I’m not sure why, but I’ve always considered my life journey to be kind of like a baseball game. Three strikes and you are out! 4-balls for a walk. Win some, lose some. In the end it’s all about your life’s focus, I’ve always started my game with a positive vision for the outcome! albeit, sometimes I’ve had to fake it til I made it.
If every one of life’s challenges contained 9-innings you might find yourself at bat in the bottom of the 3rd inning and your count might be strike 2 ball 3. The following “count” represents my cancer experience so far…..
- Strike 1 MDAnderson immunal therapy trial. Looked great for around 7 months. Great tumor control and shrinkage of bladder cancer. Worked great until it didn’t, then I heard the ball hit the catchers mitt as I took my best swing. When you are dropped from a drug trial after some success it feels like a swing and a miss. Thought this might be the end of the line. MDanderson did have another drug trial available for me; unfortunately, it was an experimental chemotherapy that called for me being in Houston for three weeks and then one week off.
- Strike 2 Decided to try the Illinois Cancer Keytruda targeted therapy. One short 32-minute infusion treatments every 3-weeks with no initial apparent side-effects! Also able to split treatments between Bloomington, Illinois and Las Vegas, Nevada. Enjoyed symptom-free treatments and still had ability to enjoy leisure travel overseas. Recently I took a solid swing for strike 2 when this therapy also stopped being effective with side-effects and the treatment was discontinued. Blisters were covering my hands and the soles of my feet. When I reviewed these symptoms with my doctor I was pulled off this treatment.
There was some good news blended with my bodies rejection of all things Keytruda, beside massive blisters the lung tumors had shrunk as much as 1/3 in size! Along with tumor reductions I am now in-between therapy treatments.
While I have had countless ideas on alternative therapy to cure this cancer I would reject those which include drinking bleach and hypnotherapy.
My last CT scan was about 3-months ago. Blood tests looked great, scan showed a reduction my lung tumor size. The doctor approved me for continued Keytruda treatments.
In the world of a stage-4 bladder cancer guy, this is good, if not great news. Since I identified this stage-4 cancer challenge I had friends get diagnosed with cancer and pass. Watching these friends die from the same disease as you have it suddenly makes you realize every day is a blessing. I have attempted to savor everyday as a gift and encourage everyone I come in contact with to do the same thing. Grandchildren have become a favorite way to pass time with.
So far, been a lucky guy with few overt side-effects from my cancer battles. If you must know I always attempt to minimize my drug side-effects.
Always said, if I am going down, I’m going down swinging. Most thankful for a caring wife who I feel is my true redemer and the one who reinforces my faith everyday.
Here is the lowdown on current side-effects…
Unfortunately, I had a little “Keytruda Rash” and I developed blisters on the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet just one day prior to catching a flight back to Illinois for Thanksgiving, a CT scan and an therapy treatment.
The blisters are unlike anything I have ever seen. They were so large that I couldn’t fit my regular shoes. I wore Nike slides to make the flight home. Upon landing I went straight to a podiatrist. He addressed, drained, the blisters and showed my wife how to dress the wounds twice each day.
Of course my of my first questions, after the perfunctory, ” am I going to lose my feet” question, was then “how long will it take this to heal enough for me to fly home to Las Vegas?”
Anyway, my next day included a visit to get a CT scan and blood test for a session with my oncologist on the following day. The scan was good, the tumors were shrinking and most of the blood tests looked good. That said, because of the blisters, no more Keytruda treatments for me.
As I rapidly approach Christmas I can remember a prayer I made last year, please give me one more Christmas! That being said I’m at that Christmas time promised last year.
Feet are healing, getting Keytruda flushed from my system and trying to squeeze a little more time out til the final curtain call.
Anyway, don’t cry for me Argentina , but prayers are good. As I’m on the mend I’m looking forward to my return to Las Vegas for New Years Eve.
While I don’t have any cancer treatments planned I’m pretty certain something might appear on the horizon shortly. In the mean-time I’m looking for a beach house in Hawaii to relax in for a few weeks or so. My primary cancer now relies on prayers, all side-effects from prayer seem positive.
I am most thankful for a loving wife who is right beside me in this long strange trip, she is a companion who I will protect as long as I am able.
Remember what this holiday is all about Jesus. This is the Jesus that can heal and direct me to the right destination. Enjoy your family and just imagine if this were your last Christmas, how might you make it special? I’m voting for grandchildren since our future lies therein. Merry Christmas to all.