And So It Begins…
Originally sent as a mass email; now posted belatedly to the blog to catch those who wanted to know the full story up…
This isn’t a fun message to write and I really wish I didn’t have to write it.
First, allow me to kick things off with a bit of understatement: it’s been a crazy few weeks here in Phoenix. Heather and I got back from India in mid-January, and shortly after returning I began to have some excruciating pain in my lower abdomen. After a couple trips to the Arizona State University student health clinic did little good, I ended up being referred to a gastroenterologist, who tried a few treatments that failed to conclusively deal with the problem. The gastroenterologist decided to have me undergo both an endoscopy and a colonoscopy, in order to identify the root of the problem. I went in to the doctor for those two procedures this past Wednesday. While the endoscopy turned out completely clear, the colonoscopy revealed a blockage in my colon, potentially malignant in appearance. I was immediately sent off to get a CT scan, which indicated the size of the blockage to be a relatively substantial 6 cm in width, and the decision was made almost immediately to send me into surgery as soon as possible to operate on the growth. We received the biopsy results on Friday, which confirmed that the growth is, in fact, cancerous. The results of the CT scan, along with a physical inspection of my lymph nodes, seem to suggest that the cancer is localized and should be treatable with a colon resection.
So, that’s where we’re at. This has all happened in the span of just a few weeks, with the diagnosis of the blockage and the subsequent pathology results from the biopsy coming over just the last few days, so it’s been a whole lot of information to take in over such a short period of time.
I am scheduled for surgery on Monday afternoon, when I will undergo a laparoscopic operation to remove the cancerous part of my colon, and the doctors will take biopsies of the surrounding tissues to make sure that the cancer is contained and has not spread. My mother and father were scheduled to return from India on Saturday, and re-routed their flight to come directly to Phoenix, and my brother has come out here, as well. Along with Heather, I am surrounded by those nearest and dearest to me, and they are helping me through all this.
Without a doubt, I’m a bit scared and worried about all this; there are things we don’t know and waiting for answers and some more clarity will certainly be an arduous and stressful process. Obviously, any diagnosis of cancer is serious, but nothing about what we know now suggests anything dire. So the fact is that I’m positive and optimistic that I’ll get past this — and return to eating the delicious solid foods I’ve enjoyed for the better part of the last 30 years, as well as get back to enjoying the rest of life. At the moment, all the signs we have point in the direction of something that can be conquered relatively simply; the procedure should be rather straightforward, and hopefully then it’s just rest and recovery after that. I’m not dwelling on the unknowns, and I hope all of you don’t either.
We’ve had a lot of support so far, we have a wonderful medical team tending to me, and I feel I’m in good hands. I’m trying to stay strong, hoping for the best, and look forward to talking to each and every one of you soon.