March 29, 2015 (Sun) – A Chameleon by any Other Color

Blue bellyWhen I was a kid, way too many years ago, my friends (and brother) and I spent many a day hunting lizards up in the hills above our homes. Our favorite spots were called “the car” and “Kim’s Canyon,” named respectively for an old car someone had dumped in the hills and for the canyon behind Kim’s (one of our friends) house. We loved snagging one of the rare alligator lizards we encountered because they were relatively slow and easy to catch. But you had to watch out for their bite as they had a nasty one. Just ask my thumb. Lately I’ve been reminiscing a bit remembering my childhood and some of the things we used to do. This was one experience I recall fondly.

Bluebelly! There’s one!

OK, maybe only my brother will get that one but that was our call-out when one of us discovered a stash of lizards that included a common blue-bellied one. Great times.

But chameleons? Nah, never on our radar. In fact I have no idea if they are even common in Southern California. But Chameleonit’s a moot point since this blog is not about lizards, believe it or not. Or even lizards with cancer. It’s about dealing with lung cancer on a day-to-day basis.

So where do chameleons come in? I’m concerned that as I travel down this road and encounter tougher times that my attitude may match my surroundings. This may not be a new revelation blog-wise but it is constantly hovering over my shoulder whispering to me. For the past two years I have felt that I have had a relatively easy time with my journey. Emphasis on relatively. Thus you have rarely seen downer blogs like my Chi-Town meltdown or my more recent skirt-laced post.

So what happens if/when the ruRubber meeting roadbber meets the road and I am having a much tougher time physically? On the days that I don’t feel well, I can’t say my attitude is stellar, although unless you are a close friend or family, you would not see it because I rarely write a blog when I’m feeling crappy. Will I be able to rise to the occasion and still maintain my positive approach to this journey? I’m still learning a lot about myself and I may not know the true answer to that question until I’m in the middle of it.

**********************

Medical update:

Brain MRI Nov 2014Based on the high-def scans my radio-doc showed me last Monday, it does appear my little brain fart, er, fuzzy, is indeed expanding his horizons. Although still only in the 7-9mm range, getting bigger, no matter how slight, is not a good thing, unless of course I’m referring to, well, never-mind. The picture is an old one but essentially shows the same fuzzy on his return engagement. The doc definitely feels we should zap the sucker (again) now as there is really no reason to wait while it gobbles up additional brain-cell landscape. However, this image was shown to me two days before we left for Hawaii (where we are currently as I peck this out). So nothing will happen until I get back. In the meantime, I have some soul searching to do. Gotta figure out the timing so it doesn’t interfere with any out of town trips. Or fun for that matter. There are priorities ya know.

My lung-onc specialist at Moores will be contacting the drug trial company to hopefully get permission for me to receive the radiation treatment without it kicking me out of the trial. By the way, I guess I left you all hanging from the last blog: I am still in the trial. Apparently not enough progression yet, plus it is still the best course of action right now as there is not a better treatment option at the moment.

However, assuming I get the permission to have the radiation, and stay in the trial, it means I have Hannibal Craig comboto go off the AZD9291 (A-Team) drug for the duration of the radiation treatments. That would be about 3 weeks since my doc would be prescribing 15 straight (weekday) days whereupon I reprise my role as Hannibal Lecter. Stopping the drug for that length of time is very concerning. Very concerning?  Who am I kiddinParty on garthg? It scares the crap out of me as I am already seeing some new fuzzies in/around my lung. Taking away their poison pill, in my mind, could result in a “party on, Garth!” scenario. Not the kind of party I would be looking for.

Moores Cancer CenterSpeaking of Moores Cancer Center, I was in the waiting room a week ago awaiting my appointment with my lung-onc specialist. To while away the time I was trying to get a 50 point word against my wife in a rousing game of Words with Friends on my smart phone. Like too staring-at-phonemany people these days, I was oblivious to my surroundings while attached to my electronic device. Finally I noticed a presence standing next to me and I could hear (through my limited hearing) a very soft, polite voice ask me “are you Craig Blower?” After responding affirmatively to this lady, she explained that she was there with her husband who was suffering from lung cancer after being diagnosed only a month or two after me. She recognized my face from some of my various blogs where I posted a picture of my mug. She was referred to my postings by a common friend, Michele Hall, a world renowned underwater film producer I know from the IMAX biz. Unfortunately this woman’s husband was at the stage he was now receiving palliative care. But she told me she has been following my blog and got some good out of it. It helped start my day off on a positive note.

Hawaii 2015But you know what? Right now nothing above this line has any hold on me. Why? Because I am in Oahu having the time of my life. Just look at the view (left) from our back porch. I read a whole book in the first two days. And better yet, I did not feel an ounce of guilt in taking the time to do so. Two days ago I played a round of golf at a course we affectionately called Jurassic Park, as you can see Jurassic Parkwhy. Between the four of us we lost 31 balls. Zoom into the par 3 picture on the right and you will understand. And yesterday my bro and I went on a 3-mile walk chasing a couple local geo-caches. Saw nary a blue-belly however. Felt a tad guilty walking down the Hawaiian shoreline staring at my smart phone for the geo-location of the stash. But hey, we were outside getting exercise, still in touch with our natural surroundings, and having a blast. Neighbor Richard, are you reading this?

Craig with gunToday we did the touristy thing: Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial, a drive around Honolulu and Waikiki. Here’s a picture of me getting ready to blast away at my fuzzies. Then more golf tomorrow, yadda yadda. And of course some Rombauer thrown in for good measure. Doesn’t get much better than this.

Speaking of trips, I can’t wait to head off to my first Lungevity Hope Summit in DC at the beginning of May. Lots of fellow lung cancer bloggers and other survivors there. It will be the first time, other than with my buddy Dann, that I meet other similar journey-takers in person. Very cool.

Team Craig Logo - final (Small)And, of course, I could not let you leave without another shilling of the upcoming Breathe of Hope Lung Cancer Walk on Sunday the 19th. I am still looking for additional walkers/doners to fill/support our team. Click here to join us or to help our (Moores Cancer Center) cause. Be sure to select “Team – Craig” in the “additional information” section. Hope you can make it!

Aloha.

Business as usual. Day at a time.

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8 thoughts on “March 29, 2015 (Sun) – A Chameleon by any Other Color

  1. Thanks Craig for the gentle reminder in your BLOG to donate to the walk…finally did it. Reminders are a good thing these days. My heart aches for you as I read this latest blog. But with your positive attitude and your fam at your side, you will get through this latest twist in the road. Enjoy the good life in Hawaii for now. Aloha.

    Reply
    • Thanks Karen. Just another chapter in this journey. But with all off the amazing support I have, one more roadblock is not going to faze me. There are still lots of detours available to me. And thank you for the Team-Craig support as well.

      Reply
  2. Thanks for another terrific post Craig. Your honesty and candor about how you are feeling right now is amazing. I have always respected and admired you, but never more than now. Hang in there my friend. There are so many of your friends who have known you over the many years since high school that are fervently praying for you. Enjoy the time you are spending in beautiful Hawaii and then come back and make the right decision regarding that fuzzy in your head. Take care, Aloha.
    Wes

    Reply
  3. I really appreciate your note Wes. From my perspective the best way to deal with this journey is to be “out there” which helps solidify the support that is so important in recovery. And I have had amazing support, much of it from AHS high school buds like you. Your positive thoughts, prayers, and wishes are key to helping me travel this journey.

    Reply
  4. Hi, Craig, This is Shu, the lady who met you in the reception area of Moores Cancer Center. You have been inspiring to me and my family. Thank you! I hope the trial company let you stay in the trial. Have a great time in Hawaii! Best Wishes!

    Reply
    • Shu, thank you so much for taking the initiative in introducing yourself. Sorry I was so engrossed in my phone. This week will be important in terms of my ongoing treatment options. I will be talking with Dr. Bazhenova to get an update. Take care and my best to your husband.

      Craig

      Reply
  5. Hi Craig, Just looked you up to see how you were doing. I’m glad to find your sense of humor still intact and that there is a plan of action with this new development. Know that you’ve got someone in Boston rooting for you and sending good vibes your way. I hope you have enjoyed Hawaii and had a blast! The pics look like a lot of fun. Sending you my best!

    Reply
    • Kelly, great to hear from you. Things are going well. Nobody wields an EKG like you do, however. Waiting for my next set of scans on the 27th to determine the next course of action. Stay tuned.

      Hope things are working out in Boston. My niece teaches at Boston University and we have some friends that live outside of town.

      Take care.

      Craig

      Reply

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