26 May 2007


Memories of Cannon Beach via art therapy

My pre-surgery schedule is coalescing quickly. Next Friday, June 1, I meet with medical internists at St. Paul's Hospital to go over the medications I'm taking and see what adjustments I might need to make. June 15 I have a rectal ultrasound, and June 19 another CT Scan. June 26 I meet with Dr. Kennecke, my medical oncologist, to review pre-surgery plans. There will be other meetings in between and afterwards, with surgeons, anaesthesiologists, ostomy nurses, and so on. Barring a bed shortage, I will have surgery to remove my tumours and radically rebuild how my bowels work on Thursday, July 26—exactly two months from today.

Today my wife and I took to the kids to the Cancer Agency for a regular kids' art therapy group. The girls loved it (my oldest said, "It's a bad reason to go, but it was so much fun!"). One thing we did there is paint this banner together:

Miller Summary Holiday, Cannon Beach, Oregon

We won't get to Cannon Beach this year, but we will go back as soon as we can. It's one of my favourite places, along with Crater Lake (also in Oregon) and Schooner Cove on Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park (here in B.C.).

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Big thumbs up to the Cancer Agency for providing art therapy for the kids. It's good to know they're so inclusive in bringing the whole family into the treatment plan.
I have a question. If you aren't going to have surgery for another 2 months after the end of your treatment, aren't the tumors just going to grow again / keep growing?
Nope. In fact, the reason there's such a long wait is that the main effect of the radiation and chemotherapy doesn't peak until several weeks after the completion of treatment -- the tumours keep shrinking, in other words. (And I'm still having the side effects to prove it.)

Plus there also needs to be time for some of my other tissues to stop swelling and heal somewhat, otherwise the operation would be rather complicated. The protocol for the clinical trial I'm on has surgery taking place 7 to 9 weeks after the last radiation session, which is just about when I'm having it.