It is created to keep friends and family updated about my progress while being treated for anal cancer. Visit often to read the latest journal entries, visit the photo gallery, and write a note in my guestbook.
Several months ago I had noticed a lump/growth which I thought was a hemorrhoid. After about three months when it did not shrink or go away I decided to go to the doctor to have it checked. The doctor scheduled me to have an Anal Excisional Biopsy on January 22, 2010. One week later it was determined to be a Stage I Invasive tumor on my rectum.
I was immediately referred to Dr. Kirk Lund of Hematology & Medical Oncology at Rockwood Cancer Treatment Center. On February 2 Dr. Lund gave me two choices:
1. Have surgery to remove the tumor which would most likely result in a good portion of my rectum being removed resulting in my having to have a permanent colostomy bag or 2. Treat the tumor with Chemotherapy & Radiation.
I have chosen the Chemo/Radiation for the obvious reason of not wanting to forever have a bag attached for the removal of bodily waste. Yuck.....!
February 4, I met with the Oncology Team to begin the process of scheduling and coordinating my treatments.
February 8, I have a CT Scan February 9, I meet with Dr. Mahelek in Radiology and on February 12, I will have the PICC LIne (IV Cathater) inserted for the chemothereapy drugs that will be given intravenously.
I will have two sessions of Chemotherapy drugs given for 96 hours of which I will be wearing a portable fanny pack at home. Then it will be Radiation for four days a week for 4-6 weeks; then back to the second Chemotherapy session of 96 hours at home.
From what I am told the worst part of this will be the Radiation. I have to go every day for four days to have my pelvic area 'zapped' for about 30 to 60 seconds and then I go home. After several weeks of this I am sure my rectum will begin to feel some burning pain (nice picture, huh?). I will most likely have difficulty sitting (ouch).
I am really curious how this picture is going to be processed.... seems that it will be uncomfortable at best, right? considering the area of concern! Whew....I'm already embarrassed.
So, seeing how I have never been through this before I am not quite sure how it all is 'really' going to turn out. I may or may not lose my hair. I may or may not get sick. I just won't know until the time arrives. It would be OK to lose a bit of weight though. In fact it would be terrific!
I am anxious, scared, confused and numb. I am confident though that it will turn out positive and that I have a good chance of the cancer being eradicated in the end. I am thankful for having a lot of caring friends and family to help see me through this. My 'girlfriends' (you know who you are) are always there through thick and thin even before this cancer thing...I miss our 'girl time' and wish you were here with me.
I am especially thankful for my friend Bardie who has already been there for me from the beginning and has tolerated all my anxious concerns and stupid questions I seem to keep repeating over and over! You see, Bardie just retired after 30 some years as an RN at the VA Hospital. How lucky can I get? She has seen it all and also been through similar experiences herself. Thanks Bardie!
I will try to update my journal regularly in order to keep you all up to date with my progress. I also want to thank everyone for your prayers, gifts, cards and thoughts. Also to my good friend Lynn in California who is going through much worse treatment than I for ovarian cancer at this very same time. She is a real trooper and I hope I can equal her strength.
And....to my ROCK... my dog George. He is there every night and never complains. He just licks my face and snuggles up to keep me warm. Woof. Lets get this show on the road........