March 16th, 2012
I went on a little 4 park trot this morning (steel toed boot with the toe caved in?). St nick, riverside, central, and morningside. What a pleasure to live so close to so many parks! I’ve been a bit lax about posting my runs. I’ve kept it up, though not as frequent as at the start. The weather has been getting nice enough to play a little handball as well. I’m definitely getting it back. Feeling progress.
I have lots of good news to report. I’ve been feeling over the last week or so that I’m coming out of a stretch of depression that was a lot worse than I realized. It coincides in a chicken or egg type way with lots of good news lately.
Increased doses of gabapantin (nuerontin) seem to be helping to dull my sciatic pain. There have been a few instances in the last couple of days when I’ve been surprised to notice that it’s not really there!
Irrigation is working, after a few fits and starts at the beginning. I have been continent for over a month now. What an amazing change in quality of life. I guess I won’t got into too many details about it here, but if any of you reading are in my situation and want info, don’t hesitate to contact me.
On wednesday, I went with Hill to meet a surgeon who came highly recommended. The idea was to see if he was a guy we liked enough to be my new surgeon, AND to see who he thought was the right doc to be my new oncologist (I may have given the impression in a previous post that I had a new doc in place. Not so. I was stepping into the void!). We sat in an exam room for a while waiting for a resident who was going to take my history. In walked a beautiful red head who looked strangely like hill (and hill agreed.. not just that all red heads look alike), and as I was realizing that I recognized her, she said, “Ezra, right?” (not the name on my chart.. I am daniel e. (zra) caldwell.. I’ve been ezra since I was about 3).
She was the resident working with my old surgeon on my last surgery. She had been a beacon of light during that week or so in the hospital. The only one of the team of docs and residents who I really trusted, and felt I could speak with frankly. She didn’t have to take my history. Remarkably she remembered it! She remembered that the tumor had been particularly stuck, and that they hadn’t managed to get totally clean margins. Remembered that here was lymph node involvement. Remembered that for the entire team, I had really stuck out because I was otherwise so young and healthy. She seemed very happy, and maybe a little surprised, that I was (still alive?) looking as healthy as I am. A strange, but very comforting reunion. She’s finishing her residency in a couple of months, and if she wasn’t moving to the west coast, I’d want her to be my surgeon.
When the Surgeon came in, he had clearly been briefed. We instantly liked him. Young, progressive, personable, and very frank. He had looked at my last three petscans, and was very comforted that without any treatment over the last 9 or 10 months, the curious presacral mass had shown a steady move towards resolution. He said that my cancer appeared to be “stable.” He recommended genetic testing and an MRI with contrast to get a better look at the actual content of the area to try and figure out what the hell it is.. inactive tumor? scar tissue? pocket of leaking bone marrow? (was that on the list?).
This is all well and fine, but I’m getting to the part where there’s good news that will actually affect my day to day life! When I asked him about riding a bike, and explained my ex-doc’s attitude and theory, hi grinned from ear to ear. He was on the verge of laughter. He said, “ok.. I’m trying to maintain some level of professional decorum here..”
I said, “so.. pure unmitigated horse shit?”
He nodded, still trying not to laugh.
“riding a bike did NOT give you cancer.”
“but could it speed up a recurrence IF your saddle was adjusted in such a way that there was pressure on the area somehow (why would your saddle be adjusted that way?)”
“there is no evidence of that.. no.. there are some cancers that are caused by repeated trauma to the skin etc.. etc.. not colon cancer”
And there was much rejoicing.
There is one small problem. Two weeks ago, I sold my urban transportation bike.. FTW!!!! The DoubleDuallyDinglefucker now belongs to my race car driving hair dresser (who has lusted after it for a few years and threw in free haircuts for life for me and Hill to sweeten the deal. My mom already gets them in return for his first fast boy..)
So. I don’t actually have a bike to ride at the moment. There’s the nose bike.. not really great for covering ground. There are a few fixed gear bikes, that I’m a little too old and sore to ride, whose seat posts and saddles have long since been pirated for other projects. There’s my tourer, which isn’t really a lock up bike. (I’m sure you all feel my pain.. an embarrassment of bikes, but nothing appropriate to ride.. awww muffin ).
Can’t really afford to build myself a new bike at the moment!
BUT! AHA! The assless has a beautiful, donated build on it (minus a seat post and saddle), that I could swap onto a new frame to make a new urban assault single speed! That might be just the right symbolic move! We’ll see. Then again, maybe that build would limit the possibilities too much. Maybe the assless should remain whole with its flashy new paint job and get hung up as a reminder.. for posterity (posteriority?) Please feel free to way in. We’ll take a poll.
Whoa! This got long. It seems maybe that in emerging from this little depression the pendulum has swung towards mania! A welcome change, frankly. If you’re still reading, thanks.
Finally, the very best news of the day.
My friend and neighbor, Gail, found out a few short weeks ago that she had breast cancer. Since then she’s been on the cancer roller coaster leading up to surgery a few days ago. Last night she was moved from the ICU into general recovery, and she’s doing great. The surgery seems to have been a success. From the first round of on the spot biopsies, the margins appear to be clear, and there is no lymph node involvement. As it is with this beast, there are always more tests. She’ll hear back in a while about the more advanced pathology. Please keep fingers crossed for her.