January 30, 2007Everything after the doctor said “I’m sorry, but your wife has colorectal cancer” is a blur. We were doing a nice 70 mph down the highway of life and someone just grabbed the steering wheel and chunked the tranny into reverse at the same time.Lots of doctor speak and me trying to take notes. Hands shaking. Head spinning.A surgeon was in the room as Holly was waking up and, while groggy from anaesthesia, she could immediately sense that something was wrong. I had to tell her. That sucked. After some explainable crying we made a vow that we would kick this in the ass, beat this disease and try to educate as many people as possible about this.We drive home and nap.January 31The next morning, we go back to the doctor to get a better idea of what we have and what the next steps are. At that point we discover that the doctor is 99.9% sure that it is cancer, so that is good, we have a small chance that maybe it isn’t. We also get a better idea of treatment options, which include chemo, radiation & surgery. Because we’ve clearly won the shit lottery, she’s got to go back for me chemo after it is all over.We get a long list of next steps including doing some blood work, meeting with more docotrs and, lucky her, getting a rectal ultrasound.Holly goes and gives blood, I go back to work. It is a good form of escapism.February 2Rectal ultrasound day. I get a call after the appointment from Holly “I’m tired of people sticking things in my butt.” We find out how big the tumor is and how much it has spread on Monday. We also get our results of the biopsy. Holding our breath over the weekend. There is still 0.01% chance that this whole thing could be a false alarm.February 5We exhale, but no luck. Holly has stage 3 rectal cancer. We outline our plan of attack on how to fight this, first with our surgeon and then with our oncologist. 6 weeks of chemo & radiation, 6 weeks of rest, surgery, rest, surgery, 4 more months of chemotherapy. Sucks. The second half of the year has to be better than the first.As bleak as this may sound, we are holding our heads high and vowing to fight and win against this terrible disease.About HollyI consider myself the luckiest human being alive because of my wife, mainly because she puts up with me but also because she is smart, strong, wise, caring, funny, compassionate, an incredible woman, a wonderful mother and simply one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. She is my best friend. She is someone that I’ve been in love with since the second I laid eyes on her.She is also 37 and a vegetarian. She runs 15 – 20 miles per week, she does yoga, kickboxing and Pilate’s regularly. She doesn’t drink or smoke. She isn’t anemic. In fact, she has only one trait that would lead to this and that is, unfortunately, bad genes. Even with this, though, our doctor said that he wouldn’t have recommended checking for this for another 15 years.So it is just bad luck. While most everyone else (myself included) would be curled up in the fetal position crying about this, she is being incredibly strong. She has vowed to fight this disease and win. She is strong and I know that she will.About Colorectal Cancer (CRC)You can read the Wikipedia entry, but it is pretty depressing. In short, behind lung cancer, it is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths. No cancer is good cancer. From the Wikipedia entry:
Colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer or bowel cancer, includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix. It is the third most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of death among cancers in the Western world. Many colorectal cancers are thought to arise from adenomatous polyps in the colon. These mushroom-like growths are usually benign, but some may develop into cancer over time. The majority of the time, the diagnosis of localized colon cancer is through colonoscopy. Therapy is usually through surgery, which in many cases is followed by chemotherapy.
Delightful, huh?What can I do?We have been so blessed with a strong support group of friends & family. Everyone, without exception, has asked what they can do to help. We really are thankful for everyone that has reached out to us and I know that we will be racking up the baby sitting credits over the next several months.As I’ve mentioned and explain to everyone, we really look at this as an opportunity to try to educate as many people as possible about colorectal cancer. We are already kicking around ideas on how to do a major online grass roots campaign, including YouTube video diaries, reaching out to celebrties, leveraging my mom’s connections in the Senate and anything else that we can do.So what can you do if you’re so inclined:
Learn about this colorectal cancer (here, here, or here) and if there is a chance you could be impacted, get checked. No one wants a colonoscopy, but it beats the alternative.
Tell people you know to get checked out. Don’t be a Debbie Downer, but bring this up to your friends and family. Holly shouldn’t have cancer, but she does and didn’t know it until this point. You or someone you love might too.
Link your blog to this site. I will, of course, post Holly’s site once we get that up and running. Digg this page, MyWeb it, add it to del.icio.us, etc.
Do you know someone that can help us educate people on a national scale? We would love an introduction.
Have ideas on how we can get the message out in a big way on a little to no budget? We are all ears
Email this page to a friend of loved one by clicking here.
IM this page to a friend (I can’t find the code, so hopefully some Yahoo will help me)
Donate to the Colorectal Cancer Network. They are trying to do a really good thing, but clearly need web design help.
Buy a bracelet. Holly wondered why they weren’t brown for colorectal cancer. Our ribbons will be brown. If you don’t have a sense of humor, what do you have?
Send us inspirational stories. We all know someone that lost their lives to cancer. We don’t need it. Send us the stories about people that, like us, looked at this as a challenge and rose to it, fought back and won.
Most of all, just keep us in your thoughts.
So that is what is going on. Who are you going to tell?