Monday, November 15, 2010
In the Chemo Room: I'm back ... !
I feel better now, so I'm back at my computer to tell you again about where I've been in my fight against this disease.
Before the latest treatment, I was telling people I felt I had come back to nearly 100 percent of my work energy before ever being diagnosed. That was the result of a seven-month break from the chemicals: my hair grew back; the neuropathy in my hands, feet and legs continued to dissipate, making me feel like my nerves were growing back; I was writing and posting these blogs (about other subjects) more frequently, writing on http://www.examiner.com/ about Colorado poetry more often, finishing my book about Denver oil man Timothy Marquez, and even writing about other literary topics on my poetry website, http://www.robertschwabpoet.com/.
I also underwent six weeks of radiation therapy trying to kill the one cancer-cell production center -- a lymph gland in my chest -- spotted in the March 17, 2010 pet scan I received following the end of the first Erbitux round of chemo.
The side effects of that treatment were minimal except for the fact that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield initially denied paying for the treatment and sent me a statement indicating a debt of more than $70,000. I believe that claim is now being worked out. When you don't make much money, you have to treat such claims casually and just seek to have them resolved between your doctors, the hospital and your insurer.
Five-year survival rates for colo-rectal cancer starting with a tumor in the rectum are about 59 percent, according to a 2006 post on About.com.