Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stay of Execution

Brief Update --

I got word today from my doctor's office that my surgery has been postponed for a week. My new surgery date is March 18, at 8:30am (which means I have to be there at 6:30am). It was kind of funny because they offered to do it on the 13th (Friday the 13th to be specific), but I said "no way".

Oh well . . . at least now I have an extra week to wrap up on stuff at work and on the home front.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Moments in Sarcoma

The Team Sarcoma Initiative ( has recently put out a request for Sarcoma patients and their families to write "Moments in Sarcoma".

This is a new project that will publish moments from the lives of patients and their families, doctors, researchers, and friends. Submissions are invited during the month of February. Then one submission will be published daily on the Team Sarcoma Website starting in May or June, continuing through the International Sarcoma Awareness Week in July and ending when all chosen moments have been published.

As a part of this very special project, one patient or survivor who submits a Moment by March 1 will be awarded a sponsorship of at least $2,000 (there may also be the possibility of some travel assistance) to participate in the 2009 "Core" Team Sarcoma Bike Tour during July 18-25, 2009.

For more details, see All submissions must be 300 words or less.

Weighing in at 297 words, here is my submission:

“One Day at a Time”

So I’ve been battling Myxoid Liposarcoma now since July, 2008. I probably had this condition a year prior but just never knew it. Life was good and everything was easy. Then came the rather shocking diagnosis and even scarier “treatment” plan. At the time I wondered, “Why did this happen to me? Am I going to survive this ordeal?”

I’ve since endured 6 five-day cycles of intensive chemotherapy (over 4 months), numerous emergency trips to the hospital, 25 rounds of radiation (over 5 weeks), and surgery is only days away. I’ll be honest: the chemo sucked . . . and the smelly hospital food was even worse! My strong recommendation is to order takeout from your favorite restaurants instead. Whatever sounds appealing is what you should eat.

In contrast, the radiation treatment was a cakewalk. Sure, I now have funny tan lines on my left thigh and a little “sunburn”, but who cares! Life is good again, my appetite is back, and I’m even working fulltime (which I find quite therapeutic). It turns out that I work with some pretty darn funny guys . . . and it does feel good to laugh again.

If my sarcoma journey has taught me anything, I’ve learned to cherish the good times, enjoy my family and friends, have a few laughs, and even appreciate a fine meal. I refuse to dwell on the negative or live in fear. Yes, I concede that I am not in control of my destiny, but I am steadfast in my resolve to enjoy life and be thankful for all of the “easy times” that come my way (like now). I no longer grapple with questions that cannot be answered, but instead take things one day at a time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Scans all look good

Just a quick update – the preliminary results on both my CT Scan and the MRI are positive. No spread of the cancer was readily evident in the CT Scan and the MRI showed some further shrinkage of the tumor. The official report from the Radiologist should be out later this week and they'll let me know if the news is any different.

I also have a surgical date/time set up: Wednesday, March 11, at noon. According to the doc, I should be out of the hospital within 2 days and then on crutches “only as necessary for balance”. Dr. Monson also stated that they would be putting staples and drains in my leg, all of which would come out 3 weeks post op. Beyond that, he said that I was looking great and that he didn’t expect any problems with either the surgery or my recovery.

What more could I ask for?!?

UPDATE 2/18/2009 --
I got a call this morning from my doctor's office to let me know that the "official" radiology report for my CT Scan has confirmed that there was no apparent spread of the cancer. Yeah!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Radiation Cycle Complete

In fact, this past Wednesday (February 11) was my last day. It all went without a hitch with virtually no pain, swelling, redness, or other complications. Even the fatigue factor seemed to lessen as the weeks wore on. I’m so happy now that I don’t have to make the long drive to Crawford Long every morning. This saves me over 50 miles each day.

I found it rather humorous that on my last day the radiation techs gave me a “graduation day” certificate, signed by all the good folks that work there (they were awesome). It was actually a very kind and sincere gesture that they do for all of their patients. I found “humor” in it, however, because my 25 rounds of radiation was nothing when compared to even 1 round of the “intensive chemotherapy” (out of 6) that I went though previously. And I got nothing to commemorate that graduation . . . not even an “I survived chemotherapy” certificate. So, the next time I see Dr. D’Amato, I’ll have to show her my fancy radiation certificate and then demand some sort of gold plated commemorative plaque for all of the chemotherapy she put me through! I see her again in about two weeks and will be sure to bring it up.

One thing that I think helped make my radiation treatment go faster and seemingly trouble-free was my job. I’m thankful that work kept me quite busy during this time so I had little opportunity to dwell on any possible side effects. Actually, working fulltime again has been extremely therapeutic. It’s fun and fulfilling and keeps my mind from wondering towards negative thoughts. I actually will be flying out to Costa Rica on a business trip here in another week. I’m really looking forward to seeing my colleagues down there.

In the meantime, I have a “reality check” coming up this week. On Tuesday (February 17) I go in for a Chest, Abdomen, and Pelvis (CAP) CT Scan and an MRI of my left thigh. The CAP CT Scan is my quarterly scan to check for any spread of the cancer. (Yes, this is the one where I have to drink the disgusting barium “Berry Smoothie” the night before and the morning of.) The MRI (at this point) is for pre-surgical analysis of my leg. I also will be seeing Dr. Monson (my orthopedic surgeon) who should give me a firm date for my operation and provide me with details as to my expected recovery. I’ll let you know how that goes either later Tuesday or Wednesday.