Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Me, a supermodel?

Well, not quite. But, as many of you know I applied to be in "The Colondar." It's a calendar for colon cancer survivors where they show their scars.

Today was a nice way to end the year. I got a message that my application was accepted. I'll do a photo shoot in NY in June and then the calendar will be online for purchase about September or October. Autographs are free...I'll have a signing at Borders. :-)

Here are a couple of the application photos that helped me get accepted:

Monday, December 29, 2008

Best and Worst of 2008...

I can't write this post on New Year's Eve because I'll be in El Paso, Texas at Pitt's Sun Bowl game. So, I'm doing it a couple of days early.

The Worst of 2008:

February: Oncologist said "You have too many tumors, so you are inoperable. We are just going to keep you alive as long as possible."

The Best of 2008:

August: I know the best part of the year is no longer having cancer, but that was a gradual process, so there was no real "moment" when it just happened all at once. So, I'm going with my happiest time this year: Pitching the entire alumni softball tournament five weeks after removing half my liver and having my team coming in 3rd out of 70 teams. It was so unbelievable.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas wish...

I would never wish cancer on anyone...except the person who broke into my car on Christmas night. The car window that was broken cost more than the stolen items.

This perp stole a broken satellite radio (I was about to buy a new one), a bunch of CDs that no one would want (I'm weird, so I had Air Supply, Celine Dion, Elvis, and a bunch of home-made ones), some clothing (scarf, hat, gloves), and about $3 in change.

But the criminal left behind the $100 sunglasses and $300 softball bat in the trunk. Smart guy!

If my wish comes true and he does get cancer, I wonder if that crap he stole would pay for his chemo treatments. My guess is not...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Flash back: 19 December 2007

One year ago today, I was sitting in an oncologist's office at Georgetown as the doctor was saying the biopsies from my colonoscopy confirmed cancer in the colon that had spread to the liver. He went over the options for me. I don't really remember the conversation. It's mostly a blur as I either blacked it out or my mind was thinking about other things and not listening. It was a day I wish no one would ever have to go through again.

Today, one year later, I will be back at Georgetown for my 14th chemotherapy treatment. Last year I was a week away from my 1st and was fearing the unknown. Now, the 18th and final treatment is in sight and not much fear surrounds me. Sure, the cancer could return. But if it returns to my liver, I'll just get it cut out. The liver grows back. If it returns to my colon, I'll just get another piece snipped off. Even removing the entire colon won't kill me...just not the most pleasant idea.

I'm more worried about how I'm going to find tickets to the Big East Basketball Tournament this year with all the teams being so good!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Flash back: 17 December 2007

One year ago today, I was undergoing a colonoscopy. It didn't last too long because the G.I. doctor could not get his camera past all the cancer almost completely blocking my colon.

Let's hope tomorrow's colonoscopy is much better!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tough stretch...

I am about to deal with a stretch of days that isn't pleasant. Tomorrow I have to fast (only soup broth and Sprite) and then in the afternoon, I start taking exlax pills. Once the pills start working, I have to down a half gallon of the worst-tasting slop you ever could put in your mouth to totally clean me out.

Then on Thursday, they'll poke my arm with a needle for an I.V. and jam a long camera in somewhere I don't think it was intended to be. I'll be doped up the rest of the day and not really hungry.

Come Friday, as I'm all weak from not eating much for two days, they will once again stick a needle in me and this time they will pump killer chemicals into my bloodstream for three days. I probably won't vomit much because there will not be much in me. That won't stop the nausea, though.

If you are expecting a holiday present from me, unless I can find something for you on the operation table on Thursday, you're out of luck.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I like to re-read my blog...

I noticed that I posted this on 1 June:

"If everything goes perfectly, I could be cancer free by December. I'm not celebrating yet, but there is hope..."

Well, I do like perfection! :-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sleeping and napping...

My first cycle of the last six chemo treatments is behind me. As I sit around here feeling rundown, I'm thinking about all the texts and emails I got last week when I said there were no signs of cancer anymore.

A lot of you said "you did it" or something to that effect. I'm not really sure I did much of anything except take what was dished out to me. I mean, the surgeons and oncologists did their work and I just recovered from any and all effects from it.

About the only thing I did was say yes to surgery and yes to chemotherapy. But, given the choice I had, any of you would have done exactly the same thing. There wasn't a choice.

It's like being in a bar fight. Some guy punches me in the face and I fall down. Later, I go home and recooperate. Did I really do anything besides heal?

Don't get me wrong... I'm super happy to be getting better, but I'm not sure how much of a role I played. The researchers for drugs and procedures are the ones who did it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I was in the shower today...

And I was looking at my stomach thinking about how there is nothing in there (besides the sandwich I just ate.) This was the first time in my life I was thinking about that. All year, I would look at it and think about the crap that's in there. Prior to be diagnosed, I would never even think about anything.

I wonder how long (if ever) it will be before I can look at my abdomen and not think about anything...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


The CT scan results came back and part of it read, "new pulmonary nodules." That actually means "new cancer tumors." When my oncologist read that, he immediately called the radiologist who wrote the report. "Oh, that should read, NO new pulmonary nodules," he said. It's just a tiny, little, two-letter word, but that NO is very important! :-)

It reminded me of Seinfeld: "This is George Costanza, I'm calling for my test results. Negative? Oh, my God. WHY! WHY! WHY? What? What? Negative is good? Oh, yes of course! How stupid of me. Thank you. Thank you very much."

So, what now?

Well, the scan showed inflamation in the one side my colon. It's most likely my Crohn's disease acting up. I've dealt with that for 20 years, so no biggie. I have to schedule a colonoscopy within the next month to see what's going there. I haven't taken any meds for Crohns in a year, so I might have to start again. Also, any polyps that may be in there can be removed before they have a chance to turn cancerous.

My spleen is also slightly enlarged. That could be a side-effect of the liver resection. My oncologist has to check with other specialists to see if that's normal. Btw, the doc showed me the CT scan of my liver. He said if he didn't know I had half of it cut out, he wouldn't know from the scan. It's back to normal! Where's the nearest bar???

I will continue on with my next six cycles of chemo as normal. After that, I will switch to a pill form of chemo for the next two years. This involves taking pills twice a day for 7 days on and 7 days off. There should not be any side-effects with the pills and if there are side-effects, he'll reduce the dosage.

I texted a bunch of people today after I received the news. Here are some responses:

"Yay, where's the party?"
"Kick ass!"
"Wow. Amazing news. Lets win a (softball) championship" (This is my personal favorite.)
"Awesome!!! I am so happy...Miracle"
"Awesome, such great news"
"YEAAA!!! Awesome."
"U R a walking miracle. Truely inspiring"
"Gik" (My uncle who is trying to learn to text message.)
"Gittxuy up" (My uncle getting a little better.)
"That is GREAT!"
"Woo Hoo!"
"Yahoo! What about the baby?" (See two blog posts down)
"Wooow! Good news! Im happy 4u!"

Jimmy V. Week (3-9 Dec)

If you have never seen "the speech," you should:

"Don't give up...don't ever give up..."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Scan completed...

The last time I was at Georgetown for a CAT scan, they had me use all three methods of administering contrast. This time I only had to do it orally and via I.V. They spared me the enema. Whew! But, the I.V. is the one that makes you feel warm in your groin area, so I wasn't sure if I pee'd myself or not until afterwards (I did not.) is a photo a tech gave me from my scan. As you can see...the hands and feet are starting to develop. Wait a second...this can't be my photo. I'm not even dating anyone. There had to be a mix-up. I'll ask my doctor tomorrow when I have my appointment.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Scan me...

Tomorrow will most likely be my first CAT scan since my surgery. I say probably because it was supposed to be weeks ago, but there were mix-ups at Georgetown. We'll see.

I'm not too nervous right now, but after the scan I have to wait to see my doctor the next day. Tomorrow night could be a little tense for me.