The surely epic bucket list item I won’t get the chance to check off today has finally lost enough pain for me to talk about it. Tonight I would have stood on hallowed concert ground in Morrison, CO with all four of our sons and Michael’s wife, Janice Rice Venable, one of my dearest childhood friends, Craig Hospital Occupational Therapist Perry Ann Williams, and her husband retired landscape architect, Keith Gartin; Principal Architect and Senior Partner Sam Andras, of 2WR Architects, his spouse, educator Victoria Andras, and a host of their friends, band mates, lighting and sound professionals and advisors.
Today we all would have watched our son, Adam Venable/Obeah, perform with Daily Bread as they open for Pretty Lights on the Red Rocks stage. If you know about Red Rocks, you can likely conjure my deep loss for having to miss it tonight. If you don’t know Red Rocks, think Carnegie Hall and and I’ll conjure my deep loss for having to miss this tonight. I’ve had to unwind a 12-day walkabout while in the midst of enduring 2 surgeries, a CT scan, an MRI, some sweet Jesus pain and chronic nausea and vomiting. Thanks to my medical team, everything on that list has been fixed or alleviated. But without time on my side and the sensibility of putting the importance of my health first, tonight, my best hope is to be able to live stream the show, if they can figure how to send it.
Adam, I hope you leave a raw, bloody piece of your soul on that important stage tonight. That it comes from a place so deep that it shocks people to know you kept things like that in there. You have worked hard for this and you deserve your hard work and dedication to make an audience swoon. I will be joined with your spirit in the Colorado breeze. I could not possibly be prouder of you, son, and your brothers and that sold out show will watch the virtual walls come down in the foothills tonight. Now go out there and kill!
From the very beginning of my new normal, which began on June 11, 2009 when Dr. Ken Ogan used a DaVinci robot to surgically remove my diseased left kidney and 12 lymph nodes, I was left with an incurable case of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and the stark realization that my job was to seek out the very best medical care I, with my great medical insurance and the shallow pockets of a small business owner, could afford. I had to use whatever medical wisdom was in existence to stay alive long enough to be strong enough to endure a more meaningful treatment if and when it came along.
To date, an initial occurrence and six separate subsequent battles with RCC mets have not managed to take me out and one of those “more meaningful treatments” was available to me locally and I have been fortunate enough to have been rendered NED (No Evidence of Disease) for the 7th time.
Here is a brief recap of the procedures (except for listing all CT/MRI scans, which have continued to occur at about 3 – 6 month intervals, depending on what was going on) and decisions we’ve made that got us to the office of Dr. Nishant DeQuadros:
June 11, 2009: Dr. Ken Ogan at Emory University Hospital performed radical left nephrectomy + 12 lymph nodes (1 positive for RCC).
August, 2009: Started ASSURE clinical trial (Sutent/Nexavar/Placebo) and ultimately completed trial.
September, 2010: Discovered 2 cm tumor in spine at L-2, and was unblinded from placebo arm of clinical trial. Drawing the placebo arm of the trial turned out to be the good news, in that going forward I would be drug naive, allowing me more access to other therapies.
October 21, 2010: Biopsy of spine determined the lesion is metastatic RCC.
December 2, 2010: Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) at Emory Midtown Hospital in Atlanta
March, 2010: Radiation oncologist says that I’m NED.
August, 2011: Medical oncologist says the tumor at L-2 wasn’t completely killed and it is growing again.
August 19, 2011: Lumbar fusion surgery and fixation with pedicle screws and fusion with bone morphogenic protein at L 1-3. Three weeks post surgery, developed severe (#10) back pain. Treated with time-released morphine and dilaudid for breakthrough pain. These weeks of pain and insomnia were the darkest days of my life. As I write this, I’m having trouble conjuring what the pain felt like. What it was like to be just aware enough to see the little hand of the clock find every click on its way around the dial, yet gladly not aware enough to be forced to remember some of the truly stupid television shows and movies I watched. Alone in a dark room with my ever-present plastic trash can, a box of tissues, a glass of water and a sack full of narcotics. The world looks very different from that room.
October 8, 2011: Some time before 5 a.m., I bent over to remove power plug from wall socket and experienced a dramatic loss of strength on my right side. I contacted my neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Gorum, early Saturday morning. He instructed me to get to the emergency department immediately. His partner, Dr. Marc Goldman met me and we went immediately to surgery, where he performed a lumbar laminectomy (bilateral inferior L1, complete bilateral L2 and bilateral superior L3). Pain was immediately gone and according to physical therapist, the strength can be regained in legs with therapy. Two major spine surgeries within 8 weeks and a quickly-growing kidney cancer metastatic tumor trying its best to put me down.
October 10, 2011: I was moved by ambulance to the John B. Amos Cancer Center, where I was evaluated for stereotactic radiosurgery to attempt to kill the tumor in my back and returned to my room at the hospital. Got food poisoning (Yes, the day after my second back surgery in eight weeks! Can you believe it?) from a non-hospital meal I ate on Monday evening, so we delayed SRS until Thursday,
October 20, 2011: 16-greys of radiation in a single one-hour treatment aimed to kill the tumor in my spine.
October 26, 2011: Started monthly Xgeva injections to prevent further bone mets.
December 7, 2011: CT scans show NED.
March 15, 2012: CT scans show NED.
June 21, 2012: CT scan showed 3.9 cm tumor on left adrenal gland and slight enlargement of cyst in right kidney.
July 16, 2012: Decided to confer with specialists at M. D. Anderson in Houston, Tex. and met with genitourinary medical oncologist Dr. Lance Pagliaro there at M. D. Anderson.
July 17 – 18, 2012: Had bone scan, brain MRI, CT of chest, abdomen and pelvis with no contrast and a chest x-ray.
July 20, 2012: Met with interventional radiology to discuss needle biopsy of adrenal tumor.
July 25, 2012: Still at M. D. Anderson and needle biopsy of left adrenal tumor confirmed it was metastatic renal cell carcinoma.
September 3, 2012: Started HD-IL2 therapy at Duke University Hospital under care of Dr. Dan George and Dr. Michael Morse. Received 9 doses and creatinine spiked and didn’t come back to my baseline of 1.8, so I washed out. They wouldn’t allow me to finish part B of round one.
October 19, 2012: Had CT of chest, abdomen and pelvis W/O contrast, because of high creatinine.
October 26, 2012: Met with Dr. Pippas and found out adrenal tumor and nodules in kidney are stable. He recommends starting a TKI and plans to confer with Dr. George to determine which one they recommend.
November 13, 2012: Started with 800mg daily dose of Votrient. Took for 2 weeks and high blood pressure and other side effects caused oncologist to reduce daily dosage to 400mg. On 400mg dose for 3 weeks, increased to 600mg dose for 2 weeks and now on 800mg dose daily and dealing with side effects well.
July 11, 2013: CT scan of chest, abdomen and pelvis (W/O contrast) showed 90% reduction in adrenal tumor, no sign of two small right kidney lesions. Have lost 80 pounds due to GI complications with Votrient, but getting along fairly well. Have been able to stop taking Norvasc completely and have halved my daily Coreg dosage. Getting great blood pressure control, likely due to dramatic weight loss. Creatinine also looks good at about 1.5. So, might be able to get CT scans with contrast next time out.
November 1, 2013: CT scan with contrast of chest, abdomen and pelvis showed NED! Have lost 90 pounds due to GI complications of 800 daily mg of Votrient. Creatinine at 1.32 and other labs looks fantastic.
January 14, 2014: Have lost 100 pounds. Blood pressure is rising and with weight loss, this shouldn’t be the case. Hovering at around 180/115. So, went by to see Dr. Pippas to check blood pressure and they decided to triage me and work me in to see the doctor. Warned me that if I’m developing liver toxicity, we’ll have to make some changes. Had liver panel blood work done in lab. Dr. Pippas TOLD me to stop taking Votrient for 14 days and to take 20mg Prilosec every morning for next 14 days. Says he hopes my body will reset and that I can go back on Votrient after 2 weeks. Also, he added back 5mg of Norvasc to my daily meds to see if we can drive back the elevated blood pressure.
January 16, 2014: Got results of liver panel and we’re in normal range, so stopping I’m stopping Votrient for 14 days and taking Prilosec, carvedilol and Norvasc.
February 7, 2014: CT of chest, abdomen and pelvis shows completely stable and normal. Dr. Pippas says I’m NED again. Still tired, so he suggested I go back on nightly CPAP therapy and start some kind of exercise regimen. Also, wants me to maintain good immune system boosting diet and to not gain weight. At 155 pounds, about what I weighed when I left high school. Options presented to Jill and me:
A) stay off Votrient, scan every 3 months for a year
B) restart maintenance dose (either 200mg or 400mg) of Votrient
I asked Dr. Pippas to confer with Dr. Dan George at Duke, a colleague of his and someone who knows my case quite well. Also, I called Dena Battle, who knows this disease better than most doctors on the planet to ask her gut reaction to what doctor has advised. Made decision to stop taking Votrient.
July 22, 2014: CT scan with contrast shows 2.5cm metastasis on left adrenal. Same side as nephrectomy.
July 23, 2014: Discovered 2.5cm adrenal RCC metastasis and Dr. Pippas said surgery would be best option. We left the next day for a long weekend with friends in Destin, Fla.
August 6, 2014: Met with local surgeon Dr. Andy Roddenberry to discuss adrenalectomy procedure. Here’s an excerpt from my blog:
August 21, 2014: Excerpted blog post named “Eight Months:” There is considerable scar tissue left over from the massive nephrectomy that cost me my left kidney, twelve lymph nodes and a lot of digging around looking for cancer. Additionally, the organs in my body have recognized that there is some stuff missing now that used to be there and they’ve wiggled around and taken up that space in my abdomen. So, scarring, colon, pancreas and a mass of arteries and veins are all congregated in that area, as well as a vascular renal cell tumor that is very much like a 2cm bubble of blood inside the thinnest tissue paper you can imagine. The surgery has been described to me like a person trying to pick up a balloon full of blood with razor sharp pins. One prick of that bubble and I’ve got cancer cells released all over my body and my prognosis suddenly would take a big turn for the worse.
We left Dr. Roddenberry’s office feeling the dread of making a decision to opt for a surgery that, even if successful, would really take me down physically and could significantly compromise my immune system. This is where the story gets really interesting, if you believe in karma. If you believe in a god, or if you worship from the torn front seat of a 1960 rusted, formerly white Chevrolet pickup at the 2nd Dirt Road Church of What’s Happening Now — this was the perfect information for me to hear at exactly the right time….
My friend, Dr. Granville Batte, called me and suggested we might want to meet with new Interventional Radiologist Dr. Nishant DeQuadros. That contact from a friend helped us find clarity. I promise you this: If you are a cancer patient who doesn’t have full faith in your doctor, and/or if you can’t see your a clear view of your feet along the path you have chosen, you are surely miserable. It is bad enough to feel bad, but to feel bad and be weighted down by stress related to your treatments makes the journey that much more difficult.
Here’s what I did to find that sweet spot of clarity before a new therapy: We made an appointment to meet Nishant DeQuadros and my work began. My doctors are my business partners. They provide a service that determines what is wrong with me and the crystal-clear vision backed up with the talent, experience and will to deliver a treatment path that will, at the very least cripple and at the very best in my case, completely shut down the disease process. I, and my insurance company pay them, their professional assistants and clinicians, staffs, technicians, labs, bean counters and hospitals. Then, the real work starts — research.
I fill whatever amount of time I can carve out prior to the first meeting with a new doctor with finding out everything I can about them. Where they’re from. Where they went to school. I seek out their professional writings, look for any feedback I can get from ratings sites, inquire of them with every one of my trusted medical sources and see if they have any kind of social media paper trail I can follow. I also like to find out who their friends are and if I happen to know them, I can’t pick our mutual friends’ brains to find out if they would put their life in the hands of this doctor. Melissa and Jim Thomas are friends of the DeQuadroses. That was a great thing to hear, right at the start.
I got a sweet surprise when I started vetting Dr. Nishant DeQuadros. The more I learned about him and his company, Georgia Radiology Imaging Consultants, the more excited I got. The doctors in this practice are extremely well trained. They do the kinds of procedures that are hard to come by in a community hospital setting. Often these highly-specialized radiologists are doing these kinds of procedures in larger urban or university hospitals. I found out later, just how important it was that these superdocs were here and that one of them was able to take my case.
Jill and I walked into Dr. DeQuadros’ office and a young, handsome guy in a white coat greeted us. We sat down, looked at my scans and we talked about how the ablation would be done. He brings mad experience to the table. At the end of that visit, we had that clarity that is so important.
August 28, 2014: Interventional Radiologist Dr. DeQuadros and Anesthesiologist Dr. Mark Pinosky performed a microwave ablation of my left adrenal and its encapsulated RCC met. Complications during procedure caused Dr. DeQuadros to have to make four passes to get enough of a burn to completely finish the job. Disruption of my adrenal gland and the presence of the RCC metastasis caused a 300/200 blood pressure spike during the procedure. Because of the fear of cardiac damage from the BP spike, I spent the night in an intensive care room, so I could be monitored.
In my intensive care room the next morning after the procedure, I learned how serious the situation became during the minimally invasive operation. When they saw that I was having a major hypertensive reaction, Dr. DeQuadros ran a central line to my heart from behind me left knee, and, along with Dr. Pinosky, they monitored my blood pressure with every beat of my heart, utilizing drugs and procedures they had at their disposal to control wild blood pressure swings while still completing the procedure.
August 29, 2014: I was released with an appointment to see Dr. Shane Darrah to determine whether the high blood pressure had damaged my heart muscle.
September, 4, 2014: Saw Dr. Darrah and had stress test.
September 8, 2014: Had echocardiagram in Dr. Darrah’s office. It was determined that no heart damage resulted from blood pressure spike during microwave ablation.
October 2, 2014: CT scan with contrast (80% of dose). Still NED.
February 12, 2015: CT scan with contrast (80% of dose). Still NED.
The microwave ablation therapy I received here in Columbus was one of those cutting-edge treatments that can extend the life and protect the quality of life of a patient. In this process, I appreciated the candid advice given to me from Dr. Roddenberry that I should seek another, less invasive option that wouldn’t expose me to such a large, dangerous surgery that might negatively impact my compromised immune system. The incredible truth is that the huge surgery and the minimally-invasive microwave ablation should yield the same results (if perfectly executed). One would have cost me six days in the hospital and another six weeks of recovery. The other was performed on a Thursday and I was back in the office on Tuesday. I would have returned to work on Monday, had it not been the Labor Day holiday.
The list of vascular and interventional radiology treatments that are offered here by Drs. DeQuadros, Hart and Vo is quite long. If you receive a diagnosis that might be remedied by one of the treatments from this list like I did, you’d be wise to do a little Googleing to see if you might be better served by this type of care. Here’s the best part: When the therapy is finished, you can go home and sleep in your own bed. That is a mighty good thing.
As I look around, there is a sofa, bed, kitchen, TV and other assorted furniture one can find on this site. You’d think I was in a hotel room and you’d be right. In addition to it being a hotel room, it is also a tiny slice of Limboland. We just left our meeting with renowned genitourinary surgeon, Dr. Christopher Wood at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. He has given us sage advice, but not necessarily the advice I wanted to hear.
From studying my file, Dr. Wood told us about “another patient” (maybe a little tongue-in-cheek) of his who had “shopped around and found doctors who performed surgeries and treatments,” without anyone being in charge of a cohesive treatment plan. In addition to the stellar medical oncological treatment we’ve received at home from Dr. Andy Pippas, I guess Dr. Wood interpreted our attempts at getting opinions from the best cancer minds (including his) as a way to find doctors who would be willing to provide the surgery or treatment that we felt WE needed to have done.
I think Dr. Pippas would concur that I, after consulting with Jill, have made all the educated key decisions about every treatment or procedure we’ve had. Dr. Pippas wanted me to go on a TKI (tyrosine kinase inhibitor) systemic therapy over two years ago, but I refused to do it. Except for that one decision, we’ve pretty much been in sync regarding the direction of my care.
So here I sit in Limboland again. Dr. Christopher Wood, famous surgeon, doesn’t want to operate on me. “Yes, the money says that tumor on your adrenal gland is cancer. But, wouldn’t we look pretty stupid to put you through a big operation and it turned out not to be,” he said. “It needs to be biopsied here in our interventional radiology department first. If it is cancer, and we operate, it is highly likely that you’ll have a recurrence somewhere else. Because of that likelihood, my preference would be for you to be on a systemic drug for six months, or until you can’t stand it any more, and if it is cancer, THEN we’ll do the surgery to take the adrenal gland out. The systemic drug would likely shrink the adrenal tumor and would also deal with other problem areas that might exist outside the bounds of what we can now see.”
It looks like all my attempts to avoid a nasty oral cancer therapy might have come to an end. Dr. Wood’s nurse, Jan, is doing everything possible to have a biopsy scheduled early next week. We’ll know the outcome of that effort tomorrow. If we can do it early in the week, then we will stay out here and get that done. It is a two-day process. Regardless of the outcome, we’ll be able to leave to come back the day after the biopsy. If we find out the biopsy can’t be scheduled in a reasonable amount of time, we’ll have to come on back home and make another trip out here fairly soon.
I’m more than a little irritated that we were here until 10 p.m. last night to get a CT scan without contrast that was, according to Dr. Wood, “useless for determining whether or not there is anything going on with your right kidney.” That we stressed so firmly that we didn’t want to leave Houston without knowing exactly what is going on with Strainer and to be scheduled for a diagnostic test that wouldn’t provide that information really chaps my ass. I will be asking some pointed questions about that decision on the next conversation with Dr. Pagliaro.
There is good news, though. All the other diagnostic tests we had performed here yesterday are all in the clear. No issues with mets in brain, lungs or bones, the three places kidney cancer likes to go.
We have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Pagliaro on Monday at 1 p.m. If we’re able to get the biopsy scheduled early in the week, we’ll stay on out here and make that appointment. If the biopsy can’t be scheduled to our satisfaction, we’ll forego the appointment with Dr. Pagliaro and meet with him when we return for the biopsy.
In the meantime, Jill and I will do what we do best — enjoy each other’s company. We’re going to laugh, mock people, watch movies, look for great hidden restaurant gems, mock people and I will be sharpening my tongue for my next visit with Dr. Lance Pagliaro.
If you read my blog, you have heard my declarations of how damn good it is to be able to get great cancer treatment here at home. You’ve heard me say how much I appreciate the John B. Amos Cancer Center, all the people who work there, and most specially Dr. Andy Pippas and his right hand, Cindy Ivey.
Here’s another story that illustrates just how incredible the care I’ve received here has played out: You all know how important the MRI scan that I received on Tuesday was. It has been five months since my third back surgery (the one Dr. Marc Goldman did that stopped the chronic pain and essentially kept me out of a wheel chair), and about 7 months since Dr. Mike Gorum and Dr. John Cabelka (and a host of other physicists, technicians and support staff) attempted to kill the renal cell cancer tumor in my spine. This MRI was huge! This is probably the most anxious I’ve been, because a good report would mean I might have a chance at significant, disease-free survival. On the flip, a bad report would signal the beginning of some negatively life changing other procedures or nasty drug side effects and a likely significant shortening of my potential life span.
This is how much I love the care I’m receiving here at the hands of medical professionals who also happen to be my friends. Mike Gorum has a vested interest in my life. He has performed (along with Dr. Mac Molnar) a huge spinal operation on me that culminated in the rebuilding of the vertebral body at L-2. He has watched me suffer with crippling pain and slowly begin to regain my strength and vitality.
Mike was finished with his work on Tuesday, fairly early in the day after a very early start, but he came back to the hospital to be in the room in which the technicians were administering my MRI. He literally watched the scans while they were happening. He sent me a text, “MRI clean.” That evening, Mike and his wife, Tammy, met me at Ride On Bikes and they rode with me for my first bike ride in over a year. I tried to tell them how much it meant to me to have such care and concern at a time when I may have most needed it in my life.
That is what getting treatment at home looks like. These medical professionals are our friends. They live here. They rear their children here. We see them around town at plays, restaurants and music events. If you are asked to support local medical charities, please dig deep. We need a medical school here, we need a new women’s and children’s center like the one being planned at Columbus Regional Healthcare System, we need expanded facilities at St. Francis hospital.
We have taken advantage of seeking second and third opinions (with the urging and blessings of Dr. Pippas), but if at all possible I want to be here for treatments.
I’ll get off my soap box now and tell you what I just read in my MRI report. My spine is in perfect alignment, held in place with two titanium plates and four screws, for which my insurance paid $43,000, if you can believe that! There is no evidence of metastatic disease! There are no soft tissue abnormalities present near my spine! In short, it appears the stereotactic radiosurgery that they didn’t get right at Emory, was administered perfectly here. The tumor in my spine appears to be dead and new bone is growing, thanks in part to the monthly injections of Xgeva, (http://www.xgeva.com/WT.mc_id=GooglePaidSearchBrandXgevaURL&WT.srch=1) a drug that should strengthen my bones and make it more difficult for the establishment of another renal cell metastasis.
Here is a snapshot of the history with Renal Cell Carcinoma:
59 years of age
• June 11, 2009 radical left nephrectomy + 12 lymph nodes (1 positive for RCC)
• August, 2009 ASSURE clinical trial (Sutent/Nexavar/Placebo) Ultimately completed trial.
• September, 2010 discovered 2 cm tumor in spine at L-2 and unblinded from trial (Placebo arm, thank God, but I knew that all along)
• October 21, 2010 Biopsy of spine determined the lesion is a metastatic RCC.
• December 2, 2010 Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) at Emory Atlanta (went for for CT simulation on 11/17/2010)
• March, 2010: oncologist says that I’m NED.
• August, 2011: Oncologist says the tumor at L-2 wasn’t completely killed and it is growing again.
• August 19, 2011: Lumbar fusion surgery and fixation with pedicle screws and fusion with bone morphogenic protein at L 1-3.
• Three weeks post surgery, developed severe #10 back pain. Treated with time-release morphine and dilaudid for breakthrough pain.
• Awake at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 8, 2011 and squatted down to remove power plug from wall socket. Complete loss of strength on right side caused me to fall over to my right.
Got to bed and called my neurosurgeon early Saturday morning. He instructed me to get to emergency department immediately. His partner, Dr. Marc Goldman met me and we went immediately to surgery, where he performed a lumbar laminectomy (bilateral inferior L1, complete bilateral L2 and bilateral superior L3). Pain was immediately gone and according to physical therapist, strength can be regained in legs with therapy, which I’m doing now.
• On Monday, October 10, I was moved by ambulance to the John B. Amos Cancer Center, where I was simulated for stereotactic radiosurgery to attempt to kill the tumor in my back. Got food poisoning from bad hotdog on Monday evening, so we delayed SRS until Thursday, October 20. 16-greys of radiation in a single one-hour treatment.
• Scans in December, 2011 show NED. Got second opinion on December 30, 2011 from Dr. Janice Dutcher at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, NY. She advised to stay course, but would administer HDIL-2, if we wanted to try it.
• Got third opinion from Dr. Dan George at Duke University Hospital on January 11, 2012. He recommended to stay the course and said he was “guardedly optimistic” about my long-term disease-free survival.
• Scans in March, 2012 show NED.
Thank you for all your continued prayers for me and my family. I am a walking, breathing, living example of the power of prayer, good medical treatment and great attitude. Sorry for the length of this post, but I know you want to know about my latest scans.
Today is the first day of spring, 2012. As the pollen falls and bursting buds imbue the world with color and fragrance, I’m contemplating my future. This is day two of my latest round of scans, the windows into my body and the prognosticators of my chances for survival.
One hour in a clacking, thumping, thrumming MRI machine. One hour, in between bags of fluids force fed into my vein, and then the wait. I think Dr. Mike Gorum, one of my neurosurgeon spinal structural engineers, is as anxious as I am to see this round of scans. If Mike and John Cabelka have killed this tumor, I have a great chance to live with this cancer diagnosis. If the tumor is still growing, my chances for a good quality of life for the remainder of my life are slim.
The scans today are going to tell that tale. I want to see the end of that tale. If my life was a book, I’d flip over to the end to see how the next few months are going to play out. I plan on this first day of this spring being the first day of my life’s spring. The good news that I’ll get today, or some day soon, will be the bellwether of just how far into the future I’m going to be allowed to get.
I’m not afraid. I feel like the bumper sticker I’ve seen on trucks driven by obvious rednecks: “I ain’t skeered!” I was talking to a cancer “sister” the other day, extolling the virtues of a small dose of an antidepressant — in my case, Celexa — as a vital part of living with cancer. Without noticeable side effects, my edges are rounded. I can walk straight toward this thing that is trying to kill me without fear or trepidation. People tell me I’m brave. They say I’m a shining example of how to live with cancer. I’m just being the only way I know how to be. I think Dr. Pippas’ urging me to take the Celexa has been so important in my overall comfort, despite my awareness that there are malevolent forces at work inside me.
The love of a good wife and good sons and the arms of my community enfold me as I watch the liquid drip into my arm and contemplate the walk down the hall to be slid into that tube of medical magic. Please pray for good news for us today. I have the feeling that this day is my life as a balanced apothecary scale. The right news today would slip enough weight into the “Good” side to tip me toward good life.
It is so good to feel like writing again. Thanks for going with me.