Greetings and Happy New Year! I hope this year brings us all many happy times! I know most people would rather not have to remember how awful last year was, but I thought I had a pretty good year personally. Being off chemo since March and letting myself heal made for a pleasant year, one where I could see myself announcing now that “last year I quietly made great progress on my illness on my own terms, without conventional treatment”…
Unfortunately I have no such announcements; the cancer has not shrunk, I’ve lost some progress gained from chemo. Old lesions have grown, and new ones have formed — I might have one on my gallbladder as well. The time spent off of chemo was nice – and the radioembolization was fun – but these things didn’t help me as I wished it would. My body can’t kill the cancer on its own yet.
The silver lining in all of this is that I continue to be in good physical health, my spirits continue to stay up and the cancer is still contained in my liver (though they’ve taken up residence in the surrounding lymph nodes).
How do we feel? I took the news with cold stoicism (like a good Midwesterner) and I’m understandably frustrated with this development but refuse to let it depress me or alter what I’m doing – indeed, my liver surgeon’s only directive was to “keep doing what you’re doing.” Because I still look and feel fine, and this attitude I’ve taken on — knowing with all my heart my loved ones are in my corner and continue to share my own conviction that ERIC is STRONG — is what’s keeping me up and living my life normally. Even the doctors are starting to notice: how I look isn’t lining up with what the scans show. Evidently, when most patients get this far, they don’t look so hot. Me, I look better than when I first showed up. And it’s because I’m not worse than when we started, it’s not a total regression – more like “2 steps forward, one step back”.
So I shall have to turn back to chemo to knock down the new stuff and regain the stranglehold I had early last year. We grit our teeth and buckle down a little tighter because I go back on the attack. Chemotherapy starts on the 11th.
I’m a lucky, lucky man to have you here with me, and I will continue to do my very best in everything. My success depends on the support, love and energy coming from you.
I love you! Here’s to a better 2017 for all of us!
We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal.
But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, “come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.”
Winston Churchill, 1940
And a Note: Doctor’s CT summary straight from my records, for those who can speak Doctor…
CT CAP on 01/03/2017-1. Interval increase in size of eccentric wall thickening within the sigmoid colon concerning for increase in size of the patient’s primary tumor.2. Multiple new low-attenuation lesions within the liver compared to prior MRI concerning for worsened metastatic disease. There is a likely metastasis to the gallbladder.3. New gastrohepatic ligament lymphadenopathy concerning for metastatic disease.