This afternoon I found myself at a hospital in Cleveland, getting a CT scan, and it occurred to me that I wanted to write about this experience. I don’t love writing about myself, so with a few exceptions (like this post about anxiety), I don’t really do it.
So why now? Because I’m in some uncharted waters, waters I didn’t need to end up in, and I hope that sharing my story will either (1) help at least one person avoid facing a situation like this (generate awareness) or (2) resonate with some folks who’ve had similar experiences but never been able to candidly share the gory emotional details (build community).
Last week, I had a colonoscopy, and they removed a 40 mm polyp from my rectum (though it wasn’t explained to me at the time, I did enough research on my own afterward to learn that that’s pretty big). A few days later, I got the call I was dreading, that the polyp was confirmed to be cancerous. In a future post I’ll explain (1) why I had the colonoscopy last week, (2) when I should have had the colonoscopy, and (3) my intense emotional struggle trying to reconcile those two. (The title of this blog should be a clue where I’m heading with that.)
The purpose of today’s scan (results to come tomorrow) was to determine whether the cancer has spread beyond my rectum and colon into my liver, lungs, etc. I decided to write my first post tonight partly because I needed a distraction from the waiting and wondering, and partly because I want to transparently share the anxiety I’m feeling tonight, when the range of possible outcomes is as large as it can be. If I’m going to do this, to put myself out there in this way, I want to authentically capture the entire journey, in hopes that at least a few readers will get more out of it that way than if I were to write the whole thing looking backwards.
On the one hand, there’s a chance the cancer is widespread and I’ve got an even tougher battle ahead than I thought. On the other hand, maybe the cancer was totally confined to the polyp and I’ll be back to work next week. Maybe they’ll have to cut out just a bit more; maybe my entire colon.
I have a wife whose amazingness defies description, a beautiful daughter who is pure joy, wonderful parents and family, incredible friends, and health insurance. I have a lot of gratitude and I hate losing at anything. Whatever my personal outcome — whether my battle ends next week or takes many years — I want to use this website to help people. Here goes.