July 14, 2017 Way back near the end of 1991, I developed a bad pneumonia. They kept giving me various antibiotics which didn't help. By the time a doctor recognized I might have AIDS, it had progressed to a critical level. I was placed in the hospital where they determined I had Pneumocystis pneumonia. While they were trying to flush out some of the buildup, I came within a few seconds of dying.
Anyway, after spending 2 weeks in intensive care, and another 2 weeks in a private room, I was ready to go home, but was still very weak. The last few days in the hospital, I was having extreme difficulty achieving a bowel movement. What I didn't realize at the time was because the only thing I had been able to eat the previous 3 weeks was hard boiled eggs and milk, there wasn't anything to excrete. The resulting straining was what caused the beginning of my hemorrhoids. Because of my HIV status, the doctors advice was to leave them alone unless they became a serious problem.
Fast forward 25 years to late 2016, and I began to notice an unusual growth at my rectum.
On May 17, 2017, I had a colonoscopy and was referred to a Colorectal Surgeon to have the hemorrhoids removed and the growth biopsied.
The procedure was done on June 23 and the biopsy results came back on July 11 when I found out the result was positive.
I am now scheduled for my initial chemotherapy and radiation treatment consultation on July 26.
At this point (July 14) the prognosis is very good. The surgery went well, which I am told is the worst of the procedure, and I am healing nicely with no apparent complications.
July 22, 2017 Anatomical Pathology Report (June 23, 2017)
Received in formalin labeled "Harrell, Alfred" and "right anterolateral hemorrhoid" is a 2.5 x 1.5 x 0.8 cm tan-purple wrinkled rubbery excision of skin and mucosa which is inked at the surgical margin, serially sectioned and submitted entirely in OA17 -1000 Al.
Microscopic examination is performed.
Right Anterolateral Hemorrhoid, Hemorrhoidectomy
July 26, 2017 Just returned from my consultation and there is good news and bad news. The bad news is my latest PSA test is high. This means I could have some prostate cancer. So I am now being scheduled for quite a few different procedures, including a biopsy to determine whether I do indeed have prostate cancer too.
If prostate cancer is present, then we need to treat both the anal and prostate cancers simultaneously. If it is not present, then we will simply treat the anal cancer.
My first appointment is next Monday, July 31, to have a PET scan to determine the distribution, if any, of the anal cancer so treatment can be specific to the areas needing work.
The next day, August 1, I go in to get a chemotherapy port placed in my chest. This will facilitate easy injection for chemotherapy treatments.
Then on August 9, I go to a urologist for biopsy to determine whether I do or do not have prostate cancer.
July 31, 2017 The PET scan went well. I almost fell asleep in the machine but was awakened just before I was out. Will get the results on Wednesday. Tomorrow is my Port Placement at 7:00 am. That's too early for me. We will have to get up at 6:00 am. I don't normally get up until 9:00 or 10:00.
August 1, 2017 Had my Port-a-cath placed today. A port makes the chemo treatments easer. Here's a 17 minute YouTube video of a port placement. Caution: This video is not for the squeamish Port Placement
August 2, 2017 Results of the PET scan are very positive. There is no visible sign of cancer, however, we will still go through the Chemo and Radiation treatments just to make sure there are no lingering cancer cells in the area.
To the right is one of some 900 images produced by the PET scan, pointing out the major organs. In a PET scan, the radioisotope settles in organs and cancerous cells which show up as dark areas. In this scan only the main organs showed up which is very good. The radioisotope has a half life of about 90 minutes so within a few days it will be totally gone.
The next update to this page should be posted the evening of August 9 after I have my appointment with the Urologist. After he has a chance to take any biopsies and have them analysed, we will determine which forms of treatment are needed. If I have any other cancers, we will treat them both at the same time.
August 11, 2017 My apologies for the delay in posting. We were preparing for a road trip to Santa Fe for a rodeo and I just didn't have the time I thought I was going to have.
The appointment with the Urologist went well. He did his finger thing, and didn't find anything of concern. He did indicate I had to cut back on my testosterone, which I am in the process of doing, as that can effect PSA test results. I should be down to 1/2 ml every two weeks by my next injection.
My next currently scheduled follow up appointment is on August 22. So for the moment everything is on hold. I will be seeing the Colorectal Surgeon for a follow-up on the 25th and my HIV doctor on the 23rd. Probably the next update to this page will occur about August 26. If anything happens before that I will do another posting.
August 22, 2017 Had a follow-up appointment with my Urologist today. PSA is going down and he doesn't see any issues. His thoughts are that my PSA was elevated due to high testosterone levels. Tomorrow I have a follow-up appointment with my HIV specialist where I will give her my status and get any recommendations from her on treatments.
August 24, 2017 I had a side issue which came up last Saturday. One of my molars under a $9,000 bridge started hurting. On Monday went to my dentist who recommended I go to an oral surgeon. That happened Wednesday when I had 3 root canals on the one tooth. Today having some minor pain in that area, probably being caused by trauma to the tooth. It's being handled with some Ibuprofen. Tomorrow I have a follow-up with my Colorectal Surgeon.
August 25, 2017 The appointment today with the colorectal surgeon went very well. He said I'm doing fine. So the next update will be next Wednesday after I see my chemo doctor again. Hopefully we will come up with a schedule then.
August 30, 2017 Had my appointment today. Tomorrow I go for a CAT scan which will be combined with the PET scan I had earlier. I am now scheduled to begin chemo and radiation treatments on September 11. Will fill in between now and then if anything changes or if I get any more interesting information.
August 31, 2017 Had a CAT scan this morning, mainly to make marks as to where the radiation treatment will be aimed at. 3 small pinpoint tattoos that will be used to center the machine so each treatment will aim at the exact same spot. I'm now setup for treatment starting on September 11. I will have about 6 weeks of daily radiation treatments (Monday through Friday) in conjunction with 2 weeks of chemo. Next update to this page will probaly be on the 11th of September.
September 11, 2017 Got my first radiation treatment this morning, then started chemo. I am wearing a body pack which contains a chemo pump. That will stay with me until this Friday when it will be removed. Will get another one on October 16 for the last week of treatment. Will have to go into the center every weekday from now until October 20 for radiation treatments. All the doctors, nurses and specialists have been very friendly, have answered all our questions and seem very competent. As of 3:00 this afternoon am doing fine but feeling just a bit strange from the chemo. Will update later today if anything changes, otherwise it will be a few days before I add another entry.
September 14, 2017 After another round of radiation, which really only takes about 5 minutes, I had a massage. Pleasant but not sure it really did anything helpful. Finally had an appointment with my oncology doctor. She took me off Zofran (ondansetron) one medication I was starting to take to ease nausea but it is apparently reacting to other meeds and causing numbness of the tongue and lips. If I really need something, I will try Ativan (lorazepam) and see how that goes. However, the amount of nausea I am having is very minimal. Finally she sent me over to the hospital to get an EKG just for safety, which on first glance looks good. Tomorrow I get the chemo taken off then my next radiation treatment before a rest over the weekend.
September 23, 2017 Last Thursday, under advice of the doctor, I started eating some yogurt which is supposed to help with thrush. The success of that is still up for determination, but Friday afternoon I got a very strong case of something akin of diarrhea; however it wasn't liquid, rather soft stool. My system was desperately trying to evacuate to the point of convulsions. At this point (Saturday evening) I don't know if this is because of the yogurt, which I am not use to, or a symptom of the radiation treatment which tends to cause diarrhea in many people. The experience of Friday, which was repeated more violently today, has left me weak kneed and with what I believe is a mild case of shock. So for now I am stopping the yogurt until I can confer with the doctor on Monday. As of 10:00 pm Saturday, I'm stable.