For those of you not in the know, it was discovered two days ago that my cancer has returned after a twelve year lapse. It is now in at least one lymph node of mine.
Before I get started I'd like to thank everyone who sent well wishes. They include Rick, Tere, Jim, David, Jo, Beth, The blogs Cao, Pirate, High Desert Wanderer, Bullwinkle, and Pink Flamingo, and others. Thank you so very much, I appreciate it.
Yesterday I had my follow-up appointment with the surgeon. It was at 2:00 but I wasn't out of the office till nearly 3:45. A nurse removed my stitches and I was seen by the doctor.
It would have been nice to hear from the doctor. "Mr. Masochist we examined your head and found nothing but two half written blog posts, and twenty-three half written webfiction stories." Alas, the meeting didn't go like that. Instead we discussed the biopsy results and what's the next step. I did get a copy of the pathology report so to bring it to my other doctors.
A little background on my cancer, I had four malignant melanomas diagnosed and removed between Dec 1993 and December 1994. Three Clark Level II's that were minimally invasive, but one Clark IV that was deeper than the other three combined multiplied by almost three. Ever since I've undergone regular dermatological checkups(Every 3-4 months), once a year cancer checkups, and from 1997-2001 I got vaccine at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in California.
From 1995 till this summer I had no sign of cancer. From 2002-2004 I even stopped doing some of my checkups. My wife got pregnant in late 2002 and gave birth but our son died within 14.5 hours. I was depressed afterwards and let my checkups slip to the wayside.
In 2005 I suffered a pulmonary embolism. While hospitalized, an MRI was done and it showed lesions on my adrenal glands. To ensure my cancer hadn't returned, I went back to the oncologist for the first time in four years and had a thorough checkup (including a pet scan). Everything checked out as normal and since then I went back to having my regular checkups.
So my lack of checkups from 2002-2004 isn't to blame. That's why my primary care's discovery of a swollen node during a general checkup last month came as such a big surprise. 12 years had passed and I had gotten a clean bill of health in 2005.
On September 18th at 7:30. I'll have further surgery. A wider excision that will take out 10-20 more lymph nodes for biopsy. This operation will be done in-patient and under general anesthesia. I'll be out of the hospital hopefully on the 19th. The 18th is my wife's birthday and she was already scheduled to be on vacation at the time. I'll be off from blogging for the 18th and 19th at least. Anyone want to give out a couple of Knucklehead awards while I'm gone? Leave a comment, while leaving your email address where asked. I'll get back to you.
On September 6th I'm seeing my local oncologist Dr. Rothschild. He is already aware of what happened and wants to see me. He'll probably order diagnostic tests(Chest X-ray, full bloodwork, an MRI or Cat scan) to make sure the cancer is only in my nodes. Treatment won't likely be discussed till my second operation's biopsy results come in.
What are the treatments I will undergo? Radiation and chemo aren't done with Stage III melanoma. I'd either undergo interferon or some type of vaccine treatment. Either of which would cause me to need to travel. Possibly to Miami or Tampa Florida. This isn't too bad, I can handle either on a weekly basis.
The other and maybe best option, is my going back to John Wayne again. Its the best cancer center in the world for melanoma patients. The disadvantages to going to JWCI are the expense- A 3 day trip is required, one day to fly out, one day in CA and one day to fly back. Plus food, hotel, and transportation between LAX and Santa Monica. I did this from 1997-2001 with few complaints, but that was before 9-11 and air travel involves so much hassle today I don't look forward to it.
I haven't decided what I'm going to do. Since nothing can be done till after my 2nd operation and the results of it are known, its all conjecture at this point. I've been in touch with John Wayne, and I can get an appointment there and be re-evaluated to see if I'm eligible for treatment.
Physically I'm ok now, my surgical site is hurting some again because of the stitch removal. Mentally I am up and down. Yesterday I blogged and began writing my latest web fiction story. Escaping into the fictional worlds and characters I create seems to get my mind off the the trouble I have right now.
Because of the time needed for my treatments(I won't get very sick if at all from them), my blogging could drop off dramatically or be stopped all together. Right now its too early to tell just like with my diagnosis.
Thanks for listening.
Linked to- Big Dog, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Cao, Conservative Thoughts, Leaning Straight Up, Mad Pigeon, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Samantha Burns, Webloggin,
Labels: Personal Stuff