Cancer

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  • #44336
    civil_discourse
    Spectator

    After suffering for almost a year with pain in my lower abdomen and going down various rabbit holes trying to fix it, thinking it was a muscular issue, I finally gave in to my doctor and had a CT scan, and it revealed a large mass in my colon. In December I had a surgery and a tumor the size of a baseball was removed along with a part of my colon, as well as a section of my abdominal wall into which the tumor had invaded.

    After recovering from the surgery I was feeling very good and happy to be relieved of the pain. But upon followup with an oncologist learned that I was at Stage IIIC because of the invasive tumor, and the odds of the cancer returning and killing me within 3 years was over 60%. But if I received chemotherapy, I could reduce the odds of recurrence to around 33%.

    I hated the idea of doing chemo, but decided to have it done. A 67% odds of survival is not fantastic, but it’s a lot better than 37%, and there are some things I can do to increase the probability of survival, regular exercise being one of them.

    I had lived 60+ years without any health issues. No surgeries. No major illnesses. And no regular visits to a doctor. Why should I? I’m strong and healthy and the type who will never need a surgery and of course would never get cancer. I turned down my insurance company’s offer to have a free colonoscopy a few years ago. Too dangerous. Too invasive. Not necessary.

    I was very foolish.

    The upside is that through this ordeal I learned that I have some true friends and that my family really cares about me. Many people at church have shown their concern and have offered help.

    I have three wonderful doctors. All women. All awesome doctors and all relatively young, but very competent. Everyone I had to deal with in this process from the doctors to the nurses to the technicians to the people who cleaned the floor at the hospital have been fantastic. It’s been an awesome experience.

    But I don’t like chemo. I had one infusion two weeks ago and then was attached to a portable pump for another 48 hours which dripped more chemo into me. The infusion itself wasn’t bad, but once it ended nausea and fatigue hit. The nausea was easy to control with special medication but the fatigue was powerful and lasted about 5 days. I was probably sleeping more than I was awake. Now that that has passed I feel good, but it starts all over again tomorrow. Every two weeks I’ll go through this for probably 6 months.

    I’m sharing this for two reasons. The first is that if you are over 50 and have not had a colonoscopy, may I suggest that you consider it and possibly avoid a similar fate as mine? Caught early, colon cancer can be much easier to fix, and polyps that could become cancerous can be removed. Check out the statistics on colon cancer. It’s not rare. At least have some kind of test done. I eventually did have to have a colonoscopy and it was really nothing. The hard part is the preparation–the bowel must be clean, so you take a very horrible tasting powerful laxative the night before the colonoscopy and might spend half the night with diarrhea, but I think it’s worth the sacrifice.

    The other reason I’m sharing this is that I’ve changed my mind about socialized medicine. I’m not saying that I want it to be “medicare for all.” I don’t see why that is necessary. I don’t see why we can’t do the best we can with private insurance and medicare for the elderly and whatever private charities that can help, and then make a program to help those who are left out. That seems like a much cheaper and more efficient solution.

    At any rate, I remember thinking that nobody should have to suffer the pain I suffered without having a means to remedy it. I would not want to see anyone go through what I went through, without there being a possible solution, regardless of their financial status.

    #44337
    semoochie
    Participant

    I’m sorry you have to go through that. I don’t remember any diarrhea with my colonoscopy. I wish you luck.

    #44339
    Brianl
    Participant

    I’m a couple of years from the big 5-0, so I’ll start the “process”. My mother has had a lot of colonoscopies because of her health conditions, and those cleanses amount to the world’s greatest laxative. Bombs away.

    Best of luck in your treatment, I hope everything works out for you.

    #44340
    radiogeek
    Participant

    I have yet to meet anyone who likes chemo. Best of luck with fighting this beast.

    Socialized anything means that we as a society (group) make something our joint responsibility. Your church group is socialized emotional support. We don’t exist and thrive only relying on ourselves.

    We have socialized education through 12th grade. I don’t see anyone saying we have to go back to education only for the rich. My taxes paid for schools before I had a child in school, and I’ll be paying long after I have a child in school. It’s because it’s good for society.

    I’ve paid for health insurance one way or another my whole working life. I used to not use any health care, but as I’m older I’m now using it. Because older folks tend to use more care, they couldn’t be insured at an affordable rate on the free market. That’s why we have Medicare which is a form of socialized medicine, so our society doesn’t say to old folks no cash, no doctor.

    Not every part of our economy would benefit from injecting socialist ideas, but some areas are best handled with socialist models rather than pure capitalist models. Capitalism only works well if there are regulations and moderating forces in place such as anti-trust laws.

    No pure economic system works correctly, so the challenge is to find the correct mix and keep working as a society to make things function best. I hope people can get over the knee jerk reaction to the word “Socialism” and look with an open mind to the future.

    Good luck with the treatment.

    Ed

    #44341
    breH
    Spectator

    You’re in my prayers, Civil Discourse.

    There are few areas where government control provides a superior outcome. Rather than socialize, a more effective course might be holding insurance companies more accountable. It’s often too easy for them to deny coverage.

    For those without coverage, there should be a safety net.

    One important item the current administration favors is allowing pre-existing conditions to be covered.

    Thanks for sharing.

    #44342
    civil_discourse
    Spectator

    Thanks everyone for the kind words. I also want to make it clear that I meant that I am in favor of socializing medical care for a small segment–for those who fall through the cracks–and not on a large scale. Or a “safety net” as Herb said. I don’t think we should break what we have and is working well for many.

    #44343
    missing_kskd
    Participant

    I am going to begin that same process, hopefully to learn I have no cancer.

    You have my best thoughts and positive energy. As humans, one to another, stay strong. Beat it.

    Some time ago, what worked well for so many resulted in financial ruin and essentially trading my home for my wife.

    Nobody should be trading homes for people they love.

    For so many, it works well for them, until it doesn’t. If they really knew, Medicare for All would see even more solid majority support.

    What we all need is the ability to use that great system we have, when we need it, without the severe cost and risk exposure more people than they know experience today.

    Nobody wants to socialize the actual practice of healthcare. People just want and need health care.

    We should all make sure they get it. Because it could be us. Nobody knows. Also because preventative means maybe avoiding the scenario you’re experiencing right now too.

    #44344
    semoochie
    Participant

    “One important item the current administration favors is allowing pre-existing conditions to be covered.” The republicans have spent a decade or more trying to get rid of pre-existing conditions and are still in court with it right now, despite what they say. Look up the docket. Don’t believe these people. They are lying to you!

    #44345
    Alfredo_T
    Participant

    I’m terribly sorry about the tumor experience. I am glad that the doctors have been able to manage the spread of the cancer. In 2011, I had a friend who died of a brain tumor. Early in December of that year, he started experiencing some motor control issues that he did not notice, but his friends did. I tried to talk to him on the phone the day after he was admitted to the hospital, but in just 24 hours, his speech had become slurred to the point of unintelligibility. Fortunately, his mother, who was a retired doctor, was in the room with him. She explained his medical condition to me. My friend refused the chemotherapy, believing that in his situation, the treatment would only extend his life by a modest amount, and that his overall quality of life during his last days would be so poor as to not make the treatment worthwhile. According to my friend’s mom, the doctor told her that he believed that my friend had made the right choice in not going through chemotherapy.

    I regularly visit the dentist and doctor. However, I have to admit that my stupid anxiety regarding going there is spending time in the waiting room. The way that I look at it, that is unproductive time spent away from the office that I can never get back. While I sit in the waiting room, tasks pile up. When people don’t see me at work, they either wonder what I’ve been doing lately, or some of them even start to wonder if I still work there.

    #44346
    radiogeek
    Participant

    Having a private and often for profit medical system, with a “safety net” for those who don’t have any insurance is what we have today. It is a failure. Those without insurance, and those with inadequate insurance are broken by the bills they cannot pay, and loose everything.

    The uninsured don’t pay their bills, which make hospitals go out of business. Then the insurance rates employers pay go up and up, due to the stupidity of the system and the need to pay profits to shareholders.

    The current system is broken. Time to replace it. Anything less is third world.

    #44347
    Chris_Taylor
    Participant

    When I read the thread title my heart sank and my first thought was, “What a damnable disease.”

    We are all touched by cancer. It took one of my sister’s life many years ago. Plus, many other friends, family and extended family members have walked this difficult path.

    First, don’t beat yourself up for decisions you made that seemed right at the time. The fact that you have encouraged others to get colonoscopy’s is the right approach. Both my wife and I have had ours. We turned into a bit of a competition…she won. No polyps. I had one and it was not cancerous. So she doesn’t need to go in for 10 years. I go back in 5, which I think is next year.

    Don’t forget your prostate exam as well. I have had one ultrasound probe and one doctor exam…did have a benign growth and been treating it with a supplement that is working. Growth disappeared.

    I am fortunate to have good healthcare. My wife’s and my colonoscopy were free because they found no cancer. It was considered preventive which is part of my healthcare. Same for dental cleanings and eye exams. We have felt blessed because in the past 5 years my wife has had 4 surgeries.

    When a company invests in their workforce with good healthcare, positive working environment, healthcare costs come down. So it is for me at New Seasons. We worked hard on our safety issues and less employees went on workers comp, which allowed the company, through other savings due to worker safety and sustainability programs, to bring the company to a $15 minimum wage last fall and create meaningful, twice a year raises, which amounts to about 5.3 percent yearly boast in wages.

    New Seasons puts in two-thirds towards my benefits and I’m able to pay for my wife and one adult son (24), for $280 a month. THAT is taking care of your employees and families. Oh, and I only work 24 hours a week to be viewed as full-time. It’s the B Corp way.

    CD – Hoping your situation improves…it’s been a punch to gut for sure. You’re taking the right steps and all of us here are pulling for you.

    #44348
    Andy Brown
    Participant

    Thanks for your candor.

    We all do foolish things along the way to wherever we’re going.

    The good things help, though, and getting the scan and being treated is all a good thing.

    Regular exercise is a sort of a wonder drug. I made it a priority when I hit 40 and haven’t looked back (I’m about to be 69). It’s not a cure all but it is definitely a positive.

    I know several who were stage IV and still walk the planet, one of whom for 30+ years. Medicine is even better at fighting this now than then.

    Your strong personality will help in this fight.

    Believe it or not, and I can’t speak for all, but I’ll bet near EVERYONE here is on your side on this one. I wish I could say that for Limbaugh, but I just can’t. And I won’t apologize. We all must be accountable to someone, be it God or family or whomever. But also to ourselves. I could expand, but not now, not here.

    As far as health care in America, and being brief because again this is not the right thread IMO to argue about anything, the capitalists (i.e. the wealthiest politicians and industrialists) have a stranglehold on both parties as well as any significant independents whether directly or indirectly. Current and past policy feeds the furnace of Big Pharma and the insurance companies. Changing that policy appears to require more than any bipartisan effort has been able to muster in the last 100 years, and the entropy (chaos) just keeps rising. I have not now nor ever advocated a specific solution because I have none. I have and will continue to criticize loudly anyone whom opposes any change in that area, because healthcare in America is broken.

    Stay focused. Revel in your new perspective. Remember that no difficult challenge has an easy solution, though around here we all try and consolidate for brevity (except maybe missing) which leads to omissions and ambiguity. We do the best we can to hold each other’s attention but as Chris said it’s about having thick skin. When you get pounded for proposing or reporting antithetical political positions, remember you aren’t the first nor will you be the last to win/lose an argument.

    It’s all good. Really. If not for hate, would we really know love?

    #44349
    civil_discourse
    Spectator

    I’m surprised and overwhelmed by so many kind and thoughtful responses. You guys made my day!

    Thank you!

    #44350
    paulwalker
    Participant

    The best of this site have chimed in and indeed as humans we don’t wish ill will to any one of us. We are a divided society today perhaps more than ever in the past half century. But hopefully most agree that nobody has disregard for those who are in pain and or face a troublesome diagnosis. I will add my thoughts and prayers and the strength to beat this.

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