Friday, October 6, 2017

T minus one month and counting!

Related image

Hello?  Hello.  Yes it's me.  I am still here.  Still here and still kicking the crap out of colon cancer.  Let me repeat...Kicking...the...CRAP...Out...of...Colon...Cancer.

That feels good to write.  That feels good to SHOUT.  Even better it feels good to be kicking the crap out of colon cancer.

You may be wondering where I have been...or why the heck would I be blogging again after over two years of being silent?  Or why did I stop writing?  I was pretty active for so long posting about my journey...and then just kind of...stopped. Went least on the blog.  

Related imageThere is no big story here...I just stopped.  I guess there was a part of me that felt that I was starting to get to "the other side of things" in my battle with cancer.  It wasn't consuming me nearly as much as it had been.  I was less and less identifying myself as a cancer patient despite the regular blood tests, the CT scans, the meetings with my Onc.  Certainly I have still been very vocal and active with the Bum Run, with sharing my story with people in different forums than my very personal blog.  And I will continue to do so.  But I think mentally I have moved to a very different space now with each day, with each month, with each year that goes by and I begin to put colon cancer...behind me (pun intended ;-))  

So why write now? Maybe there is a higher power at work here...within the last week and out of the blue two people in my life have reached out to me about my blog.  Both have told me that my blog has made an impact on them or people in their life who have read it and connected with me through it...and have been positively impacted in some way by reading it.  It is humbling and overwhelming at the same time.  My blog was always something I was doing for me...for my therapy...for me to chronicle my journey with this damn thing called cancer. 

Quick "catch you up on the past two and a half years":

  • In March of this year I recognized 5 years from the date when Dr. Hart removed the cancerous tumour in my sigmoid.
  • In April Victoria and I celebrated 5 years of marriage.  5 years!!!  5 is a magic number for reasons than one.
  • In June I reviewed the results of my latest CT scan with Dr. Lingas and I continue to be CANCER FREE.  Still keeping an eye on those things on my lungs and especially on the liver but no Change is Good News

In September, my beautiful son Benjamin started SK French Immersion and I could NOT be more proud of the boy he is.

Next up:  November will be 5 years from last chemo round.  5 years post chemo.  A very big December I will have hopefully my LAST CT scan for post-chemo surveillance.  And after that...I will celebrate.  Probably shed a few tears but more likely will wipe those tears away with a tall glass of the most expensive red wine in my collection will hug my wife, Victoria, and my son, Benjamin, and will give THANKS.

So I will continue to post...even if just to let people know that I am STILL ALIVE.  I am still kicking colon cancer's ass. Again - pun intended.

That's all for now.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Round 6 Down...and Brown is Kicking It!!!

Came across this cartoon and think it pretty impactful in getting the message out.. 

Cartoons help loved ones discuss colon cancer screening |

And then I came across this one for a fridge magnet of all things and I cannot stop chuckling...right up my alley... no pun intended.

Colon Check Fridge Magnet

Like I have said in previous posts, the parallel to me of this battle with colon cancer is to compare to a 10-round boxing match.  Since the most significant milestone is that 5 year mark from curative-intent surgical removal of my tumour every round is 6 more months of survival.  For the first three years these months have been filled with sigmoid resection surgery, 12 rounds of FOLFOX chemotherapy over 7 months, 3 rounds of Neupogen injections to stimulate white blood cell production when my levels dropped to a more dangerous point, 4 CT scans, nuclear bone scans, 2 ultrasounds of the liver, an MRI of my liver, a chest and lung x-ray,10 CEA blood tests, ~30 port-a-catheter flushes, a colonoscopy.  And now three years since diagnosis I continue to be winning the battle.  I may be bruised and battered, scarred for sure, have been poked and prodded with needles more times that a person should be, and may have been knocked to the mat a few times but each time have bounced back up and returned the blow with a few jabs and punches of my own.   Round 6 is in the books.  Bring on 

Excuse the really really cheesy insertion of some Destiny's Child lyrics here and in no way do I think my story resembles that of Beyonce and the girls but's my blog and I just passed the three year mark for advanced colon cancer and I feel like shouting it out.  

Now that you're outta my life
I'm so much better
You thought that I'd be weak without you
But I'm stronger

I'm a survivor (What?)
I'm not gon give up (What?)
I'm not gon stop (What?)
I'm gon work harder (What?)
I'm a survivor (What?)
I'm gonna make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin' (What?)

Picture the Kicking the Crap Crew dressed up in camouflage gear with our toned midriffs showing kicking it to these lyrics below....ummm....maybe not.  I don't think we can pull that off :-)

The Kicking the Crap Crew 4.0

I realize that I have really slowed down over this past year with my blogging and perhaps will try and articulate what that might be all about in another post but for now I need to send out a belated shout out to, once again, let the world know that I have begun to recruit some really super enthusiastic awesomely excited wickedly tenacious fundraisers, cheerers, walkers, runners, sponsors, family, friends, supporters and honorary members of KTCC 4.0!  

This year’s event is Sunday April 26th at the bright and early time of 8 am and again this year I have created a team – Kicking the Crap Crew 4.0 – and set a fundraising goal of $3000 for us. I am confident that we can do it.  This year the organizers led by Dr. Ian Bookman allow for pledge dollars to be directed to four different charitable organizations:

St. Joseph's Health Centre
Colon Cancer Canada
SickKids G.I.F.T.
Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada

These are all great charities that are doing great things in the battle against colon cancer.  I personally am directing all my funds toward St. Joseph’s Health Centre Foundation as St. Joe’s and the absolutely amazing doctors and nurses there holds a very special place in my heart.  Those of you that have my blog know that I have spent so many days at St. Joseph's Health Centre with surgery, chemotherapy treatments, CT scans, colonoscopies, ultrasounds, MIRs, bloodwork and port flushes, visits to my doctors, etc.…I can say personally that everyone at St. Joe’s is a honorary member of the KTCC!

The route is the same 5km route around Queen’s Park as the previous three years. 
Speaking of three years…I thought I might share with you all that this March I will recognize three years of survival…three years battling colon cancer.  Three years is a very significant statistical milestone.  According to my surgeon statistical odds of recurrence now drop to only 10%.  Now that’s something worth celebrating!!!

Thank you to all of you for again being in my circle and for being a member of the Kicking the Crap Crew 4.0!!!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Help me Kick the Balanse Bum Run 2015!

This is a personal and loud shout out for all supporters of the Kicking the Crap Crew (4.0) that again this year I am 'running'...okay the now fourth edition of the Balanse Bum Run to raise awareness and money in the battle against colon cancer. If you are returning to my blog you know about my journey.  If you are a first-time reader thank you for taking the time to stop by and read.  Just two weeks ago I commemorated three years from diagnosis with Stage IIIB colon cancer .  It has been a long journey - a long long long journey.

Above is a link to the Balanse Bum Run that will take place this year on Sunday April 26th.  As I have often said previously I appreciate and respect that charity and donations are a very personal choice.  If you choose to sponsor me in this year's Bum Run for colon cancer Thank You.  I hope that at least by stopping for a moment and reading about my journey and battle with colon cancer I will have inspired some to be diligent, to be vigilant, to be aware and get screened.  So for fear of repeating myself...Thank you.  Perhaps more importantly thank you for being an honorary member of the Kicking the Crap Crew!!

I will walk alongside Victoria, our son Benjamin, and many other family members and friends to join forces and once again proudly walk/run this event.  On a very personal note just a few days ago I commemorated three years from diagnosis with advanced colon cancer and it has been a long long journey. Those of you that have read my blog have had insight into some pretty dark days balanced by every increasing moments of good news. I have much to be thankful and grateful for. I am thrilled, humbled...honoured is the better word...that once again this year I am healthy enough to lead the Crew. 

To all who take a moment and maybe even a few, take pause in your connected world and read my very personal story this is a shout out from me to you. Thank you. To all my supporters - Thank you. Thank you. To all of you who I may have motivated to spread the word about colorectal cancer, awareness and screening - thank you. Every dollar and every sponsor and every person who is made aware of the importance of colorectal cancer screening is appreciated. You all inspire me.

Wishing you all good health...from my bottom to yours.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A not so Happy Anniversary

I can still remember the Oncologist's words..."David.  I have some good news and some not-so-good news."

Ok.  Good news? - there is some good news.  Let me see...what could that good news be? I don't have cancer?  Or...maybe it is that even if I do have cancer - they got it all.  All clear.  Nothing to worry about.  They got it in time.  Go off and recover from the surgery, get married and LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER!!!

I wish.

The good news is that the surgery was successful and it appears that the tumour has been cleanly removed.  Yippeeee!!!! 13cm of my colon removed (but it should be better than ever).

But the bad news.

Bad news?  What could be worse than the discovery of a medium to large size growth in my sigmoid colon that required urgent surgical intervention?

The bad news is that the pathology confirms that of 17 lymph nodes removed and sent for analysis, 2 have come back positive for cancer.  Your cancer has spread regionally.  We should discuss further treatment options such as chemotherapy to try and statistically reduce the risk of recurrence.

WTF?  Are you kidding me?  Here I am laying alone in my hospital bed for the first time in over a week since Victoria is having her bridal shower party today.  You see...we're getting married in 4 weeks!!!!  Reduce what risk of recurrence?  I thought you got it all?!

So you see...this Sunday represents a very special significant milestone.  Today marks two years from diagnosis and communication of pathology of Stage IIIb along with decision to start a curative-intent chemotherapy regimen  - and the beginning of a long tough tough journey. 

All my previous posts tell my story of the past two journey with colon battle, my ups and downs, my very detailed experiences with treatment, recovery and survival.

But this post is also a brief update and message of encouragement to all you fantastic, super-awesomely terrific, wickedly great and honourary members of the Kicking the Crap Crew.  

The 3rd Annual Bum Run is just a mere 34 days away and I am proud to say that we - the KTCC 3.0 - is on the board.  We find ourselves in 4th place overall for team fundraising but on the board nonetheless - YAY!!!!  The Bum Run itself has now raised over 53% of it fundraising goal.  I would like to humbly encourage you - okay let's call it shamelessly ask you to support me or any other member of the KTCC (

I am living proof that every dollar, every person made aware of the importance of colon cancer screening, of early detection, of education and awareness of risk factors and prevention is worth the ask. In different ways any of you that have taken the time to stop, read my story, and show your support in your own way have played such a significant role in keeping me positive, in supporting me when I just didn't feel so well - neither physically nor mentally.  

And hey...if this is a ten-round fight in light of the latest good news from my Oncologist at my two-year followup appointment this past week then I would say with confidence that Round Four goes  I am that much closer to kicking the crap out of colon cancer.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Kicking the Crap Crew 3.0

This post is nothing but a personal and loud SHOUT OUT for all supporters of the Kicking the Crap Crew...I am sending out this message to ask for your support again this year and to recruit all the super enthusiastic awesomely excited wickedly tenacious sponsors, cheerers, walkers, runners, family, friends, supporters or just honorary members of KTCC.   If you are returning to my blog you know about my journey.  If you are a first-time reader thank you for taking the time to stop by and read.  In just a few weeks I will commemorate two years from diagnosis with Stage IIIB colon cancer and I gotta tell you it’s been a long journey - a long long long journey. 

Above is a link to my personal page in the BioK 5k BumRun that will take place this year on Sunday April 27th.  I along with my wife, Victoria, and our son Benjamin along with many other family members and friends will join forces on this day and once again proudly walk/run this event.  I am thrilled that once again this year I am healthy enough to lead the Crew. If you have read my blog you will know that just a few months ago I wasn’t so sure I was going to be healthy enough to be in the Bum Run this year.  Proud to say that not only am I healthy enough, this year I am determined to lead the Kicking the Crap Crew to be  the highest fundraising team total .  This year, the organizers of the Bum Run and Colon Cancer Canada reached out to me and asked if I would be a Patient / Event Ambassador and share my story in their inaugural newsletter The Backside released just this past week.

To all who take a moment and read my story Thank you. To all supporters - Thank you. Thank you. Spread the word about colorectal cancer, awareness and screening. Every dollar and every sponsor and every person who is made aware of the importance of colorectal cancer screening is appreciated. You all inspire me.

Did I say this already? THANK YOU!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Out out damn spot. Again.

When last I left you I had recounted the "scare" of late last summer early fall.  Well after the phantom pain or discomfort and what seemingly is nothing related to colon cancer, life was to return to normal...or at least my new normal- Regular surveillance tests like CT scans, quarterly bloodwork, monthly port flushes...and every cold, flu, backache, nagging pain that just won't go away sparking a deep seated fear way back in the mind that my cancer had spread, that the surgery over 18 months ago had still left some cancerous little fuckers behind and that they had found a new home.  Normal. Yeah.  Nice and normal.  Until the "normal" /"regular" surveillance test in November, the "regular" CT scan one year post chemo, 18 months post diagnosis and surgery.  

I honestly don't know what I was thinking going to my follow-up CT scan appointment alone.  Was I getting complacent?  Was I beginning to believe that since tests at 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, CEA tests and the battery of chest xrays, bone scans etc. had all been good that I am out of the woods?  I decided to head to my follow-up meeting with Dr. Hart after my 18month CT scan by myself thinking that I would just head to work afterward.  No big deal.  Victoria should just stay home with Ben.  No need to come with.

I sat in the waiting room like I have before many times and read the signs to shut off my cell phone and smiled.  No need to be "connected" or "online" when waiting for Dr. Hart.  I talked to Michelle, his (awesome) assistant about Benjamin and his latest milestone.  And it was all normal.

Then why did something just not feel right?!

Why were my hands shaking?

Why was that nagging fear that is ALWAYS there way way way back in the feel palpable?

Remember it is all in my mind, right?! 

Then Michelle told me to go on in and wait in his patient exam room.  And for some reason I began to sweat.  As I sat there in his exam room looking at all the different and varied illustrations and diagrams of the human GI system I looked for the sigmoid colon where my primary tumour had been that Dr. Hart removed, looked at the blood network and pathways to various organs in the "system" - liver, pancreas, stomach, gallbladder, lungs.  I have seen these illustrations many times before but today for some reason found myself staring at the diagram that outlined the sigmoid and the picture of colon cancer cells depicted.

And then Dr. Hart walked in.

After the typical "hellos", he turned to me and referenced my latest CT as "mostly good".  

"Mostly good?!"  WTF?  

Dr. Hart went on to talk about the spot on my liver.  That damn spot they found in the hospital after my surgery 18 months ago.  That spot that had been unchanged in all the previous scans to date.  That fucking little spot.  You see it has changed.  What was once 3mm is now 5mm...or something like that.  And although not large in size the fact that it had undergone cellular growth and change was of concern.  Dr. Hart went on to tell me that I need not worry yet about it until he was worried.  And he wasn't worried yet.  He said he was ordering a special liver MRI to find out more.  And IF..IF it was liver metastases...if it was determined to be liver mets then he would go in and remove it.  Dr. Hart tried to reassure me that he cures people of liver mets from colon cancer all the time.  Or at least I think that is what he said.  

All I remember hearing is "growth", "liver", "metastases", "surgery".

Before I left the office, Michelle scheduled me in for a liver MRI and it was to happen within a week of the meeting.  

I left his office, turned on my cell phone, and called Victoria. As soon as she answered I broke down. And cried.  I told her everything that I could recall Dr. Hart told me.  I heard the despair and fear in her voice.  

I thought about Benjamin.  And cried.

What followed for weeks afterward was truly the scariest darkest moments of my life.  Telling my family of the latest results.  Telling my coworkers that something may be terribly wrong.  Putting my life on hold.   Tears.  Moments of extreme clarity.  Followed by moments of deepest darkest fear.

Surgery?  Chemo?  Am I going to be on my feet for Christmas?  Can Dr. Hart operate on this spot and remove it?   Does this mean I am going to die?  What about a will?  I don't have one.  Should I tell my lawyer?  Will I be off work again?  What are the stats for colon cancer liver metastases?  I think about Barb.  And cry.

MRI on the liver is NOT pleasant but the nurses and staff at St. Joes were sooooooooo awesome.  But unfortunately the MRI was scheduled for late Friday afternoon.  Victoria and I would have to go all weekend wondering...what would it show?

I decided to call Michelle at Dr. Hart's office on Friday and found out that his office would close Monday for Remembrance Day but that if when he read the results on Tuesday he determined surgery was an option to be discussed, I should be prepared to have surgery immediately - literally within days.

The weekend was a blur. Trying to keep busy and distracted with visits from my sister Jodie and her family.  Just what I needed.

Monday - go to work and bury myself in my job and try NOT to worry.  LOL.

Tuesday came and I was a complete wreck.  Could NOT stop worrying about the results even though I knew to focus on all the positive information we had to go on.

The phone rang.  It is my mother calling to checkin.  Arggghhhh.

2:00, 2:15, 2:30, 2:45....the phone rings.  It is Michelle.  Dr. Hart has consulted with the technologist and they both "do not think it is liver metastases.  It looks like a cyst but we need to send you to a special physician guided ultrasound of your liver.  But he is pretty sure it is a cyst. 


So...another test.  More wait.  More worry but not quite as much.

The phone rings.  Caller ID tells me it is St. Joes.  It is Michelle from Dr. Hart's office. She says he wants to talk to me.  I swallow my tongue.

And the results of the ultrasound are in.  It is a cyst.   It is not liver cancer.  It is not metastases. He wants me to hear this from him and to enjoy the Christmas holidays now.

Dr. Hart gave me a gift that not even St. Nick could.

He gave me hope.  He gave me peace (at least for now until the next test ;-)). 

In the immortal words of Tiny Tim "God bless us everyone".

And in my words "God bless you, Dr. Hart.".