Sunday, December 5, 2010

Look who's back: Cancer Boy gets his rehab trip on the rails once more after emergency surgery

I'm not sure if we crushed the tumour with humour, but apparently we've smashed the T-2 vertebrae to bits.
Sorry I've been incommunicado of late, but I've got an excuse. I had emergency surgery Tuesday, with two nine-inch titanium rods and several screws inserted to stabilize my spine. We're hopeful that we'll be home in time for Christmas.
It came out of nowhere. We had been through 20 of 25 rounds of radiation for that zany Solitary Plasmacytoma tumour. We were well into walking laps of the pool to strengthen the legs up. There were some struggles of late that we initially attributed to routine radiation fatigue, but, by the time my scheduled appointment with our radiation-oncologist Dr. Morris came Monday morning, my body had given out and given up.
Now, several days after this latest procedure, the doctors and medical staff seemed to be pleased. Dr. Robert Lee, our spine surgeon, graded me 5-out-of-5 on all my strength tests immediately after surgery and he had said that he didn't think I would be at that point until 72 hours following the operation. I've methodically navigated up and down the halls, with the help of a physical therapist and a walker, a few times. I am slow and pondering, but I am moving.
My take on all of this? It's varied. There have been days that I've wondered whether I had it in me to battle again. I can't lie. I know how invested Carol-Ann, my wife, has been in my first rehab. I know how invested other people have been. I was invested, too. And then my heart was broken. Crushed. Shattered.
I know that's not a happy answer. I know that's not an answer people will want to hear. Sorry.
My mood has perked up today, though. Carol-Ann offered to go get a web stick and I ended up having an hour alone in our room. I sat there in a chair (easier than it sounds after you've had a rods and screws placed in your spine days earlier) and cried.
I know this sounds familiar if you've read CTTWH before, but we have had countless people rally around us, and I responded by feeling sorry for myself because the T-2 hadn't stabilized, which at no point the doctors were certain was going to happen? (Second best putdown line surrounding this latest situation came from softball buddy Scott Rintoul, who admitted that, "Some people were floored by all of this, but I totally had it in the pool." The best putdown line comes later.)
I have the most wonderful wife in the world and I have so much I want to do. I want to adopt a child or children with Carol-Ann. Once I get healthy - and I will get healthy - I think we can provide a wonderful home. We're not looking for a baby. I could see us taking in a harder to place kid or kids.
Carol-Ann dreams of going to Wimbledon; we will do that one day. I have so many places I want to see with Carol-Ann.
We will do our charity work; we've had some wonderful celebrity types offer up support already. I talked earlier, too, about running some sort of race for pledges. Right now, I'm looking at the Running Room five-kilometre in Vancouver on May 30. I can't promise that I will run it all, but I will try. Heck, I'll crawl it if I have to, or do it in a wheelchair.
I know, for some of you, this is an old story. More importantly, I know, after a little lapse, that it has a chance to continue to be an old story.
BEST PUTDOWN LINE: "Hey, Ewen...with the rods and screws in there now, can we use your back to put up those magnet schedules? If someone wants to know when the Canucks play next, shouldn't they be able to just look at your back?" --softball buddy Carla McAloney.


  1. Pal, your writing hasn't slipped a bit through all of this. Good on you for the courage and honesty you're bringing to this with each blog entry. BEN

  2. Hey Bud

    Glad to hear you're doing better. Make sure you work on those dance moves I was showing you. Did they insert any funk and soul into you along with the titanium?


  3. Want to wish you the best: My husband starts radiation very soon and is in the middle of chemo. He has pancreatic cancer: we have shed many tears, but are determined to remain positive and we even manage a few laughs also.

    Our prayer are with you and your wife.