What’s up, brothers. Just looking at the calendar… it’s been 858 days since I was first diagnosed with Stage 3B rectal cancer. 817 days ago I started my first chemotherapy treatment, the first step on a journey I’m still on. You may have read about my cancer struggles back in January 2020. Back then, I wrote:

With luck, I will be able to use the bathroom normally by roughly the start of March [2020] – almost exactly 1 year after the beginning of my adventure.

Sadly, that hasn’t turned out to be the case… I struggle with digestion difficulties and continued problems with nerve damage – called “chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy” – still today. I had to drop out of the Blue Ridge Relay, something I really was looking forward to crushing. 

Recently I had a checkup with my oncologist and am thrilled to report I’m still cancer free! That’s a huge, huge blessing. However, as the digestive issues are continuing to affect my quality of life including preventing me from posting, I’ll be having 2 more surgeries a couple of weeks apart, beginning on July 28, 2021. A surgeon will insert an electrical wire in my pelvis meant to stimulate the nerves inside my body that control digestion. After 2 weeks of testing I’ll be fitted with a sacral nerve stimulation implant, which I shall now call the “ass pacemaker”. Hey, you gotta laugh, right? 

I’m not sure how the recovery will go but this is supposed to help me get back to normal. I can’t wait to be able to post again! I’ve tried to be patient and to stay strong, but it’s been hard to understand God’s plan. All I can do it try to not be a diaper baby and to keep moving forward. 

As you read this, I encourage you to think about what’s going well in your life and to be thankful for each day, for what you are able to do. Appreciate that everyone has challenges in life. That guy doing burpees in the gloom next to you might be dealing with something awful. Be kind to one another and never underestimate the power of the friendships F3 has built for you. 

And if like me you have to confront a healthcare scare, remember that your F3 brothers are good, caring people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and to share your burden with your brothers at COT. All of you have been so kind and thoughtful by reaching out and offering help all throughout my difficult times. It’s made a world of difference both to me and to my family! 

So… in 25 days I go back to the operating room… the cancer journey continues!