After a wait that at times felt too short, and at times felt way too long (56 days after my initial diagnosis), I started the first leg of my treatment this morning. 4 small pills, in all 1650 milligrams of capecitabine, also know by the brand name Xeloda. I will take the drug twice a day for 28 weekdays, and I expect to be done with this part on June 22nd, if all goes well. Later today, I will go to my first radiation session as well. The radiation session will be 2.5 minutes daily, so that will be quick.
Today is also the day where I will start a treatment that will make me feel sick, a treatment that will include surgery later on, and 6 months of chemo, later this the fall. It is the start of a journey that at best will leave only mental scars, but more likely will have irreversible physical side effects. It might be a sad farewell to my “good and strong” health as I used to know it. It is day one of my war, a war that I have good odds of winning, but where no guarantees are given. And yet I am thankful. I am thankful that a random check up at the doctor lead to my diagnosis. I am thankful that we today have drugs and treatments that though far from perfect, can cure many of us when the disease is diagnosed in time.
Colorectal cancer is typical without symptoms for the first 3 years, it is the second most common cancer in women and the fourth most common cause of cancer related deaths in the world. If you are 50 or older and have never been screened, now is the time to do it. The cure is simple and easy if the cancer is caught in time.