Sunday, July 27th, I went to the emergency room for a suspected blocked intestine. By Wednesday, July 30th, I had been diagnosed with Primary Peritoneal Cancer and was receiving my first chemotherapy treatment.
This is my story…
For 2 months I had been struggling with a cough, shortness of breath, and some pain in my stomach. For the most part, the doctors assumed my stomach pain was pulled muscles from my cough. After x-rays showed fluid on my lungs, I was twice diagnosed with pneumonia and went through 2 rounds of antibiotics and steroids. After completing the last round, my wife and I took a vacation to the beach before we were to launch our new business. I was miserable – same symptoms only now my stomach was becoming more and more distended. I looked 8 months pregnant. We came home on Saturday and went to the clinic close by our house on Sunday. They immediately sent us to the ER with an order asking for a CT scan for a potential intestine blockage of some sort. Lung x-ray showed fluid on my lungs, and they did a CT scan. Hours later, the ER doc who had diagnosed pneumonia on one of my previous trips came in and told us the CT scan had some alarming results, a couple of masses in my lower abdomen and some abnormalities. I was to be admitted for further testing, I later found out, to the oncology ward.
Monday – the first visit was a P.A. from the practice to which I was assigned. We were visibly upset given the state of the unknown and she starting talking about the need to stay positive and focus on healing. She also said they were going to do everything they could to keep me alive. WHAT??? Later that morning, the doctor came by and said that typically masses in this area indicate a metastasized cancer so he ordered a biopsy (results would take 2-3 days), and an MRI (more immediate results). The joy of the MRI – more to come in a later installment… And so we continue to wait.
Tuesday – GOOD NEWS! It is NOT metastasized, I have Primary Peritoneal Cancer – it’s rare (of course) but presents exactly like ovarian cancer and is treated the same. The doctors are confident this is treatable and curable. Today’s procedures would consist of a Thoracentesis (to remove some fluid from my lung) and placement of a central port for delivery of chemotherapy. My treatment would consist of 9 weeks of chemo, surgery, then 18 more weeks of chemo. We’d start the chemo as soon as we had the pathology back from the biopsy.
Wednesday – biopsy results are in and confirm the MRI findings. So hey, as long as you’re here, let’s move forward with chemo today shall we? Later that evening, I lost my balance and took a face dive into the metal basket that is attached to the “vitals pole”. I’m sure that’s not what it’s called, but it’s the portable blood pressure cart. That created the need for yet another procedure, this time a head CT scan before I could be released from the hospital. By 11 that night, I was at home.
4 days, 2 procedures a day, and a diagnosis of cancer. I have cancer.
And so the journey begins. I don’t know where this blog will go, but I have several thoughts about things that happened at the hospital that will take up at least the next few. Thank you for following my journey. Kickin’ Cancer’s Ass. It’s on y’all.