What kind of cancer do I have?
I wish I had a short and simple answer.
Alas I do not.
Allow me to explain…
First of all, I have something called Lynch Syndrome… a hereditary cancer syndrome that predisposes me to a long list of genitourinary and gastrointestinal system cancers.
In fact, I was diagnosed with one of these Lynch cancers (Colon Cancer) in 2012. Detected early… hemicolectomy performed… stage one… no spread to lymph nodes… no chemotherapy or radiation treatment required. Such great news at the time, thinking that this would be the victorious end of my cancer story and give me bragging rights for the next fifty years.
No such luck… as it wasn’t until months later (as a result of a “routine” dermatology exam) that I discovered that I had the Lynch Syndrome gene–in particular a variant of Lynch Syndrome called Muir-Torre Syndrome, which further predisposes me to a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer: Sebaceous Carcinoma. In layman’s terms: oil gland cancer.
Over the years since, I’ve endured hundreds of skin biopsies, dozens of sebaceous adenomas, and a dozen or so sebaceous carcinomas… all of which have been excised successfully with no recurrences. (By the way, while all this is happening, I also had a Squamous Cell Carcinoma excised from my nose and a pre-cancerous Melanoma excised from my back).
But it gets even better: In the process of doing surveillance for my Lynch Syndrome, it was discovered (January 2018) that I also have Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.
And if that wasn’t enough: While being treated for Leukemia and while doing the surveillance for the Lynch Syndrome it was discovered (September 2020) that I have Advanced Prostate Cancer.
And if that wasn’t enough: In the course of doing the surveillance for the Lynch Syndrome and treatment and staging for the Leukemia and the prostate cancer it was discovered that I have a liver lesion that is Metastatic Colon Cancer (despite there being no evidence of having a primary colon cancer except for the colon cancer which was declared cured a decade earlier).
Yet here I am… being treated quite successfully… and rising every day with the conviction that life is still worth living and fighting for.