When you have cancer, scans and tests of all types are performed. The results of the various scans can be pretty good, or bad. The original CT scan back on July 31 was not good because it showed a mass in the middle of my liver. A follow-up MRI confirmed the mass and that wasn’t good. I even had an endoscopy of my esophagus to rule out a problem in my digestive tract. The result of that test was good.
I saw many doctors, residents, and interns while in the hospital those four days. Many of them said that the tumor didn’t appear as cancer. Then of course came the biopsy. I wouldn’t know it for about a week that the result of the biopsy was not good. In fact, it was really bad. Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Primary Liver Cancer).
That whole week prior to the meeting with Dr. Gray I had hopes that the tumor was benign, but the truth is I was not surprised at all when he told me the news. I just looked my beautiful wife in the eyes and we both knew it was another attack by the Monster. Not our First Rodeo.
I seldom, if at all, panic or show a lot of emotion during these conversations with the doctors whether it is about me or a loved one. I sort of let things go in and I appear calm. I was calm, or maybe just a bit numb. No one ever looks forward to hearing the words “You have Cancer.” Of course, there are many types of Cancer and, of course, some Cancers are treatable and beatable.
It seems that all the Cancers around me have been very serious and deadly. Even Shelia’s breast cancer was Stage 3C because of the number of lymph nodes involved. She is working hard to beat it, but the likelihood of recurrence is higher than many.
If there was any good news at all during that period was that although my tumor was too large to resect, it didn’t appear to have spread outside the liver. Follow-up CT with contrast scan of my lungs brought good news that it hadn’t gone there. Another good result was that my Whole-Body Bone Scan was negative for tumors.
Another piece of good news of course was that after originally stating that he didn’t think surgery was an option because of active disease, Dr. Kingham of MSK called me back and said I may be a candidate for surgery if the Y90 procedures were effective. If that is the case, then great news.
That brings us to one of the most important diagnostic procedures that I have had. My treatment all will depend on whether the MRI with Contrast tomorrow morning shows the tumor has shrank or at least crusted over. If that is the case, then there is a slim chance that the surgery will cure me. That doesn’t seem likely to me, but you better believe I am hoping for the chance. The surgery will be very risky, and I won’t know if it will be an option in any case until the MRI results combined with my bloodwork and meeting with oncologist will place me in the surgery “window.”
If the results om my MRI show that the cancer has spread anywhere outside my liver, then it is really bad and automatically puts me in a Stage 4 status which is terminal cancer. There aren’t any real effective treatments for this situation. Traditional chemotherapy doesn’t do a lot to slow it down. There are some new drugs that show promise, but they also have potentially serious side effects.
Either way the result of the MRI will chart my path for the rest of my life whether it be months or years. At this point I am feeling like the surgery won’t be an option. I have been fortunate most of my life, but this seems like it won’t be in my favor. Of course, I am hoping for the best but expecting the worst. That’s really the only way for me to look at it. It seems to be a realistic approach.
Either way it goes I am prepared to battle the monster and squeeze out every bit of life I can. I still have ambitions not realized and I won’t go down easy. But I will do so with the knowledge that we all transition at the end of our lives here on earth and become the pure soul that we always are.
Whenever my transition time comes, I want to say right now that finding that I have a deadly cancer has been a gift. It has given me time to enjoy my family and friends; time to get my financial house in order; and time for me to work on calming my mind and body through mindfulness, meditation, and spiritual exercise. You never now when you are going to go, but to die suddenly without the opportunity to do what I have been able to accomplish in the last five months would be far worse. Instead it’s a gift.
My family and friends have responded with so much love and concern that it warms my heart so much. A man really doesn’t realize the impact of others on him, and his impact on others until faced with the inevitable. No matter when I transition, I only want to be remembered as a kind and generous man. I am hopeful.
I will close now with a big THANKS to all of you continue to support me through my journey. A special shout out to my long-time friend Sheryl who has sent me quite a few handcrafted cards that she makes herself. Every time I get one, I am amazed at her creativity and her caring for me enough to make them especially for me. They always make my day. The photo with this post is the most recent one she made. Thank you Dunny!
Love and peace to all,