I don’t define myself as a cancer patient, but given that the diagnosis was the reason to start this blog, it seems to make sense to start by describing it.

People always want to know how it started. For me, no bleeding or lumps. Only a strange pain in my hip joint that started from around March 2009.

They diagnosed me in May 2009 (more or less on my birthday) with a T3 N1 M1 cancer of the rectum. The M1 part was a liver metastasis, therefore it was very advanced – Stage 4 or Duke’s D in severity. I received a long course of chemo (FOLFOX) / radiotherapy in 2009, culminating in  a combined APER and liver resection in August 2009. The APER required an end-colostomy. I call my stoma “Pablo Picasso” after The Modern Lovers song (as in “Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole”). Take a minute to watch the video.

Then there was another round of adjuvant chemotherapy that completed in February 2010. For the time being, I was clear and working down my 5-year clock.

However, in September 2011 they identified two lung metastases. One on the left, one on the right. They were “too small” to work on, so more scans followed. Eventually, there was a resection of the left upper lobe in May 2012. That was followed by a right VAT metastasectomy in July 2012. There was a suspicious area in the left upper lobe, but it was only possible to biopsy a small fragment (and it was negative for cancer).

By December 2012, the colonoscopy was showing all-clear for the primary tumour area.

The year 2013 was hospital-free apart from scans. By the end of the year I knew something was wrong with my lung(s). CT scans in January 2014 confirmed cancer progression – the previous one from the left and a new one on the right upper lobe. I started a palliative chemotherapy (FOLFIRI) course which was combined with a Phase III drug trial of Cetuximab. This was followed by radiotherapy on the left lung. New scans in the Autumn of 2014 showed the result was a partial response to the left hilar node, but new tumours had emerged.

That is (probably) all that can be done about this, My Little Cancer. The only lottery ticket left to me now is a possible Phase I drug trial in 2015.