Surviving cancer and dealing with chemo, how did I do it?
WARNING!!! Some pictures may be too graphic to some.
I am Pat Frisch and I had cancer. The important word is, "had." I am not looking for any sympathy, I wanted to share what I dealt with and offer some pointers that may help you, should you meet a similar diagnosis.
I went in for a routine colonoscopy On June 2, 2022. In my colon they discovered a tumor the size of an egg. Half of it was cancer, half was not. On July 6th, I had surgery to remove 10 inches of my colon. After three hours of surgery, they connected my colon back up. I spent just two days in Benefis before I went home. And a month later I started chemo. 12 chemo therapies over a six month period. Today, no cancer and I have to thank the incredible doctors and nurses that helped save my life. My surgeon was Doctor Chad Engan. The best doctor ever. And very humorous. During surgery he found cancer outside the colon and got that out. I was diagnosed as stage four.
I then started chemo at Sletten Cancer Institute on August 8, 2022. This is where I met Oncologist Doctor Bryan Martin. He is another amazing doctor that cares, took the time to listen and adjusted chemo based on what I was telling him. The nurses at sletten were unbelievable. I can thank them enough.
The surgery turned out to be a piece of cake. Chemo was brutal at times.
I was on two different chemos, often called a cocktail. The first was Oxaliplatin. It was nasty. It makes you very sensitive to cold. Can't drink cold drinks, my lips would go numb, out in the cold my face would freeze and my fingers and toes went numb. Still are today. Doc Martin discontinued this one after eight doses.
I was also on 5FU. I was hooked up to a pump that was connected to a port under my skin just below the collarbone and allowed me to go home. 46 hours hooked up to the pump. This chemo drug messed up my nails. The top layer of my nails started to peel off and the nails cracked as shown in a picture below. It also causes a loss of appetite. My throat would get sore, my nose would bleed when I blew my nose, and it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. That's just a few of the side effects. There is something called chemo fog. I had that too. It messes with your head. Balance, at times, was an issue, especially in the shower when you shut your eyes.
Now to foods. If you ever have to go through chemo, and I hope you never do, I noticed all the foods that I normally liked, tasted lousy for several days after chemo. Spicy foods were horrible. Some foods still taste bad today even though chemo has ended.
Now to foods that seem to help. Believe it or not, Land O Lakes yellow American cheese tasted good a few days after chemo ended. Milk was ok along with Wheaties. Very few foods taste ok until about four to six days after chemo stops.
One thing that helped, pot gummies. They helped bring the appetite back. In all I lost 40 pounds but today I am cancer free and I never missed a day of work. I'm lucky. Make sure you get your colonoscopy when you doctor says. It saved my life. Today, I have about a 30% chance of the cancer coming back.
Below are some pictures and at least one may be too graphic for some.
Below is Oncologist Dr. Bryan Martin. I am on the right.
This is one of the side effects of chemo below. The top layer of your nails peel and begin to crack.
This is a picture 24 hours after surgery to remove 10 inches of my colon. 43 staples and a 13 inch scar.