Colon Cancer update, the week at the U of W Hospital

Discussion in 'Health and Wellness Forum' started by Terry, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    Some of you knew that I was going in for a rectal rescission in my lower colon.
    I found out about the cancer last September. I Spent six weeks on Chemo and Radiation.
    When I had gone back for the follow up of the colonoscopy, the two doctors had determined that that was 7.5 Centimeters between the tumor and the end outlet. (At least that's the term I'm happy with)
    If there is too little distance, they give you a colostomy bag and sew things shut.
    If you have 7.0 centimeters, you have more options.
    I had been heavily warned, I should at least prepare myself mentally for the colostomy bag for at least six months, if not permanent.
    Not the best news, but at least a 50% chance of living five more years; was better then a stick in the eye.
    I work with my older son James, the youngest Taylor, is still in High School, and my daughter Amy lives not too far away with here and has daughters in elementary school. Three grand kids total.

    I kept telling the doctor that surgery without a bag would be nice, Yuck!
    But he's going to have to do what he can. I could try to give him more to work with.
    I knew the Chemo and Radiation was going to be making things smaller, so I told him I would do my part, and the tumor would be smaller by the time he did the surgery.
    Surgery was February 4th, 2010 Seattle WA


    This is me checking in for the surgery that Thusday morning.


    And one with Cathy.
    Her job, wait in the waiting room, and let my family know what happens.
    What can I say, work is busy and Jamie had my business line taking names and numbers at work.
    There are some things we want to do with the business this year.
    I've got al lot of ideas.

    When my surgeon came in that morning, he was wearing his green gear and mask.
    I had only seen him in a suit before.
    Now that I had seen him in his "game" suit, I wasn't so worried.
    He looked like a kid that was preparing to win the big game with some long passes.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    Page two

    When I next lifted my eyes open, I was lying by myself, breathing easy, with people shuffling around.
    After a bit, who am I kidding, I had no sense of time at this point, the last thing I remembered was from the morning.
    I looked down at my right side, to see if I could see the bag.
    It didn't look like anything was there.
    I can't remember how I found out for sure, was it Cathy, a nurse or a doctor?
    Someone finally told me, Oh yeah, no bag.

    I turns out, that once I was cut open I was remeasured, and they had 10.0 centimeters to work with.
    Things looked solid in there, so they took a section of intestine out and stapled - sewed it back up.

    Surgery had taken a long time, there was a delay with other surgeries, at the hospital, and they were taking their time to fit things back together again, running tests on what there were working with.
    I had woken up at 8:00 PM that night.
    It was too late for the kids to come by, but they would be by the next day after work.

    One not so funny thing, was that my daughter sent a text update, and I guess when you saw it on the phone screen, it read,

    "Pop didn't make it"

    And then when you opened up the rest of the message, it read, Pop didn't make it into surgery until 2:00 PM, Everything turned out fine. "
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    Page three

    Dr Gilbert on one of her daily hospital checks with me.
    Always lots to check on when you're there for seven days.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    Mason, Lisa, Jamie, Amy

    Lisa, Jamie and Amy came by later Friday night to see me.
    Jamie had swung by for some late plumbing.
    The customer had no idea what she wanted anyway.
    Can you say Brett Farve on shopping steroids?
    It would have made much more sense for him to drop the phone, and come out sooner.
    I was kind of beat when he got there.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  5. krow

    krow Plumber

    Ontario, Canada
    Glad it worked out in your favour Terry,

    All the best to you and get back on your feet as quickly as possible
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Hey Terry,
    Sounds like you had the kind of results we have all been praying for...
    I'm glad it went so well for you!
    Hope you bounce up soon.
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I'm hoping that the no bag news is the first of many pieces of good news.
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    Surgical Pathology Report

    I got the Pathology Report back from the surgery.

    pT3 on the Tumor that was removed.
    pN0: No regional lymph node metastasis

    The doctor stays that it's basically stage II, now that the Tumor is gone.
    He expects something like 3-6 months chemo to start in a few weeks just to make sure it's clean.

    So no bag was needed.
    They got the tumor, and it should be good to go soon.
    Now I just need to start walking more, I'm still thinking that April may be good for skiing here.

    The surgeon, Dr David Row
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  9. bpetey

    bpetey Member

    congrats on making it through the first part of your horrible ordeal. You look pretty young to go through this already. From what I've learned, early detection and removal has a very good success rate. Enjoy your new healthy lifestyle and you'll be around for many more yesars.
  10. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    San Diego
    We appreciate that you are sharing this ordeal with your internet pals. The photos tell us that this has not been a fun time for you! But the sound of your posts tell us that your spirit and attitude are still the same old Terry!

    If it is not too personal, can you tell us a few things.......did you have risk factors like family history? How was it discovered? I put off having my first colonoscopy until age 63, and luckily was OK, but if I had something brewing at a younger age, that could have been a costly procrastination.

    Looks like you have plenty of loving family support. Best wishes from all of us out here in cyberspace.
  11. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    S. Maine
    Terry, glad to see you are looking well and better than that, in good spirits. I think keeping a positive attitude has an awful lot of effect on recovery.
  12. BRD

    BRD New Member

    I'm relatively new to your site and find it very informative and interesting. I always take a step back when I hear or read of such health concerns as yours. We're about the same age and it makes one think whats around the corner for me. Anyway, I wish you a speedy recovery and continued good health.

  13. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

    SW Florida
    Good to hear things are working out for the better. Stay with it.
  14. Cookie

    Cookie .

    A positive attitude and laughter is always the best medicine. :)
  15. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    I found this explanation on the site
    Colon Cancer Symptoms
    So to answer some of your questions,
    Family history, my father died of pancreatic cancer, and one of my uncles had either colon or pancreatic cancer.

    What I personally noticed, was that my bowl habits had changed.
    I was a creature of habit for 56 years.
    I would have coffee in the morning, then have a bowl movement, and I was good until the next day.
    It was that way for decades.

    Then, at some point, like mentioned in the article above, I started getting diarrhea and bowl movements were taking place several times a day.
    I was feeling bloated, and full.
    That Fall, I started noticing blood in the stools.
    At first, I thought it was red wine. No such luck. When things are working right, the red wine would be taken off as clear urine.
    It was blood.
    I did have less energy. I noticed that hiking. I was losing some of my "edge".

    When I went for a full check up in December, the attending doctor said I was fine, but that my cholesterol was a bit high and blood pressure was high.
    And I asked,

    "So after 56 years I have the same eating habits, the same bowl habits, and one year it changes, and there is nothing wrong?"

    I was scheduled to get a colonoscopy that Summer. I delayed that until September.
    It was during the colonoscopy, that the doctor doing the procedure explained that I had been having symptoms of Cancer.
    It wasn't red wine, it was blood,
    It was fullness, I had a tumor that would require surgery and some polyps that they were able to remove that day.
    If I go in for this at 50, then they snare a few polyps and ask me to come back in five years.

    I did feel that there was something very wrong last year, I let my brother talk me into buying a new car.
    It was my way of admitting to myself, that I may not have much time left.

    I never told anyone why I was buying it though.

    Now that the surgery is over, and the Cancer taken out, it looks like I will have plenty of time now. That's right, I'm 100% free of cancer.

    Now it's just a matter of getting my sea legs back.
    I picked a perfect time to go in, watching the Winter Olympics while I'm recovering.
    The funny thing is, Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn are winning on the same skis I use, the Head Chip Super Shapes.
    Now I just need to get to feeling better.

    One thing I changed last year, was my eating habits.
    I've cut beef way down.
    Maybe once a week.
    I used to have beef pretty much every day.
    Since I have cut most of the beef out, and eat more chicken, turkey and fish, my blood pressure is in a good range.
    I also started taking a fish oil capsule purchased at Costco.

    Studies show, that if you reduce beef consumption to two times or less a week, you dramatically cut your chance of getting colon cancer.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2010
  16. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Yakima WA
    Terry, I don't often get to this part of the forum, so I just learned of your situation this morning. I'm glad things appear to be positive for you. I know that you are in one of the best places for treatment of colon cancer which should give you an edge. Continue your recovery and get back on the slopes!
  17. jay_wat

    jay_wat Plumber

    Skagit Valley
    hey Terry,,

    im glad to hear that your doing better!

    and btw,thanks for my sig,,good one since i am in the Valley!

    your site here rocks!!
  18. Trinda

    Trinda New Member

    Hi Terry,
    Your sister here, continuing prayers for your recovery.
    By the way, Papa's cancer was from stomach cancer which the doctors didn't believe (after he had when he explained his father had died of stomach cancer). When they finally took a look inside they found stomach cancer which had spread to the lymph, and to the liver which lies next to the site the cancer started. I was in the room when Papa's surgeon came in and gave our folks the bad news. Papa's brothers also had intestinal cancers.

    I hope everyone gets their checkups.
    I love you, Terry.
  19. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    Thanks Trinda,
    Thanks for the update on our brother Shannon too.
    I just talked to my brother Shannon.
    He broke his leg in two places last Sunday at Stevens Pass. He was skiing a bit too fast, and he had the rear entry boots, notorious I guess for breaking lower legs. Now he needs to schedule surgery for set the bones.
    And our older brother Clare, in Hoquiam, just finished up with his rotator cuff surgery.
    That's three out of five brothers working on cancer, rotator cuff surgery and broken leg.
    Not a good year for the Love boys.

    I'm still waiting for my pain levels to go down.
    I haven't driven since February 4th.
    They say I should be nearing the end soon.
    I hope.
    This thing has been kicking my ass.
    And I start Chemo again soon.

    The business is up and running well though, Jamie and the guys are keeping things running smooth.
    We would love to hear from our customers during this time, we need to keep busy.
    It's the best thing we can be doing right now.
    And the Eastside, Bellevue, Sammamish, Issaquah, Redmond, and parts of Kirkland still have some nice toilet rebates going on.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  20. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    I just got home from the hospital.
    There was a complication from the first surgery.

    When I went in for my Chemo appointment, he instead booked me into the hospital emergency room.
    He could tell I was suffering badly from pain.
    That was Tuesday the 16th
    I just got home Friday the 26th.
    It's the first time I've seen a computer in ten days.

    Since there was a leak in the first surgery, they added a drain, and then two days later gave me a ileostomy bag.
    It was a rough week for me.

    I haven't weighed myself for ten days,
    I had lost 35 pounds in five weeks.

    Just checked my weight 3/31/2010, down to 166 pounds, started at 204 for a loss of 38 pounds.
    I'm hoping to start putting weight back on.
    The picture of me in the blue shirt was taken at 204 pounds.

    A question about toilets and ostomy bags from a reader

    More information about ostomy bags
    Last edited: May 1, 2010
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