Personal Health Update
I often get asked how I’m doing these days health-wise, so I thought I’d take today to give an update.
I pretty much am fully recovered and back to speed after my surgeries and hospital stays last June. It took a little longer than I expected to gain all of my strength back, but it’s rejoined me nonetheless. I’m back to boxing and doing Jillian Michaels’ workouts, which I’m convinced that if cancer won’t kill me – those surely will! Holy cow they are hard!
I was put back into the circuit of receiving checkups from my oncologist every 3-4 months after my diagnosis last summer, but so far everything has come back clear. My lab work is showing that my levels are normal, and my PET scan came back clean. I also had a CT scan that looked good. They did see a few spots around the liver that seem to be fatty deposits. They will keep an eye on them to make sure they’re nothing to be concerned about. I’ll have a follow-up CT scan sometime this summer, as well as an upper & lower GI scope.
I had an interesting time as I added another doctor to my “A Team” of physicians and began meeting with a geneticist. Because I’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer twice now and I’m not even 30, it’s highly suspicious that I have a genetic disorder. I was tested for “FAP,” but it came back negative. Back in the day when I was 17, M.D. Anderson suspected that I might have a disorder called “Lynch Syndrome” but testing couldn’t prove it. This past summer’s diagnosis raised suspicions again, as colon cancer appeared once more. My family and I were reevaluated and retested. While we would have loved to have concrete answers, we didn’t quite receive the certainty we were hoping for. But, reports were still clear and leaning toward there being a genetic problem, science just hasn’t caught up with us yet. I believe that my case has been left open to make us still have faith and hope. We can’t totally explain the two cancer occurrences, but we do know enough to try and stop them from happening again. The doctors have recommended that I be treated as someone with Lynch Syndrome so we can stay on top of the cancer risks and prevent it from returning the best we can!
Other than the frequent scans and more doctors appointments, life is pretty much back to normal. I still go poop (I’m asked that often!) – although because I have less than a foot of colon left, it’s much more often than others. I was very nervous about the foods I would have to avoid for the rest of my life, but it’s really not been that bad. Oils and heavily fried foods seem to be the worst, but I can eat almost anything in moderation – depending on the day, what else I’ve had to eat and my stress level. I’ve not had any more “IBS-like” attacks since my surgery (I was having several the month leading up to the big day) and generally feel pretty good if I watch my diet. As my blog shows, I have been eating more locally grown, organic foods to help me give me the best fuel and energy my body needs.
Of course, I still have my days now and then where I need to stay home, get extra rest, or stay close to the potty – but those are becoming fewer and fewer. I have a clearer understanding now than ever that each day is a gift, and feel so fortunate to be granted another second chance at a healthy life.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement through all of this! As you continue to pray for me and my health, I also ask that you keep fellow cancer soldiers in mind who are undergoing chemo, radiation and other treatments to kill, or hold back their cancers. It’s a rough gig, and they need all of the support we can give. I pray that many others who are currently fighting will also have their health restored and positive health updates to give!