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1 year to the minute

snommintj's picture
Posts: 602
Joined: Mar 2009

This goes out to all those recently diagnosed stage 4 with mets. It's been 1 year since a doctor told me I had 2 maybe three months to live. I was 34 with an 18 month old son. I went to several surgeons and oncologist who said my cancer was simply too advanced to treat. Most agreed they could medicate me and make me comfortable until the end but little else could be done. One very nice doctor told me he would prescribe the necessary medications for me to go when I was ready. Unhappy with those opinions I found an oncologist who agreed to treat me. He felt that he might could extend and maintain a reasonable quality of life. We had hoped for 6 to 8 months.

I sat down and made a list of things I needed and wanted to do before I died. Most were estate related. I wanted to settle my estate, make things easy for my wife and son when I passed. Then there were other things, I wanted to make it to my 35th b-day in august. I really wanted to celebrate my son's 2nd birthday at the end of september ( a full six months from diagnosis and about the limit of what my oncologist thought might be possible). Then there were the unattainable goals (halloween, thanksgiving, christmas, and new years). When I was done making my list the last thing on it was New Years Day. I didn't have much hope for seeing 2009, but I put it down anyway.

I responded very well to folfox 6 w/avastin. I handled chemo well until my son came down with a stomach virus, then I got it. The next three treatments were brutal. I went from 6 tumors over 5cm in my liver to 3 over 5 cm. The 10 cm tumor in my colon didn't shrink but became much less dense. I had many other tumors that had shrunk as well. I met with a surgeon that agreed to perform surgery. I had a colon and liver surgery at the same time. My surgery lasted 13 hours. The surgeon took a foot of colon and around 70% of my liver, gall bladder, and other misc pieces. I was kept sedated for three days. I woke up with an iliostomy bag. My bag was reversed 5 weeks later. The iliostomy incision became infected and postponed my next round of chemo. My CEA levels never fell below 30 and a large tumor developed in the newly grown section of my liver. I had another liver resection in Jan. My liver became infected and I've been battling the infection since. I currently have a J-P drain coming from my liver and am having surgey tomorrow to put a stint in my liver to help drain the infection into my colon. Hopefully things will clear up shortly.

As for my cancer, eventhough all my nodes came back positive from the colectomy, I haven't had any recurrence in the lymph system. I just had a colonoscopy, everything looked good. Pet scans and CT scan are clean. I'm not out of the woods yet. Anything can happen, but last year this time I had been written off.

I never got down, I never dwelled about having cancer, I never asked why me, I never prayed for help, I only asked that my son never get cancer and that he and my wife would have a good happy life when I was gone. Sometimes I prayed that my wife would find a good man that would take care of her and my son as I would. This prayer brought me down so I only prayed for it when I was feeling well. I did what the doctors told me. I researched every aspect of this disease and tried to do things that would help me cope with what the doctors were doing to me.

All you newly diagnosed guys that are feeling scared just know that you can get through this. Things will get tough but you can be much tougher. My diagnosis was as bad as they get and things looked bleak, yesterday I found my timeline a made last year. I hadn't even realized a future beyond 2008. Here I am hanging in there and looking forward to 2010. Good luck

dianetavegia's picture
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

I was quite touched by your attitude and am going to be praying that the operation TOMORROW, goes well, that the infection in your liver heals and that you remain cancer free. God bless!


VickiCO's picture
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

Thank you for your post. Although not a newbie any longer (DX'd Oct 22/08, chemo/rad until 12/29/08, surgery 2/4/09 and now more chem starting 3/23) and having a better outlook than you had (initially stage 3, downgraded to stage 2 after surgery) this perspective \really helps all of us.

Thank you for your courage, and wishing you many more anniversaries!


Buzzard's picture
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

Understandably it is the hardest thing anyone has to face but it seems the strongest ones are the ones facing it seemingly because we can take what we have and make the best of it. We have to know that even if we suffer that there will be others that will not because of the trials and journeys that we go through battling this mess, and the information that is gained because of our suffering. That is how I cope with knowing that it can return or never leave. You are one of us and we have to stick together, to guide and pull each other through this either spiritually , mentally, or physically. You have a great attitude, one that from what I see has carried you very far in this. Keep the chin up and we all hope for modern medicine to make a great leap someday soon and find a cure so that others will not have to make this journey as we have........God Bless you and your family.........

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6723
Joined: Feb 2009

You have an amazing attitude and that is one key factor in beating this disease. Your determination and goals are keeping you going along with your resolve to carry on. I pray that your surgery go well tomorrow and that you will soon become NED. Keep us updated.


maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

double wow plus 2. thanks for your post. I have been fighting on for 5 years and your post really means a lot. thanks for your courage and wonderful attitude....your resolve is remarkable..


Shayenne's picture
Posts: 2370
Joined: Jan 2009

...Your post practically brought me to tears, I am stage 4 with a mass on my colon wall and a tumor in my liver, and I loved your post because it gives me such hope that I will fight this off as well, my onc wont even give me any kind of prognosis, because she feels there's too many people out there that "surprise" her where you think they're going to die and they don't, and she don't want people to lose that hope, and I hope you never do either.

Good luck with your surgery, I hope your infection clears up, you are one heck of a caring man with a loving family, I will pray for you and please let us know how things went, you just keep that attitude you have now and you'll be here for a long time, I think the positivity and happiness is a major part in the recovery, don't ever let this get you down, and thanks for the post, it made me feel very hopeful!


kimby's picture
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

Thank you so much for this post. You give me hope and sometimes that is hard to come by! You posted on a day that I needed to be reminded that the doctors really don't have a clue. When it comes to Stage IV they're guessing.

Congratulations to you and your family. I am so very, very happy for you. Each day is truely a gift and you are blessed! Know that you make a difference to others (me at least!)

Thank you,


tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5065
Joined: Feb 2008

You're just an awesome person, so inspiring. I'm so glad you've proved those first doctors wrong. I will pray for continued healing for you, so you can have many more days with your family.


snommintj's picture
Posts: 602
Joined: Mar 2009

Thanks for yours posts. I would really just like to let everyone out there know that there are so many things out there worse than cancer. I've been in combat where I knew I was going to die, there was know way out, I came to terms with my mortality in a brief moment when I was 23. By whatever grace saved me then, I have since always known that I was on borrowed time. I am so blessed to have been diagnosed with cancer. I had begun to take time and life for granted again, I wasn't the best husband, father, son, and friend I could be. I was focused on building my business so that we could have things we didn't need. Right now, I'm in financial ruin, but I don't care. I have spent almost every moment of the past year with my son. I've come closer to my wife, parents, and friends. People I don't even know pray for me and provide for me. I never knew how many truly good friends I had until I had nothing to offer. Then those who cared came to stay with me, take care of me, go far beyond what I ever thought friends would do. I wouldn't trade this past year for a lifetime of how I was turning out. I hope I can beat this thing, I have a renewed since of what life is all about. if I don't you can bet I'll die with a big smile on my face for being as blessed as I have been.

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