Monday, February 13, 2006

Cancer Sucks

OK. No big shock there. One of my best friends, and a roommate from college in Santa Barbara, just lost his mother to pancreatic cancer. My girlfriend's aunt passed away in December 2004 from pancreatic cancer. Another former roommate of mine's father just had a lung removed last week due to lung cancer. Another buddy of mine's father has prostate cancer. Several bloggers have had their own run-ins with cancer and other serious medical issues. Some of these include Glyphic, Pauly, BG, Falstaff, and Annie and Stef Sertich. Not all are actual cancer issues, but they're all shitty situations.

Many of you know that my mother has cancer. When she was diagnosed in the spring of 2004, they thought it was colon cancer. She had a radical, experimental procedure called Hyperthermic Chemo Perfusion. Basically, they opened her up, surgically removed as much cancerous material as possible, and then poured heated liquid chemo into her abdominal cavity and swished it around to try and coat all the organs and kill off any remaining cancerous material. Without it, they gave her six months to live. With it, they gave her a 50 percent chance at another 3 to 5 years. Well, late 2005 the cancer was back, and had attached to the lungs. So she's starting chemo this week to try and limit the growth. I've got no idea how effective it will be, but it's not being presented as something that will "cure" it...just control it. The "interesting" thing that came out of this is I found out exactly what kind of cancer she had. Apparently you can get cancer of the appendix. Yes, the most useless organ in the body can also kill you. The cancer is related to colon cancer (logically enough), which is why they thought initially that was what my mother had. As it turned out, the appendix burst and the cancerous "goo" spewed out into the abdominal cavity and formed sheets of cancer (as opposed to more visible tumors) on the abdominal organs.

I don't know how the chemo is going to go. They're giving her the "napalm" cocktail of 2 IV drugs and one oral. She's going to get very sick, probably lose her hair (she didn't the first time, oddly enough), and be very miserable. I'm not looking forward to it. What did come out of all of this was the words from the doctor that, if you at all go in for any sort of surgical procedure, have your appendix removed. It's useless, it serves no purpose, and now it seems it can be another source of cancer. That's not to say that removing it would prevent you from getting cancer, but rather it takes away a target or potential source of cancer. I'm sure there's some of you in the medical field who might counsel against this (Dr. Chako, any thoughts?), but I'm just forwarding what my mother told me from her doctor. Take it for what it's worth, but if you're going in for any sort of medical procedure, you may as well see what else it would take to remove your appendix. Who knows. It may save your life.

Sorry for the downer post. I'll get back to the fun and frivolity soon.

8 comments:

Matt Silverthorn said...

I'm sorry about your mother, man. I wish her and your family the best. My grandma is a breast cancer survivor, so I know how scary it can be.

iamhoff said...

Thanks, Matt. So far, so good. There's just been a lot of this going around lately, and it was a trip talking with both of my ex-roomies (one here in SD, and one up in Rhode Island) and realizing that all 3 of us are in the same cancer boat. Glad your Grandma's a survivor. At least Mom's got a positive attitude, so we'll see how the power of prayer and positive thinking do.

Nick Christy said...

Sorry to hear about you mom. It seems to be something that sneaks up on you when you least expect it, if there is ever anything I can do, you know where to find me.

iamhoff said...

Nick, thanks for the good thoughts. Now it's just down to how effective the chemo is. My next blog update (hopefully I'll be able to make some sense of my sidebar) I'll add a link over to your blog. It's pretty cool, saying that I've conversed with The Future WSOP Champ!

drewspop said...

Hang in there Hoff. I'll be sending positive vibes from the east coast.

Lady Falcon said...

I am very sorry to hear about your mother. My prayers are with you both.

iamhoff said...

You guys all rock. I can't thank you enough for the good thoughts. This is such a great community of people, I mean look at all the good vibes that have been flying around. I'd love to know how much has been donated to help BG with his medical expenses (I did my part), I know there's been a lot said about Glyphic's friend and her need for a bone marrow transplant, and there were tons of warm thoughts going around to Pauly when his grandmother passed and to Falstaff when his uncle passed. Now I'm feeling all warm and squishy inside. Either that or I sat in something.

Matt Silverthorn said...

Check your pants. Just in case.