Of which there are many.
The following is a little personal.
Future postings may be even more intermittent than usual. Going into the month of July, I was unable to hold anything down. I merely assumed that a piece of Polish Sausage had got caught sideways in my small intestine, but no such luck. Turns out my guts were being blocked off.
I won't bore (horrify or shock) my readers with how good I look after dieting for a solid month. Suffice to say, I was down to 90 kg. I am up to 93 now that things will stay down, but that might have been the three litres of water they dropped into my arm at the beginning of August. Three litres of water is a lot, but considering how much I was sweating at the Osgoode Medieval Festival, and my usual can do attitude, it is, I suppose, to be expected.
Many XRays, and a cat scan later, they decided that they needed to do a biopsy and golly gee, it was in reach of this new device, the "push endoscope". They removed the drain tube from my nose (an evil device but not as evil as the push endoscope) and proceeded to find, and take a chunk of the problem, and upon microscopic examination, they determined I had a cancer the size of my fist squeezing my gut closed. I call it the dragon. I won't dignify it with a name. Yet.
They decided that operating was not an option since it had infested the lymph nodes draining into my aorta. They would have to take out my aorta as well as the dragon. Sure vein splicing has been around since the Korean War, but an aorta is a high pressure line. Not a usual candidate for replacement. So chemotherapy is the answer. It will likely never get rid of the dragon which is nipping at my belly, but they may be able to bring it down to lizard size. In order to deal with problem one (my lack of caloric and liquid input) they fed and watered me through a "pic" in my arm. Then the push endoscope was used to push a stent past the dragon. A stent is kind of neat, looks a little bit like a tube of chain mail. And because they were kind enough to provide a monitor for me to look at during the two hour procedure, I finally SAW my enemy...looked like a piece of fatty chicken heart, trying to squeeze through the mesh of the stent.
I asked them how long it will take for the dragon to just eat the stent and fill it up. They shrugged and dodged the question. Right, I though, the rest of MY life.
Which leads to the question...how long exactly will THAT be? Well, things are better than they were ten years ago....but The Graph is not encouraging....10% just fade away in six months, same as they would have a decade ago. 80 percent make it to year one. 50 % make it to year two. Ten percent make it to year three. Hey, ten percent odds. I will take that! But a lot can happen in three years! Better proceedures, better chemo. And remember, this is Bill here....I survive where many would not.
The chemo they give you now is not so hard on the system as it was a few years ago. The answer is to treat the symptoms and side effects directly. Gravol is not my dearest friend, but it is right up there! They tell me I won't lose my beard, but I "might" lose my hair. Even that is not the given that it was a few years ago. On the other hand, it was pretty much turning into a Friar Tuck tonsure all by itself, so no loss.
So, its not as much a fight against the dragon as "survive the fight". I am not even doing the fight, its a top notch oncologist using me as the battlefield. Fine. I'll do my part. Eat lots of anti-oxidants, try not to eat anything which can feed the dragon. A chance to be lazy and get away with it! Give the docs a good battlefield to work with.
I'll try to make future posts a little more upbeat than this one. But its three in the morning, and I can't sleep for worrying about what is coming down the pike. I was asked if I was scared. Well, for some reason (denial?) I am not scared. Just worried about who I have failed to apologize to, who I still owe something to...stuff I might leave undone. Worried about my legacy. My sword arts. My armour making skill sets which have taken me three decades to evolve. THESE things I can make sure don't die if I do. Shoulda done this years ago. Have you SEEN the Ottawa drivers!!!!
Hey, its going to be a helluva ride. To all my friends who follow this blog, and to all that don't, thank you for being there so many times. I might call in a marker or two in the next few years, but I promise I won't abuse the privilege. Mostly it would be a case of "hey we are going out to a movie, maybe Brenda would like to come too", and give her a respite. She likes to be asked....