It’s been an interesting week, that’s for sure. Let me fill you in on a little of the back story before I jump right into the present. A couple weeks ago, my father was feeling rather ill. He couldn’t keep food down and his stomach was hurting. He went to the doctors, had a couple scans and it seemed to indicate that he had a small intestinal blockage. Those of you who remember what my father-in-law went through might find this strangely ironic, or frighteningly similar, one of the two. Anyway, they did a colonoscopy to see what was blocking the intestines and said he had a small (non-cancer looking) pollop. They scheduled a fairly routine surgery, to be done laproscopically, for last Friday. As they started the surgery, the surgeon didn’t like what he was finding. Apparently, not shown on the initial scans, was a large mass hidden behind the pollop. They went ahead with a normal incision surgery, removed the pollop, the large mass, and the section of affected intestine. They closed everything up and sent the mass off to the lab to be analysed.
That’s how we got the bad news on Monday. The mass tested positive for cancer, which they’re classifying as Stage 3 because it had apparently spread to the surrounding lymphnodes (which were also removed and tested positive). Stage 3 means that it was one specific place (colon, liver, lungs, etc) but is now spreading.
The good news is that, while open for the surgery and having the foresight to check, the surgeon checked the other common locations for spots. According to him (and the scans) places like the liver, lungs, kidneys, etc, all seem to check out ok. They didn’t find any spots or questionable tissue.
So, what does this mean? Well, it means essentially that it had just started to spread and they caught it. More tests will be needed to confirm that, but that was the general thought of his doctors. Of course, we haven’t talked to the cancer specialists yet. That meeting is set for Monday. We’ll see what they have to say and what treatment they recommend going forward.
In case you’re wondering, I’m not actually in NH at the moment. I’m still here in Houston. All this was garnered by rounds and rounds of phone calls and probably ridiculous phone bills. I had fully planned to go up the instant I heard, but air travel is so retardedly expensive that a last minute plane ticket would have cost upwards of $900. I know that might not seem like a lot, but I have about $20 in the bank at the moment.
The plan, as I’ve discussed it with the family, is for my brother to be there this weekend and that we’ll trade off weekends in the future. I’ll probably plan on coming up either next weekend or, depending on what the doctors advise for a treatment, whenever the chemo starts, whichever comes first.
I wish terribly I could be up there with them. I still feel guilty for not being there at my grandfathers funeral about 5 years ago and I’m really torn up about this.
This is really the one time a family should really come together. I wish I could blame the airlines alone, but not having an emergency fund is my own fault. This is precisely the reason to have one, before anything else.
Personally, I was really pretty shaken this week. I was a wreck Monday and Tuesday. After lots of discussion, uplifting words from Lauren and from you guys, now I’m feeling better about it.
His chances are very good that this will be merely a bump in the road. He’s very healthy, in great shape and not showing any signs of infection anywhere else. With luck, the chemo shouldn’t be very long and he can get on with a normal life shortly.
It’s funny, I know things don’t always make sense when they first happen, but in the end, they start to come together. Things happen for a reason. We may not get that at the time, but they do. Usually they happen to make us strong people, I really believe that. After this entire year, I think as a husband and as a man, I’m a much stronger person than I was 12 months ago.
Thank you all for your support. As always, I’m astounded by the awesome friends I have. You guys are the best.
I’ll let you know when I head up to New England, maybe a couple of us could get together for a drink or two.