The call came at around 12:50pm last Thursday. Dr Deabes announced himself and my heart started to beat fast.
"How are you feeling" was his first question.
I responded positively.
But that was not the intent of the call. I knew that.
"A couple of things," he said. "The blood tests were unremarkable." He went on to explain that nothing showed up in the lab to be concerned about.
"But..." he lingered on that word, almost like that word in a joke just before the punchline, "the biopsy on the mass we found is cancerous."
It's a weird moment when that "c" word shows up in your life about you. I tried to stay present with the doctor as he explained it more and what would happen next.
But when he told me that the 5 centimeter mass growing in my rectum found during my colonoscopy the previous day was cancerous, an emotional weight latched on to me that was a messy concoction of
uncertainty, dread and fear.
Cutting through this new heaviness, I heard him clearly explain that my situation was the "best, worst news he could deliver" and felt a slight sense of relief. The CT Scan showed that the mass was contained
in my rectum and was in a good place for the surgical procedure that would need to be done. The kidney, liver and other blood markers showed this was early detection. He already had me scheduled with the surgeon. This was all part of his "best" description.
I asked him some clarification questions, made sure I wrote it down so I could share it with Becky and then hung up.
I stood silently in my office as I tried to embrace this new reality I now live within. I was aware that everyone has cancer cells in their body. But, this is more than a few random cells. This is serious.
The last few days has allowed this new knowledge to settle in. It's life. I don't have a free pass on the ugly stuff life hands out just because I work hard to be healthy.
Granted, I've been extraordinarily lucky so far. The intravenous needle put in my arm last week for my colonoscopy was the first one I have ever had in my 51 years. Besides that, I am healthy. And I have the capacity, strength and resolve to do what I need to do.
I face this all with with incredible support. Becky is an amazing partner is so many ways I cannot describe. She is my rock.
I have a great medical team from Scripps who are experts in all of this. My family and intimate friends are delivering positive and prayerful energy as well as offers of every type of practical help.
The team at Flourish Press and WebVitality are seasoned professionals who have already stepped up to give me the time and space I need for what I am already experiencing and what lays ahead.
But, other than the meeting with the surgeon this coming Thursday, I don't know what comes next. The research I did this weekend has me more than freaked out about what this could all mean in terms of surgery, recovery time, complications and next steps.
While I do not know the timing of my treatment as of yet, Becky and I will keep you updated as best we can. I expect and will work towards a full and quick recovery.
Thanks for the support I know you will respond with. I am grateful for your presence in my life.