right, And it is not proper for me. He has redeemed my soul from going to the pit, and my life shall see the light.”
Behold, God does all these oftentimes with men, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be enlightened with the light of life.

3 comments:

Mike Jones said...

Hello,

Thanks for sharing about your cancer.

I have a friend that’s fighting stage 4 colon cancer so I know what a dreadful disease it is.

I had my first colonoscopy at age 50. A polyp was found and removed. I’m now 58 and I had my second colonoscopy a few weeks ago. Nothing was found this time.

I just want to remind and encourage everyone to get screened for colon cancer. The procedure itself (colonoscopy) is not painful, with the possible exception of the I.V. The preparation the day before is a little inconvenient. Plan to be close to a bathroom.

The ‘official’ guideline is to have a colonoscopy if you are older than 50 and every 10 years thereafter. That is, if you’re at average risk. Check with your physician. Schedule an appointment today!

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過去的事早已消失,未來的事更渺不可知,只有現在是真實的........................................