Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Whack-A-Mole Relief Pitcher

I coached Conner's baseball team for one year and it wasn't as enjoyable as I thought. I had a few of those kids who didn't really care for playing much and I was never sure how to get them motivated. I think we ended up about .500 so obviously I wasn't very successful at motivating them. I was probably about a Lee Elia/Jim Rigglemen level. Nothing special.

One thing I did end up doing well was I knew when to change pitchers. I didn't let a kid walk ten like you see on the little league ball fields all too often. As they say in baseball, I had a quick hook. 

After days of deliberations, I'm bringing out the hook again. This time it's MD Anderson.  It still is the greatest, one-bad-motha cancer fighting institution. But I need something different now. 

My world is now that of the experimental drug. After days of thought, I realized that no matter how hard I try, I'll never quite understand all of the different drugs out there. I need a doctor who can help me navigate this new world. My doc at MD Anderson is certainly a leader in this area. But as I mentioned before, it's in the research part and not the people part. People are a big inconvenience for him. 

So my reliever is a fella out of New York named Owen O'Connor. Dr. O is highly recommended by other patients afflicted with what I have. But most importantly, these patients have one thing in common and one thing that I badly want--they have a different attitude towards this cancer. They think this is a disease and no more. Dr. O's patients believe that you can go from treatment to treatment playing Whack-A-Mole with lymph nodes for quite some time. Even years. Try a treatment. See if that knocks any nodes to normal size. Then when it stops, go to another treatment. Eventually, yes, you run out of treatments. But I'll take a couple of years. 

Now, I haven't told anyone besides my beautiful wife. I haven't even met Dr. O. although I have an appointment with him next week. So things could change. But I doubt it. I have a good feel for relievers.


  1. I once knew a guy who was once part of the semi-permanent mobile work force of a travelling amusement carnival.

    He showed me the secret to 'Wack-O-Mole'. Althought the game looks random - it's not. Like Pac-man and Donkey Kong there were patterns to the way the little buggers popped up. Learn the patterns and you dominated.

    It sounds like Dr. O knows the patterns too.

    I just hope you don't have to swear a blood oath to a Carny to find them out.

  2. See now baseball references are not only timely with the World Series going on, but they play directly into my area of expertise since I spend the greater portion of my time between April and August traveling around the country coaching a 12 year old team. While coaching decisions are not nearly as important as the ones you are now making, the thought process is the same. There are too many variables in a baseball game or in your choice of doctors or treatments to manage all of them. As such, all you can do is to assimilate and process all available information as best you can and make an informed decision based upon same. Those that make the best decisions do so in part because they have processed all information available, but also because they have a “feel” for it. In terms of your own body and how best to treat it, no one can possibly have a better “feel”.
    Doctors might have access to more information, but in your instance the information has already been assimilated and processed and you are now at decision time based on your “feel”. As such, trust your get and go with Dr. O.

    On to more mundane matters. I went for a physical this morning. When we reached that part of the exam that all guys spend days dreading the doctor says, and I quote, “Ok, now I need you to lay on your side and bring your knees up toward your chest. Good, now relax.” Relax? Seriously? He’s about to violate me in ways that no dude ever has and I’m supposed to relax? Needless to say my ass cheeks clenched up tight enough to turn charcoal into a diamond and yet he violated me anyway. He did have the decency to give me a reach around afterward although he claimed it was a hernia check.

  3. OK ... I have a longer post inside me asking to come out but I'm going to keep him under wraps for a few days. But first, a couple quick hitters.

    Baseball? Did somoene say baseball?

    With the 1st pick of the 24th round of the 1987 fantasy baseball draft, Glenn picks up-and-coming pitching prospect Mike Harkey. (no applause)

    Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon ... Manny Mota (mota, mota)

  4. Just started reading your blog. As a cancer surivor I understand what you are going through. Everyone at the Lance Armstrong Foundation is with you in this fight. Let us know how we can be helpful.

    Keep living strong!

  5. Here's to DR-double-O putting the double whacka-whammy on the invaders!!!

  6. Gald to hear you are pursuing more treatment options. Can you e-mail me? I recently talked to a pt. pursuing a new targeted treatment (A phase III clinical trial) at Seattle Cancer Center, Part of Fred Hutch. Not sure if you would qualify or not, thought of you right away though. Also I can help you navigate the insurance waters if you need, since I left the clinic for my new position with the evil empire. (Not really, Case management isn't nearly as scarring as it seems). But I have a lot of experience now getting CT's approved! Let me know!

  7. Oh yeah, Or just answer my friend request on FB ;-)