November 30, 2005

Emotion commotion

Attending Mass this morning was a little difficult, emotionally. I'm not sure if it was because of the holiday season, or the fact that this was my first school/weekday Mass of the school year? Perhaps, it was the topic. It was the feast day of St. Andrew. The reading spoke of Christ asking Andrew to follow him. Andrew did so, without question.

My thoughts were "am I ready"? Is what I'm going through a test, or a calling? I pray that if it is the former, I am capable and if it is the latter, like Andrew, I am ready.

If the last 9 1/2 months were turmoil, the next month has the potential of being worse. We are praying that the PSA test results from 12-15 will be encouraging, while at the same time, we are trying to prepare ourselves if it is not. We're praying for a Merry Christmas at the Emerson house…….

November 28, 2005

Time out for a bit of braggadocio....

I haven't written much about disc golf lately, probably because my game hasn't been worth chronicling! Yesterday morning was an ideal day for disc golf. Yes it was November 27th (Happy 74th Pops!) but the temperature at 7:30am was a balmy 58 degrees. I choose shorts, a tee shirt and a sweat shirt, the sweat shirt was gone by 8:15! The groups course of choice for fall/winter disc golf is a track that is literally cut through the woods. It provides ideal protection from the wind and the elements and provides visuals like a small white tailed deer that we have seen the last few weeks.

So, I slugged my way through the first nine holes and carded an unimpressive 6 over, 33. When I started the 10th hole by slamming my tee shot off one of several thousand oak trees, I thought the back nine would be reflective of the front. However, a great approach shot and a gimme putt and I carded a par. The next hole, #11, is the postcard hole. The tee box sticks out over a valley about 40 feet below. The basket lies about 300 feet ahead on the other side of the valley. The basket is closely guarded by a giant 100 foot oak and several hundred of it's smaller brethren. When my tee shot left my hand I knew it was a good one. It followed an untraceable path through the branches and planted itself ten feet beyond the hole. An easy putt and it was off to the next hole - things were changing! The next hole is much easier, uphill and most of the trees lie at the end of the shot, at the top of the hill. Again, when it left my hand I knew it was good. Due to the elevation change it is difficult to guess how close it landed, when we arrived we found it lying 6ft to the left of the basket. Three holes into the back nine and I'm -2!! #13 is my hole-in-one hole (see entry from mid February). The pin position yesterday made this another 300 foot hole, but it's all downhill requiring nothing more than a straight drive. Easier said than done! My drive floated about 80% of the way to the hole, hit a tree, rolled a little more, leaving me about a 30 foot downhill putt for bird. I jammed it in the basket! Walking to the 14th at -3 was a very, very good feeling, unbelievable! On 14 and 15 I made relatively routine pars, nothing spectacular. The 16th is perhaps the shortest hole on the course, perhaps 150 feet. However it's all uphill (perhaps 25 feet above the tee pad) and slopes severely right to left. Any tee shot that is the slightest bit to the left is usually a bogey at best. The basket was tucked in a position that put it tightly behind a small grove of trees. Any chance of birdie requires an ideally placed tee shot. Mine was anything but ideal. It reached the top of the hill but was at least 40 feet short. All that stood between my disc and the basket was the tangled grove of trees. I could have taken the safe route and just flicked it out to the right side and left myself a 12ft+ putt for par but I thought, what the heck! A quick flip of the wrist and the APX sliced through the trees, BAM! My forth birdie in seven holes! 17 was another routine par and I blew my putt on 18 carding my first bogey on the back, proving once again I was mortal! In the end a 24, three under par was good enough to win the day at 57 - three over! Thanks Pete, Joe and Rich for allowing me to gloat a little!

November 23, 2005

Giving Thanks

So you are probably wondering, "What does David have to be thankful for?" It's nothing elaborate, but it's more meaningful than words do justice. I have:
- A wonderful, supportive, loving, adorable wife. I'm not sure how I would have gotten even this far without her.
- A beautiful, healthy, vibrant, sensitive son.
- A merciful God who's plan continues to be revealed to me daily.
- Family that supports me, encourages me and worries for me.
- Friends who are there with a smile, a hand shake, a hug, or a simple pat on the back.
- Strangers, who as I said in the past, "…are just friends you have yet to meet".

We will be staying in KC, gathering with the family on this side of the state. Giving thanks that we are all here together, to enjoy the day, each other, and food and cheer.

May each of you be blessed with a Happy Thanksgiving, good health, and much happiness, this year, and all the years ahead.

November 18, 2005

Milestone - 9

Think about your life and try to imagine a nine month period that was both as memorable and yet as tumultuous as February 18, 2005 to November 18, 2005 has been for me, and my family. This is not to say that what has, and is happening to us is unique. I cherish some of the memories and fight to forget many, many others. It's still surreal, at times,I have to remind myself what is actually happening to me.

February 18, 2005: On one hand it could have been yesterday, time ticks by faster and faster as we get older. On the other hand, so many things have happened, it could just as well been a lifetime ago. I feel so different, but remain the same in so many ways. What's in store over the next nine months and beyond? Only God knows. However, I am actually anticipating living through His plan as it is revealed to me on a daily basis. I'm dying, but living and more aware of my surroundings and the little things than at any other point in my life. I am confident that there are many, many days ahead and many, many more memories to make and to cherish.

The "holidays" are here. This has always been my absolute favorite time of the year. From the gathering of family at the Thanksgiving feast, to the joy our children experience each Christmas, it's just so wonderful. This year, and the next and the next will now become even more meaningful for me. Each year I will certainly have much, much more to be thankful for! As for Christmas, the religious aspect, the real meaning of Christmas, will certainly become less blurred with the bombardment of materialism that has become so prevalent.
And so now I look forward to Milestone 12, and 18, and 120…..

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Bible, Hebrews 11:1
Yesterday we made a donation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. As a result of the golf tournament we were able to contributed $16,000. Better than that, due to a current "promotion" our donation was matched dollar for dollar! I can't put into words how good this felt! I cannot say thank you enough to everyone who contributed! We’re counting on all of you for bigger and better results next year and the years ahead!

November 17, 2005


Hope is finding stories like this one;
Read this

Thanks to my wife for looking out for me....

November 11, 2005

Back on Top

We met with Dr. Davis this morning, and again we left much more hopeful! He's good, take my word for it!

Here is the insight:
> 4.64 in the grand scheme of things is not anything to panic about. When compared to where I came from (219) it's not so bad. If I were just a guy off the street and this was my first test, the doctor would likely just put me on a "watch and wait" program, without medications.
> Yes, the up tick in my PSA is not good, but it is also not unexpected. Yes, we/he had hoped we would not have reached this stage so soon, but it is what it is. The cancer cells have basically begun to outsmart the hormone blockers and now we need to make changes.
> Next step is to stop the daily oral blocker. There has been good success in taking this path. In laymen's terms it basically confuses the cells that are starting to get around the hormone blocker and the cells die off, lowering the PSA number. We begin this step today and will follow up with a blood test December 15th to check the progress. If the number comes down, we ride it out as long as possible. It could be successful for many months. If it goes down and then at some time starts back up, we begin the oral meds again. Long term, we try this on/off/on process as long as we can.
> If the PSA number from the December test rises, then we consider going to see a General Oncologist to pursue clinical trials and/or experimental treatments(probably Sloan-Kettering in NYC) That will mean chemo etc., but I'm not going to get ahead of myself. First things first!
As for the title above, it is somewhat misleading, I don't consider myself to be "on top" of anything except perhaps my mental attitude toward my condition. So, after a brief two day funk, I'm back and ready to kick cancer's rear end!

This is an excerpt from the title track of Van Morrison's 1999 album "Back on Top". Many thanks to my friend, my brother Pete for turning me on to this one - an EXCELLENT album that brings back fond memories of strolling the streets Zurich back in March 2000.

How you get there will be anybody's guess
With all the so called trappings of success
Left all the deadbeats on the top of the hill
Too busy raisin' cain
I'm back on the street again
I'm back on the top again

Back on my feet again
I'm back on the street again
I'm back on the top again

November 10, 2005

David kicks off the 1st annual FLHW Golf Tournament!

Conflicts of interest

Hope - Fear
Future - Present
Life - Death
Living - Dying
Happy - Sad
Thankful - Angry
Bitter - Peaceful
Anxious - Calm

I accept that God has stricken me with this, but what I am having trouble accepting are the lack of treatments options! It's been months since I've said this but I would welcome ANY treatment; chemo, radiation etc. ~ light me up from head to toe, nuke me to the edge of death! Just allow me more time here to breathe, to pray, to live, to love……

November 09, 2005

Sooner versus later......

It's not the news we were hoping for at this point. My PSA scores are starting to rise now and though we need to wait until we have seen three consecutive rises, it's not trending very well.

We have an appointment with my Urologist on Friday to discuss….not sure what's next? From what we’ve read there are a few things:
- try a start/stop approach with the pharmaceuticals (on a few weeks, off a few weeks)
- begin chemo and possibly radiation treatments
- look for a clinical trial (though I am not real excited about double blind trials and placebos!!!)

This is definitely one of the low moments…….I'm looking for something to be positive about….not sure what that is right now…..

This really sucks!

November 03, 2005

With trepidation….

In less than sixty minutes blood will be drawn from my arm. The thought of the needle, the feeling of it piercing my skin are personally no cause for a rise in pulse or blood pressure. It's what comes next that fills me with anxiety.

After seven straight months with declining PSA levels, my number went up in late September. My doctor assures me that we have nothing to concern ourselves with until we see three straight test with rising numbers. So when do I panic? After two? Right before the third test?

In a bit of irony, the next test will be December 22nd and the results won't be know until after Christmas. To me, that makes the personal need for this score to be lower all the more important.

It's been a while since I shared this, not sure there would be a more appropriate time than now.
Hail Mary,
Full of grace.
The Lord is with thee,
Blessed art thou amongst women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Holy Mary mother of God,
Pray for us sinners, now
And at the hour of our death.