I have been amazed at how many people have shared with me, over the last couple of weeks, their stories of how cancer has impacted their lives. A visitor at my church yesterday tried to give me a pep talk (I think) about how her son had had cancer and lived (though, she emphasized it was a long, hard road — and well, I’m not sure the ‘pep talk’ was all that peppy). People at work, church, scouts, and even some of my online students have shared their experiences. Now that I am personally affected by cancer, though, I have become more aware of it around me. Last Thursday was my wife’s birthday and I took her out for a massage for two at a spa. On the sign-in form, there was box to check if you had/have cancer. Walking into Wal-Mart (or as some of my UU friends like to refer to it: “The Evil Empire”) yesterday, there was a woman collecting money for the American Cancer Society (you can bet I made a larger than average – for me – donation).
Unfortunately for my family, I am not the only one who has to deal with cancer. Just last week, my father had surgery to treat his lung cancer. Dad underwent several months of 3-on, 3-off chemo treatments to shrink a tumor that, when diagnosed, was too big and too close to the aorta to allow for surgery. Luckily, he responded well to the chemo. From all reports, he is doing wonderfully. He gives me hope for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that this last episode was his FOURTH type of cancer (he’s had skin carcinoma, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, and now lung cancer). Thus far, each type of cancer has been successfully treated. Again, he gives me hope. I used to say I was ”angry” with him for increasing my risk for getting cancer; my goodness, but sometimes my sense of humor gets me into trouble.
This week is another of tests and procedures. I have a CT-guided biopsy on Wednesday (to get a definitive diagnosis about whether the tumor on my pancrease is malignant or not) and another ERCP to replace the stents that are currently in my bile duct. The temporary stents last for about 8-10 weeks, after which, they need to be replaced. We are actually in week 11 right now. Dr. Kauh suggested having the ERCP now (prophalactically) rather than wait until it gets clogged or infected. The fun never stops, eh?