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Archive for January, 2012

Oncology 14.0 PET Edition

January 13, 2012 13 comments

I have the semi-official results from my PET scan on Wednesday.

The results are reported by three different radiologists, so the final report is still pending, but the preliminary report is as follows.

There appears to be no further spread of my cancer than what we already know about from CT imaging. Basically, this is what we were hoping for. There was a real risk of having further metastasis that are too small to be seen by CT, if you were to follow the expectant course of adenocarcinoma, then you might expect to see these. I was thinking we would see further lymph node involvement at the very least, especially in the para-aortic chain where there is already disease. But, it would seem there are only the four nodes that we already knew about.

What this means is that I am being offered surgery. I described these surgery in a previous post, so won’t get into the finer details of it here, but retro-peritoneal lymph node dissection is pretty huge surgery, and not without its risks or complications. What surgery offers though, is the first prospect of turning my illness into something non-terminal for over two years. Its a bit to get my head around to be honest. Of course, surgery could equally accelerate the disease and having me find my end of life sooner rather than later, as with medicine in general, its a risk/benefit equation.

At this stage, surgery has been pencilled in for the 14th of February. I would expect to not be working for probably 3 months after that as I recover. The hospital stay is 10-14 days if there are no complications making me stay longer, but with a surgery this large, there is a reasonable chance that complications will occur. In the mean time, I may or may not re-start chemo, I have to wait till I meet with my oncologist to see what he thinks with regard to this.

If the final report adds or changes the picture, I shall update to let you all know. In the mean time, I will digest this new and rapidly changing course of events.

Into the unpredictable future I go…

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Kristian Anderson

January 5, 2012 5 comments

Earlier this week, on the 2nd of January, Kristian Anderson lost his battle with bowel cancer.

He and I first made contact a couple of years back shortly after his diagnosis. We are of a similar age, and have a similar life philosophy, and battle the same sinister illness. He was slightly more advanced than I was at his diagnosis. Whilst we both have our struggles with our illnesses, perhaps his was made a little more poignant in that he has two young children, all the more motivation to beat cancer, and survive.

I too relate to this drive for survival. The motivation to live is not for my own benefit, but for that of my wife and my family and friends. If I was to have children, I can only just imagine how much harder that would be.

Kristian shot to fame shortly after his diagnosis when he produced a video for his wife for her birthday. He managed to get Hugh Jackman and PM John Key in on it, and it went viral online.

After his rise into the media consciousness, Oprah interviewed him on her show when she toured Australia last year.

Throughout Kristian’s Journey, he and I have shared the highs and lows of bowel cancer. The tough times, and the joyous times. It is with a bittersweet note that he has passed away. Bitter, because it should never have happened, because he leaves behind a wife and two children, and because his life was stolen from him. Sweet, because he gets to be with his Lord, and the at times very difficult journey, has finally come to an end, the suffering has stopped.

Kristian, you were a friend whom I met through circumstance and suffering. You were a man of faith who has got to meet his maker. Our heart goes to your family, Rachel and your children will be in our prayers for many years to come.

May you rest in peace, with the Creator of the universe whom you adored so much.