Jan 07, 2005 - 10:54 pm
Hello to all. I have been reading this board for over a year but this is my first post. My father died of bladder cancer at age 53. I have lived in fear of the disease ever since. I have visited my internist twice a year for a long time. When he noticed that I had turned age 50, my doc recommended a colonoscopy. I hemmed and hawed and delayed, but eventually I scheduled the appointment. As you probably suspect, the news was not good. I had a colon resection two days later. The tumor had penetrated the colon wall but all nodes were clear. This was July 2002. Given my relatively young age, my onc wanted to be aggressive. He sent me for 25 radiation treatments and 6 months of chemo with 5FU and Leucovorin. He told me that my chance of recurence was very small. Well, I beat the odds. My scan approximately 1 year after the surgery show some nodules on the left lung and a growth on the left kidney. A biopsy of the kidney showed the growth to be renal cell carcinoma. Needless to say, I was quite flummoxed. I sought a second opinion in Houston. Although I believe second opinions are a great idea, let's just say that mine didn't work out well. I came back home and dedided to follow my onc's advice: in the fall of 2003 I had my left kidney removed and my left lung resected. The pathology reports brought bad and good news. The renal cell was so early stage that the docs regard the surgery as having been curative. The lung nodules, however, were a metastisis of the colon cancer. Worst of all, traces of the colon cancer were found on the removed kidney. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, a December 2003 PET/CT showed another nodule on what remained of my left lung. Sound hopeless? I certainly thought so. But guess what? The nodule is now gone and I have been informed that I am in remission. After the December scan, I began 6 months of chemo with oxaliplatin and 5FU. At my next scan in February 2004, the nodule had disappeared. Two more scans since have shown the same. I finished the chemo this past July and have lived a relatively normal life for the last 6 months. I know full well that the news could turn bad again at any time, but compared to where I was a year and a half ago, this is just great (as long as I ignore the neuropathy, reflux and unpredictable bowel habits). My law firm is quite pleased to have me back billing hours again. My message to the newly-diagnosed and those with a recurrence is this: When you think there is no such thing as good news, it is natural to become discouraged but do not give up hope. I am living proof that you may be in for a pleasant surprise.