I got married in November of 2006 and so much has happened since. I was diagnosed with Stage IIIC (T3, N2a, M0) rectal cancer shortly after Eddie and I were married. The treatments and subsequent recurrences have dominated a large part of our lives so obviously it will largly be included in my writing. In between the endless blood draws, CT scans and doctor appointments, I have been consumed with the activities of our daughter and with work so there will be plenty on that as well.
I’ve always been small, hovering around 105 lbs. on average. At first I didn’t notice that I was dropping pounds, but people around me started to ask if I was losing weight. It started happening more and more, so I adjusted my diet to try to gain weight, but I never bothered weighing myself. It was around that same time that I went to see my PCP (Primary Care Physician) to discuss some serious stomach pains. I mean double me over seizing stomach pains. It would feel like someone had just reached inside my guts, grabbed, and twisted. I mentioned that I would occasionally have a bit of blood in my stool. But I was young and fit, so without further ado I was told I had IBS and walked out of the office with a prescription. That didn’t seem right to me, but I went with it because that’s what the doctor told me and after all, she was a trained professional.
Fast forward to June 2007. Ah, the joys of Summertime. Blue skies, the sun is shining bright, our daughter is on vacation, and life is good as newlyweds. Taylor is setting up for sprinklerball (basically wiffleball in the sprinklers) and Eddie finds me sinking onto the edge of the bed feeling overheated. He asks me how I’m feeling, kisses my forehead, and realizes I’m blazing hot. Off we go to see my new PCP.
What’s the first thing they do when they take you to the examination room? They weigh you. I was down to a paltry 85 lbs! The nurse practitioner goes through her series of questions and I recount the same symptoms that I described to the prior PCP and said that things really hadn’t improved. She referred me to a gastroenterologist because he would be better able to identify what’s causing the severe stomach cramps. Enter Dr. Inappropriate – first name Awkward.