Monday, November 18, 2013

You've Been Staged

Our first appointment PD (post diagnosis).  And really, if you want to be really technical about it I don't have my formal diagnosis yet.  But I don't want to be really technical about it.  I saw what is growing in my colon and can feel the effects of the "lesions" in my liver.  This is all the verification that I need personally.  Yes, there is a very remote chance that this could be "something else".  Unfortunately, the something else would still be cancer.  Just a different kind. 

The key to the matter right now is my age.  35 (for 2 more weeks anyway).  Colon cancer just doesn't strike people my age.  They want to make sure it isn't something that started outside of the colon and has just taken up shop down there.  So we are waiting on a biopsy for the official word.  We will also be taking a biopsy of the liver next week...just to be sure. 

While we wait for all of this verification, we will not be waiting on treatment (YAY!).  The doctor told me that I had already been staged by the CT scan results.  Stage IV.  I used roman numerals for that because a simple integer (4) just didn't feel like it conveyed the gravity of the situation.  Yessir, barricade the doors and stock up on ammunition 'cause we've got a fight on our hands.  Thankfully the thing that makes my case so peculiar also gives me a fighting chance.  My age.  The younger you are, the more aggressive they can be with your treatment and the better your disease usually responds to it.  So bring it on!

I have orders to get my "port" in on Tuesday.  That means that I start chemo on Wednesday.  Yes that is the day before Thanksgiving and even though I can't see anyone because my immune system will be completely blitzkrieged, I still intend to make the best Thanksgiving ever.  I really do have so much to be thankful for.  

For those that aren't in the know (like me this morning), a "port" is a central venous catheter with a port.  Basically, the catheter is a tube that starts in a vein in my chest and ends at my heart.  The port is a structure with a rubber top that they will be inserting in my chest under my skin and connects to the catheter.  This way they can poke me in the port over and over again without causing undo damage to my veins.  Now the rubber top to the port is still under my skin so they still have to get through that, but it's a lot less stress on the body than always taking out veins.  It's also going to leave a quarter sized lump under my skin.  So I'll be like one of those crazy body-mod people who put silicone spikes on their foreheads.  In all seriousness I'll have a commonality to share with an amazing and beautiful person I know that has a bump on her chest too.  But hers is a battery which is pretty wicked cool compared to my port which will require monthly trips to the doctor to have it "flushed".  Eeeeeeew.

All of this happened at the New Mexico Cancer Center this morning.  And while we didn't find anything heinously wrong with their programs, we weren't over impressed either.  Since nothing is happening this week, I'm trying to get into a consult at the UNM Cancer Center as well.  I hear they are the bees knees.  :)

I take the previous statement back a bit...I did find something heinously wrong there.  Still running Windows XP everywhere and laptops on counters for nurse input use were open to the outside of the "pod" and into public traffic paths and *gasp* were never locked when unattended.  As a computer security guy I'm pretty messed up about this.  If it weren't for the whole life threatening disease growing in my gut right now, I'm sure I'd be pitching a fit.  If I do stay as a patient there, however...I will be talking with their IT department about lax security and possible HIPPA audit violations. 

Time to lay down for the afternoon and enjoy some time with my amazing wife.  I'm actually going to go back to work this week, possibly even tomorrow.  We'll see how that goes.  ;)

Tell someone you love them today.



  1. I've contacted the director of the UNM Cancer Center to see if she can recommend the most expeditious way to get an appointment for you. I'll let you know as soon as I hear anything. I sent you a text telling you the same thing.

  2. I love YOU, Jake! Be strong, Brother. Thank you for the update.

  3. Jake you have a lot of people in green bay thinking about you and praying hard. We're a long way from you but you are close in our thoughts and hearts.

  4. Ha! I love that you are worried about possibly security breach! I hope your Thanksgiving is off the charts awesome!

  5. Jake, be strong buddy. We have you in our thoughts. Only a true Security Geek would even take note of the Windows version the computers at the medical center are running. Best wishes, Carl

  6. Just say HIPPA and they should snap to!