The beginning of the (sort of) end [+Video]

August 28, 2012 · 4 comments

Hey everyone. Long time no talk. Let me get you up to speed.

With our oncologists blessing, I had my chemo port removed yesterday. A short video update detailing the experience is below (Don’t worry, you can’t actually “see” anything surgery-related). And if you don’t remember what a port is, feel free read this blog post from March. If you’re unable to see the embedded video, click here to watch it on YouTube.

The occasion of having my port removed is the reason this post is titled “The beginning of the (sort of) end.” While both chemotherapy and radiation treatment behind me, I will continue to have regular check-ins with my oncologist, the next one of which is in November. The worst parts of this whole ordeal are now behind me… all that’s left is the occasional routine examination with some bloodwork, x-rays, etc. As I have mentioned previously, I don’t have cancer any more (it still feels so good to say that), but I’ll always be a cancer patient.

Radiation

All told, I had seventeen individual radiation treatments over the course of 3 1/2 weeks in August. I took very little video during that time, for several reasons. First, each appointment only lasted about 15 minutes from start to finish, with the radiation portion lasting 3 minutes at most, and it was the same every single time. That would make for a pretty boring and repetitive video blog, to say the least. Second, Nate joined me a few times and got lots of great footage of the radiation experience. So while I didn’t post a radiation-centric video here, it will still feature in the documentary.

And finally, the side effects I experienced from radiation were minimal — shockingly minimal when compared to chemo. The skin that was in the radiation field got a little dry and pink, and at times it felt like I had a frog in my throat (totally normal side effect, I was told), but that was it. I received the fewest amount of treatments called for — had I been given 30 treatments, say, the side effects would likely have been worse.

Vacation

During the majority of my chemotherapy treatment, I would often try to mentally escape by imagining myself sitting on a beach with a drink in one hand and a good book in the other. I’m happy to say that this dream is becoming a reality. In October (43 days from now, but who’s counting?), Libby and I are heading to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for a week of beach-filled rest and relaxation. In addition to having our birthday trip to Las Vegas cancelled this past February, we weren’t able to properly celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary in May. So think of this trip as a Happy Birthday!/Happy Anniversary!/Happy Cancer-Free! mega-celebration. We can’t wait!

Etc.

I’ll continue to post here as we make progress with the documentary, but don’t expect very many more video updates (I’m looking at you, mom). Now that I’m well on the way back to health, I’ll be devoting most of my time and energy into returning to my graduate studies, supporting my wife as she continues hers, and pouring myself into the work that I love.

As always, thanks for your prayer, support, and love. We couldn’t have done this without you!

  • shawnkennedy

    (hands Jake a Juicebox…)

    “Oh, thanks!” lol.

    • http://www.jakebouma.com Jake Bouma

      Ha! What you can’t see from the video is that A) I requested the juice box mid-surgery (I was getting a bit light headed), and B) when I grabbed the juice box I accidentally squirted a bunch of it all over my shorts.

  • Viktor Carrasquero

    Hi Jake,

    I’ve just finished watching all of the videos that you’ve posted on
    YouTube. I’m beyond happy that you’re now past the treatments, and that
    you’re going to have the chance to go back to leading a regular,
    fruitful, loving, happy, smiley, cancer-free life.

    I know you must get this very often… But I’m telling you, anyway: I
    went through lots of the things you’ve shown on your vids with my dad,
    who had Hodgkin back in 1997. He never had it again. However, he later
    developed kidney carcinoma, which proliferated to his lungs and spine.
    Those were some 14 tough years fighting against cancer and coping with
    the deeply toxic chemotherapy. He died last year, after finally
    rediscovering his long-gone peace of mind…

    There’s something remarkable in your vids: your constant positive
    atitude. You and your loving wife were, in many of the occassions shown
    in the clips, actually in a very good mood… Buddy, THAT HELPS A LOT! A
    lot of the healing that can take place in our bodies and minds comes
    from deciding to just live and be happy, without letting the setbacks
    making their way to our hearts. My dad missed that, and always had this
    extremely negative attitude, which often got him even more sick than he
    was, and affected the rest of the family as well.

    So, Jake, go on! Live on! Be happy! Have loads of fun in Punta Cana!

    Warm regards,

    Viktor, from Caracas (Venezuela)

  • trebleclef

    hi ,
    have just stumbled across your blog while doing one of my many google searches… very similar story to yours…married in may, got diagnosed with hl two weeks after my 28th birthday. have just started chemo and have passed through 2 treatments. really enjoyed your blog and it has given me a boost in attitude. so the answer to all of this? dont get married in may if youre 27 yrs old. :)

    especially love your last sentence…lets do this!

    trebleclef
    malta
    population: 450,000.
    thus probably one of the 0.00000025% disgnosed per year in malta :) will try the lottery next