So … the good news is there is not much to report. I am now six weeks out from the end of my treatment. I still experience some residual side effects: mainly GI havoc in the mornings, occasional acute abdominal cramps and still the chest/shoulder pain that can be quite agonizing but thankfully very brief. The unexplained shoulder and upper right chest pain may be “referred pain”. Referred pain means that a problem exists somewhere else in the body other than where you feel the pain. According to the literature, causes of referred shoulder/chest pain may include abdominal problems (gall bladder, pancreas, stomach) or abdominal surgery. So …. that’s my theory anyway.
My weight has stabilized at around 154 so weight gain seems as though it will be a long haul. I continue to ride a little: on the weekend I managed 30 hilly, windy miles and so felt quite proud of myself. The oncologist is quite pleased. As a cancer survivor, I might be susceptible to other forms of cancer and so we included a PSA (prostrate test) in my last blood work and it came back at 0.7 which is good. We also decided to schedule a colonoscopy in a few months.
Sharon and I have become fascinated with the work of Tim Spector who is a Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at St. Thomas’ Hospital (Kings College, London). One of his specialties is studying the microbiome and he initiated and directs the crowdfunded British Gut microbiome project. It expanded to North America via the University of California at San Diego. Sharon and I “volunteered” and duly paid our donation and submitted samples. UC will produce a genetic profile of out intestinal bacteria and compere our results to the general population. Had I known about this project before treatment, I could have done a before-and-after comparison. One has to believe that given the surgery, the intravenous antibiotics, the chemotherapy and radiation that my guts have been subjected to, the good little critters in the intestinal system have been seriously zapped. That might explain my ongoing GI problems. I will repeat the tests in couple of years to see if there is a significant change in the results.
Tomorrow we leave for Costa Rica. Kayaking, mountain biking, white-water rafting, hiking and zip lining are all currently scheduled. We shall see, but remember that 70 is the new 50 and I am dammed if I will be an exception.