Monday, April 30, 2007
Tomorrow we have an appointment with the liver surgeon... we'll find out whether or not the embolization worked. Keep your fingers crossed...
The weekend was busy with basketball. Richard's team did very well. They played four games and only lost one of them. The team that beat them was from Long Island, NY. They were really good. It was a good experience; but exhausting... I'm not cut out to be a taxi driver.
Sandee, I read your post today... Thanks! You are in our thoughts.
Take good care everyone!
Friday, April 27, 2007
We're getting ready for Tony's parents' arrival on Sunday. And, Richard is participating in a basketball tournament with his school team. I will be the appointed driver. They play at least 3 games (1 tonight, 2 tomorrow) and could play another 2 on Sunday if they win.
Well, we're off to get the car washed at the Novartis Community Partnership Day Charity Car Wash, so that's it for now.
I wish you all a very good weekend. Enjoy your loved ones... and take good care!
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I've just had a special request for cheesecake (I guess that's better than poutine)... So off I go to the store! Thank you all for your thoughts and messages. We both appreciate them very much.
Take good care.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I just spoke to our Oncologist's assistant and she confirmed that the Erbitux is okay and that Tony can have his treatment tomorrow afternoon. So we'll try again tomorrow. The Erbitux will be administered once a week for six weeks.
In order to reduce the amount of frustration I was feeling (funny enough, Tony was very calm), I thought of my good friend Happie and stopped to admire the clouds. Thanks Happie!
Take good care!
Monday, April 23, 2007
I must take my hat off to our Oncologist. In a bit of a panic on Saturday night, I wrote him an e-mail. Tony had a fever of 38.3 during the evening so I gave him so Tylenol. Then, I started thinking... (not always a good thing for me!) When patients are on chemo, they usually tell them to go directly to the emergency if they get a fever of 38.5. Well, believe it or not, when I checked my e-mail on Sunday, I realized that our doc had responded to me sometime around 11 pm on Saturday night (bit of a workaholic- but good for us). He said that if the fever persists to go to the ER and d/c (which I take to mean discontinue) chemo. Thankfully, Tony's temperature only went up to 38.1 on Sunday. However, as he had to fast for 12 hours for his blood test Tony opted to skip last night's dose as well as this morning's. He gets really sick on an empty stomach. Because he will be starting another chemo tomorrow, he will most likely stay off the Xeloda until we see the nurse or oncologist tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope and pray that his temperature will not spike again.
I wanted to say THANKS! to my Mom and Dad for the beautiful flowers. They did bring a smile to my face... Also, thanks to everyone for their comments. Stéphanie and Maureen, our thoughts are with you and your family...
Take good care everyone!
Sunday, April 22, 2007
KNOWLEDGE IS A POWERFUL THING (by Linda Thompson)
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in Canada and this year I know more about the disease than Iever dreamed I would. For example, I know that colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the country [i]. I also know it's very treatable if detected early, yet it’s the second leading cause of death from cancer [ii] in Canada. I know these things because just over a year ago my friend and colleague, Renée, began to voice fears about her 38-year old husband having colorectal cancer.
I didn’t really take her seriously in the beginning because Renée is one of those people who can’t help giving herself a good medical scare. She loves to pour over medical literature, yet she’s the first to admit that she shouldn’t be allowed within miles of a medical textbook. Internet medical information sites should also be permanently blocked on her computer. That’s because, in her case, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. No sooner does she read up on a disease than she or someone in her family suddenly exhibits the symptoms. I, on the other hand, am the total opposite. The less I know about any number of diseases that could be lying in wait to attack, the happier I am. Somewhere between the two of us of there’s a happy, healthy medium.
So when Renée began to talk about the possibility of her husband, Tony, having colorectal cancer, I scoffed at the suggestion. I pooh-poohed her concerns and repeatedly told her that it was highly unlikely. My goal was to reassure her, but I don’t think I did a very good job. I probably didn’t come across as entirely sympathetic either, since I was sure her imagination was working overtime again. Other than making frequent trips to the washroom (it’s amazing how close colleagues share the most intimate family details), Tony had no symptoms whatsoever. He was as strong as a horse, hadn’t lost an ounce of weight and had a hearty appetite. And after all, colorectal cancer at 38 years old, well, what were the odds? In retrospect, I know I wasn’t as supportive as I could have been and I have regretted it ever since.
As it turns out,Tony was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in December of 2004 despite the fact that none of the high risk factors for the disease applied to him. These factors include a family history of colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease or a previous removal of a polyp or tumour. Risk also increases with age, and people over age 50 are at a higher risk. But, as Tony discovered, cancer doesn't follow any set rules or always pay attention to risk factors.
Since then, he has undergone three surgeries and two rounds of chemotherapy. The first operation to remove his colon revealed metastases to the liver. He had to go under the knife two more times to completely erase the tumours from his liver, and is now waiting for a final round of chemotherapy. Through it all, he has maintained a hugely positive attitude and an impressive sense of humour. And through it all, Renée's extensive reading and research has been a great asset. Her knowledge has put them in the driver’s seat when it came to treatment options and choices instead of being passengers along for the ride. The information obtained from Tony’s doctors, patient groups, medical literature and other sources allowed them to evaluate and choose the best course of action for Tony’s circumstances. Now both she and Tony are putting that knowledge to good use. Together they are promoting awareness about the screening, detection and treatment of colorectal cancer among their circle of friends, family and acquaintances. Family members in particular are now sensitive to the fact that there is a history of the disease in the family. As well, several of his colleagues have undergone screening as a result of Tony’s story.
So, thanks to Renée, I know a lot more about colorectal cancer than I did just over a year ago. I know that an average of 377 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer every week [iii]. I know that one in 14 men and one in 16 women is expected to develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime [iv]. I know that colorectal cancer can develop overtime with no signs or symptoms and that an average of 162 Canadians will die from it every week. The most valuable thing I’ve learned is that wide screening could significantly reduce this death rate [v]. And thanks to Renée, I’ve learned that knowledge is power, and that this information could just possibly save my life.
[i] Canadian Cancer Society/National Cancer Institute of Canada: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2005
[ii] Canadian Cancer Society,www.bc.cancer.ca/ccs/internet/standard/0,3182,3278_14447_371429_langId-en,00.html[iii] http://www.bc.cancer.ca/ccs/internet/standard/0,3182,3278_14447_371429_langId-en,00.html
UPDATE: Since Linda wrote this article, Tony (aka Richard), has undergone two more procedures for his liver: radiofrequency thermal ablation and embolization. As well, he completed an additional two chemo regimens and is now on his third - so fifth in total. Unfortunately, the liver metastases have progressed in spite of the last chemo (which ended in Jan 07). We are hoping that the embolization and this new chemo treatment will be effective in shrinking these tumours.
NOTE: Tony's cancer is attributable to Gardner's Syndrome, a variant of familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). Approximately 1% of all colorectal cancer cases are attributable to FAP close to one third of these have no family history of the disease.
I apologize for the long post... but thought it was well worth it.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
We're booked for chemo at the JGH on Tuesday morning (early). Monday is the CT scan to see if the embolization was successful. Keep your fingers crossed!
I hope you all get a chance to enjoy the sunshine! Take good care!
P.S. Please don't be afraid to call the house. This blog is not meant to replace the wonderful live conversations Tony and I been known to have with you wonderful people.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
We really appreciate everyone's comments. I think Tony was quite surprised at the responses we are getting. Thanks everyone.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
This is a photo I took of Tony as we were heading out today. Now, that's the healthiest looking sick guy I've ever seen... Doesn't he look great?!!
We have good news today, although I'm not quite sure what it is yet. But the Oncologist left us a phone message that he had good news and to "please call him on his cell". Of course I can't reach him right now... But, apparently he has good news!! "Yeah!" We could definitely use some of that right about now.
I will keep you posted! 'Til then, take good care!
Monday, April 16, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
As most of you know, although he had been having bursts of fever for well over two weeks, Tony had his liver embolization on Fri. Mar.30th. He spent the better part of the week in bed and had fever and pain as was expected. On April 6th we visited our Oncologist who gave Tony a prescription for an oral chemotherapy treatment - Xeloda.
Tony started his chemo on Sat. Apr. 7th - he was still having some fever... On Sunday, he was in some discomfort (backside) and could barely sit. On Monday I took him to a local clinic that was open - all hospital clinics were closed as it was Easter Monday. We were told it was an abscess and that it would need to be drained and gave us antibiotics. We were at the colorectal surgeon's on Wed. and things are better now... Knock on wood. He hasn't had a fever since yesterday afternoon. Although I keep feeling his forehead every 2 hours or so. (That must be annoying for him...) On the down side, he has to be off his chemo treatment for 7 days. I'm waiting to hear from the Oncologist as we did 4 days of a 14 day (+ 7 days off) cycle... I'm not sure how that'll work. We were meant to see him next week; but I'm not sure if that'll hold.
For now, Tony is eating well and getting plenty of rest.
On a happy note, my youngest son Mathieu's team won a hockey tournament this weekend (the final was at dinnertime on Sunday - what timing). And, on Tuesday, my oldest, Richard, turned 13.
Take good care everyone... We'll see you soon!