I went into surgery around 1:50pm yesterday. The surgery was completed around 6:00pm. Dr. Regenbogen reported that it was a difficult surgery but it was successful.
I’m now resting as well as possible in the hospital. The goals for today are to start a clear liquid diet, to walk three times, and to sit in a chair 3 times. Pretty lofty goals. Haha.
I will slowly transition into a regular diet and to oral pain medication over the next days. I’m not looking forward to the pain medication switch because it just doesn’t compare to the epidural.
Thank you all for the many prayers and notes of encouragement! Connie and I are very appreciative of your support!
Love and light to you all!
My surgery will be at 1pm tomorrow (Monday 12/2). I know many of you will be praying for me and I want you to know that my family and I are very grateful for your support. My wife Connie will post an update sometime Monday evening letting you all know how the surgery went.
I wanted to give you this short update on the time of my surgery and I will also take this opportunity to share this experience with you…
I had two pre-op appointments on Tuesday, 11/19. So I left my house that Tuesday morning headed to Ann Arbor. I had a half cup of coffee when I entered Eastbound I-94. It wasn’t long before my mug was empty. And so I started to debate with myself on whether to stop or not stop [for a refill]. Finally I gave in, taking exit 145 in Jackson I headed to the McDonalds. I went through the drive through and ordered a small coffee and small water.
As I approached the I-94 entrance ramp I noticed a man hitchhiking. I drove by him and went a few hundred yards before deciding to give him a ride. Something made me think of the Good Samaritan story in the bible and I didn’t want to be the one who passed by the person in need. So I stopped and proceeded to drive in reverse on the shoulder of the road. When I was close enough to the hitchhiker I stopped and honked the horn.
He turned and saw I was waiting for him and as he came towards the truck. He looked like a homeless man. He was bearded, wearing a thick old coat, standing over 6 foot tall. He opened the rear door to the truck and placed his backpack onto the rear seat. He then opened the front passenger door and climbed into the seat.
He smiled as he said “Sorry but I didn’t hear you stop.” I was thinking to myself “that’s because I didn’t stop” as I smiled back at him and said “no problem.”
I noticed he was missing some teethe and his face was weathered and worn. He said “as far as you can get me to Ann Arbor will be good.” I told him “you’re in luck, I’m going to Ann Arbor so I can take you all the way there.”
And so we started down the entrance ramp onto I-94, heading east towards Ann Arbor Michigan.
After entering the highway I realized my wallet was sitting in a cup holder next to my coffee and water, along with my phone. I couldn’t help but worry that I really should have put it in my pocket before picking up this guy. I was seriously afraid that he might take my wallet and phone. As he started to talk any fear I had was replaced with intense curiosity.
I don’t remember all the different scriptures he spoke but as we conversed he effortlessly weaved the word of God into our conversation. I was very impressed with how articulate this homeless man was. He obviously had a photographic memory of the bible. When he spoke it was as if he was reading the passages word for word.
He told me he was coming home from Cadillac. I mentioned that I had a friend who was a fireman in Cadillac and he said he likes firemen. I asked him what he went to Cadillac for. He said that he was almost home but God told him to continue on to Cadillac, and so he went. He mentioned that he had “health concerns” and the wanted to get to Cadillac before he couldn’t go. I believe he quoted Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” at this point in the conversation.
I asked him if he grew up in Ann Arbor and he told me that he grew up in Detroit. I mentioned that I also grew up in Detroit, near Conner and Gratiot. He said he knew the area well. He said that he bounced around Detroit, living on the East Side and West Side. And now his home was in Ann Arbor.
I mentioned that was a long way to hitch hike and he informed me that he actually walked a large portion of the way, pointing out that US 131 is one of the few highways that you can actually walk on.
I asked him what he did during the terrible storm that passed through Michigan a day earlier. He said he stayed in Marshall. He proceeded to describe the wrap-around porch at the Highlight drive-in restaurant. He said he took shelter in a corner of the porch. And as he prayed during the storm he couldn’t help but think about the storms mentioned in scripture, heralding the next coming of Jesus.
I asked him how he knew the bible so well and he told me that the scripture is always with him, everywhere he goes. He proceeded to take a little hand-held bible out of his pocket.
I offered him the small water from McDonalds. He said thanks but he wasn’t thirsty. He said he was watching his water and food intake. He said life on the road can be tough sometimes but he never worried because God saw to his provisions. This conversation ended up moving into a conversation about the apostles and their lives on the road. I mentioned something about John the Baptist living in wilderness and how tough that life must have been. He said “John actually ate very well. He had locust and honey for dinner.” He went on to say “Locust and Honey is very delicious; a little crunchy but very good.”
I mentioned that I had to stop for Gas but was waiting to get to Ann Arbor since gas was lower there. He asked me how I knew the gas was lower there. I pointed to my phone and explained about an app called “gas buddy.” He said to not trust machines and that gas buddy was wrong this time. He also said that the average gas price that they publish in Michigan is lie.
At one point I mentioned that I was going to Ann Arbor to be treated for cancer. He then told me that he had cancer too. As we talked about dealing with cancer I mentioned that sometimes I feel like I’m living on borrowed time and that I had to make my time count. He acted puzzled and said that he was confused by this expression “borrowed time.” He said “You can’t borrow time because you can’t pay it back. Time is a gift. We didn’t ask for it but we are given it nevertheless.”
I said something about our time on earth being a brief time in comparison to eternity in heaven. And that we had to live with a focus on eternity. He disagreed with me, saying that we must focus on the here and now. He explained that we can make a difference in the here and now and this must be our focus as we live out each day.
When I went to drop him off in downtown Ann Arbor he leaned towards me placing his hands on my shoulders. And he said a prayer and blessing, calling me brother. As he was exiting the truck I grabbed my wallet and took out a ten dollar bill. I extended it to him. He said that wasn’t necessary. I practically insisted that he take it. I asked him to please have lunch on me. He finally smiled and took the small gift.
I then proceeded to my appointment and continued to wonder about this person throughout the rest of the day. The next morning I told my wife about him when we woke. I later told a colleague at work about him as well. They both insisted that I picked up an Angel.
I’m not sure he was an Angel but I am sure he was God’s messenger. And his faith and knowledge of the scripture certainly left an impression on me.
By the way, he was right about the gas prices in Ann Arbor. Gas Buddy was wrong that day.
Thank you for your prayers and support. And I pray that Father God bless you and keep you in safety and fill your hearts with love and joy as you embrace this day!
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high. —Oatman
Count your many blessings and you’ll soon lose count.
I met with a surgeon and the surgery is scheduled for 12/2 (most likely in the morning). I am going for the pre-op physical on 11/19. The surgery will be four hours. I will be in UMHS hospital for 3 to 7 days depending on how well I heal / recover. I will then have about a 3 to 4 week recovery period once returning from the hospital. We are all in good spirits and have high hopes that this surgery will leave me cancer-free!
Please pray with us up to and on this date for a successful surgery and a full remission. And post this date for a successful recovery.
And as usual – THANK YOU for all your prayers and support. Please know that my family and I appreciate you tremendously. God has surrounded us with Love! And special thanks to my co-workers for their prayers and support. You all make our organization a very great place to work!
May the risen Lord be with you today and every day, overflowing your heart with Love such that you may share his message with many others along your path. And may your days be filled with countless blessings from heaven above. This I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
The biopsy results are in – It is cancer. An appointment with a surgeon will be scheduled soon. There is a possibility that the surgeon will want radiation treatment as prep for surgery. If radiation treatments are preferred the surgery will be a couple months out. If radiation treatments are not needed the surgery will be scheduled as soon as possible.
As usual, thank you all for your prayers and support. And may God Bless you all with Love and Light today and always!
Yesterday I went in for the ultrasound. This test confirmed a mass in the location where the uptake was detected on the PET scan. A biopsy was done and results from the biopsy will be reviewed with my oncologist on Monday. The mass could be a recurrence of the colon cancer or it could be an adenoma granulation tissue (not cancer). The biopsy will let us know which it is. Thank you for all your prayers and support.
Today is new day; And a new month
Thank you Lord for the countless blessings you bestow on us!
Let us sing “Praise to God” with all the Saints in Heaven!
Love and Light to you all!
90% Positive News
The CT and MRI scans were all clear. CEA continues to be <1 (under 1). However the PET scan shows sugar uptake near the rectum (area near where the colon resection surgery was done). The last PET scan also showed uptake in that same area as well. At that time the doctors were focused on the liver tumors which were more a concern and thought the uptake was related to the surgery.
The PET scan uptake could be from post surgery healing or it may be another cancerous growth. I will receive an ultrasound test (Endoscopic Ultrasonography or EUS) on Halloween, Thursday October 31 (the two year anniversary of my original diagnosis). We are praying that the ultrasound (and possible biopsy) rules out cancer. If it does turn out to be cancer I will require another surgery.
Praise be to God!
This is the day The Lord has made; Let us be glad and rejoice in it!
As usual Thank You for your continued prayers and your kind words of support.
Go Boston Red Sox!
Today I’m in Ann Arbor getting scanned. I arrived at 9:30am and reported in a little early for the first of three scans. The first scan (PET scan) was completed around 1pm. I’m now waiting for the MRI (scheduled for 2:30pm). The final CT scan will be performed at 5pm.
I’m sitting in a general waiting area and there is a very talented volunteer playing a baby grand piano. The music is soothing and beautiful. The music somehow reaches into me and stirs emotion. I’m feeling mixed emotions as I sit here and type this update.
All the scans will produce 3-D views of the internal body. The scans are used to detect abnormal growths in internal organs. Why three scans? The CT scan is the simplest and fastest of the three scans. It is the lowest cost of the three. In many cases, the CT scan is all that is used to monitor a cancer patient. However in my case the CT scan proved to be only partially reliable. It did a good job of showing the lung tumor but it did not show the liver tumors at all — my liver looked healthy on the CT image.
The PET scan (Positron Emisssion Tomography) measures the cellular uptake of sugar. Cancer will take up sugar at a more rapid rate than healthy cells. In my case, the PET scan also proved only partially reliable.
The MRI scan probably saved my life. Without the MRI scan we may have gone on believing that the liver was cancer free (based on the CT and PET scans) and I may not have had the liver surgery that I required. Thank God my oncologist was diligent and used all the tools at his disposal.
After four surgeries the doctors believe all the known cancer has been removed from my body. The latest chemotherapy appears to have been very successful; given the low CEA levels. And we have good reason to anticipate clear scans…
However, a low CEA level does not guarantee I’m cancer-free.
I’d be lying if I suggested that this is not a stressful process. The last couple weeks have been increasingly stressful. As the scan date approached my anxiety level has risen.
What will I feel if these scans show more cancer? How could I tell my family news like that? What will I do if I’m faced with more hurdles and challenges?
The fact is that cancer is a terrible and persistent disease. And a cancer fight often turns out to be a long marathon. And yes, I feel like I’ve run a marathon over the last two years. However, I know people who are going on over 14 years in their battle with colon cancer.
And so I remain hopeful for clear scans. But I’m also cautious as there very well could be more challenges.
Thank you all for your prayers and support. I truly do appreciate each and every prayer that has been petitioned on my behalf. And I do thank God for having you all in my life. And I pray to God to protect and watch over each and every one of you.
God I know that you are with me and my family and friends every moment of every day. We rely on you as we face the challenges in our life. And we know that these challenges shape us into better human beings. Thank you Lord; for giving us strength in our weakest moments. Thank you Jesus; for the Love you have surrounded us with. Guide us Lord so we may do your will on earth.
I will learn the results of the scans on Thursday afternoon. I will post another update then.