Friday, October 14, 2011

Problems on the Path

So I was five years late in getting my colonoscopy. I don’t know why I had put it off but I did. And a week after I got it down, the nurse from the doctor’s office called wanting to know if I could come in the next day to speak with the doctor. I’m no dummy. I knew she wasn’t calling me in to brag on my fiber intake. 

She had removed six polyps and part of a seventh one. The seventh one was, is, cancerous. It is in my lower colon. The plan is to go in there and remove the polyp and a small section of the colon on either side of the polyp and then to reconnect the hose, er, I mean colon. 

We went to see the surgeon yesterday. He explained everything and then said he was going to be out of town for two weeks. He said he would be happy to do the surgery, and it would not hurt to wait but if I wanted to go ahead with someone else that would be fine too. It really fits my schedule better to wait. That will give me time to get all my loose ends tied up at work. So we are aiming at doing the surgery the first, or preferably, the second week of November. 

I am learning some things already from all of this:

First of all, never underestimate the value of having that second pair of ears with you. I sort of expected to hear what I heard, but when the word cancer came out of the doctor's mouth, my brain sort of keeled over and fainted on me. I'm going to call that experience "brain drop." I heard my voice telling the doctor that I needed to be writing some of that stuff down and saw my hand reaching into my purse for a pencil. She stepped out and got me a card to write on and then offered to write it for me. But I needed to write it down, to have the words flow on paper into my brain like a road map marking an uncertain path. The doctor's small offering of a card and the nurse's hand resting ever so briefly on my shoulder as she left me in the room to wait for the doctor scared and informed me. It is amazing what people can tell you with no words.

Second of all, don't underestimate your enemy. The doctor talked like it was just a matter of snipping the offending part out and hooking the ends back together. I heard that and thought, wow, day surgery! She never said anything about if the offending part was too close to the ending part, you'd have to get a colostomy (and my offending part is in my lower colon). Also, when she said I needed a cat scan and blood work for the surgeon, she stopped short of saying "so we can see if there are any more cancer cells in your abdominal cavity."

Thirdly, be prepared for surprises, and know what they are supposed to be doing to you. If you are not sure, check with your doctor. Today I had blood work done and I was supposed to go to radiology to get my cat scan "kit". The nurse in the doctor's office had laughed and said she wasn't sure what that would be. I laughed too, and said "it's not like they will have me drinking barium." Well, guess what? First, they had rescheduled my cat scan ("probably due to "pre-cert" issues. That's usually what it means.") which upset me greatly. Surprise! Then she came out packing a jar of barium for me to drink before the test. Surprise again! Nobody in the doctor's office said anything about drinking barium. I don't like surprises. The good news is that I have until Sunday night to make friends with my "surprise". I called the office and they confirmed that I was supposed to be drinking barium.

Fourthly, one can't be a wuss when one is a cancer patient. One must learn to speak up for oneself. (Cyn, not a word!)

There is more but it's not quite all organized yet. I am sure I will learn more as I walk this path. I do want to write more about this but it is kind of hard because you know, even though the prognosis looks good, I really don't know how things will end up.

I go for the cat scan Monday morning. They do not expect any problems to show up there. Let's pray that their expectations are correct.


  1. You're gonna be ok. Mostly I know this because you still have your sense of humor.

    I'll be thinking of you. More ears are good - those that help you listen to doctors and those that help you by listening to you.

  2. Thank you, Rach! "Talking" to you the other night was a big help. I asked the surgeon if it was far enough up for him to be able to cut out the section and reattach and he said yes.

  3. Thank you, Rach! "Talking" to you the other night was a big help. I asked the surgeon if it was far enough up for him to be able to cut out the section and reattach and he said yes.

    (I thought I left this comment here and it looks like it disappeared. Scuse me if you got it twice here and once in email!)

  4. Oh, Anneie - thinking of you!!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It sucks. It really sucks.

    And you are right about the second set of ears. I go to appointments with my mom and I am always surprised at what she does not hear.

    And think of the barium as...eeerrrmmm....a think smoothie?


  6. What? I didn't say a word.

    Barium enema...the dreaded white stool. Fun.

    Your writing is taking on a decidedly focused, sharp edge. You might as well get something out of this besides a white stool.

    <3 you very much.

  7. Hope, thank you!

    Mindy, maybe I can go to our beach and drink it while walking on the sand. I can pretend it is a tropical drink! I have to take it at nine. They would probably arrest me if I did that! I guess I will have to sit at my house and imagine the beach scene in my head while drinking the stuff!

    Lord, Cyn, I have to get on the right page here! When you mentioned the dreaded white stool, I thought you meant the one the doctor sits on when he talks to you (my surgeon's really was white!). I do hope to write more as I go along.


  8. Not sure how I missed you posting this, but we talked and so I am right there with you girl.....
    And I can add an amen to everything you said. That's for sure.... been there done that. And nothing is sacred anymore, not when one undergoes any sort of procedures.... you get used to it.... naked is and naked does. You gotta get on the attitude train... like me.... like I always say "just put it on the list" God knows what he's doing.... and I know he's gonna take good care of you... And thankfully, he is always gracious enough to listen when we air our grievances..... i.e. white poop.... just talk to Papa... he's heard it all.
    You're in my heart girlfriend... you know that.... I'm with there in spirit..... and prayers.

  9. Annie, have been off the computer for a while so I'm just now catching up. Sorry to read that you have to go through this, my friend. I'm glad that you've retained your sense of humour; laughter does help.
    I'll definitely be thinking of you.


  10. When you commented on my blogpost, "Orange", I of course wanted to come check out your blog and write something nice. Then I read you had cancer...and that you lost your son. I wanted to let you know that I, too, was late in getting a colonoscopy (3 years) and I, too, had a cancerous polyp way down low. Only in my case...there was no chance of a reconnection, they had to take everything out and I do have a permanent colostomy. And I had to laugh at your description: "my brain sort of keeled over and fainted on me"...I felt the same way when my second opinion doc confirmed what the first doc said. This was in June of 2009 (got my initial diagnosis the day Farrah passed away from rectal cancer), went thru chemo and radiation, and surgery in Nov 2009 and one more round of chemo and knock on wood, have been cancer free ever since. I'm glad that you're doing well, too. But was very sorry to hear about your son. My significant other's youngest son is in a halfway house (drugs) and so far, so good (it's been a little over a week. Hugs to you, and thanks for stopping by my blog!


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