The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Didja ever wonder?

... about how things got to be the way they are? Today while I was walking to work, I had a familiar itch on my upper-right chest - right where the PowerPort used to live. I can't tell you how often I gently itched at that bump over the seven months it was embedded in my body. Surprisingly, I cannot recall a single stranger asking about it, not even a curious kid at the local aquatic center or at the pool on a cruise ship in the Eastern Caribbean. But that scar itches off and on all the time. And a tall, reach-to-the-sky stretch will immediately remind me that there was some cutting and suturing in my lower abdomen. And each night as I slip into bed, my feet tingle intensely until I can warm the sheets...

I know that there are simple explanations for those physical reminders of colo-rectal cancer and its treatments. Peripheral neuropathy and physical scars, you know. But there are the lingering questions about root causes: Why colon cancer in me now? What could have started the tumor's growth, and why didn't my normally reliable immune system kick it the hell out of my colon before it took up comfortable residence?

Was it the beer parties in high school and college? Or maybe that anti-fungal that I took when Julia arrived - taken by me to clear up some toenail fungus and decrease the chance that I transfer a fungus to her in the bathtub? How about a proclivity for steaks cooked medium rare with a glass or three of red wine? Or a lifetime of casual inattention to diet and exercise?

There is my family history - casually shared and remembered over the years, but ultimately the reason for an exploratory colonoscopy and the proverbial "ride" of my life. Father's side has some stomach and other GI cancers noted as 'cause of death'. Is this genetic, even though the markers are not there? What about all the milk I drank growing up (before rBGH, but certainly during the years of global nuclear testing above ground)? And phenlyalanine in certain diet cola drinks. Where should you stop in this wondering maelstrom.

Just wondering if you all think about this crap too... and what it all means. Scratch the itch.

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