You’d be forgiven if this picture led you to believe Tennyson is a contemplative fellow, but he did actually sit down without any coaching.
In other (really good) news, the pathology results from the tumor-removal surgery came in. The tumor was very large (3.84 cm) and penetrated the entire rectum wall, but it did not affect any tissue beyond the rectum wall and only one of 16 lymph nodes was cancerous.
The tissue was “moderately differentiated” (still kind of looked like colon and not totally cancer). Still no news on possible lung metastases, but I’m feeling pretty good about my odds at this point. For the cancer aficionados out there, I believe that makes it a T3 N1a M0 G2 cancer. I was also told there was a “partial response” to treatment (as opposed to no response or total response).
Because there was not a total response and 1 lymph node was still infected, and because I’ve tolerated chemo very well so far, I was advised to continue chemo treatments for a few more rounds.
My next infusion is on Wednesday, so I’m–once again–trying to soak in my last few days of feeling good before I take another jaunt through sucksville.
Based on the current plan, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to return to normal life by the end of August. That would mean I’m over halfway done with this roller coaster ride. The thought brings alternating waves of excitement and overwhelm. In the end excitement usually wins, though. Getting close!
We ventured into the forest to celebrate Earth Day and came across trash all over the place. Hashtag sad, or whatever Tennyson is expressing here. We just wanna save some freaking trees!
Pants are so lame, so we’re giving them the morning off.
In other news, I survived surgery and I’m healing up nicely. I wish I could say I did the whole ride fearlessly and optimistically, but, at least half the time, I was afraid and unable to avoid thoughts of what could go wrong. If there is one thing that can break my typical positive outlook, it is the thought of losing my family.
Luckily, I had an army of positive energy behind me, and it more than compensated for my fears. Thank you to all of you. Your words made a huge and pleasant impact on my experience, as always.
Even more important to me, however, was that I had the reassurance that Juanique was on the ride with me, gracefully carrying an extraordinary burden that she didn’t ask for. Even without a single word of encouragement from another human being, I am confident in my path forward in life because she is a part of it. No one should ever be asked to do what she has had to do in the last year, but there isn’t another person I’d trust more to do it.
We should be getting the lab results back on Friday to help us determine what our next steps will be. While it’s far from a guarantee, and we’ll never know for sure, there is a chance that I am cancer free right this moment. That’s a thought worth obsessing over, I think.
I didn’t make a proper announcement when she was born, so I apologize for the late news:
Introducing Satori Deva Roney. Born 12 March at 1:07 am. 5 lbs 11 oz, 20.5 inches long. We’ve decided to keep her. Now a little info on the name:
As most of you know, Juanique and I are into unique names. We also like names that are aspirational, sort of like built in role models for our children. Satori perfectly meets both criteria. It is a Zen Buddhist word meaning “enlightenment,” “awakening,” or “seeing one’s true nature.” With any luck it will serve Satori as a continuing call back to her true nature, which is basic goodness.
Deva is a Buddhist and Hindu word meaning “a god or divine being,” once again intended to keep Satori’s divine nature at the forefront of her self-image. It’s fair to say that she is living up to her name perfectly so far.
One of the benefits of her birth so far has been the halo of calm it has created in our lives. We even came close to forgetting about the cancer a few times. Preparing for tomorrow’s surgery has been like being awoken from the best dream. It’s a little bit painful, but we’ve got the advantage of bringing the best part of the dream with us into the next chapter of our lives. I guess I’m ready now.
I took a sort of social media break for a while when Satori was born, but I’m once again craving some form of community, so I’m back. In less than 12 hours I’ll be in surgery getting my rectum removed (hopefully along with the tumor), so please consider setting aside some good feels for me and my family over the next 24 hours. I’ll be taking up donations in the form of prayers, thoughts, vibes, and long-distance high fives if you are feeling so generous. In return you get to gaze at my loving mustachioed face for as long as you want.
“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”
This is why I love you all so much. Your love, support, and contact us literally increasing my odds of becoming cancer free and living a full life. There is absolutely nothing more deserving of our full attention and effort than developing and nurturing deep relationships.
Various articles about this story are flying at me today. Getting diagnosed with rectal cancer was a shock to me, and I know it was a shock to many of you. Colorectal cancer isn’t exactly at epidemic levels for the young generations, but there is a concerning trend that I think warrants broad attention. It isn’t genetic most of the time, so our lifestyle is key. Eat your vegetables, exercise, and be kind to yourself! Start today!