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27 July 2014

Went to the doctor for a lousy sore back [More:] and found out, much later, that it is metastatic cancer. I had a brush with melanoma almost 5 years ago, and went through all the checks and supposedly was clear.

6 weeks ago, I sought treatment for back pain, which I felt was due to a lot of working out, and was sent to physical therapy. When that did no good, got it worse, in fact, the dr sent me for a ct scan to rule out a disc problem or (very unlikely) a tumor. It turned out to be several tumors in my spine and one in my lung. All this was found out yesterday.

I get another more detailed ct scan tomorrow morning and then a biopsy and then, hopefully, treatment starts.

But I am sitting here this morning "putting my affairs in order." Writing down all the bill pay stuff online for my wife, my bank account info, etc. One complication is that my wife broke her ankle and is not walking or driving for the remainder of the summer. And I have not been able to drive due to back pain.

Anyway, please keep good thoughts. . .

posted by sperose 27 July | 10:55
Ugh, so sorry, danf.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 27 July | 11:08
Shit Dan, I am really sorry to hear this. I know you have been struggling with back pain this summer, I am sure this was not what you expected to hear. This is fucked. Thank you for letting us know. Fuck cancer. Fucking kick it in the teeth, Dan. I wish you well. We are here for you.
posted by msali 27 July | 11:10
Aww, man. That's hard. I wish you much strength...
posted by jouke 27 July | 11:19
Oh man :(
posted by Firas 27 July | 11:19
Oh Dan, I'm so sorry. We just never know, do we? Our heartfelt thoughts and wishes are with you--
posted by Pips 27 July | 12:35
Oh no! :(
posted by needlegrrl 27 July | 13:54
There are no words to express how shocked I was to hear this news today. Sending good thoughts you way.
posted by Senyar 27 July | 14:54
Wow. What a huge blow to absorb. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I'm really sorry you're going through this. Sending hugs to you and your family. Thanks for telling us. We've never met but I think of you as a friend.
posted by Kangaroo 27 July | 15:30
danf, that is crappy and I am sorry. If I can help as a patient listener or a non-judgmental person to bounce ideas off of, please do drop me an email.
posted by jessamyn 27 July | 18:22
Oh, danf. This sucks. I'm so very sorry. Many good thoughts to you.
posted by gaspode 27 July | 18:38
I also meant to say Dan, and I'm aware that people vary wildly in how they deal, but if you are the sort of person who wants to read science/medical literature about any treatment, pathology etc. then I have pretty much unlimited scientific journal access.

Again, totally aware that it may not be a thing you want to do.
posted by gaspode 27 July | 19:32
How awful. Hoping against hope that the tumours are all benign.
posted by Orange Swan 27 July | 20:03
I'm sorry, danf.
posted by brujita 27 July | 23:03
Hi Danf. That's some really difficult news to receive. I'm going to stay very hopeful for you and the treatment -things are getting better all the time - and just hint at you to maybe pick up that guitar to help pass some of the anxious time. Let me know if I can do anything (like make you music mixes to send...)
posted by Miko 27 July | 23:08
You are in my thoughts.
posted by bluesapphires 28 July | 06:59
Well that absolutely stinks. Really sorry you and your family going through this.
posted by JanetLand 28 July | 07:04
I'm so sorry.
posted by jason's_planet 28 July | 07:07
Thank you for all of your thoughts. This is going to be a slog, however the outcome. Miko, one of the problems is my inability to sit without a lot of pain. So no guitar. I have one song almost finished (ironically it's to/for my wife) and need to get one more verse written and then record it. Gaspode, yes. Anything associated with Dr. Joseph A. Fiorillo (for starters)? I hope to meet him today or tomorrow. Apparently he's going to be the lead in my treatment.

I present as someone in fairly strapping health (other than this back pain), and all the usual blood work is fine, even as of Friday.

Anyway, thank you again. I was thinking of creating a blog, which seems to be what one does at times like these.
posted by danf 28 July | 08:06
Ugh. What about getting a long strap and standing to play?

Your youth & health are definitely great assets at this time.
posted by Miko 28 July | 11:43
So I go in early for a followup CT scan. Daughter came right down from Portland and has been here all weekend driving us around and helping out. So I have to sit there with here drinking the contrast gatorade for an hour, then get iodine into my vein. Both of these I have had in the past.

But then someone that looked like a radiologist was sitting there reading it as I walked out, so that gave me chills.

News: Does not look like melanoma to this guy (as he told my practitioner). There are several masses in my lungs, and one in my liver, along with the two in my spine. A bronchial biopsy on Friday, and hopefully, an appt with another guy to address radiation therapy on my spine this week, but not set up yet.

I have no idea where this could have come from. I smoked pot in the 70's and early 80's but only, like, annually since then. Pretty careful about my exposures and have not lived in a high radon area.

No treatment plan yet, and my sibs are still dancing around the topic with my 87-yo mother.

None of this is wonderful but I was afraid that I would light the thing up like a Christmas tree, which did not happen. So some hope there.

Thank you again for all of your thoughts. . .

Daughter is leaving today. She and her mom do not get along that great, so it has been stressful and I am begging them both to behave.
posted by danf 28 July | 13:05
Thanks for the update, Dan. You are in my thoughts. I hope your daughter and wife can find away to lessen the tension and stress for your sake.
posted by msali 28 July | 15:26
Take care, Dan. I've been thinking about you a lot today and sending good thoughts your way.
posted by Senyar 28 July | 16:14
Thank you for the update. I've been thinking about you all day and sending good thoughts. My MIL has pretty regular bronchial biopsies for lung cancer (treated and so far she's doing well) and she says it's a snap - they knock her out and next thing she knows it's over and she feels good.


posted by Kangaroo 28 July | 17:50
Oh danf - really sorry to hear you're going through this. Keeping you in my heart & thoughts. Please keep us posted.
posted by chewatadistance 28 July | 18:46
Oh dude; this sucks. I know your name; I hope this goes as well as possible for you and your family.
posted by buzzman 28 July | 23:31
No. I am so very fucking sorry, danf. It isn't fair. Please feel free to get in touch with me. Thank you for sharing here. Thinking the good thoughts for you and your wife.
posted by rainbaby 29 July | 06:14
Oh, no, no, no. Thinking of you, danf. I just love you even though we have never met. Please keep us apprised of your progress and prognosis. I am really afraid of having you go behind that wall that seems to rise when people get a diagnosis like this one. Know that all your friends, real life and online, are wanting to provide any support/help you may need.

Stay strong. This is utterly unfair, but what can you do but cope?
posted by bearwife 29 July | 13:11
Ah, danf, I'm so sorry to read this. I will definitely keep you in my thoughts and wish you only the best of news. Strength, brother.
posted by richat 29 July | 17:52
Seconding bearwife: I hope and welcome you to stay in touch with us no matter what comes along. We DO want to know how you're doing. Or if you'd rather be in touch with a few folks privately and individually, that's fine too, and I'd be happy to be one of those folks.
posted by Miko 29 July | 20:47
Again, thank you all. It may not surprise you that MeFites make up the majority of people who so far know.

The circle is slowly widening and I have a lot of love and support and a great wife, whom some of you have met.

Tomorrow, a sit down with a lung specialist which will hopefully lead to a biopsy in the near future. Friday another sit down with another cancer guy which hopefully will lead to some radiation therapy on my spine and pain alleviation.

For now, I have to say. . .percocet and valerian capsules. . .ver' nice to go to sleep on.
posted by danf 29 July | 20:57
So sorry to hear this, danf. Be strong and please keep us up to date.
posted by dg 30 July | 15:18
Hugs danf. Hugs to your family too.

May your guiding light be strong.
posted by mightshould 30 July | 19:51
I thought I wrote something, now I don't know if it didn't post or I didn't think it was worth posting, but after struggling with the wording, I can't quite remember it. Something about the wonder of modern medicine, caprice and inevitability of growths, woven with some story-- let's pretend it was profound and uplifting, conveying a sense of hope, calm, and pragmatism that aids in the speedy resolution of what ails you.

Be well and reflect on the many ailments you helped prevent.
posted by ethylene 30 July | 20:40
Hope it went well today.
posted by Miko 30 July | 21:08
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