June 19, 2015 (Fri) – Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall

If you haven’t read my prior blog, this won’t make much sense.

I’ve heard this saying before but never really knew where it came from. It actually originated with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem “The Rainy Day.” But that is kind of a dark and dreary poem, and thus not appropriate, so I will only steal the one sentence.

Soggy spiderAbout that California drought I was hoping would continue? Well, this spider got a little dose of El Nino this past week. Down the spout I washed. Not all the way to the drain but enough to put a damper (oops) on my climbing ability. Essentially, and honestly no surprise to moi, my scans showed continued growth in the various areas (9 locations to be exact) previously showing progression, typically in the neighborhood of 3-4 mm increases. However, my onc-doc was more positive in indicating this growth is still pretty small.

I have been working on budgets at work for the past couple of months and even a few percentage points change couldPercentage be huge. So when I look at the growth in my cancer, I calculate a 30-40% increase in size and that seems gargantuan. However, when you really crunch the numbers, it only equates to 1/10 of an inch or so, thus pretty minimal in the scheme of things. But it’s the trend that is of concern. Each of the last three scans essentially showed this similar pattern. Here’s a cut and paste from the official write-up: “appearance of slight-mild interval worsening of pulmonary metastases and mediastinal metastases.” Whatever happened to the terms stable or resolving? I know, I know. That’s life on the spout.

The upstairs brain fuzzy showed “interval slight increase in size of right cerebellar enhancing lesion now measuring up to 11.1 mm.” Thus, it appears that, as Dr. Frankenstein said, “It’s alive!” Still some question because they apparently used the higher res, or stronger magnet, scan that could account for some of the measurement differential. Rumor has it (since I’m still waiting to hear from my radio-doc) that we will wait until the next scan in six weeks where they will be sure to use the same scan settings. That way we can actually compare fuzzies to fuzzies (ie. apples to apples) to make a better judgement on what might or might not be changing. So, it looks like it will be business as usual until the end of July or so.Singing in the rain

But you know what? Right now I’m spider-dancing in the rain because I am still doing really well. I have no difficulties doing day to day stuff including my volunteer gigs, working 40 hours per week (quit laughing Kim) and golf. I’m not playing softball because of my current shoulder issues but that is unrelated (I hope).

In terms of what is on the horizon, my lung-onc-doc says there really isn’t another magical pill for me in the near future. Apparently the new whiz-bang immunotherapy treatments are not quite there in terms of matching up with my particular situation. If any of my lung cancer peeps out there have more current info, please let me know. As it stands now my next option would be chemo-therapy. And that has me concerned. I know some of you with chemo experience would say, yup, not something easy to deal with, while others would say, eh, it’s no big deal. Everyone reacts differently and it all depends what cocktail you get. I prefer margaritas myself.

Prayer BlanketRecently a friend from our Rotary club presented me with a prayer blanket that her church friends had quilted. Now how cool is that? Thanks Diana. You know, the support I have had over these past 2+ years from every facet of my life has been incredibly amazing. I really think, no, I know, that is why I am doing as well as I am today. Thank you.

And speaking of Rotary, yesterday I had the privilege, as Chair of the Day, of introducing our guest speaker, Karen Possemato, the Chief of Staff at Illumina, here in town. Illumina is all about genomics and how that new cutting edge technology is coming into play in so many areas of our life, especially health care. It was a timely and appropriate talk, especially as it relates to my past and future journey. All very interesting, and encouraging, stuff.

Back to my spout climbing.

Business as usual. Day at a time.



15 thoughts on “June 19, 2015 (Fri) – Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall

  1. I agree, Spiderman, Spiderman, does the things that a Spider can. And you can do this, whatever it takes. Keep dancing in that rain man!

  2. Hey Craig … The name of the game is to stay in the game until the next treatment is ready … Business as usual … You’re awesome!! In case you decide to look outside SD, MD Anderson pretty much rocks the world of cancer …

  3. Hi Craig. It’s Martha in Iowa. As you say one day at a time. We just had a biopsy done last week to check for the T790 gene. We are holding firm in the brain and lung area. But the stinkin liver mets are playing Havik on my husband.
    Doing more chemo for now. Don’t know if he comes back positive with the gene if they can get him into one of the trials.
    Worth a shot. In meantime more chemo. Good luck in 6 weeks. I will also keep on the lookout for something new. Worth mentioning our radio onc is starting a new trial on lung giving large doses of vitamin C. They have tried it on brain tumors. Worth checking out.

    • Sorry your results are not what all were hoping and praying for…now wishing hoping praying the ‘apples to apples’ fuzzy profiles result in a good news blog post next time out. Take care, Craig and Kim.

  4. Hi Craig,
    I read with interest as I am on your path. I have read some people go from AZD9291 to CO1686….it uses a different pathway. I had Foundation One which showed EGFR, T790m and TP53….TP53 is resistant to chemo so not a good option for me.
    Love your blog!

  5. Craig, you impress me on a regular basis… most people at the Fleet would have no idea that you have anything other than business as usual going on. We’ll all do our best to keep your mind on other stuff for the next six weeks. 🙂 Enjoy some weekend fun with your family. Happy Father’s Day!

  6. Craig, what your onco told you matches what I’m seeing in what I’ve been reading. I think they are just now identifying the mutations that may cause resistance to the AZD9291, which means there may be a focus for research, but no drug ready to roll out to the masses. I also am hearing that EGFR and other driver mutation folks like us aren’t the best customers for immunotherapy. To my eye, it looks like those drugs work for only a relatively small percentage of patients, and I’m reading that those people are more likely to be recent smokers. One explanation I’ve seen is that the immunotherapy drugs work best for a kind of messy, highly mutated cancer because they have to “see” the cancer as different from the rest of the body. For what it’s worth, which may be nothing, one onco I saw for a consultation told me that he thought EGFR people tend to respond pretty well to standard treatment, i.e. chemo.

    I’m very glad to hear that you are feeling well, playing golf, generally doing the things you like to do.

  7. Hey my friend,
    Thank you for keeping us updated. Your words not only inspire others but as a friend remind me of what an amazing friend I have. In my prayers and thoughts.

  8. As I was looking at the list of blogs you follow, I found the right word. You continue to inspire as you “thrive”! Love your spirit. What a breath of fresh air!!

  9. I’m not much for climbing, but as you well know, I love dancing and right now my favorite dance is the spider-dance. Keep it up!

  10. I’ve been thinking about you all week since the 12th. Sorry that the new report isn’t as I encouraging as other times. You’re getting great care and support and if anyone can get better YOU can
    Hugs, Annette

  11. That just stinks. Trying to decide what to do next is such a pain in the butt. I’m sure you are going to consult with the local/regional EGFR expert – that is if they aren’t already your onc. Fingers crossed that when it comes to making tough decisions you feel good about which option you choose.
    Take good care Craig.

  12. Hi Craig,

    Sorry your scan results were not as we were all hoping for. But in times like these I always have to remind myself that God’s timing is not the same as our timing. We will continue praying for you! I’m also heartened by the fact you are feeling as well as you do. Heck, that’s the most important thing anyway. Continue enjoying your life Craig and know that you are also inspiring all of us to take stock and enjoy our lives one day at a time.



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