Hello Friends and Family. I know many are wondering if I have vanished from the blogging world or why I have not posted in so long. Well, life completely changed for us overnight. This post is going to be a bit long, but I hope you will all take a minute and read it. I wish I was a great blog writer and could tell you everything that is in my heart. Since I am not a great blog writer you will have to hang in there with me.
Before the story begins I want all of you to know that the last two weeks I have learned so much. We have been given a major trial which I will explain in detail (probably more detail than you want to know). As we go through this trial I want to be able to help anyone that is experiencing the same trial, but at the same time help you prevent this in your life. I truly believe that LIFE is a JOURNEY. Sometimes the path on the journey feels like it's all up hill but in the end the journey will be worth it. So this is just a long uphill hike for us. However we fully plan to get to the top of this mountain.
This story is about my dear husband and eternal companion Fred. Several months ago he said to me that he was having a little trouble having a bowel movement. I told him to increase his fluid intake and watch for blood each time he goes to the bathroom (FYI: blood in the bowel movement is a sign of cancer). If things don't improve then we probably should have it checked out by an MD. Well the first of the year rolled around, we went on our trip to New Zealand that we had planned. Once we returned from New Zealand time quickly passed especially with tax season and before we knew it Spring was here.
Fred continued to experience the same symptoms and noticed the bowel movement was getting a little more narrow, but never any blood. So we got him into see a general practice MD. While doing an exam the doc did the fun rectal exam. With that exam Fred was in severe pain. As I looked at the doctor and said to him "He should not be in that much pain" the doctor agreed with me and said we need to have a colonoscopy a little earlier in life than we expected.
So we went for the very fun colonoscopy. They gave Fred some fun drugs and off to dream land he went. I have to say he is kinda funny waking up. Well, I guess you could say it was at that point that our journey uphill began. The colonoscopy showed rectal cancer. The colon looked great, but to make sure there was not other masses outside the colon we were then sent for a CT scan of the abdomen. So two days later we went for the CT scan. The scan showed that the cancer had already spread to the liver and bottom of the lungs. WOW, at that point you just say is this really happening or is this a dream. Frustrating thing for Fred is that he feels great (thank goodness).
From there we were referred to a rectal surgeon. As we met with the rectal surgeon he suggested that we pack our bags and take the next flight to Houston where we can be treated at MD Anderson one of the best cancer centers in the USA. He informed us that they could do surgery on the liver, lungs and rectum all at once.
As much as I appreciated him being very aggressive I had to say "Slow down and lets looks at all our options or a second opinion before you start slicing and dicing. That is a huge surgery that will be impossible for anyone to recover from or survive. Not to mention that we do an amazing job here in UT" Well after the doctor quickly figured out that Fred had a wife that was going to put up a fight he quickly calmed down. He then referred us to a very specialized Oncologist. Our Oncologist is amazing and we know we are in the best hands we could ever be in. I have to say that I was feeling so glad that I have medial knowledge to be able to make these drastic decisions.
In between seeing the rectal surgeon and the Oncologist we were sent for a PET scan. No a PET scan is not for animals-hahah. Just for your knowledge base it's like a CT scan. Difference is a PET scan measures the metabolic activity in the body like blood flow, oxygen in the organs and tissues. You are given a high glucose drink. The sugar in that drink is attracted to cancer cells. Then you are injected with a radioactive medication. The medication is then tagged by the sugar and lights up the cancer cells on the monitor. In a nut shell Fred was glowing. Unfortunately the PET scan showed 8 masses on each side of the lungs.
BTW if you are wondering. Yes we are getting use to bad news by this point. Anyway, once we met with the Oncologist he made a treatment plan that is very individualized. I feel very good about this treatment plan. We will go in every two weeks for a treatment. Basically the Chemo treatments are 3-4 hours long. One of the medications runs over 48 hours so we come home on a pump that Fred wears in a fanny pack. We plan to be very functional and carry out life as usual. We pray the side effects will be minimal and most of all pray that the chemo will shrink those cancer cells and make those mean vicious cells die. We may still need to do surgery or radiation in the future but we will cross that bridge at that point. We started our treatment yesterday. So far we have had minimal side effects. The next few days will be interesting and we are fighting strong to get through this. We are so grateful for the small miracles we have everyday.
So many of you have asked what we need or have offered to do anything for us. I thank all of you for that. You have no idea what that means your us. Your friendship, support and love is so appreciated. Right now all we need is lots of PRAYERS. Trust me we can feel all of you praying for us. It's very humbling when you know so many people are praying and thinking of you. I thank all of you from the very bottom of my heart.
I have promised many to keep you updated. I think I will post the updates here on this blog. As you go through something like this you find many ways to simplify your life. Therefore I don't think I can keep two blogs updated so I plan to just put quick post here as things arise. I will tag these posts as "Kankamp Journey" so you can search the posts easily.
Thanks so much.