This is totally surreal to say, but… welcome to my CaringBridge. I’m Lindsay, and whether you’re here because we’ve known each other for years or because you’re a neat person who found this page via a guide or by accident(!), thank you for stopping by. To acknowledge the elephant in the room, I just found out I have stage IV colon cancer, and that it spread to my liver, which, if you’ll pardon the pun (and really, you should embrace it), was pretty shitty of it. I know sharing is caring, but this is ridiculous.
What I will ask you to pardon is any awkwardness on my part as I write this, because this is new, surprising, and scary, and I’m still learning how to suture words around some of these ideas (the puns might stick around).
Let’s go back three weeks--I had been experiencing severe abdominal discomfort, bloating, and precisely zero pooping for about a week, so, like reasonable people, Chris and I decided it was time to go to the doctor.
Oh, right. Introductions! Let’s try this again. Hi, I’m Lindsay. I’m 34, lucky enough to do what I love (teach), and unlucky enough to have to buckle down and fight cancer. My husband Chris, also 34 and my high school sweetheart, is an attorney, and lucky enough to call me his wife (just kidding; he’s pretty great). Our daughter Arya is two and a half, and if you’re ever confused about where anything should go, she has a lot of opinions on the subject, and she’ll happily share them with you over a glass of milk. And finally, our son, Ellis, is four months old, and he mostly has smiles, not opinions, because he is a tiny baby who loves to smile.
Anyhow, back to my insides. I first saw my primary care physician after my pains would not let up after five days. He checked for issues you may expect any otherwise-healthy 34-year-old to have with the presenting symptoms: food allergy panel, ulcer test, and sent me for imaging of my lower abdomen. Unfortunately, my symptoms worsened in the following days, before any test results returned, and we decided it was time to go to the emergency room where a CAT scan was performed.
At the ER, I had just returned from another trip to the bathroom where I said to my brother, “I feel bad for everyone else here. I mean, it’s the ER. You come here for bad stuff. Here I am walking around no problem and they’re just going to tell me I have poop stuck inside me where other people are missing limbs and stuff.” No joke, mere moments later the nurse came in saying they had my scan results. “Let me guess, I have a bunch of poop in there?” I said to her. She responded with a “Well, yes.”
Then she paused.
I can’t emphasize this enough, one world-altering surprise of a jaw-dropping shock later, the CAT scan of my abdomen revealed a 3cm cancerous blockage in my colon that was preventing digestive and excretion functionality, and was causing my organs to swell up like a nightmare menagerie of balloon animals. Oh, and my liver appeared (and is confirmed to be) marbled with cancer like a nice wagyu striploin. Fuck.
We went right into a successful emergency surgery to remove the blockage, along with a handful of complicit lymph nodes, my appendix, and two-thirds of my colon. Which, if you think about it, literally means I have a…
… wait for it…
Thank you, thank you; I’ll be here all week. I’d like to be here longer than that, and a hell of a lot longer than the puny three years the doctors are currently giving me, and I suppose that’s why I’m creating this page. I intend to use it to share my story, my family’s story, to vent and to learn, and to make it a bit easier to stay updated for those wonderful souls who have expressed an interest in offering us so many different forms of help as we embark upon the fight of my life.
Our oncology plan of attack (with the amazing Seattle Cancer Care Alliance) is still taking shape, as are our coordination efforts for friends and family, but inside, you’ll find* photos, journal entries, schedules and signups for volunteer efforts, and the link to our GoFundMe page, which will help significantly as we navigate considerable medical, logistical, and childcare expenses.
Welcome, and thank you again for reading. Please feel free to leave a note of encouragement inside; each note offers more support and strength than you’d ever know. #ColonCancerIsTheShits