Dear Friends,

No one has heard from me in a while, and I wanted to share with you all why that is. I’ll break this up into two versions – short, and long – I know we all lead busy lives, and not everyone has a lifetime to spend on one of my (usually really, really long) emails.

Please note that I haven’t published any details of this on FB, and plan to keep it that way. I would really appreciate it if this news doesn’t spread beyond the people reading this – for now I’m keeping it strictly “Family and Friends”.

Short Version:
I have cancer, specifically Stage III Colon Cancer. After my gall bladder surgery last year, I had to be brought to the hospital in December for emergency surgery where they discovered a fist-sized tumor completely blocking my ascending colon. The surgical team removed the tumor, but the cancer had grown into my abdominal wall where surgery isn’t possible.

The prognosis is good, and I just received my first round of intensive chemotherapy. The goal is curative, not palliative, and my oncology team expects that I’ll be cancer-free in six months or so. I’d appreciate you keeping me and Chris in your thoughts. One of us will send updates out when necessary.

Slightly Longer Version:
Last September I had my gallbladder removed, but developed a serious infection near my liver. In November I had to have a drain placed in my side to treat the infection, but something still wasn’t right. By mid-December, I was in a lot of pain, and finally had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance.

While I spent a week in the hospital, my doctors discovered that I had a fist-sized tumor that had completely blocked my large intestine. When they removed it, they discovered that it was cancerous – Stage III Adenocarcinoma – and it had grown through the intestine wall and into the abdominal wall. They removed as much as they could, but the parts that lodged in the abdomen would have to be treated with different methods.

After being released from the hospital just before Yule, I spent the next month on my back recovering from the surgery. I felt very weak for a very long time, and barely made it from the bed to the couch and back. Dealing with the diagnosis was taking its toll on me as well, but I was determined to fight one battle at a time, in true Cole fashion.

My oncologist recommended a course of chemo over 4-6 months, followed by radiation therapy for any remnants that remained. I had a mediport placed in February to keep from trashing my arm veins, and had my first round of chemo two weeks ago. The side effects have been manageable, although not very pleasant, and I’m feeling much better overall.

The outlook is good, and I’m dedicating myself to keeping up the fight. The road ahead isn’t going to be especially easy or pleasant, but at least there’s a road ahead. At the end of summer, I hope to be cancer-free, and back to a healthier path.

Your prayers, good thoughts, and crossed fingers would be appreciated, especially for Chris. He takes very good care of me, and he’ll need his strength to deal with everything. I’m feeling better now than I have in months, with determined plans to keep it that way.

With love to all,