Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cancer? But I'm a pisces!

In April of 2008 I experienced a pain that became increasingly worse over time in my stomach. Eventually it felt like something had burst inside of me. We headed to McKenzie Willamette hospital where I was registered and spent several days. The diagnosis of diverticulitis was eventually made. (An infection of the pouches that sometimes form in the colon.) We were told by the staff at McKenzie Willamette that there were, locally, no surgeons who specialized in bariatric surgery or CT machines that would handle someone of my "bulk" and shipped off via ambulance to Legacy-Emanuel Hospital in Portland. (We would later find out that both the surgeons and the CT machines were available just a few minutes away at Sacred Heart in Eugene. Essentially, McKenzie-Willamette did not want to provide them with the business.)

At no point was a colonoscopy considered, because there was worry of rupturing my colon and spreading infection throughout my body.

Later, in the month of August, my colon would actually rupture on it's own and I would become one of the firs ICU patients in the new Sacred Heart facility at River Bend in Springfield, Oregon as my body turned septic and started shutting down. We were eventually sent home and told that surgery wasn't an option due to my weight and the amount of infection showing on the CT scan.

Back to the hospital in November, a repeat of all we'd been through. Then again in January.

On our second trip to the hospital in January we were told that my infection had "compartmentalized" and would not be spreading, but would be increasing in pain until I eventually had surgery to remove it. A week later the pain was more than I could handle. We went to my primary care physician who pulled some blood-work and put my on Oxycontin. The next day the 12 hour extended release drug would barely touch my pain and my doctor called me at home, something he'd never done, to tell me that in April my "set rate" (a level witch showed the swelling of my colon) had been at 34 and was now at 95. He "gently suggested" that I go to the ER immediately.

At the ER it was decided that, in spite of the risks, surgery would have to be considered. Because of my pain level and a suggestion by one of the ER docs, Dr. Wong, that sometime else must be going on, a colonoscopy was scheduled. We were told this was just a routine scan and would not show anything.

I remember waking up from my colonoscopy and being told that they did not find any diverticulitis. The next day I was informed that they had found a tumor and it had been cancerous. On Wednesday, February 11th, my surgery went ahead as scheduled. Eighteen inches of colon was removed, cancer was found on my liver and biopsies were taken of my liver and lymph nodes.

Currently I have chemotherapy scheduled to begin on February 23rd, the day before my birthday.

In short, though it's a little late for that, we went from one health situation we couldn't control, to another. God still has a plan and always has. Just waiting to see how that will unfold.

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