Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday, October 16th: Mr Clean Hath Arrived

I am a cancer survivor.

I got the results of my post-chemo PetScan, and it was all smiles from my oncologist, Dr. Ioana Hinshaw. Based on the report, all evidence of increased metabolic activity and malignancy is gone from my body. In a nutshell, I'm as clean as the Bald guy peddling household products from P&G, and with much less muscle tone, actually resemble him. I've earned the right to wear the yellow wrist band, but probably won't (too cliche, although Lance Armstrong's organization rocks).

I start my 3-month checkup cycle with Dr. H and go back to see her in mid-January. Thankfully, the little metal port under my chest gets removed next week - so no more wierd itchy third nipple that shows through my shirts. Don't get me wrong, having an artificial third nipple isn't all that bad, but the removal of this device is another signal to cancer that I kicked its' ass. If only it was a status symbol - then I'd keep it.

All isn't done with my treatments, as I started radiation on Thursday. Why do this, you ask? It's a precautionary measure to eliminate any microscopic cell clusters in my pelvic bones that may still be active. In a nutshell, they're nuking the sh*t out of the area to get the little purple invader out of there.

The way it works is that every day during the work week (3:15 pm ) I get to go to the cancer center at Pres/St Lukes and sit under a large star trek looking machine with my pants off (sorry about the imagery), my package pulled aside(via towel) by the friendly (and funny) technicians, and get a dose of radiation for 5-6 seconds 1000 times more powerful than an X-ray on the tumor site in my hip. The area of the 'beam' is about as big as your hand - they are bathing the acetabulum (hip joint) and part of the pubic bone (don't laugh) where the tumor used to be with 'golden rays of sunshine' (a.k.a. radiation). I'll have a total of 25 treatments. It's amazing how precise and accurate they are -there are some cool Star Trek lasers off the wall that line up with the tattoos on my hips, and then they 'click click click' for about 5 seconds and- voila! - back to the office!

I'm being told that at treatment 15 or so I'll get to have a little sunburn on the site. That's OK, as long as the little sumbitches are nuked right out of there. Nothing that a little aloe and talcum powder can't cure. My Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Daniel Chin, tells me that I've got a 10% chance that I might get another tumor in 15-20 years at the treatment site - I'll take that risk. After all, I only had a bit over 50% chance I was going to beat this, so 10% is nothing. The hope is that as I get re-activated with my cycling I'll be able to sense if something goes wrong early enough in the future to catch it.

The machine they put me under looks like this picture above - but the room isn't all tricked out this way with the man-cave wood paneling and beautiful sky ceiling. They did take out a couple of the 2x4 ceiling panels at the Cancer Center, and replaced them with some sky pics with fighter jets flying by. I'm not sure about the military theme - maybe its a subliminal way to tell your body thay they are nuking the sh*t out of you, just like these jets could launch a small radioactive device and wipe out some middle eastern village.

But I really have no control, so I'll just take every extra day I can take and live it to the max - risk of cancer recurrence be damned. I've got too much life to live to worry about this.

Carpe diem.

p.s. Happy Birthday Mom!


  1. Bill,
    That is MOST EXCELLENT news! I am so happy for you and your family! Your positive attitude went a long way toward your fight, I am sure!
    Deb Donner

  2. I'm so happy for you and Amanda and your families! Congrats on being done with Chemo and Cancer and have a great time getting on with your life!!!

    Amy Pridemore

  3. Woot! Great to hear that Bill! Congratulations!

    Charley Smith

  4. Hello Bill!

    I wanted to let you know about an interesting cancer blog a group of cancer patients have been working on.

    A fellow tongue cancer patient was sent home to die. There was nothing more that can be done. Cancer survivors ask him life altering questions.

    Please read:

    Peace B