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  •   TheDude reacted to this post about 1 day ago
    A little about me and why I am here in this group. I'm Senan (Steve) and I turn 39 in two weeks. Seventeen months ago I was experiencing some odd symptoms in my lower bowel and went to see my doctor. What he originally thought was hemorrhoids or some other irritation turned out to be a cancerous tumor. After a sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and CT scan, it was determined that I have colon cancer that had also spread to my lymph nodes and to my liver. This makes it Stage 4 colon cancer, which is pretty rare for someone as young as I am.

    My treatment began with an immediate surgery to remove the tumor from my lower colon/rectum. The surgery involved cutting out 4 inches of my colon that contained the tumor and then reconnecting the two ends. It is called a resection. The tumor was very low in my rectum and there was a strong possibility that I would end up with a colostomy bag, but thanks to the skilled hands of my surgeon, I was able to keep my bowel intact. While he was in there, he also biopsied the tumors on my liver which confirmed they were the same colon cancer.

    Due to the location of the multiple tumors on my liver, surgery to remove them was not an option. Instead, I began chemotherapy to attack the cancer and keep it from spreading elsewhere. The chemo regimen is called FOLFOX and combines a number of different drugs that attack the disease in different ways. There are premeds that contain steroids, antihistamines, and fluids meant to prepare my liver and kidneys to process the drugs. Next comes a drug called Avastin that prevents cancer cells from forming new blood supplies, basically starving them. Then it is a large dose of chemotherapy called Oxyliplatin, a heavy metal compound that destroys the DNA/RNA of cancer and prevents it from replicating itself. The final drug in the cocktail is called Florouracil, also called 5FU. This is the real cancer killer, actively destroying living cancer cells and preventing new ones from growing.

    The chemo is effective, but it also attacks healthy cells in the body resulting in some pretty wicked side effects. I have intense and long lasting neuropathy (numbness and tingling) in my hands and feet, a very irritable and unpredictable bowel, some hair loss, but most severe is the fatigue. I am tired all the time, and can't do simple things I used to. During a treatment I get winded walking up a flight of stairs and I have to nap after I take a shower. Even eating is tiring. These are the days I have to be very careful about where my spoons are spent.

    I manage the side effects with anti-nausea meds, Ibuprofin, cannabis oil (THC free so no high) to reduce inflammation, medicinal cannabis edibles (these do get you high) for pain management and increase in appetite, melatonin to help fall asleep, and a low sugar diet.

    That's where I'm at now. I see two different oncologists and we're looking for new treatment options every day. I might be alive for five more years or five more months. It's a roller coaster and I'm just along for the ride. It is nice to have others here to commiserate with, and this Temple had lifted me up through the darkest of times. Thank you all for that!
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  • ZealotX is now friends with Senan
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  •   DeboraJ commented on this post about 1 week ago
    So an interesting thought occurred to me last night as I plan a few small vacations over the summer. It isn't just the everyday mundane stuff that we have to choose how to use our spoons on. Sometimes we need to consider whether a certain experience is worth using a bunch of spoons on. As an example, if you get an opportunity to go skydiving or drive a race car or travel to Paris or meet your personal hero, wouldn't it be worth using up as many spoons as you have and paying for it later? It seems to me lately that if I have the spoons, I should use them on these once in a lifetime experiences that become available, even if it means I might be short of spoons for a while afterward. Thoughts?
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  •   DeboraJ commented on this post about 1 week ago
    Thank you, Kit, for getting this group up and running. It is particularly timely today as my supply of spoons may be changing soon and I'll be once again leaning on people here for support.
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  • Senan joined the group, Those Who Count Spoons
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  •   vladucard reacted to this post about 1 week ago
    Let's play Millennial Monopoly. The rules are simple. You start with no money, you can't earn enough to afford anything, the board is on fire, and for some reason everything is your fault. The bright side is when you die, you get a "Get Out Of Student Loan Debt Free" card.
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  •   Manu reacted to this post about 3 weeks ago
    For Star Wars Day I'm going to pretend that all of this dirty laundry sitting on my bedroom floor is actually left over from disappeared Jedi Masters and probably shouldn't be disturbed. ‏ — feeling special
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  • wolfboy5802 is now friends with Senan
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  • DeboraJ is now friends with Senan
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