Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It's Official


I got a call yesterday morning from Doctor Wenger that I have a Stage I Seminoma. All things considered, this is about as good as it gets. Stage I means that it has not spread to the epididimous or vas deferens (which would be bad), the other testicle (a little worse), or the surrounding lymph nodes and organs (a lot worse). Furthermore, Seminoma responds MUCH better to treatment than Non-seminoma (the kind Lance had) and the treatment is a great deal easier to deal with.

It is most likely I will be getting radiation therapy for 4-6 weeks. The resulting side effects include nausea, diarrhea, possible vomiting (though it’s less likely) and general tiredness. Still, it soooooo much easier to face than chemotherapy, which causes hair to fall out, chronic exhaustion, inability to eat or keep down what you do eat. My heart goes out to those who have to deal with the effects of chemo.

Bedside Manner
So when Doctor Wenger called, he kept assuring me I had a long life in front of me, and I would be fine in the long haul. It was almost a little strange, until I realized it’s probably not everyday you tell someone they have cancer, especially testicular cancer (which is relatively rare: about 6-7,000 guys a year are diagnosed with it). Further, I think it’s the word: CANCER! I think a lot of people hear the word and hear a death-sentence. The people I know, especially the survivors, have educated themselves about the disease, and become empowered by embracing the cancer. It’s as if when you know as much as you can about it, and what specifically you are facing, it loses its hold on you.

I have to confess, the moment Dr. Wenger said, “You have a lump” I realized my life was changed…but it wasn’t over. He pointed me to all of the resources and websites I mentioned before, and gave me the statistical information to back up his assertions that I would be okay. I have to say I really respect him because he respects me, and he sees this process as a collaboration, not as an opportunity for him to tell me what to do. I will count myself fortunate to have doctors like him all the way through this journey.

Next Steps

The next step is a CAT Scan on Thursday. They’ll take pictures of the lymph nodes and surrounding organs to get an idea of where everything is and to double check to ensure the cancer has not spread to the organs or the lymph nodes. After that, I’ll reconvene with Dr. Wenger next week to review the scans, the post-operative results, and the biopsy results, and then begin planning my course of action for the next couple of months, which, again, will probably involve radiation but no chemo. I’ll also take all of the information and results with me to get a second opinion, just to make sure it fits with the current recommendations as they are being given.

12 comments:

Behr Whitewash said...

Bro, thanks for sharing. You continue to be in my prayers.

I had a visit with Dr. Wenger several years ago for a more routine treatment. The name is one of those you remember when you are shaved in places not normally shaved! I thought his first name should begin with a 'D'.. :)

Let me know if/how I can help..

Anonymous said...

Rob - wow, what a journey you've been on...I hope you're feeling better and healing up ok. It's times like these that make you really feel grateful for God's blessings...you take care and hope to see you back and up and around soon,

~Tara/RPA

Lieutenant Dan said...

Thanks for sharing - i think you are right. The CEO of cancer is probably going to want to know which one of his minions decided to chose YOU as a "victim"....

Anonymous said...

Fish:

Good to see a recent post.......was a little worried, hadn't heard anything since Sunday. Sounds wrong I know, but congratulations on the "good" bad news.

Keep us in the loop as you work through the radiation treatments. I especially appreciate your "this is what was going through my mind at this point" perspective.

Anonymous said...

Brother Rob,
Wonderful news.."Atlichna " !!............................
Call you later !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FishrCutB8 said...

I don't know if there is a CEO of cancer, but if there were, the board is probably after him right now. "Uhhh...can you tell us a little more about how THIS decision was made...and WHY?"

Tara--thanks for the kind words. Will look forward to seeing you soon.

Anonymouses...was too tired to post, but had a notebook with me. I just took notes and belted then out what I needed to say. Not excatly sure who anonymous #2 is, but I'll look forward to the call...ummmm...I think. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey Rob

There's no such thing as a minor dose of cancer but I love your attitude.

Stay Safe, Keep The Faith

Richie

Anonymous said...

All I can say is....SHIT!!!!! I haven't seen your blog for probly a year and this is what I read.I can hardly stop the tears. dfThe CEO of the cancer board sometimes chooses the right person for this: a strong person, a people person, a warrior!

I think this will be harder on your whole family than you. My family's and my thoughts are with you and yours,

Larry

el jay said...

All I can say is....SHIT!!!!! I haven't seen your blog for probly a year and this is what I read.I can hardly stop the tears. The CEO of the cancer board sometimes chooses the right person for this: a strong person, a people person, a warrior!

I think this will be harder on your whole family than you. My family's and my thoughts are with you and yours,

Larry

FishrCutB8 said...

Larry,

Soooooo glad to see you here! I was thinking about you a lot the other day, but I'm not sure why. I was so glad to see your name and it made me smile immediately.

Re: the cancer--no worries. I am in good hands. Thanks for your thoughts and concerns...stay in touch, man.

Anonymous said...

I am reading this article second time today, you have to be more careful with content leakers. If I will fount it again I will send you a link

Anonymous said...

I really like when people are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you are writing