Welcome to The M&M Show!
Get caught up with the story line below, or head over to the blog for full episodes. You can also use the signup towards the bottom of this page to be notified of new posts.
It’s my hope to capture my experiences – both the ups and the downs – with enough detail that it’s useful to those starting on a similar journey, while also providing some entertainment by looking at the lighter side of things. There’s always a bit of humor, even in what may seem the most distressing or exasperating of circumstances.
Have a suggestion for a sub-plot? Drop me a note.
Happy Reading! – M&M
Last Time on The M&M Show…
- 3/23 – Scans, scans, scans… a CT this month suggests that the rectal cancer is still in remission. Pathology of some unexpectedly friable tissue found around the anastomosis site during last November’s follow-up also didn’t show any evidence of cancer, but just to be certain it was followed by with an endoscopic ultrasound that was (finally!) scheduled for March, and that also came back negative.
The Storyline So Far…
- Mike’s (still) officially in remission! There are still lots of follow-up appointments and scans to make sure we stays that way. As his medical oncologist put it they’ll be following him closely for the next year or two – and then for the next five years – to ensure the cancer doesn’t go for a sequel. (Actually Mike thinks it just so they keep getting the latest M&M’s flavors. For the past two Christmases Mike has given them the annual M&M’s collection of forty-some-odd flavors, and on each office visit gives them samples of whatever the latest flavors are.)
- Mike was diagnosed with rectal adenocarcinoma during the early summer if 2021 and has completed the treatement phase of his journey! Surgery to excise the “tiny speck” of what remained of the tumor was done in August 2022. This followed 26 fractions of chemo-radiation from February 1 – March 9, and nine cycles of FOLFOX systemic chemotherapy from August 23, 2021 – December 17.
- The tumor was found during a regular screening colonoscopy and has been staged as T3-N0-M0 (tumor size/localized spread 3, no lymph node metastases, no distant metastases). This equates to Stage IIA, a relatively early stage.
- The treatment plan was total neoadjuvant therapy (TNT). This involved
16 18 2418 weeks of systemic chemotherapy with the FOLFOX regimen followed by fivesix weeks of chemo-radiation. Surgery followed 6-810 weeks later, in May 2022. During surgery a temporary ileostomy was performed to allow the resected rectum to heal. The ileostomy was undone in August 2022.
- The expectation from the first office visit with the surgeon and medical oncologist was a full “cure” with full function (i.e. no permanent colostomy/ileostomy). And that remains the case today.