Friday, June 8, 2007


On or around April 5, 2007, I learned I had colon cancer.

My first colonoscopy ever, at age 50, was scheduled April 5 and doctors discovered a golf-ball sized tumor that "didn't look good."

On Monday, my surgeon called me (himself; rather scary) at work and told me he had a cancellation April 12 and that I could have the spot. Regardless of whether the tumor was cancer, it would have to come out. You can't have a golf ball blocking your natural flow.

"Is it cancer?" I asked. "Likely," he replied. That was shocking and somewhat disturbing. I drove home immediately, a little dazed, a little teary. My husband, Bob, was at home waiting for me. A comfort.

I had the surgery, a re-section of my descending colon (lower left track as my friend Kay would understand it), and was in the hospital an unpleasant five days.

Biopsies and surgery told us I had Stage III colon cancer; it had not spread to the liver or lungs, thank God, (or the ovary they removed), but had squeaked its way into a couple of lymph nodes. So chemo would be in order. My oncologist ordered a port (a device surgically implanted under the skin above the right breast which is where bloods samples come out and chemo goes in) and 24 weeks of chemo (every other week).

I've had one treatment of chemo on June 1, and I'll get to that later (or earlier, as blogs run newest to oldest).

So the bottom line is: Thank God, I had my colonoscopy when I did at age 50; thank God I live in Chicago where medical facilities are superb; thank God it hadn't spread into any other organs (and only into a couple of pesky lymph nodes); thank God, I have a loving and supportive husband who insisted on being with me during all my appointments after we discovered the tumor to take notes and remember stuff for me. (He is the brains, I am the brawn).

My new mantra: Get your coloscopy at age 50! Dagnabit.

1 comment:

Dr. Deryl R. Leaming said...

The Ballad of Rangoon Rosie

I was half lit up and low
In a little joint I know,
A dark and dirty Chinese dive in Paris,
A dingy dump, and dank,
On the not-so-chic Left Bank,
And not a place to meet a stylish heiress.
I was drinkin’, getting stinkin’,
With Jean-Claude Yao Chen Lincoln,
A bland-and-Chinese Frenchman who sold gin there,
When a footstep light as air
Whispered down the outside stair,
And a rough and rangy dame came slinkin’ in there.
Like a river rate from Norway
She stood soppin’ in the doorway,
Soakin’ wet with rain and sweat, and smellin’ musky.
“Pour me out a double shot
“Of some viskey cheap and hot,”
She said in accents musical and husky.
Lookin’ sore of heart and sickly,
She threw down the liquor quickly,
And she turned and looked me squarely in the eyeball,
Saying, “Stranger, I got trouble
“If you don’t buy me that double,
“’Cause I haven’t got a centime for a highball,”
I said, “Sister, I’m afraid
“I am not the Traveler’s Aid.”
(I was hard then, and my heart, it was a small one.)
But Claude, a soul less narrow,
Said, “it’s on me moineau,” (sparrow),
And poured that red-haired dame another tall one.
It was late, and Claude was closin’,
But the lady looked frozen,
So he reached up on the bar and pulled a chair down,
And she put her bag and hat down,
Said, “My name is Rose,” and sat down,
And the lady drank her drink and let her hair down.
Soon the room was feelin’ cozy,
And her name and cheeks were Rosie,
And, “I’m glad,” she said, “to be on terra firma.”
She said a Belgian banker
Bought her passage on a tanker
That was on its way to nowhere, out of Burma.
So that was how I met her,
And I never will forget her,
And I’ll lay a hundred pounds against a posy,
You can search the world, brother,
And you’ll never find another
Like that randy, raunchy, red-haired Rangoon Rosie.
She was only middlin’ honest,
But her hair was the chiffonest,
Her lips were full, her legs were long and supple.
She stole francs from off my bureau
(This was long before the euro),
But she never told a lie. Well, just a couple.
The only lies she told:
Who she was, and just how old,
And where she did, and when she did it.
But she always had a handout
If your planning hadn’t panned out,
And whatever good she did, she always hid it.
She was a chanteuse for Big Al
At this joint in Place Pigalle
I’ll she saved the dough to buy a house of pleasure.
She said, “Let me tell you, neighbor,
“Bein’ management, not labor,
“That’s the street of bonbons sweet beyond all measure,”
Oh, Rosie had adventures
-Where the deacon lost his dentures!
-How le Compte de Montparnasse got roped and thrown!
But through roils and royals and rumor,
She retained her sense of humor
And remained the grandest bitch I’ve ever known.
Then there came a day in printemps
We were roulez-ing the bon temps,
When a bolt of lightning jolted Jean-Claude’s bar.
The roof was torn asunder
And the lights died with the thunder,
And the smell of smoke crept in like some bete noire.
As it was on the Titanic,
You could taste the edge of panic
As the drunken patrons blindly sought the door.
Walls grew hot and smoke was seeping,
People clutching, clawing, weeping-
When a miracle cut through the rising roar.
Like a silver shaft of kindness,
Singing, “Come to me, my melancholy baby.”
And that voice, with calm appealing
Led us upward, to the ceiling.
Was it sweet fresh air we tasted there? Just maybe.
Through the hole the lightning rent
People made a mad ascent,
To the roof, then down a drainpipe to the street.
And through smoke had seared her throat,
Rosie never missed a note,
Here voice from the inferno clear and sweet.
“Cuddle up and don’t be blue,”
Rang out as the roof fell through.
Rosie never said another word on Earth
And I’d give up all I’ve got
To buy that double shot,
And figure I paid half what it was worth.
I never knew precisely
Where she came from. I asked nicely,
But she bit my ear and said, “Don’t be so nosy
But I know where is now,
And I know for sure somehow
They’re drinkin’ toasts in Hell to Rangoon Rosie.