About July of 2015 I began feeling some discomfort and very mild pain inside my ass. These symptoms were sporadic and would only last a short while, maybe part of a day at most. On a pain scale of 1:10, I would rate the pain I had then at less than a 1. About August, I did some testing to rule out some things and after those results returned negative, I scheduled an appointment with a specialist for anoscopy. I recall that I scheduled this appointment because something just felt unusual and I had a gut feeling then that it was possible I could have cancer. After one cancellation by the clinic, that appointment was finally scheduled for December.
Meanwhile, In September I drove from Denver, CO to Vail, CO (about 100 miles) to attend a conference at which time I was aware of a sometimes sharp and then sometimes throbbing pain. The pain was enough to cause some discomfort and distraction. Walking and standing, I wouldn't feel anything. After I returned home from Vail (that was a Friday afternoon), I decided to give myself an exam, which I did sometime that weekend, and it was then that I discovered a lump.
I was also scheduled to see my PCP for a routine visit in October. At that visit, I told my PCP what I had found. He performed a thorough exam, but didn't find anything significant.
Finally, on December 11, 2015, I had my appointment with a specialist, at which time he found a mass about the size "of a large cherry," approximately 3 inches up inside my ass. By this time, I was feeling pain almost daily for hours, which I managed with low doses of ibuprofen. I would rate this pain on a scale of 1:10 consistently at a 3 with some variations of better and worse. At this visit, a plan was established for care and a referral was made to surgical oncology.
It was at my surgical oncology appointment that I was told I had a tumor, unknown if it was bengin or malignant. That was on December 29, 2015. While I had the option to decline further testing, it was recommended I have this tumor biopsied. On January 6, 2016, I had a surgery to biopsy the tumor to determine if it was benign or malignant. On January 12, I received a phone call from surgical oncology at which time I was told my tumor was a squamous cell carcinoma. Lots of appointments have happened since then and I feel that I have a good plan in place for treatment. I'm told that my survival rate is at least 90%. I had a CT scan done, which only showed some local lymph node activity from the tumor, but no evidence of distal metastasis.
One of the many appointments I had was with surgical oncology to discuss placing a diverting colostomy. That was a scary appointment because the manner in which this procedure was explained to me gave me the distinct and final impression that a colostomy would be permanent. Now nearly 5 months later as I write this, it doesn't sound so scary...for the most part. But then, I remember getting upset with the surgeon who was a resident about the manner in which he told me that I would need to have this procedure. Later during that same visit, another surgeon came in and gave me an explanation that was easier to understand and one that made more sense that how the resident had explained the need for this procedure.