Here is the very short snapshot of Baz’s journey....
Sex: Male. Age at diagnosis: 44 Age at death: 45
Family history of intestinal polyps or colorectal cancer: None
Baz had right shoulder tip pain on and off for a couple of weeks in June 2017 and one incident where he fainted. When he roused the pain was gone.
He travelled from Australia to London for work a week later in July 2017 and was fine but returned home to a pain in his ribs that felt like a pulled muscle on his right side.
I (his wife) insisted he follow up the blood work his doctor had ordered after his fainting episode, and it revealed a liver in failure. More tests to check and it was worse only a few days later.
A chest x-ray and ultrasound were ordered revealing suspect masses in his liver. Next was an abdominal CT Scan which also showed a small bowel lesion. He was rushed in for a colonoscopy the same week and a 15mm polyp was located and biopsied confirming adenocarcinoma on August 24 2017. He was KRAS mutant and the polyp was located on the left side descending close to Baz’s sigmoid colon. Two other benign and smaller polyps were noted, one sigmoid and the other right side.
After a rapid consult with a leading bowel surgeon in Perth, a staging PET scan was ordered and Baz lights up like a Christmas tree. Liver, ribs, spine, sacrum, hip..... but primary invisible.
So now they suspect two cancers! Biopsy the liver and confirm its all from the tiny bowel lesion. And to add insult to injury, bilateral pulmonary embolisms were also detected- and Baz was rushed back to hospital for blood thinners and monitoring.
At this point, with no treatment he will die in weeks, if the PE’s don’t shift and finish him earlier.
Thankfully he commences and responds to treatment - FOLFOX + Avastin 12 rounds and also SIRT concurrent with last round. Then Xeloda + Avastin for three months before progression again May 2018.
Baz managed two rounds FOLFIRI but his platelets collapsed and multiple transfusions barely helped.
Pain management was always complex and a delicate balance between relief and coherence. His palliative care pain specialist was a rock star and answered every call and every question from us.
Increasing back pain and decreasing mobility lead to an MRI revealing pathological fractures in five vertebrae and a 5cm tumour invading his back muscles and nerve at T13.
Radiation treatment provided some relief for him. But at that point, Baz is now wheelchair bound with DVT in one leg causing swelling, and failing liver causing much abdominal fluid.
Two infections saw him nearly die, but he held on for another few weeks until his much loved brother and family arrived from the US to spend 6 days together before we kissed him goodbye on July 3 2018.
He is loved and cherished in my heart, his son Jack 14yo, his daughter Amy 12yo, his parents, brother, our families and a wide and supportive community who care for us and remember him as a great bloke.
He did everything he could and more to survive. He smiled and joked with his carers and all of us to ease the pain on those around him.... despite his own pain.
He is my love and the bravest man I have had the honour to love and care for.