If you are reading this for the first time and want to hear the whole story, look under "BLOG ARCHIVE" on the right. Read the oldest blog first, starting with "The Diagnosis" in January 2009 (click on it) and continuing down. The blog you see below is the most recent and you want to read it last.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman fought a seven year battle against esophageal cancer during which he received 100 chemotherapy treatments. He was a frequent contributor to a list serv that I subscribe to. He always contributed in an open, informative and upbeat way that helped many other patients in their battle. Les was kind enough to reply directly to me in February when I asked him about the chemo agents he had received over the years. On April 29th Les sent his last message to the list serv informing everyone that he was in a lot of pain and entering hospice. Les died on Thursday. It's strange that you can feel so close to someone you've never met but I know a lot of people feel that way about Les, myself included. Rest in peace Les. -----------------------------------

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bucket List x 2

Last week I had plans with my mother to plant our spring flowers. Unfortunately, the Saturday night before we were supposed to do it, she fell and broke her arm. It was impossible for her to participate so I went to the nursery, bought the flowers, and went to her house to plant them where she designated. My sister Anne, and my mother’s companion Paul helped. Then I came home and planted mine. It wasn’t according to plan, but this did represent the second year my mother and I planted flowers together. It was fulfilling that item on my bucket list for the second time. I didn’t think I’d make it to that first Spring to do it once. I have a lot to be thankful for. On this Saturday just passed Terry and I went to our friends Phil and Linda’s house to celebrate their son’s birthday. Yesterday we went to our friends Bruce and Rhonda’s house for a visit. We enjoyed both visits. More to be thankful for. It’s been more than two months since I’ve had chemo and I’m feeling great. But last night there was a helicopter hovering over our house with a searchlight shining down. I think it was the Chemo Kaiser looking for me. Carry on. --------------------------------------------------------

Friday, May 14, 2010

The End ...... And A Beginning

Yesterday I had the final SIR treatment and I am thrilled that it is over. Although it’s a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things, the actual process on the treatment days was agonizing. Most of it was very tolerable, including the severe pain when the spheres are actually injected. But I absolutely hated laying on my back and having my movement restricted for six hours. And yesterday’s “recovery” nurse was particularly tough. She didn’t cut me any slack at all. The day went pretty much the same as last time except I think we got out a little bit later, slightly after 7:00 pm. We had been there since 7:00 am. One thing I didn’t mention last time is that they gave me a prescription for a six day dose of steroids. I don’t understand why because I’m already a hunk. Dr. Nosher, the doctor who performed the procedure, stopped in near the end of the day to fill us in on what to expect next. They’ll be some post procedure check ups in a couple of weeks but those will be to make sure no liver damage or other harm was done. We won’t learn about the efficacy of the treatment for about three months when a PET scan is performed. It takes that long to kill the tumors. In the meantime we’ll probably get some indication from CEA levels in blood tests. The count has gone down slightly since the last treatment but I don’t know how significant that is. I’ll probably go back on chemo in about three weeks. Other than some discomfort around the incision area I have no after effects. Last time there was some nauseousness. At the risk of repeating myself, I’m very glad it’s over. And I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to hopefully eradicate some of this disease. In the holding/recovery area there was another patient who was very upset. We could overhear some of her conversation with the nurses. She was there to have a port-a-cath implanted. This told us she had cancer. Later in the day Terry said she was scared of the chemo treatments that lie ahead of her. She was concerned about what this device that was now inside her would look like when it healed. She was obviously at the beginning of her battle with cancer. She was going through what I’m sure every cancer patient goes through at the beginning of their battle, fear, anxiety, confusion and hopelessness. Terry said she was crying so she invited the lady over to my bedside to let her look at my port-a-cath. Later, when we could see she was getting ready to leave I asked terry to have the lady come in again. She did. We held hands as I told her I would pray for her. She smiled and said she would pray for me also. And then she left to begin her battle. Please pray for all of us. ------------------------------------

Saturday, May 8, 2010


It seems that wherever I go these days somebody comments about how good I look, referring to my health. Indeed my eyes don’t stream tears anymore, my fingernails have grown back, I’ve gained some weight and I have some hair, even though it is Bozo the Clown hair. And I feel very good. Based on how I look and how I feel you’d never know I’m walking around with a terminal disease. Sometimes I forget myself. And this is good because I want to be able to live life as normally as possible. But then something comes up that I have to deal with like a treatment or doctor appointment and I’m reminded of the reality. Now that I have been dealing with this illness as long as I have, about twenty months, I have seen many patients pass on from it. Many of them have lasted a much shorter period of time than I. That’s discouraging. But then I see patients like Mark Richardson and Dick Dickerman who were both stage 4, not candidates for surgery, and both have passed the five year mark. That’s encouraging. But then I read about someone like Les Coleman who has made it to seven years but is now near the end of his battle. Sometimes Terry and I disagree about how we should handle things. She tends to not want to make plans too far into the future because I might not be able to participate because of a treatment or q reaction to a treatment. I tend to think we should go for it. Other times I’ll talk about something like estate planning with a short time frame in mind and she’ll tell me I could outlive her and everyone else. I try to keep things in balance, in perspective. I think the perfect balance is to live life as fully as possible because I probably don’t have much time left. But that doesn’t stop me from fighting as hard as I can and maintaining hope that miracles can happen. I guess I try to be realistically positive or positively realistic. It is a tough balancing act. Last Monday I had a CT scan ordered by the SIRT team but I must confess I don’t know why. I don’t know if they were looking for tumors, checking out the work they did or mapping out the next procedure. Frankly I don’t care. I’ll find out soon enough. I saw Dr. George the Chemo Kaiser yesterday. Her office called and said she would like to check me out because she hasn’t seen me for a while. That made me suspicious and sure enough when I walked into her office three masked men jumped me a tried to hook me up to the chemo pump. I was able to fight them off and I told Dr. George that if she wanted to see me she’d have to lay off the chemo for now. She reluctantly agreed and just did a routine examination. Everything checked out but that really doesn’t mean much except that my heart is still beating and my lungs are still taking in oxygen. Dr. George did mark her calendar for exactly two weeks after the next SIR treatment which is when I can start chemo again. I suspect I’ll wake up that day to find her on my doorstep with tubes and needles in hand. Next week is the final SIR treatment. I can hardly wait. Carry on. ---------------------------------------------------------