Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Bizzarro World of Cancer

Good is bad in cancer. When you feel good, sometimes it's a bad sign. When you feel bad, on the other hand, sometimes that's good because the treatment you're on is killing cells in your body.

Lately I've been feeling good, which is bad. I saw Dr. O in New York and he said that my scans were bad, which is bad. Even though I've been feeling stronger, less sick and have more energy, my cancer is too. The treatment that I'm currently on isn't working but since there's not a lot for me out there, we decided to give it one more shot.

So the coming months look like this: 

I'll continue on this treatment until mid August. The roughly twelve tumors that I have in my body will have grown during that time. Right now, the largest is three centimeters. Growing at the same rate, it should be five to six centimeters in August. This tumor is right below my right lung. The danger is that it infiltrates the lung. It could do it any time without any rhyme or reason. Cancer does what it pleases. Other tumors will have grown too but they should range from about two to four centimeters. Many of these are located on my neck and shoulder. I'll start looking a little like Elephant Man.

In mid August, I will need to have a "wash out" period of one month where I can't take any chemotherapy drugs and have to wait for my body to completely wash out the current chemo. The cancer will be able to grow unchecked here. About the only thing I can do is take prednizone, a drug that has messed my brain up pretty good in the past. Expect a lot of late night blogging and emails to occur as it keeps people from sleep. This drug is only a short term remedy and keeps the cancer from getting too wacky.

By mid September, if I'm feeling up to it and if the cancer hasn't advanced too far, I will go on another clinical trial treatment. If I'm lucky, I'll take to this and the tumors will stop growing or even reduce. But the chances of that happening are less than fifty fifty. If the treatment doesn't work, we'll know by about November and I'll probably end up taking some high dose traditional chemotherapy to try to bang back the tumors for a short period. 

The goal right now is to stay alive long enough to reach the new year. At that time, an effective treatment may become available on the market as it is scheduled to be approved by the FDA in the first quarter. That drug has many debilitating side effects but has shown to be 70% effective for Hodge patients like myself. It only lasts about five months before side effects become too unbearable and dangerous or the drug stops working. But that would take me past my birthday and into a new baseball season. 


  1. I wish I could write something to make you laugh.
    I tripped on the treadmill this morning...?


  2. 每次看完你的文章,總是回味許久,要經常發表喔。..................................................................

  3. Hey Michael. I've been thinking of you and checking the blog for updates fairly often, hoping to hear how you are doing. I know a lot of people with cancer and it's one nasty beeaatch. But on the positive side, all of these strong people are fighting it well. I'm glad you keep doing what you are doing with all the meds and treatments. Sometimes you'll have good days, other days not so good, but as long as you keep fighting, anything is possible.

    I know what you mean about prednisone. I'm on it now for a nasty batch of poison ivy and I got about an hour of sleep the other day before going to work a little less peppy than normal. That stuff just turns the brain on ... well ... on steroids that never want to turn off. I couldn't stop thinking of things - but of course you know all about that too as you're pretty much the Prednisone King of Chicago (not to be confused with Abe Frohman, the Sausage King of Chicago).

    I'm proud of you, my friend, and wish I were closer to lend a helping hand whenever needed. If a hand is needed, ask away and it won't be too hard for me to call someone to get whatever you needed done. You're still in the game and it's not even time for the closers yet. Hopefully Team Cancer will have some scrub middle relievers like the Cubs have and you'll knock them around a bit for your advantage.

    Be good and I'll pray for some good sleep for you.


  4. Michael.....what a tremendous challenge for you and your family. I pray that you will, indeed, be here to usher in 2011 and celebrate that next Birthday. It is ironic that just when you are the least capable of "being strong" that the most is asked of you. May God dispatch Angels to your side to lighten the load and comfort you...maybe this video will make you smile!!!

  5. I went to comment on your latest post but it was no longer up. I hope you did not pull it for fear of worrying us. We know the game and the score - we will be with you through the triumphs and travails.

    Find your pace and do what you can.

  6. So you've already planned well into next year. I have not even planned well into next week. I do like that your seasonal calendar seems to be what is and what is not baseball season. Mine seasonal calendar starts in January with indoor baseball, next is April - July which is the actual baseball season followed by August - October which is football season and then we have November - December which is of course the holiday season.

    Just got back from a baseball tournament in Cooperstown. On the way out, we stopped at Niagra Falls for a night. For those who have not been there, I believe the best way to describe it is two really big and beautiful waterfalls surrounds by the freakin' Wisconsin Dells. As for the baseball, you know you are in trouble when you get to the knockout rounds and all your kids are from a town of 25,000 and you are playing teams from Texas, Florida or California which just flew in 3 fresh pitchers the night before.

    As long as we are on the baseball subject, Michael is apparently too modest to mention it, but the last time my son's team played his son's team they kicked our ass and Conner was the best player on the field that night. I was able to speak with Michael and his Father and Conner after the game and all was right for awhile.

  7. 要求適合自己的愛情方式,是會得到更多,還是會錯過一個真正愛你的人。.................................................................

  8. I have translated some of our Eastern friends posts...

    On July 10th 宥妃宥妃 wrote:
    "After reading your article every time, always pondering for a long time, we should always express Oh"

    宥妃宥妃 chimed in on the 16th with:
    "In a word, that is, "cross that bridge straight."

    Just today 姿吟 had this to say:
    "Method of self-love meet demand..."

    姿吟 must know Michael very well, indeed.

    Peace, -Reed