Monday, December 8, 2014

Cancer and stuff

It's been a busy couple of months.  

My brother has colon cancer.  He's my oldest brother, and the one who gets in the most trouble, so it should be no surprise that he found out about the cancer by falling down the stairs and breaking his arm, collarbone, and two ribs.  I know, none of these have anything to do with the colon.  I'm assuming they were checking for internal injuries, but with Eldest Brother, who knows?  He doesn't like to ask the doctor questions.

He had surgery to remove the cancer in his colon, but got a call last week saying they were going to do chemotherapy as well.  He'll meet with the doc today.  I sent him a list of questions that I'm certain he won't ask, but it made me feel better to send them.

If your loved one is diagnosed with cancer, ASK questions--when I was diagnosed with a cancerous molar pregnancy (gestational trophoblastic neoplasia that was invading the uterine wal, to be exact--and yes, that definitely conjures up pictures of little grumpy dwarves pick-axing my uterus)-- 

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I didn't ask enough questions, and later wished I had.

What kind of cancer is it? (Do you know there are many forms of colon cancer? And each one requires slightly different treatment.) What stage is it? (Staging also helps decide course of action.) If I require chemotherapy, will it be intravenous, intramuscular, or pill form? (Mine was intramuscular--a shot in the ass.  I combined that with a leukovorin pill, which kept my hair from falling out and my puke from ending up on the floor.)  Is it hereditary? (I still don't know.) If it's hereditary colon cancer, which kind is it? (There are two.) Should my children be monitored for this?  When will my chemo start, and how many "rounds" will I have to go through (there may be no answer for this, but don't you feel better knowing you asked?) And last, but certainly not least, what experience do you have with this disease?  (Because doctors aren't infallible, and you want one who knows his sh*t.)

So.  Ask your questions.  Get your answers.  Get a second opinion, if so desired.  

Then get treatment, ASAP.  Don't ask the doctor if you can postpone until after Christmas, because the kids would rather have you here for five more Christmases. (Yeah, I'm talking to you, Eldest Brother.). And pray. I'm not a religious person, but it can't hurt.

Good luck, and positive thoughts!
And just to cheer you up after this mostly depressing post, here's a hug: