Thursday, October 27, 2011


This morning Richie and I came into Kansas City for another visit to KUMed Cancer Center. The colors of the trees was just incredible. I love this time of year. I Iove the weather, the changing of the colors. I like the idea that Mother Nature is putting everything to sleep for the long winter season. Each season has it’s merits, but for me autumn is always best.

I am sitting in the cancer club as I write this email to you all. It is Wednesday, October 26, 2011. Today is the first day of my new chemo regimen.

Almost two weeks ago, I had another ctscan and the results brought some rather bad news. I have new growth in my pelvic region. There is another spot on my bladder and another lymph node is showing signs of the cancer. Worse yet, there are now two spots on my lungs. There is no better way to share that news, so there it is.

Of course, our initial response was indescribable. I knew that something was up because I have been experiencing some additional pain. It’s always been in my lymph system and so to hear that it was in additional lymph nodes was not surprising, but the metastases to the lungs - that was devastating.

It’s a whole new ballgame - apropos for this time of year - and it’s a game that has left me rather down. It took Richie, Madeline, Charlie and me a few days to get over the shock. I had a good talk with Dr. Chapman at the office and she followed up later in the day to answer additional questions that I had about moving forward. I still feel like she is working well with me and will do whatever she can to get me to good health if that is to be my fate.

To be perfectly honest, I have options, one of them being the topotecan/avastin protocol I am on now. I could have chosen gemzar. This is a chemo that I have already been on and didn’t have much success with. It worked for for about seven months. This is about the same amount of time I get to see on most of the drugs I have been on. I could also choose to have surgery. There are more risks in that then in taking the chemo. I prefer to be in life rather than watching from the sidelines. Finally, my other choice is to do nothing. Palliative care would be called in and I would live out my days hoping to manage the cancer and it’s side effects until I can’t go on any longer.

But I am not ready for that. So I am going with the chemo.

The chemo will be administered on day one, eight and fifteen. I will be able to do day 8 and 15 at our local cancer center. This makes me happy to be so close to home.

I am terribly scared and hoping for success, but I am at peace with the decision because I feel like I am making the best choice for me and my family. Topotecan was one of the drugs that was suggested as therapy for me from the Caris biomolecular profile. So that is comforting and encouraging. I have avoided avastin because of the problems it causes, one of which is fistulas. A fistula is a term used to refer to an opening in your colon. I am trying it with the topo on the doc’s recommendation, but I also think that it’s time for the Hail Mary pass. (Sorry for all the sports analogies!!)

Surgery will always be an option, but I am not comfortable with going down that road right now and so that’s that. I have discussed all this with not only Richie and my darlings, but with some cancery friends and done my research. TJ said that really the only good thing about my cancer is that is slow growing. And that I am here today because of all the right decisions I made in the past. This made me feel wonderful. Not only is my brother proud of me, but I am alive here today to talk about it.

Everyone said just the right things, asked just the right questions and left me feeling all warm and protected, just the way your family and friends are supposed to make you feel. So, I don’t have much more to share right now but know that I can feel all your prayers and good intentions helping me. How else would I have made it this far? Please don’t stop because I am not ‘cured’ yet, but I am as always hoping for the best.