Thursday, May 15, 2008

Here's the Deal

Stage 3 colon cancer. Laparoscopic surgery to remove it. 6 months of chemo ahead of us. You know what she tells me?


She says she’d rather be going through this than a divorce with me!
Just to let me know how good of a job I’m doing as a husband. She’s so awesome!
I’ve always said this, but- what an amazing wife!


The incredible strength we have as a team provides us with great power to cope with great and unpleasant times. Our love for life is filled with wonderful memories and an unstoppable desire to have many more. We are grateful for our past and our future, so we’ll do what we have to today to keep us healthy for tomorrow.
As you know, this is all new to us. What should we expect from the chemo treatments? I’ve heard of people getting treatments in the morning and going straight to work. I’ve also heard of it wearing people down. I understand they’ve come a long way in recent years, but what should we expect? Is traveling in between rounds an option? I’m asking you.


Sonya and I probably won’t know much more about what we’ll be going through until June, so we’ll keep you posted, as always.
We appreciate the support coming in-from prayers to cards to even running in her name T.?



You fans rock. Enjoy life. It’s there for you.

14 Comments:

Blogger JAYLTEAVI said...

Hi Rob,Hi Sonya. Hope everything goes better then you hope for. I'm glad you guys are that close to each other i didn't expect any less from My favorite wrestler and my favorite wrestlers wife.Of course Sonya MRS . One of a Kind. From a one of a kind
couple.

Well Rob i saw you, I saw you. I always said you were the most exciting wrestler since Ultimate Warrior. So it was very fun watching pretend to be like the Warrior. It was quite fun to watch and you really pulled it of imitating his voice.Which i thought it might had been more difficult, for you to do.

I thought Warrior wouldn't be look very strong. but besides him having a sweater on he looked pretty big.

Wow that would be big you to guys teaming together and wrestling in any other organization that isn't related to the WWE. Well got to go ,im in a bit of a hurry take care both, you and your wife Sonya.

From probally your biggest fan J.L.-T.V. till next time ,next time gadget. Bye.

May 15, 2008 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger Sssshhh! said...

Rob great to hear that you and Sonya are stronger than ever!
I'm really looking forward to see you both (because I know this is something that in someway affect both of you) as the victors in this battle.
I know you both already have a lot of good memories and gonna have tons and tons of many more.
My best wishes,as always.
Gaston from Argentina.

May 15, 2008 at 9:13 PM  
Anonymous CalmMountain said...

Nihao RVD-san & SVD-san,

Thank you for keeping in touch! Glad to know that you're both doing as well as can be expected.

Chemo has different specific effects on everyone. Some people temporarily lose their hair, some don't. Some people complain of a weird metallic aftertaste, some don't. Some people get too tired to function after chemo, some go straight to work. There are all kinds of effects that might or might not apply but here are some of the more general things.

First, don't read or watch anything older than two years on the subject of how chemo is done. Much of that information is outdated.

Second, there is a device called a port. It can be surgically inserted into - and later, after all the chemo is done, surgically removed from - a person. The port is often put into the chest, it greatly reduces the need for and pain from IVs in the arm. However, the body can also reject the port so take special note of any sickness.

Another use for the port is to make blood tests easier. SVD-san should receive a blood test prior to every single chemo treatment. This is done to check the blood counts - as long as the white cell count is in the average range, you'll get the chemo that day. If anything in the blood is too far from the average range, the chemo gets postponed. If the white blood cells in particular are dangerously low, you'll likely spend the day getting a transfusion instead of chemo.

So the 6 months could easily become something longer with a couple postponements. Don't worry! That's normal! The massive variations in blood counts just reflect the fact that the body takes a bit to adjust to chemo, after all. This process also helps your Oncologist to prescribe the exact right amounts of medication.

However the clock can also be moved the other way – the 6 months can be shortened. After each cycle of treatment, there will be tests to ensure that the cancer has not spread. If the cancer is in full blown retreat or has essentially vanished, the Oncologist may decide that further treatment is not necessary.

Most well-reputed Cancer Treatment Centers realize that dealing cancer can be stressful. So they offer healing therapies, exercise classes, nutritional counseling, counseling in general and support groups for patients – often in the same building where the chemo is done. As a patient, make use of those services. I strongly suggest getting at least a massage every now and then. Even relatives and caregivers may be eligible to use these services at a discount. Another discount that might be worth investigating: hotels. Any hotel near the hospital should be willing to give a medical discount. Ask the receptionists at the treatment center, they usually have all this information. (They also will be the ones to get you referrals to and/or appointments with any of the other services – like massage – that is offered to patients. So write their phone numbers down.)

My main concern for SVD-san is the issue of body weight. She is not a heavy person to begin with and certainly can’t afford to get much lighter but weight loss tends to be a common side effect of chemo… Because the medications involved tend to mess with appetite. Staying hydrated is definitely important but… Yeah… Eat whatever the heck you want, SVD-san! You’ve got to keep your strength up!

Oh and if the hair does go… SVD-san, no worries – okay? It’s TEMPORARY. The Cancer Treatment Center should offer a haircut, a wig and/or a hat. The hair will grow back – maybe even softer – after the chemo is finished.

RVD-san, how much down time you have between treatment cycles depends on how much of the treatment went as originally scheduled. Travel IS possible between cycles of treatment but you’ve got to make plans that are flexible. There will be days when just being home seems like enough of a vacation and there will be days when the chemo is rescheduled, altering any immediate plans for the future. But having some nice little private getaway to look forward to after a cycle of treatment can help tons in getting through the rough patches. In fact one of the best things you can do is PLAN IT.

Hope all this helps. Please keep taking care! I’ll keep sending the positive vibes your way – but seriously, don’t get hug deficient.

Courage and Peace!

~CalmMountain

May 16, 2008 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger pablo said...

English
RobVanDam i´m not speak english because i´m spanish + o - jeje you are the best
spanish
RobVanDam eres el mejor yo soy joven pero me han contado muchas cosas de ti

Adios-Bye
Pablo

May 16, 2008 at 1:49 PM  
Blogger Mario Kartist said...

I guess there's nothing you can do but hang in there and hope for the best. I know that all the prayers will help. Just keep a positive attitude =, and everything will be fine.


-Just a fan

May 16, 2008 at 5:52 PM  
Anonymous polipropileno said...

I have no doubt about the result of the fight SVD is about to start: she is going to WIN.

My best wishes to both of you from Spain.

May 17, 2008 at 3:40 AM  
Anonymous Tom said...

Rob and Sonya

I just wanted to wish you all the best for your present and future.
Keep the faith in Life.

May 17, 2008 at 5:11 PM  
Anonymous CalmMountain said...

*wanders back*

Can't believe that I forgot to mention this. It's amazing what a person can learn to take for granted. Cancer certainly has a way of redefining 'normal' for the patient and everyone around them.

Okay. Obviously, chemo has the tendency to muck with a persons immune system. Getting sick - although expected, to a certain degree, while the body adapts - messes with the ability of the cancer treatment to be effective. Prevention is key. Gentle exercise, getting enough sleep and eating healthy can help an immune system recover. However the emphasis tends to be placed on reducing the amount of germs in the patient’s environment. This will involve washing hands more often, keeping SVD-san away from people with colds and so forth. For the first 48 to 72 hours after each chemo, SVD-san might also be instructed to not share silverware, drinking containers or chapstick with other people and to isolate her laundry.

You might consider investing in some disinfecting wipes and go through the house with those about once a week, wiping down anything that could be called a high traffic area for hands. Door knobs, light switches, keyboards, telephones, tv remotes, door of the fridge, door of the microwave, water faucets and so forth. A creative person can turn all this cleaning into a halfway decent stretching routine. Not that you need it, I'm sure, but it might make the whole process a little more fun.

If nothing else, take all of your doctors guidelines and try to make them a little bit fun because that can help to make the changes more bearable.

SVD-san... Once you begin chemo, please start a medical log. (Keeping a journal is a great idea too but the medical log should perhaps be separate since more people will be reading it.) After each chemo there will likely be a small bag full of medications to take home - at least half of which is to take in case of the side effects from chemo. Write down what side effects you experience, when and how much of what medicine you take, each time you take anything. Aside from helping you and yours to keep track of everything, the medical log can and should be shown to your Oncologist because it will help them to adjust your dosage based on your reactions. The idea is to get the dosage down to where the side effects of chemo are minimized, so that you don't have to take as many meds overall. Since every patient tolerates the process differently it takes time to figure out what the 'perfect amount' of chemo is. The medical log will help narrow the field, as it were. You can also, if it helps motivate you in any way to stay hydrated and eat, keep a record of your nutritional habits in the medical log.

People recommending cancer-related books to you is kind of inevitable. If reading about the experience interests you then the next time you're at your cancer treatment center, ask them where their library is. A truly good cancer treatment center will have the humor and inspirational titles right alongside the reference materials.

May I suggest taking along some music to listen to or a sudoku puzzle or something similar to preoccupy yourself with? Whether you're getting chemo or a transfusion - a distraction helps to pass the time. There will often be a few other patients receiving chemo in the same room but they're not always talkative. (If they ARE talkative, then whatever you brought along to be your distraction can help steer the conversation away from cancer once in a while.) Oh and if you're ever expecting to stay overnight, take a pillow or blanket - if only to use as padding - since the in-room hospital cots for caregivers aren't typically comfortable and the air-conditioning in hospitals tends to be overdone. Plus having an item from home can make the place seem less impersonal.

Another thought on the issue of hair: if SVD-san is not completely opposed to getting a moderately drastic haircut before her chemo starts then she has options. Since her hair is long, she could choose to donate a length of it to any one of the organizations that make wigs for cancer patients. Or she could choose to have a wig made out of it for herself, whichever she prefers. The main thing to remember is that if the hair even goes at all, it will eventually grow back.

Erm. It's hard to put this into words without sounding completely insensitive - but while I appreciate the importance of hair to a persons self-image, there are other issues which in my very humble and limited experience deserve slightly more concern under the circumstances. Especially for a young lady like SVD-san the topics of bone density, body weight and the ability of chemo to play havoc with hormones should be discussed with your doctors. Because... Erm. Sorry - I realize that this might not be welcome news. Please keep in mind that not everyone is hit with every side effect but... It is not impossible for chemo to trigger menopause. Which can be an extra challenge.

RVD-san, one last very tiny note for now. You are way too intelligent to do this yet as a concerned fan, I am compelled to mention it anyway - sorry. I don't know how it works in Cali but out here, hospital property is defined as a 'no smoking of any kind at all, ever' zone. Please step across the street if the need arises, that's all. The legal actions they can take against a person in a hospital zone (which includes the parking areas) tend to be far more severe than elsewhere.

Cancer is not typically a short journey - or at least, it doesn't ever seem like one when you're starting out - but you can get through it. Please keep taking care, one step at a time.

Courage and Peace!

~CalmMountain

May 19, 2008 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Teyegrrlily613 said...

Hey Rob,
Just stoppin' in to let everyone know to stop in at your profile page at http://www.myspace.com/5starcomics and check out the Relay Pics also Stop in at my myspace... http://www.myspace.com/ecworiginalspace I will be posting Pics as they are sent to me. Hey everyone if you want to donate to the American Cancer Society you still can. It can be done in honor and support for Sonya or even just in memory of a loved one you may have lost to cancer. The best way to fight cancer is if we all try to do our part. Even if it is just saying prayers, donating pocket change, quitting smoking even signing up for next years Relay For Life activities and also letting Rob and Sonya know you care. Sharing a cheerful note really can bring on possitive energy. If you know someone who is going through similar stuff or you are going through the same sharing the ups and downs really does help and can pave the road so others know what possibly lies ahead.

Rob, Sonya...Stay Strong.:D
T

May 21, 2008 at 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello RVD & SVD:

I sorry to hear about the diagnosis but I'm glad that it was found and treatment can be given.

I work in a VA hospital and work closely with physicans which highly recommend the treatment cancer treatment centers of america. Cancer treatment reasearch and new treatments are more effective then ever and I think she has a great chance for a good recovery. I know you probobly recieved materials from them but if you have not, I strongly suggest you do so and speak with one of thier councelors.

#1 best medicine is attitude. In the VA, I knew someone who lived 15years past what he was supposed to be just because he had a positive attutiue but he passed @ 91 years old. To me, that just tells you that attitude is everything.

I would honeslty listen to the user Cammountian. It sounds like he knows first hand what he is talking about.

I believe the biggest concern would be SVD's weight. She needs to keep every pound on and try not loose much or any. I know this may be hard but weight can be a big factor and gives physicians good notification of what is going on. If a person becomes underweight then they are less likely to fight disease as an ideal weight person. My suggestion is to keep a weight journal and speak to a registered dietician. She should weight herself once a week and then track to see if there is any changes. Weight loss over 5 lbs in a month or 10 lbs in 3 months should be brought to the attention of the physican.

This is the best advice I can think of but if you have any more questions, bring it to the attention of the oncologist and they will give you straight answers. Really, I would be very thankful to live in this generation where there are many treatment options then ever before. I think SVD will be just fine and be strong. There are plenty of resources out there and all of us are thinking of you two and will pray for the best.

--wedgiewife
wedgiewife@gmail.com

May 27, 2008 at 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Len Taylor said...

I hope everything is going well for you Sonya. Since I heard, you have both been in my thoughts and prayers. I'd like to also pass along another website set up for a couple of people who have also been in my thoughts and prayers. Nancy and Daniel Benoit. Nancy's sister Sandra has created a website @ndbfoundation.org. You'll find links to their MySpace page as well as one for an upcoming fundraiser. Anything you guys can do to help will be greatly appreciated by the Foundation. God Bless you and I wish you the speediest of recoveries, Sonya.
your fan & friend,
Len Taylor

June 16, 2008 at 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Susi Rodríguez said...

As far as I know, the effects of the treatment depend on the person receiving it. There are a few programs of Oprah in which she interviews people who have suffered of colon cancer, maybe it would be interesting to watch some of them. I saw one a few months ago, a man had colon cancer, this were tiny little balls that got bigger as the years passed, and if got in time, they could be removed.
I'm sure she will be ok when she receives the treatment. Hope the best for her!

And sorry for my english, I'm Spanish!

June 25, 2008 at 6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Rob Vandam,
I have seen you wrestle all the way back in WCW and up to WWF now which is WWE. I have been a wrestler fan for over 40 years. Long time huh? YUP sure has been.

I just wanted to tell you that I do miss you wrestle on the WWE circuit. I truly understand your situation with you because of the issue with your wife being in poor health now. As if I was in your shoes I would rather spend time with the wife then wrestle period. I think that is noble of you to do what you are doing OK?

Just stay with your wife and love her and take care of her and be a good loving husband you are now to her My good friend.
We may miss you wrestle. But your wife - family always comes first. Hope you will write me back. Have a good one.

Yours Truly,


Rex Fuller (Wrestling Fan)

September 23, 2008 at 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Felipe Muñiz said...

hello Rob!!

I'm a huge fan man, really miss seeing you on tv, its a shame really
i really enjoyed watching you on the WWE, but, i hope everything is really cool with you right now man, i would like it if you could add me at your myspace, that would be really cool man, i´m from Mexico, my name is Felipe Muñiz, and well, this is my mail (marvel_hawkeye@hotmail.com) hope you add me soon man,itwould be really amazing having you as one of my "myspace friends" well thas all, be cool man =P

October 2, 2008 at 5:27 PM  

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