I told my boss today, “When one finds out one has cancer, one gets the rest of the day off.” I believe that rule it should be in the employee manual.
I’ll write some background all this at some point, but the short version is that 7 years ago I was diagnosed with a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus, wherein the lining of the esophagus begins to undergo a cellular change after being splashed with too much stomach acid due to acid reflux. There is a good chance that Barrett’s will eventually become esophageal cancer so regular endoscopies (camera down the throat, biopsies taken) are performed to monitor the progress.
I had my regular endoscopy last week – well, sort of regular – that’s part of the background I’ll write at some point. And today the word came back from my gastroenterologist (whom I lovingly refer to as Gastro-Guy, but not to his face): cancer.
The good news is that it is sort of barely cancer – cancer with an asterisk. The official term is carcinoma in situ, which is latin for cancer with an asterisk. Or maybe cancer in place – I forget. Anyway, it basically means that the cancer is just sitting there on the surface of the esophagus not doing any real damage yet – like one of those bad moles you get removed only mine is on the inside of my body. Gastro-Guy will be able to go in with another endoscopy and remove it with a few snips of the tissue in a procedure called Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (yes, it sounds gross, but really isn’t that big of a deal and certainly less horrifying than the alternatives).
The only asterisk to the asterisk is that when he gets down there he’ll look around some more, do an endoscopic ultrasound, and then make sure that it really is just on the surface and hasn’t gone any deeper. If it has, well… then things start to get really interesting.
The procedure is scheduled for June 26th. Fingers crossed for an asterisk.