Sorry for not checking in in the past few days. I literally have been working from morning to night building a website, except for a quick break to go for a 5 mile run. The website is not 100% complete yet, but it has the majority of the content I want up there for people to see and has my blog inside of it. So you will be able to do everything from follow my fight, to purchase some gear (more coming soon), to learn more information on the disease.
I am going to automatically redirect people visiting this website to there by the end of the day.
Check it out at http://www.beatthechallenge.org
Much Love – Teej
Hi All, So as of 10:00 am this morning I was officially done with my first treatment of Chemo and able to store my new fashion accessory/weapon holster in the closet for a little less than two weeks. So far I really haven’t hit too many major side effects (which could still come for another day or so.) The only really weird one is cold sensitivity caused by the Oxaliplatin drug. Basically I can’t touch or drink anything cold, otherwise the area I touch it with petty much gets pins and needles for an extended period of time. The other stuff like nausea I have medication for and will just tough it out as it happens.
I did find out however that they officially changed my chemo treatment from the aggressive FOLFIRINOX (5-FU, Leucovorin, Irinotecan, Oxaliplatin) to what sounds like a slightly more standard treatment of FOLFOX Avastin (5-FU, Leucovorin, Oxaliplatin, Avastin.) Speaking with my nurse Nikki we think this may be due to the scans that I talked about in this blog (A Small Victory Before….) and so they can always break out the big guns as a back up plan. It always feels good to know there is a back up plan. This also means that I no longer have to go in tomorrow for the white blood cell booster shot which means another day off from the hospital for me =-P.
Ok, enough with the “sciencey” stuff, just know the Big C is in his corner getting a couple stitches above the eye while I’m pushing the water bottle away because I’m fresh and ready to go for round 2. Also, “Team TJ” for the Get Your Rear in Gear 5K is really starting to explode and I am beyond impressed with the outpouring of support. I just want everyone to know that it may be my name on the team, but this goes to benefit everyone out there as Colon Cancer is the #2 Cancer Killer behind Lung Cancer and kills about 55,000 people in the US every year. So please keep forwarding this:http://events.getyourrearingear.com/site/TR/Boston/General?pg=team&fr_id=1072&team_id=1231 to your friends, co-workers, family, whoever you think may support the cause and even the people you think may not, you may be suprised. Let’s Build an Army bigger than GYRIG has seen before and beat this thing once and for all.
Much Love – Teej
p.s. I totally should have photoshopped bigger biceps and deltoids in there…. not getting any more MGH nurses by my bedside like that. Goodthing, I have the GF.
I just wanted to give you all a quick little blog update. I finished my first two hours and two drugs of Chemo-therapy this morning. The Drugs my infusion nurse Shiela administered in hospital were Oxaliplatin, and Leucovorin, they gave me a boost of 5-FU (Fluorouracil) and then hooked me up with the latest fashion trend.
Don’t be surprised if you see a new wave of man purses take over the south end after people see me rocking this new look. Then again…….. it’s the south-end I might be a little late to the party
Much Love – Teej
p.s. the pump basically pushes more 5-FU into my body for another 46 hours straight. I get disconnected on Wednesday. As Peter would say, “I’m plugged into the matrix.” So don’t be surprised if you see me flying around and dodging bullets by the end of this.
p.p.s Next round of chemo we introduce another drug to the therapy called Avastin. The infusion of the drug was put on hold so the port installation surgery could completely heal. The entire chemo treatment acronym I believe is FOLFOX Avastin.
The Calm before the Storm…Posted by: TJ Baudanza
Tonight, I curl up in my comfortable bed with my beautiful girlfriend and have my last peaceful, relaxing, sweet dreams for…. well, for sometime…. Tomorrow…… Tomorrow, the battle begins against one of the worst enemies we have come to know in this day and age. It affects all of us and attacks and kills relentlessly regardless of age, health, strength, social status or race. I am not a hero, or a soldier, or a warrior, where I can take this fight to the battlefield. What I am is a son, a boyfriend, a brother, a grandson, a nephew, a cousin, a uncle and a best friend, and those, those are reasons I am going to fight this disease. Those are the reasons I am going to win. YOU all are the reasons. I want to show you that there is no reason to be afraid in life, regardless of where the challenge comes from or who the opponent may be, because the most rewarding thing in life is stepping up to a challenge, looking it dead in the eye and saying “bring it.”
Now Cancer, I think its time for you to get the F&#K out of my body because you messed with the wrong person and I have an army of positive thoughts, vibes and prayers behind me. So BRING IT.
Two of my favorite people: Amanda’s sister Jess and her betrothed James took the effort to create “Team TJ” for a 3 mile walk to benefit the Colon Cancer Coalition. So while I’m beating the crap out of this disease, this walk looks to create awareness, raise funds to prevent, detect and treat it. I think we all agree actions speak louder than words, so if you can help out in anyway, sign up (or share this blog with your friends) and help me kick this things ass. Her original email is below:
James and I signed up for the 2011 Boston “Get Your Rear In Gear Challenge” an event to benefit the Colon Cancer Coalition, and to support TJ of course! We want to make a difference for him and the thousands of people in the community touched by colon cancer. The funds we raise will help with prevention, early detection and treatment for this disease. It’s a 5K (3 mile) run/walk in Boston on Saturday, November 12, 2011. We registered a team for all of us called “Team TJ!” that anyone can join who would like to participate and help in the Challenge!
Here’s the “Team TJ!” page where you can join the team, sign up, make donations and see our progress!
Please pass our team info and link on to any other family and friends who you think would want to join or help! I know Teej has a billion friends and family members who I don’t know and obviously missed in this email, but it’s the more the merrier!
Jess & James
I had a little trouble figuring out what to click once I got there. So if you want to partake, just look at the list of names that is lower on the page, directly to the right of where it says “Team TJ” click the blue “Join Team” link. If you wish to support a specific person on the team, just click on their name.
Everyday I am more and more amazed of how wonderful you all are. Your support only makes me stronger, and you bet your ass I will be running in this thing.
Much Love – Teej
p.s. The sperm bank was a little awkward, the tech/nurse assured me that the sample jars are the same ones they use for urine collection and that “nobody ever fills the cup.” lol
Today I had the port-a-cath inserted below my right clavicle bone. This will be the median by which we launch the first attack on this disease. You can check out what the port looks like here: http://bardaccess.com/port-powerport.php. I will take some pictures to show you guys my new third nipple as soon as the incisions heal and I can correct this crazy lopsided chest hair shave they got going on lol. I am definitely a little sore from the surgery, but nothing some meds and a funny movie can’t fix (Thanks Brian S. for a good list of movies.) I will say, the place was perfect timing with this heat wave, who want’s to be outside in that gross humidity anyway. Thanks to the medical team today for making things as smooth as possible. (NP- Melissa, MD – Taj, Tech – Kelly, & RN- Audrey.) You are all awesome and made me feel very comfortable and at ease.
So I know the big C is a huge downer for everyone but, you know what’s pretty cool? An excuse to buy a hole new drawer full of exercise clothes. All in all I bought a Livestrong hoodie, hat, shorts, windbreaker and three t-shirts. The official Colon Cancer color is Royal Blue so I obviously ordered everything in their blue & yellow colors. Going to be the sexiest cancer fighter this side of the charles…. well, probably not… but at least I will match
Love you All – Teej
p.s. I messed up on my blog yesterday and the cryo isn’t until tomorrow. Hopefully I am not still so sore… well, at least I’m a lefty. (*crosses self* again)
So I don’t start my chemo-therapy until Monday morning and I think as most would assume I am trying to party it up as much as possible before this battle gets underway. Just laying around trying to get as much booze, fried food and sleep in me as possible….. haha. I am just kidding, but there are a few things I want to get done before this thing gets underway.
Between yesterday and today I accomplished goal number #1 on my bucket list of awesome things to do before chemo starts. A nice relaxing visit to…… the dentist. Luckily I only had to get 6… yup, count em, 6 cavities drilled and filled. To be honest, the dentist Dr. Bloom made things as smooth and easy as possible and I didn’t feel a thing. But I will let you in on a little secret: the part that made it all worth while was getting X-rays and a teeth cleaning from a beautiful brunette hygienist. I think I might just have to ask her for her number next time. I may be wrong, but it definitely felt like something was there, like love at first sight. Even though she was wearing a mask, those gorgeous brown eyes looked really familiar and I could swear i’ve known her for years! Well, there is always next time right….?
Anyway, enough of the day dreaming. Tomorrow looks to be another exciting day filled with my favorite activities and #2 on my bucket list of awesome things to do before chemo starts. A trip to New England Cryogenics, also known as…… the sperm bank. Well, I guess I wasn’t too far off on the favorite activity thing….. just kidding Ma! hehe, hope I didn’t lose anyones prayers for that one (*cross myself.*) Even though the doctor assures me it is not a very common side effect of the specific drugs I will be administered during Chemo, Chemo-therapy in general poses a risk of losing some fertility “down there.” I think we would all agree that it’s better to be safe than sorry. I want to definitely have a family later on in life and this is just a way to safe-guard that.
Other than my specific itemized schedule, I have been doing the whole healthy living thing. A mouth watering breakfast of bran muffin and water really hits the spot lol. But everything is well once I get outside for some exercise. My dad and I have been doing a daily 5 mile jog/walk around the charles with my dogs Miley and Oakley. The plan is to pick up the pace as time goes on and eventually turn it into a run. Sometimes I start thinking this whole thing was just gods plan to whoop me back into shape. Well, a healthy body is a healthy mind right?
Anyway, tomorrow I get the port placement in my chest. Should be quick and easy. Wish me luck.
Love you all – Teej
p.s. Before any of you panic, or for those of you who don’t know me well…. You know that beautiful brunette hygienist? The one with the gorgeous eyes I referred to above?…..that is my girlfriend Amanda. She has been my rock through this whole thing, and yes, when I first saw her on the steps of the boston public library it most certainly was love at first sight. I should have mentioned it last blog, but better late than never….. Happy Two Year Anniversary Sweetheart, I love you more than words. (7/14/09)
Happy Monday Everyone!
Your positive energy, thoughts and prayers are working. A visit with my medical team this morning went better than expected. The cancer which was originally diagnosed as spread and forming tumors in some… shall we say… “not-so-good” lymph-nodes is no longer present. The 10 marble size tumors that are spread throughout my liver and were shown in my original CT scan are now numbered at only 8. Some may say that it was just the inaccuracy of the original scan… not me. I think this thing may have just caught sight of what is coming after it and is high tailing it for the hills.
With your support I only grow stronger, with your prayers I become more resilient and with your positive thoughts my focus is xen-like. I will not stop believing, working and fighting until I have rid this cancer from my body.
I Love you all and thank you for the support, keep it coming – Teej
p.s. Below is an approximate layout of the battle ahead. If I am corrected or anything changes I will be sure to update you.
Thursday 7/21 – I have a port inserted into my my chest. This will be the median that the chemo-therapy and other drugs are delivered to my body.
Step 1: Chemo (8-12 weeks of Chemo)
Monday 7/25 – Blood draw, visit with my nurse Theresa and beginning my chemo-therapy treatment. Chemo Drugs:
Step 4. Cured
Not much news, just further testing today. I had a PET-CT scan this morning, which means
they pumped me full of nuclear medicine that makes the cancer cells “pop” in the pictures. So hopefully all goes well, but the really cool part is that I’m radioactive for 24 hours or so. They also gave me card in case I set off any alarms lol:
Security personnel and law enforcement notification.
This patient had undergone a nuclear medicine
procedure involving a small quantity of short lived radioactive matierials…….
So basically I need to avoid small children for a few days and can make my own popcorn just by holding the bag. =-P
Love you all, I will check in after what should be a relaxing weekend down the cape.
p.s. I am still being sent some of the most amazing messages and meeting some of the most amazing people. The success stories I have heard blow me away and push me harder. Lastly, I have to mention the couple from Martha’s vineyard I met today, they lit up my day and are truly inspirational people. I hope your final scan went well today, you definitely deserve it Ann.
Amanda, my parents and I headed to an early morning appointment at 7:00 am and were able to meet my new and phenomenal medical staff. But not before I was able to make a quick blog post. To be honest, I am completely overwhelmed with the support that has poured in from family, friends, friends of friends and some amazing people that I have never officially yet met in my life. To explain the breadth of the support messages that I received so far, from the moment it was posted this morning I received a new e-mail every 2 minutes, a new Facebook message every 5 minutes, countless likes, comments, posts, reposts, phone calls, and over 1500 visitors to the blog. I do not have words to describe how amazing you all are and know that I have read every single one of your messages and I will be sure to give everyone of you a huge hug when this thing has been won.
As for my health, I feel great and I have a very positive outlook on the situation. After a few long meetings and a information overload, my doctor and surgeon have established what is now deemed by the Chief, Division of Surgical Oncology as a “Path to a Cure.” Because of my age and the strength of my body they are going to target the cancer very aggressively, next thursday I will be starting a rather large cocktail of 4 chemo-therapy drugs with the goal of shrinking the known tumors into remission. If that goes successfully in around 3 months the surgeon will be able to then perform two complex surgeries. The first to remove a portion of my liver containing the bulk of the cancerous cells. A second surgery in the near future (after my liver has regenerated) to remove the remaining cancerous cells in the liver and the original mass in my colon. A lot of this information is pending pathology and further scans of my body, but at this moment it is extremely positive news and we (my family and medical team) are all focused on that specific goal. If there are any speed bumps, then we will tackle them as they occur. If this goes as planned I can be cured of what early this morning was a un-curable disease. Just know that I firmly believe I will reach this goal, and that all of your support, prayers, emails and votes of confidence will only push me harder until I have driven every …last…. drop… of this disease from my body.
I love you all – Teej