My sister Anne Birgitte, and my brother John got screened for colorectal cancer since my last update, and I am happy to say that they both passed the test with negative results. This is definitely worth celebrating. This could be an indicator that my cancer is not tied to family genetics and maybe this could give us less reason to worry about cancer in the future, if not for all of us, then at least for my siblings, and my kids.
I have started living a new life, it is not a very busy life, since I no longer work. The daily treatment is quick and uneventful and the staff at the Good Samaritan Radiation clinic in Los Gatos is excellent and making life for me as easy as possible. I have joined a local cancer support group, and on June 1st, another group I have joined, lead by http://cancercare.org, will start. Both groups are for survivors that are in any stage of treatment for colorectal cancer.
In my local group, this week, I met three survivors that was diagnosed two to six years ago. I was very surprised to see the openness, friendliness and compassion they shared, and even though some of their stories were quite frightening, it was also very very educational. I think the main takeaway after my first meeting is: Check your surgeon, do your research, get second opinions from other surgeons, check, check, check. This is probably the most crucial decision in my choice of treatment.
I have taken up meditation at two weekly groups, I find it very helpful, and I am still surprised at feeling how much tension I build up in my body between the sessions. I have managed to keep up my running and I am averaging 30 km weekly so far, I consider this a huge victory and I know it is helping me in keeping the side effects of my treatment at bay.
I had my weekly meetings with both my chemo oncologist and my radiation oncologist yesterday. Just before the meeting they take a blood sample to test my blood cell count and for the second week straight, my chemo has had no effect on this. This means that my immune system is still at 100% and that my body is tolerating the treatment well. (That does not prevent me from being overly germaphobic though). And for the second week in a row my chemo oncologist refused to believe that I am taking my chemo as required. This has been the source of some frustration for me, because I hate when people do not trust me or my intelligence. So at this meeting I was “well armed”. Seriously? I asked him, are we really going to have this discussion again, I said while smiling, and before he could say more, on my iPhone I started a playback of a video from the same morning where he could see me taking the pills. He could clearly see how many, and that I actually had them in my mouth. I have videos from all week if you need more evidence, I said while laughing. That ended the discussion very quickly, and my chemo oncologist is reassured and found that little stunt very funny. Needless to say, my side effects in week 1 and 2 have been minor, and I was actually planning to run a race in the mountains this morning, but unfortunately I got hit by the most common (and dreaded) side effect, diarrhea, late yesterday evening and according to both doctors and internet sources, this will be something I will have to deal with for the next 4 to six weeks. I do hope that I will be able to run a 10k later today, or tomorrow though.