In October of 2018, my life was changed when my Dad was diagnosed with a rare form of colorectal cancer. Since then it has been a long journey and anything but easy for him. In 2019, he endured chemotherapy and radiation. Ultimately, the chemotherapy and radiation were deemed unsuccessful and he had surgery to remove his tumor - which resulted in a colostomy bag.
Towards the end of 2019, my Dad was still in constant pain and unable to sit. The surgeon who performed the surgery said it was normal and that his post-op scans were fine. The surgeon basically told us there was nothing more they could do. Luckily his oncology team said that this was not normal and urged us to get a second opinion.
In January 2020, we traveled to the University of Michigan to meet with a new team of specialists. It was revealed that the surgery had positive margins despite the surgeon telling us that they removed all of the cancer. Those margins resulted in another tumor growth, which explained why my Dad was in constant pain and still had trouble doing basic things like walking. The team at U of M suggested another chemotherapy regimine and then another major surgery to remove this tumor. Unfortunately, my Dad's body did not respond to the chemo as his doctor's had hoped. The tumor did not shrink but at this point he was still eligible to receive the surgery. It was set for April, or so we thought.
In March COVID-19 hit the US. Everything was shut down here in Michigan - including elective surgeries. So we waited. In May he had another scan to see if the tumor had grown. The scan showed that the tumor had grown and the cancer had spread. On a conference call with the specialists at U of M, we were told my Dad was no longer eligible for the surgery.
Back to the drawing board for treatment options. His oncologist suggested a couple clinical trials (a pill and immunotherapy) since my Dad had not responded to chemotherapy. My Dad is currently taking a chemo pill that is designed to attack the specific mutations of the tumor. In a few weeks he will have another scan to see how his body is responding. From there we will work with his oncology team to determine the next plan of action.
As my Dad continues his battle, I will continue running on hope for him.
Since the Chicago Marathon was officially canceled last week, I adjusted my training a bit and decided that I would run 30 miles on my 30th birthday (August 31st) in support of my Dad and the Brave Like Gabe Foundation.