The State of Me

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any kind of an update, so here’s the short version: I don’t have cancer.

I said a little about some abdominal pain back in January. Getting off of Advil helped reduce that, but it didn’t go away entirely. So we scheduled an endoscopy to get a look at the inside of the stomach. The doc figured that as long as he had me sedated and on the table, we should try for a colonoscopy as well. I’m 47, and that exam is typically ordered at 50, but he figured he’d save me a trip. Well, the insurance dicked around for a couple of months – for the endoscopy, not the colonoscopy – and I finally had it done in late April.

They found something. The stomach lining was agitated, but there was no obvious reason. Biopsies turned up negative both for cancer and for H. pylori. However, in my colon and rectum, they found a couple of polyps, one of which looked quite bad. “If that’s not already cancer, it will be within six months.” Well, the biopsy for that came back as a high grade dysplasia. That’s the last visual change it makes on the road to cancer, and once it’s cancer it still looks the same. But at least what they took in the biopsy hadn’t turned to cancer yet.

Looks like cancer, smells like cancer, but isn’t cancer yet.

Of course, that was just the biopsy. They hadn’t been able to remove it all during the colonoscopy because it was in just the wrong nook for them to get at with those tools. So, we scheduled surgery using the Da Vinci robotic surgical system. That was May 6th, and the surgery did what it needed to do. They got it all, got a clean margin, and the final pathology report showed that none of it had turned to cancer.

So, I really dodged a bullet. If I’d waited until I turned 50 for that exam, I might have already been at stage 4 colorectal cancer before then, which means we’d have been talking about chemotherapy, radiation, and five-year survival rates. As it is, I’m just looking at a lot of butt exams in the coming months and years.

In the meantime, I haven’t gotten much of anything done. I finished off a few things at work, but the writing has suffered. I have continued to make some edits on Debts of My Fathers, but not much.

Basically, I’ve felt like I’ve been yanked back from the path of a bus, and for the last six weeks, I’ve been watching that bus pass by four inches from my face. Now, at last, I think I’m starting to see the tail end of that bus go by. Time horizons are expanding past the next doctor appointment, and I’m starting to get things done. I don’t have enough yet to make promises about schedules, but I am at least editing and writing again.

And that’s it for the moment.