Booty Cancer: The details of my diagnosis and next steps
I have stage 4 adenocarcinoma colorectal cancer; it's spread to my liver and lymph nodes. Here's how I found out:
By suggestion of Dr. Imran, I contacted Dr. Michael Brooks' office, who ended up being booked through October, so I scheduled an apt. for 6/29/17 with another physician in his office, Dr. Michael Bass.
I talked with Dr. Bass for over an hour that day. It was the first time I felt like I was actually listened to.. like I was finally being asked the right questions... like I was finally believed that something was actually wrong with me. He scheduled me to get a colonoscopy and EGD, "as a precaution.. to rule out the serious stuff before moving forward."
It was as shocking as you can imagine... here we were [Andy and I] minutes after the procedure, still giggling about me being drugged up, silly and letting it rip, and in comes Dr. Bass to drop that bomb on us. I didn't even know it'd be possible to get a diagnosis same day.
Is it weird that I feel such affection for the guy that told me I have cancer? Seriously. When I think of Dr. Bass, I want to give him a hug [Dr. Bass, if you are reading this and are really uncomfortable... sorrynotsorry!].
I guess it's not that crazy when you really think about it. Dr. Bass was my last stop before committing to seeing a functional medicine doctor (if you aren't familiar, functional M.D.s don't take insurance, you pay out of pocket for holistic care) because I was so fed up with not know what was wrong with me... and if one. more. person. told me to keep a food journal? I was going to beat them with the food journal I'd been keeping for over a year.. which was stored on my computer.. i.e. I'd beat them with my computer.
First order of business after the colonoscopy was to get a CT scan. Dr. Bass was hopeful that the cancer was localized. He was expecting I'd have one surgery to remove a section of my colon, with 4-6 weeks of chemo to follow.
Welp, the CT showed it's stage 4 colon cancer, having spread to my liver and lymph nodes. We are likely looking at multiple surgeries and rounds of chemo/radiation. For now, I have no other details. This has been the most excruciating aspect of being diagnosed... limbo.
I have an MRI scheduled at Johns Hopkins on Wednesday, 8/9 and will meet with a multidisciplinary team on Thursday, 8/10. We are hopeful that after Thursday, we'll have many questions answered and an idea of what the next few months will look like.
P.S. Having to get a colonoscopy felt like kind of a shameful thing... I was embarrassed to have to get one at such a young age.
BUT, I want you to know, I now take great solace in knowing that you also - if you haven't already - will have to have your butt violated at some point too. That's right, folks. Screening is a necessary evil we all must face... some earlier than others.
So here's to you, Liv and Anth... enjoy the probe!
Oh, and here's a screen shot of my food journal, just to give you an idea of how much effort I put into figuring out what foods might be causing my symptoms:
Yes, I weighed everything, including wine. And I kept a diary to track my "regularity" and how I was feeling after any given meal.