Saturday, August 10, 2013

Did I ever tell you about the time I was wrong?

Did I ever tell you about the time I was wrong?   It doesn't happen often, but when it does, boy am I wrong.

So about 8 weeks ago I couldn't poo.   And yes, in the interest of keeping this as non-gross as humanly possible, I will be using the term "poo" so deal with it.

Anyway, I couldn't go poo.   Given the amount of stress I was under at the time, it was understandable.   I tend to have a very sensitive bowel system that is easily thrown into flux.   And considering this was about the time I decided to sell my home; my boss finalized selling my job; and I felt like the chapter of my life I was currently in was stuck in a run-on sentence, then it is very easy to dismiss constipation as merely a reaction to life.   However, the constipation didn't end.

Two weeks later, when a poo arrived in my toilet, it was thin and very difficult to produce.   My post-poo wipe revealed blood on the paper.   Something was amiss, but I wrote it off as hemroids and stress.   What else could it be?

One week later it dawned on me that I had not been eating for the past two weeks.   I had lost about 20 pounds and no matter what I tried to eat, a gag reflex prevented anything but soup from going down.    Now concerned, I decided to look for myself and see if anything weird was going on in, rectum.   

Standing in my bathroom with my boxers round my ankles, and my head peeking through my legs, I spread my buttcheeks, took a deep breath, and looked and then quietly freaked out.   I saw growths around my anus.   To WebMD I ran.

WebMD is not a friend for the record.  If you go symptom shopping on that site, you can basically diagnose yourself with anything, and this was no exception.    They gave me a short list of ailments that had my symptoms and the words "colon cancer" stood out as did "rectal cancer."    Given the growths I saw, I leaned towards rectal, but didn't want to admit to myself something so embarrassing was going on with me.  I am prone to hypochondria after all, so I decided to show my dad my butt (he is a doctor) and see what he thought.

It was not easy to ask someone to look at your butthole for the record.   It doesn't really come up in conversation naturally, but after two days of shameful planning, I did and he said he thought it was hemroids, but wasn't sure.  He recommended I schedule an appointment for a colonoscopy.  Reluctantly, I did.

The night before the butt probe, I decided to stay at my parents' house for the moral support.   I didn't want to admit it to anyone, but I was scared.  I knew I had rectal cancer.   Those growths could be nothing else from my perspective.   And it is a good thing I stayed there too because there is no way in Hell I could have drank that prep-shit without them basically forcing me via parental willpower to keep drinking.

The next morning, after another awful bout with that dreaded prep-shit, we drove to the GI office and soon I was out like a light and the procedure began. 

I came to in recovery and there was a sense that something serious had happened while I was out.   My mom was there and had that "mom is worried" look on her face.   I then heard my dad was on his way.   This was not looking good.   Lucky for me, the post-anesthesia was having a nice dulling effect on my nerves and I was remaining outwardly calm.

Turns out the colonoscopy could not be performed due to a massive tumor in my rectum.  The biopsy came back a little later and confirmed I had stage 3 rectal cancer.   A few scans later also showed it is in the colon as well.

I know what you are thinking: how were you wrong?  You said you had cancer and you did.c

Simple: I also have hemroids and that growth I saw that caused the panic that made me find the cancer actually was just a harmless little hemroid.   I was wrong.

So now I begin my treatment.  6 weeks chemo/radiation, then about 6 weeks rest, then surgery, and then more chemo/radiation.   The outlook is quite good and I am not fearing dying or anything like that.    I have had to move in with my parents for the next year while I undergo treatment.   A side-effect of being single is that you have no significant other to aid you in times like this, but I am blessed with parents who redefine everything positive about parents.   I could no do this without them and feel I must thank them every chance I get.

I will keep you updated as this goes on now that I finally have something to blog about.       

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