Greg at Greg Note's has recently returned from battle in Iraq, safe and sound. However, he now faces a new battle from within. He has been diagnosed with colon cancer. You can find details on his wife, Sheryl's blog Two Blue Lines.
The C word...... cancerI am sitting here 4 1/2 hours from home in a hospital room in Hattiesburg, MS near Camp Shelby typing on my husband's laptop. The weekend is a blur. I got the call Friday afternoon that he was being admitted to the hospital for stomach pain. We suspected a possible stomach ulcer. Considering the stess of just returning from a deployment to Iraq, being extended a Camp Shelby, having his mother die last year of cancer while he was deployed and all the issues we have been through in the last year with his middle son..... it seemed very likely that he should have an ulcer.
The doctor ordered blood work and a colon scope... to which my husband vehemently opposed, but finally agreed. I made arrangements to farm out the children to the four corners of the earth (no one person wants to keep ALL of them) and I headed to Hattiesburg on Saturday to await the results of the tests. When I arrived in town, Greg told me it was cancer. They found a golfball size mass in his colon that had to be removed immediately. The surgery was scheduled for Monday morning. We both stared at each other trying to soak it in and register what was happening. I am not sure that we have fully gotten there even now.
Monday morning the doctor found that the cancer has spread outside the colon. They removed half of his colon, his appendix and 15 of his lymph nodes. He will have to undergo 9 - 10 months of chemotherapy after he heals from the surgery. The prognosis? 60% chance of survival unless the cancer has spread anywhere else. We have discussed white blood cell counts and CEC counts and a host of other numbers swimming around in my head that I can't understand. Yet, all of these numbers are reduced to 60%. We have a 60% chance of putting our lives back together. We have a 60% chance of being a healthy happy family again. The children have a 60% chance of keeping a father and stepfather..... My mind won't wrap around it all.
He has a low grade fever and is on a morphine pump for pain. He is still a smartass, which gives me hope. He has shaved his head for years and made the statement that he wouldn't have to worry about losing his hair during chemo because he was already bald. He has already been on his laptop trying to post to his own blog since the surgery and he lays there with a baseball cap over his face to block out the light when the nurses come in to check on him.
Me? I am still numb and trying to busy myself by dealing with Tricare and the military to make arrangements to bring him home. I am staying here at the hospital until they release him. He will have to stay here in Hattiesburg until the doctor releases him to make the drive back home. We are told that will be 4 -6 weeks. In the meantime, we will have to juggle people to stay with him once he is released from the hospital to give me chances to go home and continue to rearrange the kids and try to keep the income from my job.
I will do my best to keep everyone posted and thanks for all the cards and flowers and baskets we have received already. The military and it's supporters really are awesome.
Greg Anton is in Wesley Medical Center, Room 336, 5001 Hardy St., Hattiesburg, MS 39402.
Prayer, messages of hope, and general empathy is in order.