Thursday, 31 March 2011

And the Count Down Begins

It's March 31st and I begin Chemo in 4 days!

Today I made my way up to the north east of the city to have, what promises to be, the beginning of a series of tests. Today's test: "Lung Capacity", which I think I passed, as air still seems to be passing in and out of my lungs with very little effort at this point. The tougher test today was trying to navigate the EI system which includes finding all the hoops that they require me to jump through. One would think that after paying into a system for more than 25 years they would be willing to give me some of it back.  However,  like everything else as of late, I'm told to hurry up and wait and that someone will get back to me.  The last big test accomplished today was grocery shopping.  I'm not sure what I'm going to want to eat, if anything soon enough but I stocked up with as much as I could. The idea is to avoid having to do it again later. 

So I am happy to report that I'm in good spirits, OK, maybe a little stressed but today was a good day!

Thanks again to everyone and I really do appreciate all the well wishes.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

In the beginning

So Cancer it is!
Since this all started in January I have continued to hope that somewhere, someone would say "oops! sorry for freaking you out but turns out it was really nothing to worry about!"  Two months later this is not the case. So cancer it is!

Ok, so now what?
Well I met with Dr. Daniel Heng from the Tom Baker Cancer Centre here in Calgary and he gave me the run down.  I have stage 2 testicular cancer. This is a seminoma cancer which has metastasized and is now in my lymph nodes in my abdomen but is not affecting any organs.  This diagnosis has been a battle just to get and getting a diagnosis brings a certain amount of relief; at least now I know what I am dealing with and what it is I am facing for the future.

Two months ago I had a pain in what seemed like my hip - like it was dislocated or something - but as the pain got worse I finally went into the hospital to see what the hell was gong on.  Doctor #1 at the Sheldon Chumir Center here in Calgary runs some tests including an ultrasound which at this point tells me there is something wrong but can't tell me more than that. One week later a CT scan is done.  Within 2 hours they are calling me back to the hospital to tell me I've got issues.  They have found a 7.5 cm mass in my abdomen which seems to be wrapping itself around my abdominal aorta and that it needs to come out.  So much for the weekend get away I had planed!  So doctor #1 tells me to go home sit by the phone and wait for doctor #2 to call regarding cutting this thing out of me.  So I go home and wait....

Now a week goes by (*#%@^#$) and finally doctor #2's office calls and sets up an appointment but it will be a couple of weeks till I get in to see the doctor.  However, the person calling was unable to give me any information and that was a temp for the day so knew even less....  So February 22 and I finally get to see the doctor.  My thoughts to this point are, "Well they don't know anything and will most likely admit me into the hospital and cut this thing out of me."  This was not the case....turns out doctor #2 was an oncological surgeon and wanted to give me the run down on what was going to happen.  His first thought: lymphoma, second thought: sarcoma tumour, third: testicular cancer....  So off for more tests to decide which of the three it is.

Tests were;
1) More blood that I thought I could possibly give,
2) another ultrasound but on the nuts this time
3) and for the most fun the CT guided biopsy!
The CT guided biopsy is where they take a straw, jam it in 10cm in my back, then start coring a sample of the tumour while I am awake. They do however, use local freezing so I didn't feel a thing.

The next day I call doctor #2 to find out how long it will be till I get some sort of results: 5 business days.  In my next call I was told it could be 7 to 10 business days!  10 after hearing nothing I call and get "oh ya!" and "uhh sorry doctor has been busy but will call you back."  Finally 2 days later I get the call and am told it's not lymphoma but testicular cancer.  First thought, "Fuck! Crappy!" OK so now what?  Well sit by the phone because doctor #3 will call.  "Fuck! even crappier!"......

That was a Wednesday and in faster than normal fashion doctor #3 calls the following Monday and I thought, "Great, I should get in before summer starts!"  To my surprise they get me in on Wednesday March 30th.

So today I finally got the answers to what it is I have and a clue as to how I'm going to get rid of it!

Chemo it is!

On Friday April 1st I get to go to a chemo class and get the walk through of the Tom Baker cancer centre.  Monday April 4th is start of what will initially be 3 rounds of chemo. (B-E-P)  This will entail a cocktail of three different drugs; Bleomycin, Etoposide, and Cisplatin.  Each course lasts for 3 days, where they, through an IV, will administer the drugs.  Followed up with 3 more days of total crappiness. and then a week and a half of gradual recovery.  Just as things start to look up they will start the next round.  I was also informed that each round will be worse than the last. "Oh Joy!"  Now after round three they hope that the cancer will be gone and at that point they will set up with doctor #4 who will perform the very simple surgery of removing the testicle that has been the source of all this trouble.  And 8 weeks after that they will run another CT scan and tell me that I am cured.

So I am going to blog this whole thing starting today and use this as a form to keep everyone up to date on how things are going.  I am very glad that I have had so many of my friends and my family following things so far and truly appreciate the support but in order to keep everyone apprised this may the easiest way to communicate with all of you. Thank you and Love you all!

If anyone is interested check out and watch the videos on "Jason's Journey" in the "Get Support" tab:'s-bakers-journey-oneball-charity