COLON CANCER STAGING– A HEADACHE AND A HEARTACHE

The staging of colon cancer remains, to this day, one of the impenetrable mysteries of our cancer journey. It seemed clear enough in the beginning, right after what we thought of as “John’s colon explosion”. I still have the piece of paper that his colon surgeon handed me when he delivered his diagnosis the next morning in the hospital. He had written these words:

Adenocarcinoma of colon. Moderately differentiated. T4 (perforated)– margins clear. NO (16 nodes negative). MO (no mets noted at surgery or on CRR). Stage III. CEA 0.8.

That morning in the hospital, the surgeon told us,

Best possible outcome given the circumstances. The tumor had only partially invaded the wall of the colon. The tumor itself did not rupture; the rupture was adjacent to the tumor. I’ve staged it as a T4 tumor but even this is controversial because T4 means the tumor has completely invaded the colon wall. In this case, it is classified as a T4 because of the perforation, but otherwise it would be a T2. I may present this very unusual case to the tumor board.”

This all seemed fairly clear-cut, the way he presented it that morning. But then, my mind went back ….

You can read this article in its entirety as the first chapter of my just-published E-book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004T3331M

This link will take you to the book. If you already have a Kindle reader, the just click on the “sample now” button on the right side of the Amazon page– my book will open in seconds and you will have access to the opening pages at no cost.

If you do not already have a Kindle reader, you can read this chapter by simply downloading the Kindle reader for the device of your choice from the right side of the screen (your PC, Mac, Ipod Touch, Iphone, Blackberry, Android…)– this takes only a few seconds and is completely free.  Then select the “sample now’ button.

All proceeds from the sale of this book go towards the support of the 400 monks, nuns and yogis in the seven Tibetan monasteries of Tulku Orgyen Zangpo Rinpoche, whose prayers on behalf of my husband had such a profound effect upon his ultimately peaceful death.

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About surfingon

I live in Hawaii. I surf in the winter and swim in the summer. I have been a hospice volunteer with a contemplative-care oriented hospice for 25 years have been part of their team that trains new volunteers for the last 9 years. I have walked the colon cancer path with my beloved husband these past 5 years. He died very peacefully in April 2009. I now seek to share what we learned, to shed light on the many dark corners of this often mystifying, heartbreaking and heart-opening journey.
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