Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Home after surgery...

I returned home yesterday after about six days in the hospital. The surgery accomplished it main goals: removed the colon tumor; removed the tumors in the better half of the liver; and cut off the blood supply to the bad half of the liver. At a later date, I will have a second surgery to remove the bad half of the liver. In the meantime, I will heal from this surgery and (hopefully) my good half of the liver will regenerate and grow bigger.

I have a scar about 8 inches down the middle of my abdomen, which is still pretty sore. Actually, the incision spot is not what hurts the most...since my organs were moved around, they are still trying to heal and settle into place. That is what hurts. If I'm laying down, its hard to get up. If I'm standing, its hard to sit down. But if I stay in place, its not too bad.

I'm not allowed any heavy lifting for a while and I can't drive for another week. But, I'll heal up quickly and be back walking normally soon!

Thanks for all the people who called and texted in the hospital. I wasn't in the mood to return most of them, but I did appreciate them.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Birthday celebration...

Thanks to everyone who was able to come out and wish me a happy birthday/good luck in surgery on Saturday. I didn't count, but I estimate about 40 people were there. I had a lot of fun and was glad to see everyone.

I didn't expect gifts, but some were really nice. My friend, Kevin, got me a basketball signed by the head coach at Pitt. He also got me a football schedule signed by some of the best players. I didn't know what to say.

A new guy to the Pitt Alumni Club, John, gave me a CD of songs he had made for his fiance who is also battling cancer. Thanks, John...I listened and its great!

My Air Force base softball team chipped in to get me something, too. Last year they went to play in the military softball world series in Florida while I was recovering from a knee injury. They ended up winning the tournament. They all chipped in and got me a world series ring. I cried.

Jen supplied the cake and cupcakes (as well as getting the bar to supply all the food), so I was able to enjoy my "last supper" before two days of fasting.

Thanks to everyone for all the cards, well-wishes, and just for the support in general. I'll carry that with me to surgery tomorrow.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A thank you...

I want to thank "Gina's mom" and "Gina's dad." They have sent me a greeting card of encouragement practically every week since I was diagnosed. The cards always bring a smile to my face and that always helps! Thank you. (Oh, and happy birthday, Gina!)

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Hey everyone! Come out and wish me a happy birthday/good luck in surgery/rah-rah for Pitt football on Saturday, 19 April from 5pm 'til at least 9pm at "Top Shelf Bar and Lounge" in DC. We have the upstairs reserved for a group.


My birthday is the 23rd, the surgery is the 22nd, and Pitt is on the NFL network during part of this gathering in their spring (practice) football game. Even if you are not a Pitt fan, come out...I'd love to see you!

If you plan on coming, send me an email or post a message here. (We want to give the bar an idea on number of people.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Surgery date set...

I met with a surgical oncologist at John Hopkins today. According to all the preliminary reports, I'm a candidate for surgery to remove the tumors in my colon and liver. This isn't 100% certain...they need to keep checking things to see if I have other tumors elsewhere in my body. I did another CAT scan today, so that will be another chance to check for other tumors. The surgery will also consist of more searching. If any other tumors are found during surgery, then only the tumor in my colon will be removed. Removing the tumors in the liver is more involved and more risky. So, there is no sense putting me at risk if I'll have to continue chemotherapy anyway.

The date of the surgery is Earth Day...22 April. (Note: back on 17 February, my blog asked you to guess the date of surgery and my friend, Fish, got it exactly right. He wins a $400 check! Not surprisingly, that is the same amount I owe him for Pitt season football tickets.)

I feel good that surgery is a possibility. No one wants to keep cancer in his/her body. But we'll need some luck even with surgery. Keep your good thoughts coming!

After the meetings at the hospital today, Jen and I ventured over to Fort McHenry in Baltimore. That is where Francis Scott Key witnessed the British attack in 1814 and it inspired him to write the national anthem.

It was the end of the day and the park rangers were about to close the fort. I was "volunteered" by the park rangers to help lower the Star Spangled Banner replica (30 feet x 42 feet) and fold it up. It's a really cool view from Fort McHenry. If you get the chance, stop by.

As we left the parking lot, there was a squirrel gathering nuts. I couldn't resist, so I rolled down the window and said, "Bye Mr. Squirrel. Hold down the fort!" :-)

Oh and I get to play in one softball game on 18 April!!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Back to playing softball...

Over the weekend, my Pitt alumni softball team had a scrimmage vs. Colorado. Yours truly pitched over half the game. At first I struggled to get the batters out, but after the first inning, I settled in and pitched similar to the way that led us to 14-0 last year. I felt good to be out there playing. I'm not in the shape I was in previous years, but I'll work on that.

After the game, Jen and I were walking with our Pitt shirts on. A lady yelled out of her car window, "go Pitt." We stopped to talk to her and it turned out that she was Sam Young's step mother. (Sam Young was the MVP of the basketball tournament I went to in NYC last month.) For you Pitt insiders...she and his father want him to stay in school and not go pro this year.

Back to softball... Today was supposed to be our first alumni game of the season, but because of the rain, it is postponed. :-(

I hope to find out this week if I'm going to have surgery. If surgery happens, I might not get to play softball at all this year. Tonight might have been my only chance at a real game. Double :-( :-(

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Happy birthday!

...to my Aunt Jeanne.

Side note: I was stunned to find out during the Big East basketball Tournament that she watched all the Pitt games and rooted for Pitt!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I'm having surgery tomorrow...

April Fools! :-)

Actually, tomorrow I'm having a PET scan (positron emission tomography). It's a type of nuclear medicine imaging. It uses very small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose abnormalities within the body. I'll then have a map of my body sort of like an MRI.

Johns Hopkins is asking for the PET scan to be conducted so they'll know if I have any tumors outside of the colon and liver. If not, I'll be eligible for surgery on those organs. If so, I'll have to stay on chemotheropy until something changes.

Keep your fingers crossed for no tumors outside of the colon and liver!