December 26, 2014 (Fri) – What, Me Worry?

Alfred E NewmanWell, yeah. The past week or so has been a tough lead-up to my tests this morning. I have to admit I was more than a little concerned about what the findings might be. A lot of this stems from how crummy I’ve been feeling from my stupid cold/sinus infection. The symptoms mimicked those I had at the very start of my  journey two years ago. So my head was playing games with me. The other concern was about that amorphous non-specific area of my cerebellum that has been apparent the past two scans. So yeah, definitely some major scanxiety this time around.

I had no hopes that the results would be so quickly obtained. But this afternoon I went in for my monthly onc-doc appointment, and reminded the doc that I had the tests this morning. He said “well, let’s see if the Rockyresults are posted yet” as he logged onto his computer. The next thing I saw were his arms raised a-la-Rocky as he read the CT results. Yes, there is still some “stuff” in and around my lungs but there was no progression from the last scan 6 weeks ago. Or from the one 6 weeks before that. Once again, words like stable, unchanged, and unremarkable jumped off the screen. OK, that was extremely good news, but what about the MRI which has previously displayed that undefined something?

His arms remained in the air as he read that report next. The little 5-6mm brain fuzzy/dead fuzzy is still there but not having grown in the Thumbs uppast 3 months. More phrases like “there is no abnormal…” and “stable” might have well been in 20 point font as they again jumped off the monitor. However, I did note the phase that contained “mucosal thickening” and wondered about that mucus thing again. Hmmm.

But overall wonderful news and I amTsunami good to go for another 6 weeks. This A-team stuff (AZD9291) is my current hero. Keep staying ahead of the wave – that is the plan.

To break the tension last weekend while we were reading the morning paper, my wife says “well, I have some good news for you.” Little mopy me says, “what?”

“You’re not in today’s obituaries.”

OK, that helped put things back into perspective. Gotta love her. And I do.

Starting the year off right. I thank all of you once again for your positive comments, thoughts and prayers. May be celebrating with some Rombauer tomorrow night. OK, OK. No maybe about it.

Business as usual. Day at a time.

December 22, 2014 (Mon) – I’m Just a Wuss

WussOK, I admit it. In many ways I do fit the definition to the left. OK, I know some of you will be saying, “but Craig, you’re being too hard on yourself.”

Not necessarily. Hear me out.

So we’ll start off with a simple example. My wife and I no longer give each other Christmas presents. We determined long ago that we already have everything we want or need. No, I realize that is not so unusual. And typically we will have some major household expense, whether it be a $75K kitchen remodel or a dozen bottles of Rombauer (yeah right) that we then consider as our gifts to one another. OK, so far so good. But here is where it gets a bit wussy. I do not buChristmas-Stocking-Clip-Art-2y any Christmas presents anymore. My wife covers all the bases, including my boss and our kids. Now you have to admit, that’s a bit selfish, if not quite reaching the wuss level. But here’s the kicker: the only thing I buy is my wife’s stocking stuffers. And since I put forward such a D- effort, she has had to resort to buying some of her own stocking stuff and giving it to me to add to her stocking. Now I feel downright wussy.

But this is a cancer blog – not a blog of Christmas fail.

So how can someone, who’s had to deal with some of the medical issues I have this past year, be considered a wuss? Well, this past week I came down with a nasty sinus infection and terrible sore throat. It is actually the first time I have been “sick” in many years. I’m not used to it. And it knocked me flat. But at least I knew that is all it was.

SickyYet, it really made me wonder about how I might react to medical challenges down the road. I’ve been complimented on my positive attitude and ability to persevere. Hah. This past week I had none of the above working for me. Yeah, I felt like crap but the true sign of strength is to be able to remain positive under trying circumstances. I couldn’t muster up a whole lot of plus symbols to orbit my psyche this past week. And this was just a friggin’ bad cold. So thus a wuss. We will see how things go if/when the rubber hits the road. Let’s hope I don’t need to test that theory for a long time.

Off on another tangent: I was just reading the label of one of my Lovely-nox syringes after jabbing myself for probably thpige 250th time in 4 months. Funny it took me this long to notice. I was taken aback when I read that Lovenox is “derived from porcine intestinal mucosa.” So I’ve been injecting myself with pig mucous? Uh….how do I get that out of my brain now?

Not sure if this fits in the wuss category, a crazy category, or just-gotta-be-kidding-me category. But for elf 2008the 7th or 8th year straight, I borrowed an elf (although it looks a bit more like a jester to me) costume courtesy of the local Old Globe Theater (thank you Maureen) and wore it to my Rotary holiday party. It would be one thing if our club had 20 people in it. But it has 500 members comprised of the movers and shakers in town including ex-mayors, city council members and heads of many companies in town. Not sure how I fit in, especially with an outfit like this. But they haven’t kicked me out yet and I think they have even come to expect me making a fool (literally) of myself every year. Plus the seniors they invite every year get a kick out of it. Heck, at this stage nothing can embarrass me.

fingers crossed 2Finally, a medical update. This Friday, the day after Christmas, I go in for my every-six-week brain MRI and upper body CT scan. Should have the results sometime early next week. Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed.

That’s it from the home front. Overall, other than this obnoxious cold, I still feel great. And I plan on keeping it that way.

And I could not avoid dropping in a great shot of our family. This is from my daughter’s wedding back in May.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Family Four Xmas

Business as usual. Day at a time.

December 6, 2014 (Sat) – Gettin’ a Little Scary

Halloween 1977No, I am not chronologically challenged. Challenged in many other ways, as several of you might attest, but not as it relates to dates. I’m actually one of those guys who remembers my wife’s birthday and our anniversary. Right honey? Right?!

So no, I am not confused as to what holiday is coming up. I know it is not Halloween although the picture to the left might give you pause. Actually that is me and my two older brothers, getting ready to roam the neighborhood in circa 1977. I’m the artificially tall one in the back right.

But why am I referring to a time-frame from 6 weeks ago? Well, it truly is getting scary.

Scary good.

Uh, what the hell does that mean Craig?

Physically I am feeling great. About as good as I have felt since this whole journey began 21 months ago. And that is a little scary because I know that at any moment the other shoe could drop and I’d  be singing a whole different tune. OK, I am challenged in singing so you won’t hear that from me. But I have been Drop shoeextraordinarily lucky. Initially Tarceva took care of business and knocked the fuzzies on their butts. Hmm, I know from my last post they had wings, but butts? Interesting visual. Then a short break before I was once again fortunate enough to qualify for a drug trial right in my backyard. As much as I avoid statistics, a back-of-the-envelope number crunching says I had about a 7.5% chance of being in the situation I am in once I was diagnosed. That means a 92.5% chance I would not be where I am. Fortunate indeed.

If you’ve read my blog all along, this theme will seem highly similar to my “guilty as charged” post back in February. And it is. But when you are on a momentary high, you sometimes gotta shout out, even if it seems a bit redundant. I seriously hesitated writing this post since, as before, I am very cognizant of the fact that there are many blog buddies, and most likely some of you, that are going through some tough times. I certainly don’t want to seem like I am insensitive to the challenges everyone else might be facing. And I could be in those shoes in 6 months. Who knows? But you are going to be privy to my highs and lows if you stick with me and right now I am certainly on the upward swing.

Oops, gotta break for a Lovey shot……………………………….OK, back.

Uh Craig, did you forget about that little fuzzy that popped up in the noggin as shown in the last two scans? Nah. I suppose it should have me worried but for Combosome reason I think it will prove out to be nothing. My next double-your-pleasure scan on the 26th will perhaps shed some light on that issue. My radio-doc is assuming it will be something that needs to get zapped and wants me to come in shortly after the scan to get CT-mapped so that the zapper knows exactly where to aim its blaster. Yet, if nothing has progressed (I hate the use of that word), there is no way I am donning that cage mask to zap something that may not need zapping. Stay tuned.

Another reason I might be a bit on the upswing is that this past week I have finally returned to daily workouts at the gym. OK, I lied. I only went 4 days. And Gym rat“returned” is a huge stretch since I never really was consistent in my sweaty endeavors and it has been 2 years since I really worked out with any regularity. But near the end of this past week I was really feeling healthy. I know healthy has a new definition but I’ll take my new version and run with it. Now I will need all of you to lay on the peer pressure to keep me going. So easy to skip a day. Then another. And before you know it, it’s beer and pita chips while sitting on my recliner. Ooh, that is sounding pretty damn good.

I also got the green light to resume my weekly drinking, er, softball games after the first of the year. I haven’t thrown a ball or even jogged in several months so this shall be interesting. Just have to avoid getting nailed in the noggin or colliding with anything larger than a can of beer.

In other good news, my buddy Dann from Portland, who has been traipsing to San Diego every couple of weeks as a participant in the same trial I’m in, just got the results of his first scan after he started quaffing AZD9291. Quote: “Massive Shrinkage!” Now, if you were a porn star, that phrase would not engender positive thoughts and you could be out of a job. But in our business, those two words are music to our ears. Congrats to Dann. We went out for a pre-celebratory dinner the night before he got his results, and we were so sure of the outcome, we popped a bottle of, you guessed it, Rombauer. Glad to find out the celebration was not wasted. 🙂

FortuneHad a Chinese dinner recently and, since I am aiming to please my onc-doc by maintaining my weight, powered down two fortune cookies. Couldn’t complain with the outcomes.

And we broke in our newly re-tiled living room floor with 18 people for Thanksgiving. Even my son was able to get away from his Thanksgiving 2014cheffing duties at his restaurant to make it just in time. Had to carve the turkey myself for the first time in many years. Just like riding a bike. Yeah, a bike with bent a bent rim and two flat tires. But it still tasted OK.

Next set of scans on the day after Christmas. I think I’ll be getting a late Christmas present.

Business as usual. Day at a time.