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May 15, 2017
On Tuesday, February 21, 2017 Carmon and I went to Shelby Baptist Hospital so he could have his five-year routine colonoscopy. In retrospect I'm grateful that his gastroenterologist's office called Carmon to remind him and I'm grateful that Carmon acted on it and scheduled the appointment. I remember posting on Facebook the day of the colonoscopy that I was "waiting to get the good news that we needed to come back in five years so we could go have a lunch feast" since Carmon was so hungry from the colon prep the day prior. To my shock his gastroenterologist entered the room where I waited and told me that there was an ulcer on the colon wall near the appendix that concerned him very much and that he'd taken a sample for biopsy. As he was prodding and poking on the ulcer he became aware of some kind of mass behind the ulcer that may very well have gone undetected through the colonoscopy if not for the unrelated ulcer. His doctor gave me several scenarios of what this could all mean and indicated that cancer was one of them. I could tell from his words, facial expression, and earnestness that he thought it was going to be cancer. Carmon and I were told that he should have a CAT scan which we scheduled for the same day in the afternoon. We received the results on Wednesday, February 22, from the CAT Scan and biopsies (three polyps were also removed from the colon; two benign and one pre-cancerous). There was a malignant tumor in Carmon's appendix with and his cancer cells were an aggressive type that rarely presents itself in the colon. (His cancer type is found in only .5% of all colon cancers.) He needed to have his appendix and a portion of his colon removed as quickly as possible. We saw a surgeon on Thursday, February 23, and scheduled the surgery for Wednesday, March 1. Carmon's surgery was a success! The entire tumor was removed and nearly two feet of his colon with clear margins at each end. The tumor had not broken through the colon wall from the appendix. Fifteen lymph nodes were taken and unfortunately cancer was found in two of the fifteen. We received the pathology report on Friday, March 3, that told us Carmon's cancer was Stage 3B, a shock as both the gastroenterologist and the surgeon thought it would be Stage 1, but cautioned us that we'd have to wait for the pathology report to know for sure.