Tomorrow, I see my oncologist, Dr. Bergen, at St. Mary's Regional Oncology Center in Grand Junction. It looks like I'll be able to start back on the clinical trial medication. My clinical trial contact person called me today and said that the rash indicates that my receptors are responding to the medicine. They will start me back at a lower dosage. I am excited to be part of this process. Even if it ultimately doesn't work and I help the researchers figure that out, I feel good about that. There's always chemo to fall back on later.
I think they'll have to do a blood test and make sure my enzymes are okay, which they have been. Also, we'll be scheduling my next scan for May. Scans are always a big deal to cancer patients - just what aret those tumors are up to!
I really like my oncologist, and I really like St. Mary's. And I really like my local GP, Dr. Gates, at Mountain Medical in Ridgway - he's brand new out of med school. My surgeon, Martin McCarter at CU Hosptial was awesome. I feel I have a very good team. The American Cancer Society has been very helpful - we're hoping to go by their office in Grand Junction tomorrow just because I want to see it in person. I have also met with Patty Ammon about nutrition and supplements, and she and her staff at Ridgway Integrative Medicine have been great - they have a library there and I have borrowed books. There's a lot of conflicting information out there, and I 'm trying to sort it all out.
I do NOT believe, as some books and videos assert, that traditional medical doctors and the American Cancer Society really don't want to find a cure for cancer because it would mean the end to a billion dollar industry. I think the doctors I work with and the American Cancer Society would rejoice. There are so many cancers, and it is so deadly, and it is so tragic. I am actually very lucky. I correpsond with a number of people who are younger than me, much younger, and are going through chemo to try to shrink their tumors just so they can have their livers resected like I did. Some of them have families, young children. I am praying and pulling for all of us. Through cholangiocarcinoma.org, I correspond with people all over the world. I am so grateful for this website. I do believe traditional medicine is very harsh, and I wish had taken better care of myself starting from an early age.
I do NOT believe I got cancer because I am angry, as some people have told me, and in fact really pisses me off when I hear this. But these people have told me this in all sincerity, so I respect their candor. Apparently, it's part of the folklore of Chinese medicine - anger manifest as problems in the liver. But my primary cancer is in my bile duct, and besides, primary liver cancer is fairly rare, although cancer often metastisizes there. If people got cancer in their liver because they are angry, wouldn't there be a really high rate of liver cancer? One person said it could have been that I was angry at my mother as a toddler because she wouldn't let me go outside or have some candy. Now, when a child throws a tantrum at my candy counter in the bookstore, should I say, "Oh honey don't get angry, you'll give yourself liver cancer!"
I believe I got cancer for two reasons. I think it is some how hereditary in my family, although the fact that I am the fourth generation on my father's side could also be coincidence. My father had prostate cancer, although he didn't die from it - he committed suicide which will be the subject of a future blog. His mother, my grandmother Bessie, died of colon cancer. She willed herself to live long enough to see my older sister Suzie be born, her first grandchild. Her mother, my great-grandmother Caroline, died of breast cancer. They say I look a lot like Bessie and Caroline (for whom I was named) in looks, build, and thick brown hair that doesn't turn gray. Secondly, I didn't take care of myself. I am a junk food junkie and have a tendency to overextend myself. If sugar feeds cancer, I sure fed that beast. As an accountant, I dealt with long hours and lots of overtime by consuming mass quantities of junk food. If I had to work on the weekends or late at night, if my mind couldn't be happy and my body couldn't be happy, my mouth could be. (I also listened to some good music or NPR so my ears were happy, too.) We now eat much healthier and try to exercise. I think I allowed myself to get really busy, my immune system got depressed, my cancer gene kicked in, and I fed it really well with lots of candy and highly processed food.
So I'm up here in Colorado, trying to shrink my tumors, and sort it all out.
Don't forget to eat your fiber.