I guess I’m not really sure how you’re supposed to count this stuff, or what it means anyway, but my last dose of chemo was one year ago today.
Yesterday, a year ago, I looked like this.
Ain’t life funny?
For those keeping score:
- Since finishing treatment I have had a petscan every three months. Those have shown a trend towards resolution of a questionable area of uptake in the region of my whatsis.. That is, an active mass of tissue that isn’t behaving like cancer. (In the most recent of those petscans, a small mass has appeared on my lung that shows no hyper-metabolic activity, but is too small to anyway. We are keeping an eye on it).
- Last summer, for a brief period, my CEA levels spiked. They had never been up before, not even when I had an active tumor. These levels went back down on their own, and have been down since.
- There are have been no other indications that anything is wrong with me.
- I have been notably depressed, but the clouds seem to be parting (I’m feeling very grateful for this early spring).
- I have persistent radiculopathy of the sciatic nerve on the left side. A recent MRI shows two clearly herniated disks, one impinging on the nerve root that corresponds directly to my symptoms. In the fall I did a few sessions with a PT who concluded that I might have an incompetent annular wall, and that I might have to stick to baseline motions.. I am considering voodoo..
- Fatigue. Etc.
- Mostly impotent. (or perhaps, unpredictably potent?)
- General fear of recurrence.
- I have parted ways with my doctor and looked elsewhere for care. The new team feels that the ban on bicycle riding was largely superstitious and that I should knock myself out. This has helped clear up my existential crisis around being a bike builder who doesn’t ride bikes. It has not made bikes any more comfortable, however. There is quite a lot of scar tissue down there that needs to learn to be more flexible.. I feel fairly confident that it will.
- I have started to irrigate, and this has allowed me to regain continence! Two days at a time. I don’t poop like other people, but I also don’t poop in a bag.
To sum up, this thing has left me a little bruised and battered, feeling old! But here I am a year later. My cancer is currently stable. I am starting to feel pretty excited again about the bikes I’m building. My wife is doing incredibly interesting work in her program and I couldn’t be more proud. And at least twice a day, I forget that I might very well get sick again.