Gary Bledsoe | CaringBridge

Gary Bledsoe

Welcome to my CaringBridge website. Please click on "Ways To Help" (above) and then click on "Planner".  Additionally, please click on "Journal" (also above) for updates and additional ways to help as my journey changes.  Thank you.

I'm using this site to keep family and friends updated in one place.  I appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement.  Thank you for visiting.  

FROM MY FACEBOOK POST:  My Cancer Diagnosis - I was diagnosed on 1/12/17 with Stage 3 Colorectal Cancer. Clearly I have told quite a few friends but now, for me, it is in my best interest to post this here today (see below). If we have mutual friends, please feel free to like and/or to share this post if so inclined. It would be helpful for me at this time. Frequently asked questions:
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1) My primary care doctor is Dr John Marshall. He is both the Chief of Oncology and the Chief of Hematology at Georgetown University Medical Center, and de facto, The Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (I live for alliteration ...). It is not lost on me that the overwhelming majority of folks who come thru Lombardi for treatment do not have Dr Marshall as their primary care physician. I am eternally, eternally grateful to have him but am also aware of the implications. My case has been, shall we say, expedited .
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2) When I have any tests done (I have been to Lombardi ~14 times in the last 30 days) my team (~11 doctors at this point - oncologist Dr Marshall, surgeon, anesthesiologist, radiologist, gastroenterologist ...) meets and discusses my case. Additionally, as several of my doctors are connected to research at NIH, my case is reviewed there as well. Finally, at Georgetown, a total of ~27 doctors acknowledge that they have reviewed each test/lab result. 
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3) My cancer (Adeno Carcenoma) is located in the Sigmoid section of the colon. This is the lowest section of the colon. The cancer is the shape of a small, curved sweet potato and at a length of about 3 inches. To be precise, it is located in the final curve of the colon. The cancer (I don't like the word tumor) is also in the lymph system surrounding the colon. 
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4) Aside from this being cancer, the location is challenging. Treatment and surgery are much easier in the upper and side sections of the colon. As my cancer is located so far down in the abdomen, it is buried in and around such things as the liver, kidneys, bladder, prostate, and many complicated sections of the lymph system. These organs, and the very important attending nerve ends attached, can be compromised or, in reality, damaged by both chemotherapy/Radiation and surgery.
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5) Treatment is chemo and radiation daily for 6 weeks, followed by a two month waiting/testing period while this therapy is still working in my body. The goal is to attack the tumor and shrink it for surgery. At the same time, we are also attacking the cancer in the surrounding lymph system for several reasons ... not the least of which is to prevent the spread of cancer to the above mentioned organs. The chemo/radiation therapy is currently scheduled to begin Tuesday (2/21).
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6) I allowed myself 4 minutes per week to google this subject. I have been google-free for 3 weeks today.
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7) Yes, I have lost a considerable amount of weight. 35lbs from ~Nov 1 to today. It is important that I gain weight in the 3.5 months before surgery. I will be losing more weight during the 8 or so days in the hospital and also during a 5-6 week recovery period (due to the nature of the surgery).
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This is, of course, an unfortunate development and is also something that is not easy to share with my amazing friends and incredible work colleagues. Frankly, sharing the above basic information has been taxing for me and by announcing this on FB I hope to be able to move forward, with your help, and focus more on an action plan of gaining weight, attending to a mountain of details, preparing for chemo/radiation and ultimately for surgery.
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I am tremendously grateful to my amazing friends, exceptional work colleagues, and all those near and far who have been a part of my Washington DC family for the last 30 years. I am truly so very grateful to and also inspired by you all. Finally, I am most grateful to those who share my spiritual journey with me. You carry me on your shoulders daily. 
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