The Absurd Epistolary Adventures of the Astonishing FartMan chronicles the amusing escapades
of the lovable, stinky, and obnoxious Cape & Tights Super Hero, and his maudlin Alter Ego, W____,
as they learn to cope with Stage IV colon cancer, each other, and their annoying fellow human beings.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mostly Worried About My Dear Sweet Wife

From: W____
Sent: Saturday, August 21, 2010 5:17 PM
To: St_____
Subject: Update

Hey St_____,


Monday afternoon they did surgery taking out a chunk of my colon, removing along with it the two cancer masses residing therein, and stitching the two ends back together.

Pathology reports, CT Scan, and PET Scan confirmed colon cancer, with four lymph nodes involved, and one or two small spots on the liver. Supposedly the cancer cells are not exotic, and are slow-growing, which is a piece of good news.

By Wednesday afternoon, they had sent me home, and since then I've been been recouping pretty well. Right after surgery the pain from the cutting was through the roof, but now I can get by with an occasional Tylenol or, more rarely, a Tylenol/codeine.

I have an appointment at the end of the month with the surgeon for a follow-up, and then an appointment with an oncologist first week of September. That's when we'll get the complete picture about how bad my situation is and what can reasonably be done to improve things.

I feel amazingly good. Perhaps it's endorphins, or adrenalin, or, as Young Churchill wrote, the exhilarating sensation of having been "shot at without [much immediate] effect." Maybe I had become gradually sicker over such a long period of time (five years or longer) that I had forgotten what it feels like not to feel like crap all the time. It seems that getting those nasty tumors out of me has provided a great relief to my body. The basic level of vitality--my spark--seems better than it has been in years. If it weren't for the twinges from the surgery, I would feel like going out dancing!

S_____ and I might have a tough road ahead of us, so you must forgive me in advance if I burden you with more than I'm an justly entitled to ask. It's just that you are such an honest and reliable fellow, that I know if I push something off onto you, it will be done as well as can be done. I promise not to be impossibly frivolous in my requests.

So, the bottom line is: I am doing okay. A little scared about the Great Unknowns, but not terrified. Still grateful for all life's blessings, of which I've had more than my share, but would not object to receiving even more. Determined to make the best of things. Mostly worried about my dear sweet wife.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Out of the Blue

From: W____
Sent: Sunday, August 15, 2010 11:51 AM
To: St____ M___
Subject: Out of the Blue

Hey St____,

You always say, and I think it's true, that even though we go a long time without hearing from each other, we always pick up as friends with you and B____ right where we left off. Well, this time I have some not-so-great news and a favor to ask.

Wednesday I experienced a gastro-intestinal event that led to an ambulance ride to M________ Hospital. After a couple of days of poking, prodding, and pictures, the docs informed me that I have colon cancer, with a couple of lesions on my colon and a couple of spots where it has migrated to my liver. (I'm now a leading candidate to be the 2010 Poster Boy to remind everyone to get that colonoscopy they've been putting off.) The docs have let me out of the hospital for the weekend, but tomorrow (Monday) they've got me scheduled for a PET Scan to see more definitively what is going on and then the plan is to do surgery tomorrow afternoon to take out a big chunk of my colon. After that, we'll have to see what's possible and do the best we can.

The favor: You are one of the two or three people in this world I would trust with both my soul and all my worldly goods, and for that reason I've told S____ that you are a person she should turn to in case she ever has a problem that you might help her figure out.

As much as possible, S_____ and I are trying to have a "normal" weekend together to calm and strenghten our spirits for what's ahead, but things are a whirlwind for us right now as we try to get ourselves organized to manage things over the next weeks and months, so we might not be able to talk with you in person for a few days. Still, I wanted to let you in on what's going on, and if I get a break from the doctors tomorrow, I'll try to give you a call.



Thursday, August 12, 2010

An Ambulance Came to My House

From: W____
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 8:04 AM
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Subject: W____ Is Out of Action for a While

Fellows and Fellas,

Yesterday an ambulance came to my house, bringing entertainment to my neighbors and me to the M_________ Hospital ER. I had experienced a gastrointestinal event, about which you will be spared the disgusting details, but which involved much blood and some passing out. I'm better now, on whomperjaw anti-biotics and anti-fungals, but it seems they want to keep me here for a while, so I'll miss G____'s talk today. I'm guessing I'll be out of action for at least a few days.