Cline Glidden Jr. was diagnosed with colon cancer 10 months ago and has battled the disease with chemotherapy and surgery since then. On Wednesday night, he will share his story at a talk on male cancers at the George Town Town Hall.
The former West Bay MLA is a guest speaker, along with University College of the Cayman Islands President Roy Bodden, who is a prostate cancer survivor, and Cayman Islands Cancer Society operations manager Jennifer Weber, at the Lions Club of Grand Cayman’s Prostate and Colon Cancer Event presentation.
Mr. Glidden told the Cayman Compass that he has gathered much strength from the support he has received from the local community during his time of illness.
“My wife was my pillar of strength. She was stronger than me during all of this and kept propping me up whenever I got weak,” he said, adding that his family, friends and employer were constant sources of support as well.
“Our religion and faith in God, the prayer and support from all of the churches and, in general, living in such a small loving close-knit society where you are constantly bombarded with expressions of concern, love and support from people in all walks of life was my support,” he said.
Mr. Glidden found out about his disease after experiencing some stomach discomfort. “I was having some intermittent discomfort with my stomach and my doctor, Dr. Louis Cona, recommended that I have a colonoscopy done by Dr. Darley Solomon, who found the growth in my colon and then did a CT scan and found two nodules on my liver and diagnosed me with stage IV cancer on April 22, 2014.”
He said he has always been a strong advocate for getting regular checkups and had one six months before he was diagnosed. “But that is the danger; you can never check for everything. All of my tests, including blood tests and liver functions, were all perfect,” he said.
He said it is not recommended that men have a colonoscopy before age 50, but “I was 48 and the doctors figure that I had the growth in my colon for about four years, which would have meant it would have been detectable from around age 44.”
After his diagnosis, he underwent four cycles of chemotherapy, then major surgery, and then another eight cycles of chemotherapy.
During chemotherapy, he said, he suffered all of the expected side effects and also had a bad reaction that, he said, shut his organs down. He was in intensive care for 12 days because he was very ill, not from the cancer but from the treatment and the way that his body responded.
After he recovered from that, he had major surgery to remove half of his liver, one-third of his colon, his gall bladder and his appendix. “After recovering from that, I did the remaining eight cycles of chemotherapy, and now I am scheduled to do re-scans and testing the first week of March to see what my status is.”
He added, “You can imagine that the treatment and surgery has been rough. However, the prayers and support from my family, especially my wife, my employer Ogier, friends and the entire Cayman Islands and the love of God has gotten me through a difficult time,” he said.
Over time, Mr. Glidden has educated himself more about the disease, and at Wednesday’s presentation he wants to share the knowledge with others about getting the need for a colon check if a person undergoes a change of stomach or bowel habits. He recommends going to a medical oncologist, colon surgeon or liver surgeon for checks and urges anyone who experiences any bodily changes to be aware of them and not ignore them.
He explained that, depending on the diagnosis, the plan will be either for a cure or for control of the cancer. A cure is only available if the cancer is operable, he said. “Thank God, mine was operable, so my treatment plan as designed by my medical team is still working towards a cure,” he added.
The Lions Club of Grand Cayman Prostate and Colon Cancer Event Committee meeting will be held at the George Town Town Hall at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11. Admission is free.