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Am I going to DIE?

menright
menright Member Posts: 256
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
As I prepare for the liver surgery and HAI pump install, I find myself with new thoughts of death from cancer. I have been at this battle for 18 months and up until now thought I was working toward a cure.

As a stage IV cc with 3ea mets to the liver, it is just now sinking in that percentages are against me. Physically I feel great. I have been off chemo now for 5 months. It is hard to believe that death is knocking when I feel just fine.

Some of the discussion on HAI pumps talks about life extension up to 24 months. That is only 2 years and the way time flies by, that will be here quickly.

I know there are many out there that have survived 5+ years with recurrences and follow-on surgeries. It is not what I planned, but I guess I need to settle in for a long battle with periods of relative calm.

I want to see my kids graduate college and someday play with grandkids.

Cancer is scary stuff. I hate that my psyche has taken this turn.

Mike

Comments

  • Kerry S
    Kerry S Member Posts: 606
    I am still very much here
    Mike,
    Don’t let yourself fall into that “give up” pit. I did not have 3 mets to the liver. My liver was covered with it. Only one showed up on the PET scan. They did chemo embolazation to my liver. Killed off ½ of it. I had even met with the folks at hospice. It was a great feeling to call them back and say “never mind”. Talk to yourself and your body and fight this crap. It can be done. I am still very much here.

    Kerry
  • Sundanceh
    Sundanceh Member Posts: 4,392
    Hi Mike

    I've talked to you before, but we have not really swapped hellos.

    Your post speaks of an Awakening and an Awareness, that is finally settling in with you now. I remember you as one who wanted to "hop on the train" and get right off - we'd all like it to be that way. But for many of us, it's Time and Patience in fighting this battle. You just have to hold out longer than the Cancer.

    Recurrence is always where the real battle of Cancer is ultimately won or lost. That's what makes it the devil that it is.

    I believe now, that you are finally realizing that this is not going to be easy as you thought and that it will take more time than you originally planned on.

    Just let me say that your feelings right now are completely normal - and this is the perfect time to come to grips with them and allow yourself the permission to feel exactly the way you do. It's through this time in your life, that you are allowing yourself time to sift through what is important to you and what you want to accomplish.

    These introspective thoughts that you are thinking will serve you well as you prepare for the next phase of your battle. They are your armor, as it were, that you will use to protect yourself when the going gets rough.

    Death is not on your door step - but the thought of it is - and that's ok - we're only human and when one stares across the table at Mortality, it is an awakening of all of your senses coming to life and getting your attention - it's saying, this is for real, this is for keeps.

    I'm a stage IV and I had a huge 9cm tumor in my liver - we got it with RFA and CyberKnife and then a year of chemo with Folfox, Xeloda, and Avastin and such. I read the statistics in the waiting room about the various procedures.

    My surgery was slated 2 days after Christmas in 2007 - liver specialists, doctors, and surgeons hinted to the fact that it would be highly unlikely I would see the next Christmas in 2008. They further illustrated that even with the surgery, the cancer would certainly be right back in my liver within ONE year.

    That's when I got mad - and said I'll just show you. We're in May 2010 - I'm 2.5 years removed from that ordeal. I'm still here did not die and we got the cancer out of my liver, so they were wrong on both counts.

    I'm 6-years into things right now. I just had to get my mind right to fight and be prepared to go for the long haul.

    I like to use the fable between the tortoise and the hare, "The race is not always won by the swiftest - rather slow and steady steps will still get you to the finish line - and victory."

    It's ok, Mike. It's important to be in touch with your real feelings - go ahead and absorb what you've been told - let your emotions flow and don't try to stop them - and then get mad, get angry - and then get back after it!

    You're going to come out of this ok - and you'll think back to this conversation and remember where you were - and where you went - I believe you are going to be ok - you are going to have to fight hard, but that is what makes the victory all the sweeter.

    Hang in there, Mike - and thanks for the courage to reveal what you are truly feeling. It takes a man to be able to do that. I've followed your entire story, so I understand what has been happening to you. If you have any questions, you can always let me know.

    All the best
    -Craig
  • thready
    thready Member Posts: 474
    Though times?
    Mike,
    I know this crap leads us down the road where we feel death is knocking, but I am asking that you do not answer the door! I know there are others who can tell you so much more than I can but I want you to know you are in my thoughts.

    Jan
  • maglets
    maglets Member Posts: 2,576
    thready said:

    Though times?
    Mike,
    I know this crap leads us down the road where we feel death is knocking, but I am asking that you do not answer the door! I know there are others who can tell you so much more than I can but I want you to know you are in my thoughts.

    Jan

    MIke
    yes darling boy you are going to die but not right now. We are all going to die but not right now.... When I went down that hall for my 2nd resection....I thought...great let's just get this over this.

    I know Mike. Death is never really far far our minds but I think you are are just facing something new right now and you will get past it. Personally I have honestly given up on numbers....I do not ask...I don't want to know.

    starting year 6 Mike and still feel good....hold on ...keep on ....sending hugs and big best wishes

    mags
  • PhillieG
    PhillieG Member Posts: 4,866
    Mike, Mike, Mike...
    1st: we're ALL gonna die.
    2nd: I've had my HAI pump in for 5 1/2 years and it took care of ALL of my liver mets. Every last one of them.
    C: (?) do yourself a BIG favor and stop reading so much about statistics and all that crap. I probably should have been dead 3-4 years ago if I bought into that nonsense.

    Percentages and statistics are for horse racing.
    I can relate to how you are feeling, my kids are 16 and 10 and I plan on being around for all that you plan on being around for too. Although I watch it with the grandkids part. I don't want my son to be a daddy at 16 ;-)
    You'll do fine Mike...
    Enjoy living!
    -phil
  • sheri22
    sheri22 Member Posts: 273
    We all get scared
    I think we all get to thinking a little too much about what this can do to us and it scares the crap out of me when I think about it, but truth be knowen we can die from anything this isnt a fun fight sometimes we think it will kick our butt but we get back up and say I won again today thats what makes us ca survivors. I started out stage 2 6 years ago thought it was gone now I am at stage IV with mets to the lung I was diagnosed 16 months ago, with stage IV So in my opinion venting is good just dont dwell on it and it helps when you here all the good stories on here too GOODluck
    Sheri22
  • lisa42
    lisa42 Member Posts: 3,625
    time
    Mike,

    The others who have posted said it well. Many of us are here past our predicted "expiration date"- I'm almost at the 3 year point & I too get weary thinking about ongoing treatments, more scanxiety, maybe more surgeries, etc, etc. BUT the alternative is that I die. Of course, I'd LOVE the alternative to be that the cancer all goes away and I am completely healed. That hasn't happened yet, but really the miracle is that I am still here and feeling pretty good. Like you, I used to read and worry about what studies said- that this particular chemo may buy me another 18 months (so many of the statistics talk about how many months until progression- it is just assumed that I'll have a recurrence, it's just a matter of how long will it be this time). That's stage IV for you, but as you have read on this board, there are several individuals who were stage IV and currently have no sign of disease & have maintained that for quite a while. That is the status I hope and pray to get too. After a while- and you've now gotten to that point- you kind of mourn when you realize that this is chronic. BUT a lot of people live with chronic diseases and illnesses- as long as we can keep whacking the cancer down, we'll be okay. I'm planning on seeing my kids graduate, go to college, get married, have kids, etc., but I still have a while to go before all that happens. I just have to keep holding on, and that is what I plan on doing. Certainly not doing it the way I imagined it would be done, but it is what it is & I'm still here. SO ARE YOU. Before I had my liver resection (2 yrs ago this month), I had a dream that I died during surgery. I wondered if it was God preparing me for it or if it was just me freaking out. I didn't die (did quite well actually), so it was just me freaking myself out. I tell you, though, I did a lot of pondering, talking to my loved ones, and lots of praying & I really got to the point where I did not feel afraid to die. I'm so grateful that I didn't, of course. I'm still alive and kicking- and so are you. You'll get through this funk and you will go on. Like you said, you're feeling good, so there's no reason to think that this is it for you.

    I'll be thinking of and praying for your mood to perk back up again.

    Take care,
    Lisa
  • robinvan
    robinvan Member Posts: 1,012
    Time...
    You know Mike, two years sounds pretty good sometimes.

    I was dx stage 4 in 2004. I've survived 6 years but my forward horizon has always been clouded. It is so unpredictable and so scary. I'm hesitant to make long-term plans or make long-term purchases, like new shoes!

    I've had two recurrences and two long periods of relative calm (2 years each). Now I am beginning to look at this more as a chronic illness and less like an acute situation which can be cured. But, you never know!! There is no disease progression and where there is no progression there could be remission, and where there's remission there could be cure!! Yeah!

    I have enjoyed one daughters wedding, and another two daughter's college graduations, our 25th wedding anniversary, and my parent's 50th, the Olympics, and many other good things along the way.

    You are looking at some good treatment options. you are young and healthy. Hopefully a resection or RFA procedure will be an option down the road. Besides, we all know that a cure is just around the corner!!

    Truly, I have experienced life-saving procedures that were only in trial stages when I was first diagnosed. Liver resection is still a relatively new picture and it has changed the statistics significantly.

    Hope for the future but live for the day. Trite and cliche as it sounds. Somehow it works.

    Peace and blessings... Rob; in Vancouver
  • Annabelle41415
    Annabelle41415 Member Posts: 6,712 **
    Surgery
    My thoughts are with you as you struggle with your anxiety of your upcoming surgery. You have a right to have those thoughts, but you will be fine. Whenever we get a cancer diagnosis that is our first thought. I pray for a speedy recovery.

    Kim
  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028
    PhillieG said:

    Mike, Mike, Mike...
    1st: we're ALL gonna die.
    2nd: I've had my HAI pump in for 5 1/2 years and it took care of ALL of my liver mets. Every last one of them.
    C: (?) do yourself a BIG favor and stop reading so much about statistics and all that crap. I probably should have been dead 3-4 years ago if I bought into that nonsense.

    Percentages and statistics are for horse racing.
    I can relate to how you are feeling, my kids are 16 and 10 and I plan on being around for all that you plan on being around for too. Although I watch it with the grandkids part. I don't want my son to be a daddy at 16 ;-)
    You'll do fine Mike...
    Enjoy living!
    -phil

    I agree completely....
    I know, I'm only a stage III, no reoccurance...that does change the playing field. But, I tussled with breast cancer as well, stage II (which is like stage III CRC...in the lymph system). There may be 'dust bunnies' flowing thru my body, looking for a bed to hide under, but I don't dwell on the thought....

    But, I agree with phil...stats are only averages...I was given 6 months to live, at best, 5 years ago.

    I am fiercely protective of my body now...but I also learned the need to feed my mind. I was startled the other day at the oncologist's office to see my chart...over 4 inches thick...I even asked if that was all one person's chart, when it was laying at the reception's area...

    Anywho, that's my take, I have combatted my fear of dying by making sure all is taken care of, should it happen tomorrow. I have a will, and an advanced directive. I tell my loved ones that I love them, every time I talk to them. I laugh everyday. I comfort myself with the thought that after I'm gone, people will think kindly of me.

    Reality is, after all, that I will more than likely die from cancer. But I'm focusing on some time in the future, not today....and that is what gets me thru.

    BIG hugs, Kathi
  • geotina
    geotina Member Posts: 2,111
    Mike
    I'm so sorry you find yourself in a dark place. Even as a caregiver, I have been there. You have options that are not available for many. Are you scared, you bet, are you worried yes, and you know what, that is so very normal. Once I wrapped my head around the fact that George has a chronic disease, and it will have its ups and downs, and I have no control over it things felt much better. Simple to say but difficult to do so hang in there, better days are ahead.

    Tina
  • msccolon
    msccolon Member Posts: 1,917
    those down times
    I have them as well. I am a bit of a slow learner, it took my 2nd recurrence before it really hit me that this beast is determined and I might be in this battle for life! My first 2 surgeries, while not a walk in the park, were relatively easy to recover from. The chemo sucked, but that as well soon passed and I had times of feeling good soon enough. My last recurrence has been a bit*&! I did the IPHC and I am now coming up on a year since that procedure was done and I have to say that I am just now starting to feel "normal" again. And the year hasn't been free of recurrences, either! Sometimes I am afraid of what the future holds, although I am not afraid of death, I am afraid of what the journey there might bring. The main things I have done to help myself get over that fear is my advanced directive; but I don't stop at that. My closest loved ones have gotten the specific talk on what I do and DON'T want done when my time comes, as have my doctors! I don't want any "mistakes" made that will leave me and my loved ones in unnecessary agony! Of course, I expect this to be MANY years in the future, cause I'm just not ready to go yet! I have lots to do and my children have lots of needed loving from their momma! I'm with many here, when God's ready to take me he's going to have to drag me kicking and screaming! Of course, that's really just a joke cause I firmly believe that when it IS my time, God will have prepared me for it and there will be a calm and an inner excitement for what is to come. Oh, I don't doubt that there will be sadness as well for what is left behind, but I think that will fade into the background. I just have to make sure that I leave my children and grand child (hopefully more in the future!) with happy memories and a determination to fight when the going gets tough! In fact, my desire to leave the legacy of determination to fight is really what keeps me in this fight. I want my children to understand that when the going gets tough we don't just throw up our hands and give up! I want them to see that I give everything I have, even if that means crying as I go to procedures out of fear! I used to think that crying was a sign of weakness, but I have learned that it truly is a sign of strength!

    I am in my 6th year of this battle, and I see my youngest graduate college on Friday! In August, when I begin my 7th year of this battle, I see my 50th birthday! Let me tell you, I didn't think I would see either of those on 8/12/04 when I heard those 3 words. But I believe I will see those and much more! I saw my oldest daughter marry and have a child, I can't wait to see my youngest do the same! We have already planned the dress I will make for her, although I'm still kinda hoping she'll want to wear my dress ;). So, I can't deny that there have been some really down times over the years, and I don't doubt there will be more in the future. Luckily, those times always pass and the sun comes out and life is good again! Coming here and affirming that others share this battle helps tremendously! And it is the rare day that I come here and DON'T learn something new on how to win this battle! We have a lot of very strong warriors here and it is a blessing to be able to share with them. I hope your tough times pass soon and you are back to putting on your armor and digging in your heels to win!
    mary
  • maglets
    maglets Member Posts: 2,576
    msccolon said:

    those down times
    I have them as well. I am a bit of a slow learner, it took my 2nd recurrence before it really hit me that this beast is determined and I might be in this battle for life! My first 2 surgeries, while not a walk in the park, were relatively easy to recover from. The chemo sucked, but that as well soon passed and I had times of feeling good soon enough. My last recurrence has been a bit*&! I did the IPHC and I am now coming up on a year since that procedure was done and I have to say that I am just now starting to feel "normal" again. And the year hasn't been free of recurrences, either! Sometimes I am afraid of what the future holds, although I am not afraid of death, I am afraid of what the journey there might bring. The main things I have done to help myself get over that fear is my advanced directive; but I don't stop at that. My closest loved ones have gotten the specific talk on what I do and DON'T want done when my time comes, as have my doctors! I don't want any "mistakes" made that will leave me and my loved ones in unnecessary agony! Of course, I expect this to be MANY years in the future, cause I'm just not ready to go yet! I have lots to do and my children have lots of needed loving from their momma! I'm with many here, when God's ready to take me he's going to have to drag me kicking and screaming! Of course, that's really just a joke cause I firmly believe that when it IS my time, God will have prepared me for it and there will be a calm and an inner excitement for what is to come. Oh, I don't doubt that there will be sadness as well for what is left behind, but I think that will fade into the background. I just have to make sure that I leave my children and grand child (hopefully more in the future!) with happy memories and a determination to fight when the going gets tough! In fact, my desire to leave the legacy of determination to fight is really what keeps me in this fight. I want my children to understand that when the going gets tough we don't just throw up our hands and give up! I want them to see that I give everything I have, even if that means crying as I go to procedures out of fear! I used to think that crying was a sign of weakness, but I have learned that it truly is a sign of strength!

    I am in my 6th year of this battle, and I see my youngest graduate college on Friday! In August, when I begin my 7th year of this battle, I see my 50th birthday! Let me tell you, I didn't think I would see either of those on 8/12/04 when I heard those 3 words. But I believe I will see those and much more! I saw my oldest daughter marry and have a child, I can't wait to see my youngest do the same! We have already planned the dress I will make for her, although I'm still kinda hoping she'll want to wear my dress ;). So, I can't deny that there have been some really down times over the years, and I don't doubt there will be more in the future. Luckily, those times always pass and the sun comes out and life is good again! Coming here and affirming that others share this battle helps tremendously! And it is the rare day that I come here and DON'T learn something new on how to win this battle! We have a lot of very strong warriors here and it is a blessing to be able to share with them. I hope your tough times pass soon and you are back to putting on your armor and digging in your heels to win!
    mary

    sorry Mike
    sorry just one tiny blip here....Mary that is a beautiful photo of you.....you like a million bucks....go girl

    mags
  • maglets
    maglets Member Posts: 2,576
    msccolon said:

    those down times
    I have them as well. I am a bit of a slow learner, it took my 2nd recurrence before it really hit me that this beast is determined and I might be in this battle for life! My first 2 surgeries, while not a walk in the park, were relatively easy to recover from. The chemo sucked, but that as well soon passed and I had times of feeling good soon enough. My last recurrence has been a bit*&! I did the IPHC and I am now coming up on a year since that procedure was done and I have to say that I am just now starting to feel "normal" again. And the year hasn't been free of recurrences, either! Sometimes I am afraid of what the future holds, although I am not afraid of death, I am afraid of what the journey there might bring. The main things I have done to help myself get over that fear is my advanced directive; but I don't stop at that. My closest loved ones have gotten the specific talk on what I do and DON'T want done when my time comes, as have my doctors! I don't want any "mistakes" made that will leave me and my loved ones in unnecessary agony! Of course, I expect this to be MANY years in the future, cause I'm just not ready to go yet! I have lots to do and my children have lots of needed loving from their momma! I'm with many here, when God's ready to take me he's going to have to drag me kicking and screaming! Of course, that's really just a joke cause I firmly believe that when it IS my time, God will have prepared me for it and there will be a calm and an inner excitement for what is to come. Oh, I don't doubt that there will be sadness as well for what is left behind, but I think that will fade into the background. I just have to make sure that I leave my children and grand child (hopefully more in the future!) with happy memories and a determination to fight when the going gets tough! In fact, my desire to leave the legacy of determination to fight is really what keeps me in this fight. I want my children to understand that when the going gets tough we don't just throw up our hands and give up! I want them to see that I give everything I have, even if that means crying as I go to procedures out of fear! I used to think that crying was a sign of weakness, but I have learned that it truly is a sign of strength!

    I am in my 6th year of this battle, and I see my youngest graduate college on Friday! In August, when I begin my 7th year of this battle, I see my 50th birthday! Let me tell you, I didn't think I would see either of those on 8/12/04 when I heard those 3 words. But I believe I will see those and much more! I saw my oldest daughter marry and have a child, I can't wait to see my youngest do the same! We have already planned the dress I will make for her, although I'm still kinda hoping she'll want to wear my dress ;). So, I can't deny that there have been some really down times over the years, and I don't doubt there will be more in the future. Luckily, those times always pass and the sun comes out and life is good again! Coming here and affirming that others share this battle helps tremendously! And it is the rare day that I come here and DON'T learn something new on how to win this battle! We have a lot of very strong warriors here and it is a blessing to be able to share with them. I hope your tough times pass soon and you are back to putting on your armor and digging in your heels to win!
    mary

    sorry Mike
    sorry just one tiny blip here....Mary that is a beautiful photo of you.....you like a million bucks....go girl

    mags
  • msccolon
    msccolon Member Posts: 1,917
    maglets said:

    sorry Mike
    sorry just one tiny blip here....Mary that is a beautiful photo of you.....you like a million bucks....go girl

    mags

    thank you <<<blush>>>
    It was taken on mother's day!
    mary
  • tootsie1
    tootsie1 Member Posts: 5,036
    Wishing you well
    Mike,

    You've always been so positive in your messages. I always think of you saying something like, "Wish me well," or "Wish me luck." I do, buddy, I do.

    I pray for you, and I hope things will be so much better than you're imagining right now.

    *hugs*
    Gail
  • AnneCan
    AnneCan Member Posts: 3,673
    msccolon said:

    thank you <<<blush>>>
    It was taken on mother's day!
    mary

    It is a lovely picture + you
    It is a lovely picture + you look happy, totally in control.
  • msccolon
    msccolon Member Posts: 1,917
    AnneCan said:

    It is a lovely picture + you
    It is a lovely picture + you look happy, totally in control.

    thank you!
    I like this picture too! The corsage was from my youngest, she always remembers to buy me one for mother's day!
    mary