March 12, 2013 (Tue) – Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!

Auto Club 400

…and we’re off! Today marked the first day that we officially fought back. My first burst of radiation to my lung. Take that, sucka! No more rope-a-dope. Took all of about ten minutes. And that was long from what I understand. As far as I knew, they just waved a magic wand over me. Didn’t feel a thing. Except them reinforcing the “x marks the spot” areas with a pen. Write-on!

The plan that we are following is the one that I described yesterday: 15 days of lung radiation and 5 days of brain zapping. On the day after April Fool’s day I will begin the Tarceva oral medication that should arrive tomorrow. We’ll sit on that until the radiation therapy is complete. Don’t want to give the Fuzzies everything we’ve got just yet. Need to hold something back and when they are least expecting it – wham, right in the kisser! They won’t know what hit them.

So today was the long (but not really) awaited appointment with the specialist at UCSD. She concurred on the treatment plan but I have to admit there was a bit of waffling. Apparently the radiation and Tarceva have about the same success rate out of the chute but at the time I didn’t know the Tarceva was arriving tomorrow. So initially she thought that if I had the drug already, that she would probably opt for that over the radiation. By the end of our conference she had swung over to the radiation plan that was already in place. But she was to confer with my oncologist so that they were on the same game plan. When I found out the Tarceva was arriving tomorrow, I thought that the plan might change. I hadn’t heard back from my oncologist by late afternoon when I was to go into radiation. About two blocks from the treatment facility, he finally called me on my cell to say that he and the specialist had agreed that moving forward with radiation in both areas was the best course of action. A good thing since I had already made an executive decision in my glowing head that I was going to anyway.

The specialist indicated that there is not a current clinical trial going for my type of cancer but it may open up at the end of this month. And as my wife said, something about the word “trial” brings to mind another pair of words: “guinea pig.” Of course that is not the case but both of us had the same initial reaction. If I get into the trial, I will be in a group where 50% get Tarceva and 50% get Tarceva plus another drug, Avastin, that has shown promise of making Tarceva even more effective. The latter requires a visit about every 3 weeks for a long (30-60 min) intravenous treatment. Yeah, like I need more holes in my arms. 🙂

Of course, doing her proper diligence, the doc had to spell out all of the possible side effects and potential pitfalls to each drug. That probably scares me more than the cancer. Especially the diarrhea part. Come’on! It ain’t enough that I am now lit like a Roman Candle? – I have to worry about wearing Depends too? So if any of you Rotarians see me sitting in the way back at lunch and dash off, you’ll know why (not that you’ll want to). Like I said before, modesty is out the window. And if you see me sporting a really cool rash on my face, that would be a good thing as it usually means the drug is working. But none of this will be until after April 1st. Until then, I’ll just light up the room when I enter…

Some of you have commented on the positive (and even the offbeat humorous) spin I put on this blog. Those of you that I subject to my Christmas Newsletter know I cannot write straight-faced and will recognize my writing style. And as I quoted Lance Armstrong (I know , I know…) the other day at Rotary:  “We have two options medically and emotionally: give up or fight like hell.” Well, I choose the latter. And I gotta make some jokes along the journey – ’cause some of it really IS funny. And you wouldn’t want to read it if it was just a clinical rehash. Bah. Boooringgg…! I know I wouldn’t read it.

Business as usual. Day at a time.


8 thoughts on “March 12, 2013 (Tue) – Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!

  1. I’m glad that a plan is finally in place it has to bring you a certain peace of mind. Hey, what’s a little diarrhea anyway, not to worry, I’m sure Jo Dee won’t fine you if you have to leave in the middle of a program…LOL

  2. I second what Thor just said!!!! YOU are amazing Mr. Blower and with your positive attitude Mr. Fuzzy is really in for some butt kickin’!

  3. Hi Craig, Interesting (and fun) post. Over the past 20 years Rick has been prescribed several powerful drugs, although not cancer therapy. Side effects have kicked in and can be annoying. His journey to healthy living has included changing medical groups a few times, the last being USC. When we first arrived there the medical team revamped his ‘drug cocktail’ regimen and after a day long appointment decided to perform one more procedure. They also counseled us about deleting certain herbs, vitamins, blah, blah, blah from his diet, common practice. The one new ‘tidbit’ of advice this time was to eat organic, unprocessed food without preservatives/emulsifiers etc as much as possible (bye-bye Rick’s fav barbecue sauce) as they also may interfere with drug effectiveness. We definitely are not purists but we have learned to scrutinize labels and have deleted LOTS of foodstuffs that contain additive/preservatives/chemicals that may have been inhibiting results of some/all of his drugs. Who knows if is related, but what I do know is his life has vastly improved (mine too) since the switch to the more thorough USC treatment approach of Rick’s ongoing heart disease. Side effects have pretty much disappeared as well but were never as harsh as listed on the warnings, THANKFULLY:/ I thought I would pass on our ‘tidbit’ in case there has not been time yet to discuss all these issues with your doc prescribing the Tarceva. There is no cure for Rick’s type of heart disease but he has finally made peace with his enemy and they co-exist pretty well because of the miracle of modern medicine. Best wishes (to all the family) as your medical journey continues, Nel Sent from my beloved iPad

  4. I remember Danny’s excruciating delay between diagnosis and treatment. Nothing feels better than finally being able to fight back! There are so many reasons to be optimistic. Fight on, Craig!!!

  5. Craig,
    Keep the great attitude and wit coming– we’ll be tuning in on your journey. Supportive thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue to “light up the room”! Didn’t you always! Are you reading Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD? That easy-reading prevention/treatment manual has totally revolutionized how I think, shop, cook, exercise, live– here’s to the green drink, our favorite, and plenty of garlic, leeks, brussels sprouts, beets, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, and alkaline water– fighters that will take down those fuzzes fast! It’s tasty when one adds in some organic frozen berries in the blender. Cheers! Bottoms up! Blessings, Sheri (Beard) Schneekluth

  6. Keep up the positive attitude and keep fighting back! I remember hitting the video poker slots at the casino when I was undergoing radiation. I thought maybe, just maybe, the slots would react to my new magnetic field and fall into place with a royal flush!

  7. My uncle was treated with Avastin for a brain tumor….amazing results. I’m happy to talk about it if needed. All power to you!
    Deana Freeman


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