Let’s press the reset button.
A few weeks ago, I started writing a blog about my medical activities because I didn’t want to keep clogging up people’s inboxes with messages about my health. When I promised in 1998 that I’d be candid about my condition and my prognoses, I had no idea that 14 years later I’d still be sending out notes about me and my health. I figured that a blog would let people check in when they’re interested.
What I didn’t anticipate was the heightened drama this would give my every doctor’s visit.
People: I’m fine. Really.
The facts: I’m not at some end-of-life struggle. My docs and I have every confidence that I’ll be returning to work as normal within a few weeks. As for my cancer, I’m basically where I’ve been since 2005: Stage IV lung cancer with unusually slow-growing tumors. One of the biggest challenges is to find new treatment options: I’ve used up most of the normal ones. (That’s why I’m at MSK starting a very promising new trial program.)
Here’s what’s new or newly discovered over the past couple of months: Spots have shown up in my brain. They are no more dangerous than the spots that I’ve had for years in my chest; doctors are amazed it took so long for them to show up anywhere new. Hopefully my new chemo program will address all my spots–old and new.
Like old men everywhere, over the past few months, I’ve also had a wide range of illnesses, medicinal side effects and what my granddaughter calls boo-boos. A few of those are cancer related, most are not. (We now suspect that I have the flu–a pain in the neck, but not a call for funeral orations.) Although there have been associated hassles, every procedure I’ve had over the past few weeks has been successful: I’ve qualified for the trial program; I’ve cleared out a nasty pulmonary blockage; I’ve ended those damned, exhausting hiccups, etc.
The question I always ask my oncologists is, “Will I still be coming to see you in two years?” The answer I’m still getting—amazingly and unequivocally—is “Yes.”
The fact that Ginny was diagnosed with lymphoma a couple of weeks ago has frustrated and saddened me. She’s on her way to getting a surgical biopsy as I write this. (I can’t be with her—the flu. My sister Patti’s with her.) We’ll find out more about her prognosis later this week. The good news there: the docs tell us that this will almost certainly be completely curable.
I’m being incredibly well taken care of. I have zero needs. I’m in a city with a zillion movie theaters—and by tomorrow I should be in good enough shape to start taking advantage of them again.