NOTE ABOUT CONTEXT: (Oct. 7/08) Colon cancer involves two aspects -- removal of original site, and prevention/watching for new site development as they rarely appear alone. The only information I have found so far as to timeframe is a meta study (study of other studies) of 60 people who did not receive treatment for one reason or another, representative of various stages at the time of discovery. It concludes,
"...two-thirds expired between 1 and 2 months of presentation. Only two patients survived more than 1 year. These data suggest that untreated colorectal cancer will be nearly uniformly fatal early in all patients who go untreated".
Owing to a discrepancy between what was agreed upon as to the section of colon to be removed, and the records and subsequent surgery, I am considering my situation to be one of ongoing untreated colon cancer until something substantial indicates otherwise. No treatment or follow-up monitoring has taken place since the well-performed colon resection in question, which took place in June/08.
UDATE: (Aug.18/09) At Christmas time I started to get medical attention and the first regular follow-up routines emerged about May/09. CT scans have been clear in the colon. Two spots of unknown nature have been seen in the lungs, which are now being monitored. As these spots are in the upper lobes of the lungs it is unlikely they are spread from the original site (as those usually go to the lower lobes. If they are in fact cancerous they are likely of separate origin, but it is felt that this is unlikely cancer of the lungs as "the really bad-boy cells" have usually spread and done their damage by the time they appear on CT scans, in which case I'd be toast anyway (grin).
Throughout this mini-journey through cancer-land, my greatest problem has not been with either the cancer itself, nor the medical sector with all its warts, but rather, it has been with myself. These poems reflect this fact.
All poems are indexed chronologically, and separate annotated indexes have been created which indicate poems with eight themes which seem to dominate this journey. Not all poems appear in each of the thematic indexes.
The concluding poem expresses my thanks to my readers who have walked through this particularly difficult journey with me. Perhaps the paper-trail I have left will be of help to others going through a similar "valley of the shadow of death' and/or those who walk with them.
Health-care in the rural area is a difficult issue mostly because of the small population base. As is noted in the poems, there is an unofficial two-tiered health-care system in Manitoba (though lots would deny that opinion) which I discovered the hard way. My having been shunted to the "lower tier" briefly, I believe through an "error", has convinced me that entrenching this reality into a formal institutionalized system is perhaps not the best way to go in our province. Perhaps this paper-trail of one person's journey through our system will help show others how it feels to be on each of the two tiers, and inform our decision making.
Thank-you for your interest, prayers and support,
(Dec 15/09) First meeting with the doctor with feedback from the CT scan of lungs shows that all is clear and the "thingies" are benign. Another doctor consultation to follow in a week and further monitoring will proceed on schedule. S.
(Apr 24/2013) It is 5 years clear this spring. A summary of my feelings at this point are found in the poem "Five Years", though words of any kind are so inadequate to express the gratitude in me at this time. Thanks to everyone indeed! S.
(17 July, 2014) ^ years clear on colon cancer, and that is fine. I found out today I have "Basal Cell Carcinoma" (a kind of skin cancer due to sun exposure, I gather) and the lesion will be removed in about 4 weeks or so. Can't say I'm all that happy about it all, but it is serving to be a bit of a wake-up call to my (inevitable?) encroaching complacency. If I want my "7 double years", I guess I am going to have to work for them / fight for them...and can by no means take them for granted...the race of my life indeed. Thank you Lord for this wake up call / reprieve, and I pray for Grace to deal with this all responsibly. Thank you. Stu. The story picks up again at the poem "Actively Willing".