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“Sundance Still Alive and Kickin’”

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Well, I’ve been home a little over a week now. Hospital stay was 13 very long days. Today, I had to return to the “scene of the crime.” I had an appointment with good ol’ Dr. D. – I love this guy. There he was waiting at the door to the waiting room for me and ushering me in. He took my arm and walked me down to the exam room. Just some extra TLC I suppose. He removed the sutures to my very long scar on my back today and said it’s coming along nicely.

Today, was also Intern day as there were many new faces in the exam room, but I tuned them out and worked with Dr. D. We talked about a good many things. I found out that we did FIVE wedge resections on my lower lobe of my right lung. As I had stated previously, he had to remove 2 of my ribs during surgery as the tumor had grown so big, that it had become embedded in my rib cage and deep into the chest cavity itself.

This had gotten worse over the last few weeks before surgery and was cutting of my breathing and causing tremendous pain. The tumor was so big (6cm) that it forced an open thoracotomy procedure and forced us to abandon the DaVinci robot surgery. So, to get a clear enough margin, he had to do 5 wedge resections on the lung. He also scraped the chest cavity and went as far as he could go.

Today, I found out why. That’s because the tumor was delicately close to my spine and he did not want to risk further injury to me, so he scraped what he could. His recommendation is radiation to that area to clean all of that up and lay waste to the remaining cancer cells that still have the guts to stick around. However, I will be getting an appointment with a radiation oncologist there to discuss the details – I have many questions. But, I’m understanding today, why he elects for the rads – we’re close to the spinal column and both want to stop the advance there.

I’ll also be meeting with my regular oncologist to discuss chemo – we’ll see what comes out of that meeting. Since Folfox destroyed my immune system and platelet counts, I’m sure the decision would be to move to Folfiri. I’ll gather his data as well and make the best decision that I/We can as a medical team.

During our appointment, Dr. D. would reach over and just sort of stroke my arm – in a gentle, caring sort of way. I believe that this man truly cares about me. He told me today, that our first DaVinci surgery and the success we had, convinced St. Paul hospital to give him his very own robot – so, that’s 1.5 million dollars worth of a good deed we did together and the hospital. Truly, very warm and rewarding to know that I was able to make a difference with my life.

I thought back this morning to the rocky start that me and Dr. D. got off to originally back when we started. To see where we are at today warms my heart and reaffirms that sometimes we must give someone the 2nd chance to redeem themselves. He’s one of the very best and is in a select group of 6 surgeons that will periodically tour the country to various hospitals to tout the virtues of the DaVinci robot – so, he’s that good to be in that kind of company.

I have to love this man and trust his judgment implicitly – why? Because, twice now, I’ve had to entrust the most treasured gift that I have on this earth – and that’s my life. He has not disappointed and I’m grateful to have this kind of expertise on my medical team.

And, I’ve got some pretty good news. The path report confirmed that it was metastatic colorectal cancer cells to the lung alright – no mistake there. But, there was NO evidence in my ribs that he removed – or in my chest cavity. Although, we suspect there are a few terrorist pockets there, and thus the radiation recommendation. So, all in all, I continue to count my blessings and am grateful for the news that I’ve received.

The funny thing is I don’t feel angry or bitter about any of this. I have long accepted that I’m at war within my own body and that our cancer is a very formidable enemy. Instead, I have more of a steely resolve than I’ve ever had before – and this from the guy who’s now 2 months into his SEVENTH (7th) year of the battle. That is some pretty select company to still be “actively” battling cancer with surgeries and/or treatments. An accomplishment that I’m proud of.

For those of you in your battles who think you’ve had enough, I use my life and story as an example of what each of us might be able to do, when the circumstances are right.

Am I tired? You bet I am.

Will I quit? Well, you all know the answer to that one – if you know me:)

You see, I haven’t had enough yet – there’s still gas in this ol’ tank and I’ll drive the wheels off of this racecar, if I believe there is a good chance.

And I do believe that – I’m gonna’ walk away from this “train wreck.” It may take me some more time and I’ll probably have to do more, but I want all of you to see one of your own do this – and to also see that I can and will do this – I will win – I will defeat my cancer.

I want to show you that Time and Patience are not just buzzwords that I throw around. They are very important ingredients , just as our heart and soul play a huge role, as well.

Time and Patience are definitely key elements in our arsenal of weapons. I’m just too stubborn to believe that I just won’t outwait or outlive this cancer. You know, as a Stage IV going into 7-years and counting, I’m just beginning to understand how evil the cancer really is.

Biologically and systematically programmed to be a killing machine. I’ve realized that it has shown me no mercy – and therefore, I’ve decided to show it even less mercy than I have so far. We are playing for keeps here.

I’ve let cancer pound on me and now I’m gonna’ pound back harder. Again, I’m not pissed off, merely resolved in my determination to continue fighting. I guess I love a good fight. I didn’t start it up, but I’ll be there to finish it up. I may bend a little here or there, but quitting is not my nature. I learned to be a survivor in my early life and it has served me well in this journey.

Dr. D. and company are simply amazed at my recovery, just 3 weeks removed from surgery. If you looked at me, you’d never know it – I’ve been blessed like that. Lung holding air and improving with a little fluid still in them, but I’m working on it. The incisions are healing, but that sure is a nasty scar –I see a little indentation in my back where my ribs were. Sigh, I just had to trade them in for a shot at going on. I had a nice little body at one time – when I look at the damage inflicted, I just close my eyes and move on – whatcha’ gonna’ do?

They are just flipping out that I can smile and laugh through all of this – I just don’t know any other way. I do what I’m told and am a very cooperative patient – we can do it 2 ways, and I just choose to be nice in my behavior and try to be a joy to my medical team – that seems to work pretty good for me.

So, how do I feel today? One word – Alive.

For all of you that follow me and worry about me…..“Never fear – Sundance is Here” :)

For all of you that have suffered a recurrence in recent weeks, I just want you to know that I am with you and pulling hard for you. I’ve read the reports when I could log on. Saddens me to see us all floating in the same boat, but I know we can drag this out a lot farther than we thought we could.

I hope you will find some comfort in this update post – I wanted to brighten a corner of the room, especially with all of the bad news as of late. I’m as optimistic as I’ve ever been – more determined to win than ever before – and I’ve thrown in a dash of persistence, patience, and conviction on top of all of that. Finally, I added a heapin’ dose of Texan to finish the recipe.

What’s that spell? Bad News for Cancer, LOL:)

We’ll talk again very soon – love you guys and thanks again for staying with me. This forum is a great sounding board and allows us to gauge our progress, where by ourselves, we were left wondering what was right and what was wrong. I found this place late, but still glad I can come here and share with you all.

-Craig

fedester
Posts: 757
Joined: Jul 2004

craig,
that is some anventure.
great positive attitude my friend.
i know what you said about trusting your dr. i too have had a great experience with my gastro dr he saved my twice so far.
be well
never,ever give up!!
bruce

daydreamer110761's picture
daydreamer110761
Posts: 497
Joined: Dec 2008

as always. So glad to see you felling better, up and about. very encouraging, thank you.

Jaylo969
Posts: 827
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks for coming by. Been missing you friend. Glad to see that your spirit has not been dampened and you are still in the cancer A$$ kicking mode.

Best wishes & keep on kickin'

-Pat

C Dixon
Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm glad to see you are recovering well. I appreciate your post as I am one of the ones who has discovered a reccurence in the past few weeks. Thanks for the encouragment at just the right time.

Catherine

idlehunters's picture
idlehunters
Posts: 1792
Joined: Apr 2009

What up my man????? So good to see you posting again. You have been thru SO much that it makes my bumps in the road seem like pebbles...LOL. I am so happy to see you on your way to recovery...fantastic progress! Hope to see you NED very soon. Even tho we all know NED is not a cure.... it sure is a nice vacation!!!!!!

Luv to you and Kim

Jennie

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

You never cease to amaze me.....you are Da Man !!!....Love and Hope to ya, Buzz

HollyID's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

You are the Da Man!! I'm so glad you're posting again.

Love and Hugs,

Holly

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Craig! Glad to see your post! I was just checking one last time before leaving for the airport in another hour for our vacation. I'll be off the boards while gone. No time for a long post- but glad to hear from you- you're going to kick the cancer's butt, yet!

Hugs and prayers,
Lisa

SandyL
Posts: 220
Joined: Feb 2009

you are back! So happy to hear from you again. And to hear your positive attitude is indeed a blessing. Keep on, keeping on friend-you can beat it I know!
Sandy

AnneCan
Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi Craig,

It is wonderful to hear from you! You have been through a lot + you have the amazing attitude required to fight this beast. I really admire your courage, grace + strength as you work your way through this. Good vibes are coming to you.

just4Brooks's picture
just4Brooks
Posts: 988
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi Craig, You sure made my day the other day when I talked to you. You’re a amazing person!!!

Brooks

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

It was great talking with you the other day! Helped my day as well.

-Craig

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6249
Joined: Feb 2009

Wow you have been through the wringer. You are a great fighter and have no doubt that you are going to beat this too. That's great news about the cancer not getting to the ribs though and sounds like you have a very good doctor. Keep us up to date with what is happening. Love hearing your journey. Don't over do it either. This is time for you to pamper you and make sure you do as the doctor says :)

Kim

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

You are amazing, da man! Keep it up! Glad you trust your docs that is important! hang in there and rest when you can!

abmb's picture
abmb
Posts: 311
Joined: Sep 2009

Good to hear from you, Craig. You are a man of many words, positive words!! Stay that way. God Bless you and take care of you. Margaret

tootsie1's picture
tootsie1
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

Craig, you are so amazing. You do my heart good every time you post a comment on here. You exude strength and kindness and courage and humor and so much more.

When I hear stories like yours, it makes me shake my head at people who say things like, "Colon cancer is a pretty good cancer to get, as far as cancer goes." Uh-huh, and how many times have you had it, foolish one?

Sounds like things are fairly decent for you now, and I hope there are no more surprises. Just healing.

*hugs*
Gail

nursesheri's picture
nursesheri
Posts: 50
Joined: Jul 2010

Thank you for your words of encouragement. I look forward to everyone's posts for any ounce of hope, and yours had tons. Stay strong!

Sheri

theresa8's picture
theresa8
Posts: 61
Joined: Dec 2009

The good news is that you are back. We missed you and your postings. Like you said the lesson that my husband and I learned in this battle against cancer is TIME and PATIENCE.
Thanks again for your inspiring words
Theresa

Fight for my love
Posts: 1530
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi brother,it's nice to see your update.I am glad to know that the doctor is happy about your speedy recovery,you are very strong both in physical,mentally and spiritually.I know you will kick this "C"'s *** again.Another news for you,I have a nephew now,7-day new born baby,a new member in my family.

Crow71's picture
Crow71
Posts: 681
Joined: Jan 2010

Craig - That surgery sounds brutal. You once described all your scars as looking like a road map - a road map to NED. Guess you got another road. Glad you came out in good spirits.
Man sparks to you friend.
Roger

coolvdub's picture
coolvdub
Posts: 410
Joined: Aug 2009

Craig,

All I can say is wow, you sound really good for all you have been through this round. As usual you have such a way with words. I just don't know what to say other than, you are an inspring soul. I look forward to reading more from you when you are up to it.

Don

dorookie
Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

You should really have your own column somewhere. You are such an inspirational writer, my Gosh you missed your calling if you are not writing for a living. You could probably just take all the post you have written here and put together a book. Truly amazing my friend.. I cant wait to meet you in Oct....

Praying for you

HUGS
Beth

Sonia32's picture
Sonia32
Posts: 1078
Joined: Mar 2009

Good to see you posting hugs, and your out of hospital yay! Don't over do it ok, keep resting, lol sound like your big sister here. lol

Paula G.'s picture
Paula G.
Posts: 596
Joined: Apr 2009

Craig, It is sure good to see you on the board. Sounds like you have been thru he$$ and back....
You have a great attitude and I think that is what you need. Love the heapin' dose of Texan comment.
You take it easy and keep us up to date. Thanks for sharing,Paula

WinneyPooh's picture
WinneyPooh
Posts: 318
Joined: Jul 2009

Glad to hear you came out of everything and are doing well, You give us all hope and encourgement
Winnie

luv3jay's picture
luv3jay
Posts: 534
Joined: May 2009

Hey Craig!

I'm so glad you're hanging in there and I love the semi good news. We will continue to fight each day.

Sheri

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ssonjia
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2009

Just wanted to drop a quick lil note Sheeri22 ask how you are doing often her computer is down so I just wanted to let you know that we are thinking of you and are very happy that you are out of the hospital . Its wonderful to see you posting again. Sonjia

lizzydavis's picture
lizzydavis
Posts: 893
Joined: May 2009

Hi Craig,

I am smiling back at you!

Lizzy

angelsbaby's picture
angelsbaby
Posts: 1171
Joined: May 2008

I am glad you are home and getting better as days go on. take care

michelle

462lt's picture
462lt
Posts: 118
Joined: Jun 2010

Wow you blow me away. I'm sending great thoughts your way. Thanks for the inspiration. Laura

soccermom13's picture
soccermom13
Posts: 226
Joined: Feb 2010

Positive attitudes help keep us strong! I have been lurking hoping to read your post!
Shanna

Bear23's picture
Bear23
Posts: 84
Joined: Jan 2010

Craig,
So glad to read your post and hear how you are doing. Wow! I didn't know you were 7 years and still actively fighting. It makes my journey seem like a walk in the park even though I am stage 4, going on 2 1/2 years. I guess I can deal with this *** rash from the Vectibix. Continue to heal.

Valerie

sfmarie's picture
sfmarie
Posts: 605
Joined: Aug 2009

Craig,

Reading your post gives me such inspiration. Inspires me to stop complaining about the little things in life, inspiration to be a better person and I know you give inspiration to everyone here fighting this battle. You are an amazing writer and I know you have a bestseller in you! Did you ever think about being a motivational speaker? You would be fantastic.

On a different note, my little puppy had an infected foxtail in his throat. Have you heard of such a thing? Anyways, he has had it for awhile and we only noticed it after it got infected and swollen to the size of a tennis ball (he is only 25 pounds). He had to be put under and they had to drain it. He is fine now, but watch out for those foxtails!

Hugs,
Marie

pepebcn's picture
pepebcn
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

The only thing l can say in my lenguage is
OLE TORERO!!

Best to you.
Pepe,Barcelona.

pepebcn's picture
pepebcn
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

The only thing l can say in my lenguage is
OLE TORERO!!

Best to you.
Pepe,Barcelona.

jillpls's picture
jillpls
Posts: 241
Joined: Mar 2008

OK, so I'm very impressed. What a conviction you have. Thank you for sharing your story and giving us so much encouragement to keep fighting. God be with you always,
Jill

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