My Cancer Story


Posted 8 April 2016

This week it was five months since a CT scan showed I had a large tumor with metastases: a stage 4 GI cancer. At the time, it was deemed most likely to be pancreatic cancer, for which typical lifespan is 3 to 6 months from diagnosis. So I am happy just to still be here!

(Now the prevailing diagnosis is duodenal cancer, but one pathologist continues to think it is pancreatic.)

A real quality of life milestone: It is now 37 days since I’ve had to go to the emergency room. Aside from this last period, my record for staying out of the hospital since diagnosis was 18 days at a time! In retrospect, it seems likely that it was suppressed immunity from the chemotherapy that was the indirect trigger for most, if not all, of the hospitalizations.

During the radiation treatments, the side effects were much more mild than during chemotherapy. But since the treatments have ended, it is a different story. The radiation damages cells that take time to die and be purged, which is why the effects (both good and bad) continue for weeks after the end of treatment.

My last treatment was Tuesday, and Wednesday I felt pretty bad. Thursday was slightly better, and today is a little better again, so I am hopeful for continuing improvements.

I get my next CT on April 29, and I’ll see Dr. Brett, my oncologist, on May 5. I am hoping to stay away from doctors and hospitals until then!

One more milestone: this is the 28th post to my cancer story blog.