As mentioned in an earlier post, last Friday November 15th I went to the oncologist at 9am for some blood work followed by a visit to the imaging center at 10am for my 12 week CT scan. Then I was scheduled for a follow-up visit with my oncologist on Wednesday November 20th to get an update on the status of my stage IV colon cancer and whether or not we would be resuming with chemotherapy.
(Some background … after 20 months of intense biweekly chemotherapy treatments my liver reacted adversely and I suffered with ascities early this summer. As a result, my oncologist made the decision that we would do one CT scan every 12 weeks on the impacted areas (abdomen and lungs) and determine if we needed to resume chemo. Currently I am at 24 weeks and counting without chemotherapy treatment.)
So Friday I had been through both my blood work and CT scan, I had returned home and was just beginning to work (I am blessed to have the option to work from home in my current job) … it hasn’t been but a few hours since my scan. I am really feeling great and am optimistic about the results. And then the phone rings …
My wife Sheryl comes upstairs to the bonus room (my at-home office) talking on the cordless phone with a rather serious look on her face and she says …
“I’ll let you tell him. Here he is.”
My oncologist quickly identifies himself. At this point I should say you could have cut the tension in the air with a knife … in over 2 years he has never initiated a call to me at home … never.
“The good news is your scans look great regarding your cancer …”
While at this point I should have been leaping for joy and praising God with all my heart … but my mind was already hearing ‘but the bad news is …’.
“But the bad news is your CT scan showed kidney blockage and your creatinine counts (kidney function) which have always been around .9 are at 2.1. Since the dye we use in the CT scan can sometime cause an adverse reaction in the kidneys (remember I had the blood work done first) we need to admit you to the hospital now just in case anything goes wrong on top of these other problems.”
While I guess there are a zillion and one questions I should have asked … in the midst of shock and stupor all I could come up with was “OK”.
“Glenda will call you back with the details.”
Ten or fifteen minutes later the phone rings again … this time it’s Glenda.
“You have won an overnight stay at the hospital.” While I doubt my insurance company would agree with her use of the term ‘won’, I did indeed appreciate the infused levity of the moment and the chance to laugh.
So as any good patient in the modern era does with a new diagnosis … I take a few moments to confer with Dr. Google regarding symptoms and treatments.
I have absolutely none of the symptoms … N-O-N-E.
Nevertheless by 3pm I find myself in my overnight accommodations at the hospital sitting on my bed (‘Oh you got one of the new beds’ the admissions specialist declared when escorting me into my room.)
Three hours later I have had more blood drawn, chest x-rays, EKG and I am hooked up to an IV drip of fluids … to keep my kidneys hydrated … and every time I need to go to the bathroom I must capture it in a bottle for later measurement … measuring both input and output. After a night of little sleep but some significant reading and KenKen book progress, I walk out the door Saturday morning at 10:30am. Yes … walked.
I won’t bore you with all the details of this week … but bottom line is … Friday at noon I am scheduled for an outpatient procedure to insert a stent in my left ureter between the kidney and the bladder. That’s the simple scenario … first they will be shooting some dye up the ureter and doing an x-ray, all while I am in la-la land. If it reveals nothing of concern, then it’s a 15 minute procedure. Complications and a camera (how small are they making those things?) will follow the dye up the ureter with any of a number of scenarios occurring next. Potentially the stent replacement would be something I have to repeat every 3-6 months from here on out … only the good, the great, the almighty Lord knows!
So Friday at noon, if you think about it and are so led, lift up a little prayer that the Lord’s will be done! Lord willing, I’ll give you an update before the end of the weekend.
Now let’s celebrate and praise God for the great results regarding the cancer … per my oncologist we are now in route to 36 weeks without chemo. In the last 24 weeks, every single nodule, tumor and growth they have been monitoring has shrunk … with absolutely no assistance from chemotherapy. PRAISE GOD! HALLELUJAH! ALL PRAISE, HONOR and GLORY ARE HIS!
You know I just can’t help but wonder … when a great and powerful God is the one who has been shrinking my cancer for 20 months yet doctors … and the patient to some degree … believe the chemo treatments are being effective … well, it just wouldn’t seem like too farfetched an idea that God just might have a plan for stopping the chemo treatments so everyone would know who the Great Healer and Physician truly is … just sayin’
Thank you Lord!