Monday, September 22, 2014

Gratitude Monday -- No Chemo

I do not require chemotherapy.
It's a good thing, but it is also academic as I'd already decided to refuse it.
That aside, the point is the operation got all the colorectal cancer. Tests showed it hadn't wandered off in search of organs or bones or anywhere else it could get a toe hold.
For this I am very grateful.

Cancer stages are determined by the TNM score: Tumour, Node, Metastasis.
This refers to the size or reach of the primary tumour, the amount it has spread to nearby lymph nodes, and if there are secondary tumours because it has spread to other places.
I scored zero for nodes, and zero for metastasis, but managed a three for tumour as it was nearly through my colon wall. That averages out to Stage Two.

I have to see my surgeon every three months for a year and have a blood test beforehand. It's to determine CEA levels, an increase of which suggest a return of the cancer.
In a year I get to have a colonscopy.
Doctors don't tempt the Universe by declaring a patient cancer free until five years of being cancer free has elapsed.
I, on the other hand, enjoy no such caution.
I am currently cancer free and I am grateful.



17 comments:

crabby said...

SO GLAD that there has been no spread and that the doctors aren't even recommending chemo.

And thanks for the explanation of the stages, I had no idea how they arrived at those. But a big tumor in one place that's gone now sure sounds better than one that has spread to other places!

solarity said...

Gladness abounds!
Is having cancer in the colon like having mice in the basement? Because my back brain responded to "almost through the colon wall" with "nibble, nibble, nibble."

Mary Anne in Kentucky

Leah J. Utas said...

Crabby, a tumor in one place only is way better than the alternative.
I'm happy to explain the staging criteria, it helps me anchor the knowledge, too.
Mary Anne, I had to smile with the mice idea. I had to hold myself back from describing it as eating through the colon wall because I keep see it with a mouth.

Thanks, both of you.

CARLA said...

so so so so so much love and relief your way.

Susan Calderon said...

I love your attitude and your grit! Congrats on being cancer free. Thanks for the explanation on how staging cancer is done. I love your blog and usually read and not comment but I wanted to offer my congrats.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thank you so much, Carla.

Leah J. Utas said...

Susan, thanks for reading and thanks for your kind words.

the Bag Lady said...

I had only a vague understanding of the staging process - thanks for the clarification. So glad your mice were still in the basement.

Leah J. Utas said...

My pleasure, Bag Lady. And thanks.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

God bless. That is fantastic news. And I agree with you. I declared myself cancer free the moment the doctors said it--and now I am passing the five year mark in a few weeks--so easier to get to if you are not worrying all the time. Great outlook, my dear friend.
Hugs, Terrie

Virginia Lee said...

What happened with your tumor sounds similar to mine in that it didn't penetrate the organ in which it was growing. I also didn't have chemo, but I did have radiation. Anyhoo, I'm here eight years later and doing great. Here's to kicking cancer's ass!!!

Leah J. Utas said...

Terrie, cancer free is cancer free. I don't care who refuses to declare it. And I refuse to worry until there's something concrete worth my energy to worry about.
I am so happy you are cancer free, too, Has it really been five years???

VL, it's great yours was caught before it went too far. I'm so happy you got through the radiation and are here to tell the tale.
Yes to kicking cancer's ass!

messymimi said...

Doing the Happy Snoopy Dance for you!

Leah J. Utas said...

Aww, thanks, Messymimi.

Hilary said...

Oh Leah, I am so happy to read this. It's the best news. I'm just thrilled for you.

Leah J. Utas said...

It's the best news ever, Hilary. Thanks.

Kimberley said...

Wonderful!!!