Friday, November 6, 2009

I couldn't kill cancer. But I'm gonna kill his friends.

"I don't understand the current thought of oncology. Take you, for example. It's clear your cancer rejects chemo. But the answer with most oncologists is more chemo. And the ironic part is, while the cancer gets stronger every time, your body gets weaker." 

That was one of the first things my new doctor said to me. His plan is if you can't kill the cancer cells then kill the many cells that feed cancer cells. Eventually the cancer cells weaken and sometime after that, enough cancer cells die that you can live with it for a while. At least that's how the theory goes. 

Sounds simple but there are some pretty large drawbacks. First, it takes a while. Cancer can still grow even while you're taking the medicine because you're not killing them.

Second, it depends on clinical trials. The drugs are new and experimental and almost all are in clinical trials across the country. So you can't just go to the doctor and get an injection. You have to wait and look around. 

That's where I've run into trouble. My doctor wants to get me into one of two trials but neither start for the next three weeks. In the meantime, I have to bide my time and hope the cancer doesn't spread to any place important. The best the doc can do is get me some drugs to slow the spread a little. It's sort of the way it goes. 

The third negative is because these drugs are new, the side effects can be quite adventuresome. I'll try to be clear about what's happening to me on the blogs so you can feel like you're right there with me puking away. 

My doctor won't give me a timeline of my life expectancy. I would imagine it's because this is so hit or miss. Sort of alarming. Obviously, now it's a real long shot of ever completely kicking this. But that's perfectly fine with me. I'm okay with having cancer. I'm not okay with dying from cancer.  

In the meantime, my body's really sore and I got nodes popping up all over. I can't lift much with my right arm because of a node that's digging into my shoulder and I can't lift much with my left arm because of a node on my shoulder and one on my chest. So when I hold the baby I try to balance her. She's getting chunky so I don't know how much longer that'll work. I'm very tired because my body is busy fighting the cancer. I look like crap, worse than I feel. The kids still don't know anything's wrong. Sort of hard to tell them. 


  1. Sometimes life just sucks!!! I wish I could do more than offer prayers.....I feel helpless and that can't come close to how you must be feeling. Can you imagine yourself healed & healthy again? Try. Send out Pokemon & Co., to seek & destroy those evil in the Transformers and shoot the hell out of those malignat cells.....sounds glib but that's not the intent...mired in despair will do more harm....easy for me to say, but I mean well and pray for you every day!!

  2. Michael,

    Keep up the positive attitude. I am sure you are frustrated as hell, but the upbeat attitude goes a long way, especially around your family and people who are around you on a daily basis.

    While I cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through, I can completely understand your emotions. That being said, it's now time to help keep the attitude positive by taking your mind off things.

    So without further ado, here are my latest observations on life.

    My Step Dad bought this really cool $5000 grill and quickly decided it would be out of place on the big ass fancy patio at the house so he and Mom also put in an $80,000 screened porch and outdoor fireplace etc. One week after everything was installed he decided to cook a pork roast on the rotisserie. He set the grill to sear it on infrared for 5 minutes and then to cook on low for two hours. He then went to run some errands and returned to find the brand new grill still on infrared, the roast burnt to a crisp and anything in or around the grill that could not withstand 1200 degrees heat melted. While I am sure he cannot see the humor in the situation just yet, come on, who gets a $5000 grill and then programs it and just leaves without making sure he knows that he knows what he’s doing? Now he’s going to have to go blow another $5000 of my inheritance on another grill.

    We have a dog who is not a genius by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, until last night I was pretty certain he was mentally challenged to put it politely. So last night my wife takes the left over gravy from the fancy Chinese dinner we had just finished and pours it over the food in the dog’s dish. He is very excited by this and for the next 5 minutes his face is the food bowl going to town. Not eating any of the food mind you, he just licked it clean and then set it on the kitchen floor so he could get to more gravy. Sadly this makes him at least slightly more intelligent than our kids.

    I had to go back to my doctor yesterday. He just treated me like any other patient. I don’t think shoving his finger up my backside meant anything to him. I thought I was special, but now I just feel cheap and used. I also feel like I owe an apology to some girls I’ve known in the past.

    You know how when you go to the grocery store there is always the fire lane that runs across the parking lot right in front of the store? Has anyone explained to the fire department that what this means is that it is to be kept clear in case of fire and that it is not their personal parking place for when they bring the fire truck out to do their shopping?

    My son gave up soccer for football this fall - thank God. He also spends a little too much time trying to quickly and quietly move about the house so that he can be ninja. I think he’s just kidding about being a ninja, but I am not entirely certain. I hope it pays well just in case.

    Played poker last night at a neighbor’s house. He lives just over a mile from my house. After a few beers during the game I was too paranoid to drive home. Back when I was younger, drinking and driving meant one hand on the steering wheel and one holding a beer. They have now gotten so harsh with dui penalties that I can’t drink anywhere but home. It makes thankful that I have spent the last 8 years adding things to my house that will soon allow me to never leave. As for now though, I still have to leave to come to work and since I am now at work I guess I should go accomplish something with my day.

  3. Hey Michael, I wanted to offer belated congratulations on your beautiful daughter. I'm just catching up with your blog, and offer my full support with the next step - I like the logical sound of this new doctor. That kind of approach usually makes the best ads, too, don't you think? And in regards to the ending of a previous post about letting your family down -- I have to heartily disagree. My dad battled cancer and I learned more from him and about him in that time than in any other. Hang in there.