At the bottom of the mountain, looking up.

I thought that I should post a diary to update everyone on things around here as there is a lot of information.  We have a very long row ahead of us.  Just to catch anyone who may have missed this up, in early June my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer after being ill all spring and experiencing a dramatic 50 lb weight loss.  Within the week of his diagnosis, he went in for surgery in hopes of removing the tumor and resectioning his colon.  Unfortunately the tumor was too large and had passed through the colon and entwined around major arteries so it could not be removed.  Although he was able to eat again and regain some strength as soon as he came back from the surgery he had a string of complications related to the surgery as well as the cancer including a near fatal pulmonary embolism and later bleeding from the medications prescribed to treat the PE.  Now that he is finally stable we met with oncologists both locally and at a major regional cancer center to discuss the plan going ahead.

DH is at high risk now for micro metastatic tumors spreading to other organs.  He will begin a chemo regimen this Tuesday.  Every 4 weeks or so he will undergo a CAT scan to see if the tumor is shrinking and other very small blips on previous scans are changing as that will let us know whether he has tumors in other locations.  Fortunately the chemo should shrink any places where it may have spread along with the initial tumor.  Depending upon which doctor we speak with, this treatment could last anywhere from 4-6 months or longer.  Once the tumor has shrunk sufficiently he will need to undergo radiation with concurrent chemotherapy to really destroy the tumor.  This regiment will consist of 5 weeks of 5 day radiation treatments.  After that he will be a candidate for the resection surgery, this time at a place that does a high volume of colorectal surgeries.  In the event that the surgery is successful he will need another surgery to reverse the colostomy he received from his first surgery this June.

There are no guarantees that any of this will work out so things are very uncertain around here.  Should he not be a candidate for surgery or should they go in and once again discover that the tumor is inoperable, he will need to keep up a chemo regimen for the rest of his life.

My inlaws have been in town, staying overnights at my parents’ house but days here.  They plan on returning home after his first chemo appointment as long as he responds fairly well and is not completely incapacitated.  It sounds like the regimen for this type of cancer is fairly mild as far as side effects are concerned but he is starting out still fairly weak so that is cause for concern.  He has been starting to eat better and is getting antsy so he plans to return to work on a very limited basis in a couple of weeks.   His employer is being very flexible and is working out a work from home arrangement for him as well as time off for treatments.  The kids and I are hanging in there.  I have sought out a councilor for them as this will affect our family for some time.  I started a group on Facebook to offer encouragement to my husband as he begins his treatment and have been overwhelmed yet again by the kindness and generosity of spirit of those we know including many here.  If you want to be involved you can look me up through the MTers Facebook page and I can make you part of Team Alex.  I am also trying to flood his email on those days with well wishes so if that if you don’t do FB we could do something via email.  Thanks to all of you who have shown us so much love and support during this time.

July 14, 2012