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As almost all of you who are reading this know, Sam likes to work. He likes a project. Actually, he likes several projects, all going on at the same time. He doesn't like to sit still, doesn't know how to relax, and he is most comfortable with some sort of tool in his hand. He likes to say, "These projects are my 'golf.'"
He also likes to say, "Life is too short..."
Too short to hold grudges, too short to let the little things bother you, too short to let time pass without telling those you love, "I love you," and often.
We understand that little phrase even better now.
A cancerous tumor was discovered after a routine colonoscopy, Sam's first one at age 67, and surgery was performed on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, to remove the tumor. Pathology results indicated that the cancer had spread to surrounding lymph nodes, so Sam went through six months of chemotherapy from late June-December and was given the "all clear" in January.
2017 was going to be a transition year for us, since Sam took a new job in north central Kansas, five hours from Kansas City. After purchasing a new home and making plans to make the slow move west permanent, this health adventure was not on the books. Transition year it was...
2018 went smoothly and return check-ups were just routine and cause for counting our blessings. That is, until September 21. A follow-up visit revealed a new growth along the colon that was cancerous. So, colon cancer 2.0 began.
A second surgery took place in October 2018 to remove the growth much lower in the colon, which resulted in an ostomy and 12 more rounds of chemotherapy. More cancer was discovered in Sam's liver and lungs, so a third surgery was performed in March 2019 to remove the cancer from his liver and reverse the ostomy, and chemotherapy was put on hold until he recovered.
He completed the last six chemotherapy treatments in June 2019, and at the completion, more pockets of cancer were discovered in lymph nodes and next to a posterior rib.
Fall 2019 held unknowns after Sam went to The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for a second opinion. The result of those appointments were "keep on keeping on," along with a 3D CT that showed cancer that is "peppering" his lungs, suspicious spots on his spleen, 4 ribs, and another enlarged lymph node in his groin. He resumed chemotherapy treatment with a stronger drug added in September 2019. He also underwent a prostate biopsy and is now dealing with aggressive prostate cancer that has metastasized to the bones alongside the metastasized colon cancer. Treatment now includes conventional chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and alternative therapy with a change in diet and lifestyle.
Sam was staged as 3b with recurring and metastasized colon cancer. Prostate cancer is stage 4 after an MRI and bone scan was done. His colon cancer had not cooperated up to this point, and as the oncologist explained to us, “It keeps popping up in random places throughout your body, and if you do not continue chemotherapy, we will not be able to keep it contained.” Both of his oncologists shared that 2 1/2 years later, “the chemotherapy is no longer eradicating the cancer, but the goal now is to extend his life."
UPDATE! Sam is now over 4 years on this journey...we are trusting that God has the best plan and every day is a gift and an opportunity to do better. And in July 2021, after the third set of CT scans were done this year showing no signs of colon cancer left in his body, the doctor cautiously declared Sam just might be cured of the colon cancer! He will be monitored every three months for the next two years, but we are THANKING GOD for this incredible update and relief from chemotherapy and cancer!
Thank you for taking the time to pray for Sam and let him know you're thinking of him as he continues this monumental personal "project."