Most of you know that last year in May I was diagnosed with Signet Ring Cell Adenocarcinoma of the right colon. In June I underwent a right Hemi-colectomy and in July I began a six month course of chemotherapy, FOLFOX. It was tough and I was happy when I finished. Having had Breast Cancer 16 years ago, I was familiar with the rules of follow-up Care: close monitoring of labs/scans. Everything was routine until Dr. Kathy Chu(my internist X 30+ years initiated a diagnostic work-up to find out why I was sweating so profusely at times, especially with exertion. The routine follow-up included labsandCT scans of chest, abdomen and pelvis. Dr Chu ordered labs and asked when my last PET scan was—I had never had a PET scan, so she ordered it. Surprise!! Abnormal! A quarter-size bone lesion in the sacrum and concerning retroperitoneal lymph nodes—both findings highly suspicious for metastasis. Then I had a bone marrow biopsy of the sacral lesion and it was positive for colon adenocarcinoma metastasis. I then chose to visit Emory for a second opinion on treatment. Josh and I trek to the big city for an appointment with Dr. Walid Shaib, a colo-rectal medical Oncologist. So the cancer that I have is rare and very aggressive. Signet Ring Cell colon cancer presents less than 1% of all colon cancers and aggressive and unpredictable therefore difficult to treat. Notice I said “treat” b/c “cure” is not in the equation. So—to my options: #1 do nothing(no chemo or radiation), #2 radiation only for pain control, #3 standard chemo( FOLFIRI) plus Avastin, #4 participate in a drug trial at Emory with a drug that targets the cancer stem cells. I would be required to receive treatment at Emory every other week and there would be a 50/50 chance that I would receive the trial drug. Half get the drug and half get a placebo. I would receive the standard FOLFIRI here at Summit/ Dr Haberman as I did last year. So decisions!!! I still have some unanswered questions about the trial that should be resolved tomorrow. Then I have an appointment with Dr Haberman Tuesday morning.
I have had wonderful support and encouragement from my family and friends throughout the past 17 months. I am so thankful for all of you and for your prayers.
It is vital for you to have a primary care physician who knows YOU! I cannot fathom where I would be right now had Dr Chu had not been so responsive going all the way back to my Breast Cancer! She has earned all of the respect I could possibly muster and she has helped improve the quality of my life for many years. And there are many others who’ve provided excellent care along the way: Dr Ray Rudolph, Dr Bala, Dr Duttenhaver, Dr Chris Haberman, Dr Hammen! I am forever grateful ❤️