Things are not so hot for Earl right now. He is OK for the moment, but has some major stuff coming up soon. Down and dirty, he has cancer.
Earl has the 39th anniversary of his kidney transplant on the 17th. The biggest risk to transplant recipients is skin cancer. He has been OK in this regard for about 35 years. Over the last few years, and the last few months in particular, the derm doc has been whittling away at Earl’s face, getting huge squamous cell carcinomas off. Mohs surgeries. There was one so huge, that blew up so quickly, the doctor recommended seeing a radiation oncologist just in case some slipped down to facial lymph nodes. The margins were clear, but he wanted E to do a PET scan just in case. The radiation oncologist is really, really nice man.
We were discussing this program with our primary care doctor, and big mouth Mary says, shouldn’t he have a colonoscopy first? He was seven years overdue for a screening colo. I’ve had about 6 since 1997. So, Earl finally agreed to it, and had it last Tuesday. Yep, positive. The path report came back as ischemic change, but we saw the surgeon who said indeed, it is cancer. It’s also in a weird place, the hepatic flexure, in the distal ascending colon. Most are in descending colon. Earl is scheduled for a right hemi-colectomy on the 20th, or the 15th, if the doc doesn’t go on a college trip with his triplets (!) Nice guy, he just operated on Earl on the 11th for an incisional hernia from his surgery 39 years ago. We do have the best doctors here in Fort Fun.
The PET scan was last Wednesday, day after the colo and day before the surgeon. The timing was just right. It lit up like a Christmas tree. Yes, there can be false positives, but we are medical folks, right? There are two lymph nodes in the neck and parotid area, probably from the SCC. So we are trying to coordinate the colectomy with either a lymph node biopsy or a radical neck dissection by an ENT surgeon, whom we see tomorrow. Earl wants it done all at once.
Having been born with medical problems related to a birth defect in his bladder that affected the kidneys, and had a lifetime of medical treatment, Earl has been a really tough guy all his life. He is presently training for major surgery, and keeping a positive attitude. Friends are calling to offer help. Earl is telling them his philosophy, “Let’s get it done and move on!”