It is hard to believe that a few weeks ago we did not have any words like chemotherapy, cholangiocarcinoma, or oncologist in our everyday vocabulary. Nevertheless, this is the reality of where we are at and we are learning more every day.
We met with my medical oncology team and other people today. They conveyed the same feeling of positivity and encouragement that we felt initially last week. All signs point to poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma consistent with cholangiocarcinoma. What this means is that the cells of the carcinoma are still cholangio, however they look very different from regular cholangiocarcinoma. This has made it very very difficult to diagnose the cancer. It also could be why things have progressed so quickly even though this is normally a very slow-moving cancer.
I also have ulcerative colitis which which carries a risk of colorectal cancer. There is a completely remote chance that the cancer could be colon cancer that has metastisized to the liver. Colon cancer and cholangio cells look very similar. There is nothing to point us to this conclusion, no medical signs or symptoms. However if it were colon cancer, it would be A LOT BETTER for our prognosis. The treatment would be different and it would be less serious. We are not expecting it to come back colon cancer. The chances are almost impossible. However please pray diligently between now and tomorrow that it would be colon cancer. I will have a colonoscopy tomorrow to rule this in or out.
At this point we have a big day scheduled for tomorrow. I have a colonoscopy tomorrow morning, then a chemo port will be implanted tomorrow afternoon. Both of these are surgical procedures. The pathology from the colonoscopy should be back by Wednesday. If it comes back negative for colon cancer, we will move forward with treating it as cholangiocarcinoma. We will combine chemotherapy with diet, vitamins, minerals, and supplements to aid the chemo, and heal the liver. Chemo will start on Wednesday afternoon right now.
We are optimistic about the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drugs. In the words of the oncologist today, "these drugs are damn good drugs". Also fast-moving cancer responds better to chemo (confirmed, Brian, thank you). We will know in about six weeks if it is responding.
I have been thinking about this whole situation as I go about my days. Sometimes it is easy to watch a sports game or go through a mall and look at all the people going through the motions and feel so different from them. Then you start thinking, "why me God?. I've tried to keep your commandments my whole life. I work in ministry. My goals are noble. I'm a great guy who it seems like You have big plans for, why me?". I've really been convicted however to start thinking, "why not me?" You see I've not kept all the commandments just like the rich young ruler, there are things I've struggled with. I'm a sinner, and this is a fallen world. Sickness and disease are a part of this. However God also promises to not give us more than we can bear. I can bear this. Maybe other people aren't ready or could not bear this at this time. Sometimes I feel like telling God, "No Mas". However I know He is using this in so many powerful ways. As I said to a friend the other day. I wish everybody could go through this, with out having to go through it. The glory of God is so close I can taste it. The hymns and worship songs I sing are so literal and real. The words are no longer distant hyperbole that I can't relate to. It is well with my soul.