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I first found out that I had cancer in mid-November 2018 after a colonoscopy. They don't sugar coat that news--they give it to you as soon as the light anesthesia wears off. First they ask you to pay the bill--then they tell tell you that you have cancer! Just a little humor...very little. So that was a rough day but as a first timer I had no idea how long this process would take. Generally speaking rectal cancer is slow-moving and I was told that with treatment I have a decent chance of survival.
I have Stage 2 Rectal cancer with no signs of metastasis or lymph node involvement. The first phase of treatment was five and a half weeks of concurrent chemo and radiation. The chemo drug prevented the cancer cells from healing and reproducing and the radiation killed them. The side effects of these treatments were inconvenient and somewhat painful but not unbearable. My family and friends were truly compassionate and kind through that time, which lasted for several weeks after the chemo/radiation was finished. According to my surgeon I responded well to this phase of treatment and the tumor shrunk.
As of April 2019 we are approaching the next phase of treatment, which is surgery. On April 29th I will have a lower anterior resection with a temporary ileostomy. This will be the first major surgery of my life. Basically they will take my rectum but leave the anus. Then they will biopsy lymph nodes taken from the removed tissues and my oncologist will recommend whether I get to recover from this procedure and Pass Go and collect $200 or whether I move on to phase 3. Phase 3 would be a different mix of chemo drugs for 4-6 months. So right now I understand I need to have surgery but I am hoping I will respond well enough to all treatments that I get to avoid phase 3.
I am filled with gratitude for the love and kindness that have come in my direction from friends and family. I need your support and my family needs your support. And by support I mean emotional support and your well wishes. If anyone knows the Buddha personally, please put in a good word for me!