By Rybo

(Update – August 10th, 2009)  This Caring Bridge site was started 2 years ago when I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.  My treatment to date has consisted of an operation to remove the tumor, along with portions of my colon and rectum and three, six month rounds of chemotherapy.  I’ve had some minor problems along the way with my kidney function and shingles in my right eye but I’ve had a couple of wicked good specialists that help me with those.

Stage 4 colon cancer is different from stages 1 through 3 in that it means the cancer has spread outside of the colon.  That’s a bad thing.  This is why I’ve had 3 rounds of chemo.  Though the tumor is gone, there are still cancer cells in my body that can never be eradicated that are looking for a place to land.  They’ve tried to form tumors on my lung, liver and lymph nodes but the repeated chemo treatments have kept that from happening.

I’m one of a growing number of people that are “living with cancer”.  I never imagined there was such a thing.  I knew so little about cancer and it’s treatments prior to this experience.  So far, I seem to need 6 months of chemo per year.  Back in 2007, the thought of this much chemo seemed impossible to endure.  But it’s what I need and so here I am just doing it.  I’ve learned stuff about myself and about the quality of my friendships that have been very rewarding.  I live with Jo Breiner and she’s my primary care giver.  That’s not easy but she’s committed to it and quite good at it.  We get lots of help from various friends.  Sometimes they help with tasks that need doing and sometimes they help just by forgetting I have cancer and laughing it up with me as if nothing has changed.  Often they don’t even realize they’re helping.  It just seems to work out and the help and support of so many make it all work out fine.

So there’s not much sitting around crying but I do feel like I have new eyes and ears on the world.  A little change in perspective and an increase in patience which is like a bonus.  I draw more and lately I’ve been making videos about just about anything to amuse myself and whoever else will sit through them.  I post a lot of this stuff on a blog.  It’s not a typical blog.  Not much reading.  Mostly pictures, videos and drawings.  A blog seemed like a good idea because time and distance makes it hard to keep up with people and this way friends can see that I’m still a funny bastard.  (Well, mildly amusing anyway.)  Check it out.

One last comment would be that I hope you all can accept this stuff as I have.  Not be afraid of it and appreciate what’s to be learned from it.  It’s just part of life.  To my great surprise, I think cancer has been easier for me to deal with than the years of clinical depression I’ve endured.  It may even be why my depression seems to be on vacation somewhere.  I answer any and all questions about my condition but only when asked and I keep it brief.  It’s not something to be feared and the more we know the better off we are.  So drop me a note or drop on by and you can sit on the new deck and shoot the shit with me.  There’s plenty of shit that needs shootin’.

This message was originally posted on my Caring Bridge site:
My site name, when you get there: thedude


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