December 20, 2015 (Sun) – Yippie Ki Yay – What a Ride

Throwing riderThose that know me really well would certainly not classify me as a huge fan of country western. Sorry Courtney. But just not diggin’ the twangy parts. The rest, not so bad.

But as I was trying to come up with a theme for my very overdue blog post, I could not get the image of a rodeo cowboy riding a bronco, especially to describe the last 6-8 weeks or so.

Unfortunately this wild ride has been anything but fun. And you’ll understand reading below why this blog post will be more of just a short health update than any deep philosophical blog endeavor like most of my posts. Yeah, right.

LCAM all whiteBack in early November, yes, that’s how long it’s been since my last personal post, we were in the middle of Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Unbeknownst to me, my wonderful Rotary club conspired to have as many of our members as possible show up for our luncheon all wearing white in honor of the occasion. Here’s an awesome shot of that day. What an amazing group of people.

Back on November 11, I began a 15-day course of radiation to my pancreas. While I had little difficulty handling previous radiation treatments (brain, lung, hip, sacrum etc.), they warned me that this would be different. Boy, they were not kidding. It started ominously as I had to switch to another hospital for the treatment because my regular radiology center could not get me in for two weeks due to “staffing issues.” And three days into treatment Radiation symbolat the other location, I showed up one morning early and waited and waited. Eventually they came out and told me there was a technical issue and they were not sure when the machine would be back up. The technician even went as far as to tell me she wasn’t sure if the problem was a technical problem or just “operator error.” OK, that just instilled an overdose of confidence in the process. I came back later in the day once they got it figured out. Of course deja vu struck the very next day with the exact same scenario. Finally, because of the Thanksgiving holiday, one of my treatments was on a Saturday to make up time and the unfamiliar technician was working solo because of limited staff. No big deal until after the procedure when she asked me if the machine had sounded “normal.” Apparently she wasn’t as familiar with the machine being used and couldn’t remember what it was supposed to sound like. Wow.

Joachim Alcine, of Canada, lies on the canvas after a sixth round knockout by Daniel Santos, of Puerto Rico, during their WBA light middleweight title fight Friday, July 11, 2008, in Montreal. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)

Finally I finished my 15 day course and what can I say? It. Knocked. Me. On. My. Butt. I was warned about the side effects, especially nausea and loss of appetite but little did I know what was in store.

My last radiation treatment was on December 2nd and I began my first cycle of chemotherapy a week later on the 8th. Because the after effects of radiation can hang around for several weeks, it was difficult to separate out what symptoms were being caused by what.

ERSo in the last few weeks I’ve been to the ER twice and the main hospital twice. The hospital visits were planned with the lung biopsy one day and a chemo port installation just this past Friday. The ER visits were not on the agenda as you might imagine. The first was near my final radiation treatment when I was experiencing increased shortness of breath. Although I am on Lovenox blood thinner, there was a minor chance I might have developed another pulmonary embolism. However, all tests came back OK and it was just chalked up to everything that my body was being put through. The other ER visit was due to some major plumbing issues. Eventually it all worked out. And for your benefit and mine, that is all I’m going to say about that.

No foodAs for the challenges, I not only didn’t have much of an appetite, I had an anti-appetite where even the thought or sight of food started to make me nauseous. Hmm. Maybe I’m pregnant. There was a span of almost a week where I ate virtually nothing other than a fruit smoothie my wife made up. We even doctored it up with some appetite enhancing ingredients that I may have have partaken of 45 years ago in college. Had some limited success. But overall I’ve lost 30+ pounds in the past 8 weeks. Good thing I saved my “skinny” clothes. My wife is a wee bit jealous.

But now two days after my port placement, I have turned a tiny corner not having barfed for three days. And for the past two, I have actually eaten solid food with my goal of increasing my intake just a little more each day. So far so good. However, I am still extremely weak with most of the day spent on my recliner. I even had to borrow a walker for the hospital visit Friday which entailed about a 150 foot walk. Yesterday I walked to the end of our driveway and back twice. Small steps. Tomorrow it will be an entire loop of our cul-de-sac. At least that is the goal. Small steps turning into bigger ones.

So, right now I am much better than I was just less than a week ago. My next cycle of chemo is on Monday the 28th. At least now I have a port they can use instead of using my arms as dart boards to find a vein. The intent is for the chemo to hold things at least in check until the results of the biopsy come back that might point to some other treatment options whether it be a certain drug combo or another clinical trial.

This will most likely be my last post until after the new year. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. Here’s to next year.

Business as usual. Well, maybe not at the moment. But definitely – day at a time.

July 18, 2015 (Sat) – Why Me? If Only. And Other Time Wasters

why-meEarly in a cancer patient’s diagnosis, the “why me” pops its ugly head. I say ugly because no good comes from asking that question. Some of us quickly get past that futile endeavor while others have a tough time shaking it off. Certainly lung cancer can have some obvious direct causation connections: smoking, long term asbestos exposure, even living in an area with high levels of naturally occurring radon gas. Yet many of us without any obvious causes have to accept the fact that life can be random. Roll of the dice. Luck of the draw. Turn of the wheel. Mutant gene. Who knows? And more importantly, should I care? No. It is what it is and stressing over what might have caused it just takes energy you need to weather the storm.

if-onlyIf only is not any better.

If only I had built a better wall with my cereal boxes when I was a kid sitting at the breakfast table with my smoking parents. I would surround my bowl and duck Cerealsmy head into the enclosure with boxes of Sugar Pops, Sugar Frosted Flakes and Sugar Jets forming a barrier. Now that I think about it, it’s more surprising that I don’t have diabetes with that diet. Yes, those were the actual names of the cereals back then when they weren’t so PC health conscious. I can almost guarantee they have just as much sugar these days but that is a bad word now. But perhaps second-hand smoke from 50 years ago was the culprit.

JointIf only I hadn’t partaken in college. Could that have caused the bad boy fuzzy that sat around for 40+ years and just now decided to rear its ugly head? Would have enjoyed eating the brownie version more anyway.

popcorn scraping 2If only I hadn’t scraped the asbestos-laden popcorn off all of our ceilings in our house. Although I wore a good respirator, maybe something slipped past. Could one of those minuscule fibers that I possibly inhaled been the snowball that got the avalanche started many years later?

But once again, do any of these “if only’s” have any proactive benefit in the healing process? Of course not. So why waste what valuable time I have in doing something so detrimental? Not gonna.

What ifNow “what if,” “if only’s” cousin, can play both sides of the fence. If used looking backwards, it takes the same shape as “if only” since wondering what might have been is wasted breath. And trust me, wasting breath is the last thing you want to do as a lung cancer survivor. But if you use “what if” looking forward, it can have a positive benefit, as long as what follows that phrase are actual steps taken. What if I am able to get into that clinical trial? What if I spend more time Googling new treatment options and bring them to my oncologist? What if I connect with other NSCLC survivors to compare notes and exchange info? What if I win the lottery? OK, maybe that last one is a bit out of my control but hey, hope is a good thing too. And I have to pay for our bathroom remodel somehow.

Bathroom2How’s that for a segue? Yes, we are biting the bullet once again and are currently remodeling our master bathroom. Only a Bathroom1couple months after redoing our guest bath. And only two years after our total kitchen transformation. I figure if I let my wife keep changing things in the house, she might lay off changing her husband. Or changing him out. So far so good. We were what-iffing whether we should do this remodel, just as we asked that same question two years ago before doing the kitchen. But now, like then, we are looking toward the future and I plan on getting many years of magazine reading time on the new throne. OK, these days it would be iPad reading time, but I think you get the picture, even though you may not want to.


rotary_logoI’m going to cheat and use a “what if” in the past. What if I hadn’t joined Rotary almost 10 years ago? That is not something I want to think about as it was one of the more important, and rewarding, decisions in my life.

Recently I was asked by our incoming Rotary President (Peter) to provide the beginning-of-the-meeting 2-minute inspirational message. It was truly an honor to be asked, especially for Peter’s inaugural meeting. Our club always has the Mayor of San Diego do the swearing-in ceremony so I was sitting next to him at the front table. So how about the Chargers, Mr. Mayor? Nah, we only chit chatted about Rotary Spiel July 2015nothing in particular. But as for my message, the last time I gave one at this club was just after being diagnosed a little over two years ago. It was my coming-out party, so to speak, although I had already started up my blog.

So this time around it was a similar message. If interested in reading the text, you can click on the graphic.

But the major surprise at Rotary was something I never saw coming. My wife had told me she wanted to come to the luncheon and I had assumed it was to hear me give the inspirational message. Yeah, right. Little did I know the true reason.

Here’s the background: many of you know that I have volunteered as a Rotarian “reader” to one of our elementary schools we have partnered with. However, instead of reading, I found I was much better able to keep the 1st grader’s attention by doing simple science experiments. If the students were any older the science would have gotten over my head. There is another Rotarian, Doug, that has been teaching science as a volunteer for many years at another school. So, that sets the stage. Speaking of stage, Doug was sitting next to me at the head table but he did not have a clue as to why. They just asked him to.

The incoming President always has their own agenda for the year and typically has one or two new programs they are introducing. So as Peter was introducing his plan, he mentioned a new science scholarship that they were creating and began discussing what it would be named and in whose honor. So I thought thought “Cool, that’s why Doug is up here. They are going to honor him by naming the scholarship after him. Awesome.” Yet when I turned to see the PowerPoint slide behind me, I saw both my picture and Doug’s. Turned out the scholarship was in honor of both of us, and in a nod to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure movie, it was named “Craig and Doug’s Excellent Science (CADES) Scholarship.” It was jump started by a very generous $30K donation by another Rotarian and is intended to be perpetual. I was absolutely humbled and I must say, wiped a drought-breaking drop or two off my face. Very cool. The scholarship(s) will be given to students that are entering the science field in college.


3-ferOn the medical front, next Friday I will be enjoying a 3-way. OK, get your minds out of the gutter. I’m talking scans here. Of course there will be the usual CT scan of my chest area and the MRI of my brain to check on fuzzies in those locales. But since I have had an ongoing shoulder issue that has prevented me from playing softball, I asked if they could “throJuly scan calendarw in” a third MRI of my shoulder to at least determine what is going on there. I have done PT, and then I’ve rested it for months, to no avail. So we shall see what my options are. I may have the results of the scans by the end of the day on Friday. Stay tuned. And yesterday was my one-year anniversary from entering the A-Team (AZD9291) clinical trial. Yes, I’ve been popping that magic pill for 12 months and I will continue to see how long I can milk this puppy. Although I cannot imagine anyone wanting to milk a puppy…

Business as usual. Day at a time.

June 7, 2015 (Sun) – I’m Just an Itsy, Bitsy Spider

Itsy spiderI’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of spiders. Right now my wife is reading this and going “Not a big fan? You hate them!” Well, let’s not exaggerate. Hate them? Nah. Afraid of them? Not as long as they keep their distance. But walking through a spider web would definitely send me into muscle-pulling, swatting gyrations wondering where the little bugger was.

Unfortunately what my father passed down to me and my brothers (let’s call it respect for spiders), my son BrownWidowinherited as well. Yet he had the ultimate scare that sends tingles down my spine. See the picture on the right? That is a brown widow spider, something I did not know existed until that fateful day a few years back. If you tap on the picture to get the bigger version, you will not only get a better view of its hourglass signature, you will also notice the white round edge on the perimeter. And that, my friends, is the edge of a toilet bowl. Getting the picture? My son discovered this 8-legger after making use of the facilities in a sit down mode. Now that will give you the heebie-jeebies.

But where does the itsy-bitsy (aka incy wincy) version come in? Not sure if this is a universal nursery rhyme so I will repeat the verse here:

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout.
Down came the rain
and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun
and dried up all the rain
and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again

Now if that does not describe a cancer journey, I’m not sure what does. Each time I feel like I am near the top of the drain spout, along comes a rainstorm (eg. bad scans) that knocks me back. Then a new treatment comes along, whether it’s Tarceva or AZD9291, which dries up all the rain and allows me to climb back up. Now with my new set of scans coming up this Friday the 12th, I am hoping this California drought keeps up.

Business as usual. Day at a time.

May 17, 2015 (Sun) – What Router to Buy? A Cancer Blog?

Commute-mudIf you think a hard drive is a tough commute or Adobe Acrobat is a gymnast rolling in the mud, you may not get this one.

Yesterday I spent the better (or worse, depending on your point of view) part of 3 hours routerresearching and then traipsing all over town to replace my aging wireless router. For you nerds out there, I had an old “G” Linksys that would not keep our dueling iPads connected to the internet all the way across the house. Ended up buying a higher-powered “N” version that seems to have done the trick.

But, as before, this is not a blog about getting your tech on. In a roundabout way, however, it will touch on connectivity. More on that later.

Business as usualNo, I’m talking about business as usual to the nth degree. So would I be shopping for a router before cancer? Of course. Would I be spending all day at the office working on our non-profit budget on a Sunday (today) before cancer? You betcha. At dinner with friends, would I be powering down a couple glasses of sangria (spiked with tequila) followed by a Rombauer chaser, before cancer?  Absolutely. Would I typically be getting only 6 1/2 hours of sleep before cancer? Unfortunately yes. Should I still be doing all of these things at that level with cancer? Uh, no.

My wifey would categorically agree with the statement that I am pushing myself too far with this business as usual stuff. And I would be hard pressed to disagree. And disagreeing with your wife, in any situation, is not a recommended course of action. However, figuring out how to dial back my daily activities to a lower level than BC is easier said than done. Gotta have a router. Gotta balance that budget. Gotta have my Rombauer. The sleep thing? That I could work on. Maybe it would take some really bad news to press me into (in)action. Let’s not test that theory though, shall we?

ConnectivityOn the connectivity front, last you heard from me I was on my way upstairs to connect with a bunch of lung cancer peeps at the Lungevity Hope Summit in DC. Having only met 2 or 3 other lung cancers survivors in person, it was a Group photo Hope Summittotal trip to be in a roomfull (150) of them comparing notes, sharing stories and treatments and just reinforcing the fact that we are not alone. Lots of survivors there, many of them stage IV unfortunately, but the longevity ranged from the newbies (6 months since diagnosis) to 25+ years. Gives you lots of hope, which amazingly was the title of the conference. Duh.

In addition to the camaraderie, which was awesome by the way, we were also treated to several sessions put on by docs talking about the latest and greatest treatments and options on the horizon. Just keep pushin’ it out. That’s the plan.Survivor pic

BloggersOne of the more fun things was to finally meet (in person) some of my fellow lung cancer bloggers who, with the exception of Dann, I have only met on-line. Here is a picture of a bunch of us. And can you tell we were having fun? And the dinner that Saturday was to die for. Oops, poor choice of words. 🙂 Hey, dark humor has helped keep me going these 2+ years. (Photos courtesy of Randy Elles Photography LUNGevity Foundation).

Since my flight was covered by a grant from Lungevity (thank you very much), I stayed on in DC for a couple extra daACys to visit a few Closetmuseums. Visited the Spy Museum, the Newseum, and the Museum of American History. But since I am the one in charge of our budget at work, I could not justify staying at the Marriott still. Instead I found a 101 year old hotel just a few blocks from the White House. Very interesting accommodations. Although I needed neither a closet nor the A/C for the one night I was there, it was enlightening to see how they managed those features in such “classic” accommodations. The pictures speak a thousand words.

June 2015 calendarBack in the home country of San Diego, it truly is business as usual. Nothing new on the scan front until Friday the 12th when I get my next double dose. Scanxiety should kick in about the 9th or 10th. Keep those positive vibes coming so I can surf ahead of that wave and take advantage of some new options down the road.

Business as usual. Day at a time.

April 19, 2015 (Sun) – Wow, All I Can Say is Wow

You had to be there.

Today was one of the most inspirational days I have ever been a part of. A group of about 65 individuals, consisting of family members, friends, friends of friends, colleagues, fellow Rotarians, fellow Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times counselors, and even a couple of high school buds (from 45 years ago – yikes) made up Team Craig – Get Fuzzy at the Breath of Hope Lung Cancer Walk. As you know, I’ve been shilling for this program for the past 6 weeks or so and it culminated in this morning’s event.

Breath of Hope Team Pic - 2015Our team was by far the biggest fundraising group, raising more than $11,000. The 2nd place team was less than half of that. But as my wife properly reminded me, it really was not about competition. It was about raising funds for Moores Cancer Center. You know, that place that has helped keep me alive for the past two years. And while I do not know what the final result was in terms of overall funds raised, I do know that our team provided a big chunk of that. Did I mention we came in first? Oops, sorry Kim. Those dang competitive juices again. But it was all for a very good cause. They even asked me to say a few words (gulp) as the top team. Click on the photo for the full effect.Walk final status

But the inspirational part came from all of the supporters we had. While we were fortunate to have a few very generous donors making large gifts, we had more than a hundred others that Thermometercontributed to our team, and thus to the Moores Cancer Center’s, success. But even though the goal was to raise funds, it wasn’t about the money. On a larger scale, it was about raising awareness for lung cancer research and treatments. Lung cancer still gets the short shrift in terms of research funding because of the stigma associated with the disease. The perception is that lung cancer patients are smokers and have done this to themselves. Heck, I probably had that opinion before I became an active, if unwilling, participant. So getting the word out to clarify that misconception is a constant battle.

On a more personal note, and thus the title of this blog, I was just floored at the support given me from all walks of my life. There was so many positive vibes flowing that, even though the event was about lung cancer, I forgot I had it for 3 hours or so. I am still in awe 12 hours later as I finger poke this blog. It’s kinda difficult to put it into words, and as a follower of my blog, you know that is unusual for me. Suffice it to say I was, and am, very humbled by the outpouring scaleof love and support I witnessed first hand. For those that participated in one fashion or another, I cannot thank all of you enough. Just wow.

On the medical front, nothing has happened since I returned from Hawaii except for the reading on the bathroom scale. Reading as in 5 pounds heavier. Once again, my onc-doc will be very proud of me and happy at that result. Unless of course he hears how I gained it (Mai Tais, Rombauer, steak dinners etc.). I know when to keep my trap shut.

Since I have my next set of scans a week from tomorrow on the 27th, I will await the results of those tests to determine my next course of action. I am trying to get a second opinion from the brain oncologist at Moores to confirm (or not) the reading of my next brain MRI. Unfortunately because he is outside my health plan, it most likely will come out of my pocket for the 1-hour consultation, to the tune of $550. I guess we’ve been spoiled SecondOpinion400since we have such awesome health insurance and have had to pay next-to-nothing. I will be requesting a waiver for our insurance to cover this appointment but I’ve been forewarned not to expect it to happen. But I think I need confirmation that re-zapping that apparent fuzzy in my noggin is the proper course of action since it will be riskier than the first go-round.

We will also be doing the regular kitty-cat scan of my lungs to see how those troublesome fuzzies are behaving. Hopefully they are taking a little break with little to no progression from the last tests. Gotta stay in the trial long enough for the next new thing to come around. After hearing about some upcoming clinical trials at today’s walk, there may be something else for me in a few months. Maybe. We shall see.

Next Saturday, thanks to the generosity of one of the members on the Moores Cancer Center board of directors, my wife and I will be attending the big Spark Gala fund raiser. Here we will get to meet all of the major players in cancer research at this world renowned institution. Plus I’m sure we will drop a few more bucks in support of this wonderful establishment. Can’t wait.

On May 1st I will also have the pleasure and opportunity to jet off to DC to attend the 3-day Lungevity National Hope Summit. Hard not to notice the similarity in their group photo (if you click on the link) when compared to the team shot we took today. This is another “can’t wait” opportunity as I will finally get to meet a bunch of other survivors/bloggers who I’ve only met electronically.

Stay tuned for another update after my next set of scans.

Business as usual. Day at a time.

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.

March 20, 2015 (Fri) – Forty Shades of Gray

Fifty  shadesDidn’t want the Internet police to nix my blog title for copyright reasons. Plus I can’t say that this situation rises quite to the level of fifty. No soft-porn scenes being described below. No black and white checkerboard to describe my current state of affairs. And no, I’m not having one. Affair that is.

This morning I had my double-your-pleasure CT and MRI scans back-to-back. The fact that it took the nurse four sticks to get an IV in place should have given me a clue as to the eventual outcome.

This afternoon I had my follow-up regular onc-doc appointment and he already had the scan results. Not one for wasting time, particularly since he was already running more than an hour behind, his first words were something along the lines of “some additional growth is evidenced.”  I have a variety of locations in and around my lungs that show various levels of nastiness but most of them have remained stable. But apparently the ones that popped (not pooped) up recently have been eating some Wheaties or something and have “progressed” somewhat. How big somewhat is remains to be seen. I’ll have to do some line by line comparisons with the last scan write up.

As for the brain MRI, there may possibly, perhaps, maybe, perchance, could, be slight growth in the fuzzy in my brain. But it appears to be Hmmmwithin the realm of measurement error so it’s not something that has me overly concerned at this point. I know my overeager radio-doc will want to zap it anyway and has already set up a meeting on Monday to discuss frying the bugger. I will not go down that path, however, unless fuzzy gains some significant weight.

So things are definitely in somewhat of a gray area. I’m not sure if the progression is enough to get me kicked out of the AZD9291 (A-Team) Kick outdrug trial. I should find out more when I chat up my lung-onc-doc on Monday. And if it is enough to cut me from the team, I’ll find out if I have any options other than chemo.

Later this afternoon, after my onc appointment, I had my monthly Zometa infusion. It took them 3 tries to get it right. I feel like a dartboard. Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “stick it to me.” Tricky valves is what I Dartboardunderstand to be the challenge.

Eh, small stuff. Heck, I’m still sticking myself once a day with my Lovely-nox injections so what’s a few more?

Well, whatever the next phase is in my treatment, if there is a change, it will have to wait until we return from our Hawaiian vacation. Yup, once again off to hula-hula town. Can’t wait.

Team Craig Logo - final (Small)Several of you have been very generous in joining and/or donating to Team Craig – Get Fuzzy. The Breathe of Hope Walk is on April 19th, only a month away. I would love to have an avalanche of walkers in support of Moores Cancer Center and myself. Please consider joining us. Or if that is not possible, a contribution to support lung cancer research and treatment would be very much appreciated. Click here to either join the walk or make a donation. Be sure to select Team Craig under “additional information.” Thank you for your consideration.

Business as usual. Day at a time. Aloha.