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  •   Marc reacted to this post about 3 hours ago
    The atoms that make up your body are ancient things, recycled over millions of years. We are made of stars... Oh, and also dead raccoons. ‏ — feeling happy
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  • Senan updated his profile
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  •   DeboraJ commented on this post about 2 weeks ago
    I’m finally feeling “normal” enough to share my latest ordeal with my fellow spoonies. After consulting with my doctors, I decided to have a medication pump surgically installed into my abdomen that will deliver chemotherapy directly into my liver. The surgery involved removing my gall bladder, inserting the pump, connecting it via a catheter to an artery feeding my liver, and then reorganizing it all to fit comfortably. The pump is a bit larger than a hockey puck and along with the bladder removal it required an 8 inch incision through my abdomen muscles to install. That’s where the pain comes in. Twisting, breathing, laughing, sneezing, coughing, burping, bowel movements... it all hurts. I’ve been able to manage it well with medication while doing my best to avoid depending on opiates or other narcotics. I’m two weeks into recovery and happy to say that I’m on a great road to recovery and should be back to normal very soon. It has definitely been a lesson in managing my spoons though, and I appreciate everyone’s patience while I focused on myself.
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  • Senan updated his profile
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  •   Kit commented on this post about 3 weeks ago
    During an especially intense flare up of my sciatica pain last night, I decided to take some pain medication to help me sleep. As I dozed off, I found myself repeating a common mantra I use during meditation, but with some minor alterations. "I am one with the Oxy. The Codone is with me." Totally inappropriate, but it did provide some levity during an otherwise uncomfortable situation. ‏ — feeling special
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  • zeroequalsone is now friends with Senan
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  • Senan updated his profile
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  •   TheDude reacted to this post about 1 month 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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