Tuesday, June 17, 2014


This week as chemoRT continued to run its course I took time to ponder this journey so far...

Unknown date(a few months before diagnosis) - started to see a bit of blood in my stool, but brushed it off.
Mid-January 2014 - went to see a South African Sangoma(also referred to as a Witch Doctor) in Santa Barbara.  The first thing he said after throwing a bag of bones in front of me..."Is there any reason that you might be in immediate danger".  I did not, but thought it might be a good time to get a full medical checkup.
Early February - join my partner in Cape Town
Late February - went for blood tests looking for parasites(perhaps Bilharzia).  Tests were negative so went for a colonoscopy expecting possible  Polyps or Hemorrhoids.
March 8 - "Tim, I afraid its not the best news"
A few days later - Colorectal surgeon staged the cancer as T3N0.  He gave me two options - radiation, with surgery as a possible follow-up, but not recommended.  The other option was an abdominal perineum resection(APR) which he believed would give me the best chance of cure.  I would be left with a stoma bag for the rest of my life. I asked for a second opinion
March 16 - Stopped eating sugar(except for whole foods), dairy, alcohol, caffeine, grains. I had been a vegetarian for the last 4 years.
March 17 - Started daily meditation prior to sunrise.
Late March - a second opinion at a different hospital recommended the same surgical solution.  Notified that my insurance company will not cover me since they consider this a pre-existing condition (sign up for Obamacare)
Late March - Continue research both in the medical world and alternative(Sono-Photo dynamic therapy, EMDR, Demartini, Ayahuasca, Supplements)
End of March - Scheduled APR surgery for April 12(not covered by Obamacare)
March 30 - Have lost 15 pounds in the last 2 weeks from my diet change
Early April - Discuss my situation by phone with multiple Oncologists and Surgeons in the U.S.  Come to discover a more effective approach is pre-operative chemoRT.
April 8 - Am told by the surgeon that nodes are likely involved (which would make the staging T3N1)
April 10 - Cancel surgery.  I feel that to lower the chance of re-occurance I must have neo-adjuvant ChemoRT
April 14 - Discover that the earliest they can start chemoRT is 7 weeks out, and it would be a treatment that hasn't been used in the U.S. for 20 years.
Late April - My partner and I decide to move to Philadelphia to receive neo-adjuvant ChemoRT at U Penn in Philadelphia.
April 29 - I am still on a 100% Alkaline diet - and have not lost any additional weight. Tomorrow I will add back eggs once a week and start to experiment with more grains. No dairy, no alcohol, no sugar, nothing processed could be permanent.
May 5 - Meet a Medical Oncologist, a Radiation Oncologist and a Surgeon at the Abramson Cancer Center.  They recommend 28 days of radiation while taking Capecitabine, then I will wait for a month after which they will scan me again to see how the tumor has reacted and then will proceed with surgery.  Because of the position of the tumor, they expect APR surgery
Mid May - PETscan and MRI are taken to re-stage the cancer (No Changes) - they believe that nodes are not involved - and to plan the radiation.
May 27 - 1st Day of ChemoRT.  Each day we walk 1.5 miles to the hospital - 6.15 am appointment.  Radiation takes a few minutes.  Chemo is taken orally after breakfast and dinner.
June 17 - Side effects have been subtle thus far.  Digestion has been more active and less consistent.  Appetite is still good but less food types are appealing - Fruit and carbs seem to be my cravings.  My energy levels are good.
June 18 - Who knows...

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