December 26, 2006

Listen to Clarence....

Remember good old Clarence from "It's a Wonderful Life."?

This is perhaps my favorite Christmas movie, along with "A Christmas Story". The movies are so different in the emotions they provoke: where George Bailey and Clarence make you think, Ralphie and Scott Farcus make you laugh. Also, IAWL can only be seen once a year now, where WTBS runs 24 straight hours of Ralphie and Randy! Fa, rah, rah, rah, rah!!!

Do you remember what Clarence inscribed in the Bible he gave George at the end of the movie? Simple, yet profound:

"No man is a failure who has friends!"

Peace on earth everyone, Merry Christmas and a Happy, Happy New Year!

December 20, 2006

The road behind me, the road ahead.

I started creating a binder the other night to hold notes from Doctor appointments, medical bills, PSA reports, etc. Nothing like waiting two years to get organized!

As I was going through some of the notes it made me realize how far we have come! Hand written notes "PSA = prostate specific antigen". There were a number of notes that were similar, phrases etc. we wrote down at the time that now we are 'experts' on. Hormone Treatment, why surgery is not an option, radiation etc. A strange, somewhat eerie flashback at times.

The most startling note was perhaps the shortest. It was in my handwriting, written with a Sharpie [I couldn't find anything else to write with in the conference room I made the call from]. It was from the day I was told the MRI and Bone scan test results (February 18, 2005), it simply said "Confirmed, it's cancer". As I read this the other night I immediately thought "Did I really need to write this down?" Funny how the mind works....

This post is not intended to be a downer. Just the opposite! It's a follow up to my last and the fact that you never know what lies around the next turn! As I reflected on some of the notes I told Mary later it's amazing how far we have come when dealing with this situation. My PSA number is over three times worse than last year yet I feel 110% better about where we are and what happens next! We have come so far and we have a long road ahead, a journey I look forward to for the most part!

Peace be with you all and Merry, Merry Christmas!!!

December 18, 2006

A four letter word starting with 'H'?

I just re-read my blog from last year at this time, wow what a difference a year makes!!!

Last year my PSA was 7.18 and the thoughts of chemo danced in our heads.
It was an non-eventful Christmas in the Emerson house. Mary and I just went through the motions. It was a scary, stressful few weeks. By early January it was the beginning of a new year and life was so different! This year, my number is MUCH higher yet I find myself calm, relaxed, peaceful, thankful.

The situation from last year is a perfect insight into how I live my life in general and how I've gotten through this ordeal so far. Don't get to stressed by the situation at hand, you never know what tomorrow brings?

It's Hope - The answer to a prayer, the birth of the Christ child, a cure for cancer! You just never know what lies ahead!

December 13, 2006

Two, four, six, eight, who do we.....

OK, you get where I'm going....the new number is in:


Almost half again of last month's 43!!!

Happy Freakin' Holidays!!

(I found some time tonight to post some pictures of the golf tournament. Click here)

December 12, 2006

Mary Christmas

I don't spend a lot of time in this forum discussing her. Why? Maybe that topic and the immediate feelings and emotions that surface hit just a little to close to home?

What can I say, I found, courted, married and remain devoted to my perfect match. Braggadocio aside, I know this doesn't happen very often these days, I realize how lucky we are. We are not perfect, we have flaws like everyone but she is clearly the ying to my yang.

Have I told you she is by my side for every doctor appointment? Yesterday I had my monthly blood draw, Oncologist appointment and Zometa treatment. There she was, as beautiful as ever. Always positive, always encouraging me, always hoping for the best results.

I can only guess what this does to her? The constant worry, pressure, what's next, what if's etc. Everyday I thank God for bringing her into my life, where would I be without her? How the hell would I get through this alone?

Several times during this ordeal we have had what I'll refer to as our "reality" talk. A dreaded discussion where we finally verbalize the "what if's?". You can only imagine the emotions that pour out. When it's over however, it feels good. We are human we have to release from time to time. I feel another one coming at some point over the holidays. However, who knows? When I get my PSA number today or tomorrow, if it's down again or stable, maybe we will glide through the holidays?

She is my angel,
She is my life.
She is my strength,
She is my power.
She is my reason,
She is my everything.

December 06, 2006

Laugh, think, cry

While channel surfing last night I flipped over to ESPN (it's what guys do, I'm sure it's hereditary). During halftime of the game between Oklahoma State and Syracuse (The Jimmy V Classic) they played a speech he made at the 1993 ESPY awards. I remember seeing it in the past, not sure when but based on how it mesmerized me, it had to be before I was diagnosed. In the speech he talked about his philosophy of life while he was fighting cancer. It basically came down to three things that we must do everyday: we must 1) laugh 2) think deeply about something and 3) get emotional about something.

As you can imagine, his second and third are easy for me, finding something to laugh about can be a struggle! I try. I'm not a real uptight person anyway but finding something to laugh about can be hard at times. As I've repeated many, many times here I don't get too high from the highs or too low from the lows.

Brad and I have been laughing a lot together lately. We watch a lot of HGTV at night, there's just no good family shows on TV, a bunch of filth, but I digress. He and I like to make fun of some of the shows, the ones where they take what amounts to junk and "spruce it up and give it some pop"! The discussion usually involves me, in my best British accent: "We'll I found this tree branch down at the curb, I glued some lovely artificial leaves to it to hide the wire. Then I painted it black and I found this lovely lamp shade up in the attic, and now we have a beautiful lamp for above the fireplace"! Do they ever think the lamp shade is in the attic for a reason and the junk is by the curb becasue it's garbage?
-You probably have to be there, it's not that funny but to see him laugh, one of those gut-busting-trying to catch his breath laughs, well it is just priceless. That is what life is all about; to see your child laugh and laugh so hard it almost makes him brings a tear to my eye.

Just by writing this I have completed Jimmy V's three tasks!

Here is more information on the foundation:
One of the most incredible things about this group is this:

The V Foundation for Cancer Research officially announced that effective with its new fiscal year October 1, 2006, 100 percent of all new direct cash donations and net proceeds of events contributed to The V Foundation will be used to fund cancer research and related programs.

What this means is in just 13 years the endowment of the foundation is now covering 100% of the overhead and administrative costs of the foundation. Very impressive!

Thanks for the prompt John, I was struggling to find a topic, this was perfect.
All is well with me. My monthly doctor appointment, blood test and Zometa treatment are Monday the 11th.

November 28, 2006

Ring go the bells, so many bells...

I love it! It's Christmas time. With Thanksgiving falling so early, I find this somewhat strange because it's not even December yet?

I spent the weekend with a paint brush and roller in hand. Our basement really needed a new coat of paint and so after 3 days, 17 hours, 5 college football games, two NFL games I'm done! None of our Christmas decorations are up but wow does our basement look good!

No updates of the health front, even after all the standing, bending over etc. my back and legs feel great. I even managed to sneak in three rounds of disc golf between last Wednesday and Saturday. The weather here was great, no coats required, just jeans and long sleeve t-shirts.

I've added a new link to the right. It takes you to "Objective: a Healthy Eric". He's a friend of a friend. He's dealing with a different cancer, in a different way....his posts are very emotionally honest to say the least. Check it out when you have a chance...

November 21, 2006

Gone but never forgotten

A very dear friend of our family passed away today. She had battled cancer for over thirteen years. She and her husband have been friends with my parents for at least thirty years.

Over the past month I thought about her at least three or four times. Each time I was driving to/from work and thought I need to call her. I had heard she had been going through a rough patch and things werent looking real promising. Due to distractions at work, or when I arrived home, I never made the time to place the phone call. I really wish I could have said goodbye. She was a sweetheart.

In the latter years of my Moms life, she always helped out at dinner parties, etc. that Mom and Dad would have for work.

Or when they traveled together to conventions, she always made sure Mom was included, even though her mobility was limited. She had reached out to me when I was first diagnosed. Its been almost two years since she called, I can still hear her telling me, Ive been fighting cancer for eleven years now, you need to be strong, be positive and don’t ever give up.

To her husband I can only say, "Roger, know this, she may be gone but shell never be forgotten. She touched a lot of people, in a positive way. She was a beautiful, kind person and Mary and I feel incredibly blessed to have known her."

November 17, 2006

Cuarenta tres sesenta uno!

Spanish never sounded so good!!

43.61 - that was the result of my PSA test on Monday. Down another twenty percent in three weeks time!!

Additionally, the blood tests that were done to make sure my new meds are not negatively impacting my kidneys and liver all came back normal, which was great news as well. We will continue to monitor this closely, along with the PSA #. I had my third Zometa infusion and this time I experienced no bone pain afterwards. I am hopeful that this will continue to be the case going forward.

As the Oncologist said Monday…"Full Steam Ahead"!

Looks like we're going to slide through the holidays without having to even think about chemo!!
I'm hoping we glide right though Spring, through 2007 and beyond.

Since I like to tie music into my posts, here's a little Janes Brown....everybody with me now: "I feel good, na-na-na-na-na, I feel nice, like sugar and spice...."

I've mentioned the stress of work here a number of times lately. IT has provided me with a good distraction while awaiting test results. We launched the product on Monday. It has been an awesome experience. I am privileged to work with some really great people! This morning I had the opportunity to do a demo for our CEO and his lead team. The demo went without a hitch and was well received.

I have always been a very even tempered person. Emotionally I don’t fluctuate a lot day to day, week to week. The same holds true when dealing with stress. At times I get the impression this kind of freaks my boss out a little bit. Last week, as we were preparing for Launch Monday, we ran into several critical issues. My demeanor didn’t change a bit. Inside I was a going nuts, Friday afternoon was perhaps the most stressful work related situation I have experienced in many years. Perhaps it's the cancer? You see, at the end of the day, how I perform and how that impacts my career just aren’t that important to me. Don't get me wrong, I busted my butt on this project, giving 110% at all times, but what I think I have discovered is, I don't get stressed out because at the end of the day, in my life, there is something just a little more important. I'm not sure if this all makes sense, but that's my story, I'm sticking to it.

I was reviewing the posts of the last week and as I reread my post of 11-12, I was concerned that the message might be interpreted incorrectly. It was a risk at the time to post those thoughts. I feel that I should follow up with this; I was not at all being judgmental. My point, and the only point I intended to make was that my hope for those close to me, as well as everyone reading this; DON'T WAIT UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE. Again, change is difficult, I know that and have lived it. My only point is you can be forced to change or you can choose to change!! I wish I would have made a change on my own terms, regarding leading a healthier lifestyle.

November 14, 2006

Hold it right there.....

Whether it is at our recent golf tournament or at last night's poker event, I continue to be overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of friends and strangers.

Thirty two players attended our first 'Texas Hold 'em' event last night at Johnny's Tavern here in Overland Park. I was a little concerned leading up to the start of the event. We didn't request an RSVP. In fact, by yesterday afternoon, I was stressing a bit...picturing myself sitting at a table with the other members of the FLHW Board playing poker. Don't get me wrong, the Board is an exceptional group of people, I was just hoping we would have a great turnout for the event!

Never, ever doubt the willingness and desire of others to help out. Due to last night's event, we will be increasing our donation to the Prostate Cancer foundation by an additional $1,500! This amount will also be matched, dollar for dollar. This brings the total donation, with matched funds to $3,000 for poker, $40,000 for golf and a grand total of $43,000!

In the last week there have been a number of stories in the news regarding innovative treatments being tested with success as well as existing clinical trials that continue to show great promise. Being able to support the Prostate Cancer Foundation and knowing these funds are supporting these very trials encourages us to be strong and have hope that better options are in our future.

One thing I don’t talk about too often is that the treatment choices regarding PC are not really concrete. In my case, it's pretty straight forward, as there are limited options at this time, but in other cases, particularly those that are caught early, one could go see ten doctors, five would recommend surgery, five radiation. There are just no absolutes. Every case is different. I offer words of advise to those newly diagnosed, regardless of the your research and get as many opinions as you need to before you are comfortable with your treatment protocal. Because there are not absolutes in PC treatment, follow your intuition. It has not failed us yet!

Please add RT to your prayer list. He's a friend/co-worker that was recently diagnosed with PC. It was caught early but, but there are still decisions to be made. He is currently contemplating surgery or radiation treatments as mentioned above. Once again, please add him to your prayer list. I've added him to mine!

November 12, 2006

Reflections of, the way life used to be….

It’s Saturday, November 11th. I write this from my brother Doug’s hunting cabin in Macon, MO.

The six other guys I’m up here with have been out hunting since about five o’clock this morning. We actually saw snow flakes last night. Winter harkens at the door.

A brisk, autumnal day opens with a clear cloudless sky. It’s a beautiful morning. The temperature dropped to about twenty-seven over night. It is supposed to climb to forty-five by this afternoon.

I would call this place a ‘hunting lodge’ but once you see it you realize it’s really just a house, that happens to be inside of a barn. In the twelve months since these guys bought the place they have conducted an unbelievable transformation. What was once a metal barn for farm equipment has become a four bedroom, two bath home. I’ll try to include a few photos.

While the others are out hunting, I am provided with a little alone time. I’m not sure when the last time I was away from home and Mary and Brad and alone for a few minutes? Perhaps Sweden? Of course my mind immediately begins to think about PC. Being out here so close to nature, so close to God, I can’t help but thinking, “I don’t want to die”. (Sorry Mary, I’m not any more or less concerned than I have been for the past twenty-one months, I’m just capturing my thoughts as I let the beauty of the world engulf me). I have to beat this, there is no option. Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but as I have said here many times before, I’m not giving in, I will always continue this battle. Knock me down, I’ll get back up. Kick me while I’m down, I’m coming back. And so the battle continues.

At the same time I’m somewhat befuddled? I look at some of the people closest to me and I ask myself why they haven’t changed? I would never say anything to them directly, but I guess I am doing so by writing this blog? I want them to wake up and start taking care of themselves. I don’t want them to wait until something like cancer ‘happens’ to them before they change. I wish they would eat better, do a little exercise, maybe have a few less drinks now and then. Listen, I fully realize without PC I’d be right there with them; eating poorly, doing no exercise, drinking too much. The reality is I do have PC, I have changed, I pray that they make some change, even a little one. In the end we’re all human, change is hard, I love them no less.


Today would have been Grandma’s one hundred and first birthday. I miss her, I miss her blue eyes. I will forever thank her for mine.

Today is also Veterans Day. With great reverence I pay my respects to Pop’s, Rich, Scott J. and all veterans in our country.

November 09, 2006

Feeling Kooky and a Provenge update

I just realized it's been a week or so since I posted.

That's good news because there are no updates! I'm feeling great, no aches, pains etc.

My next appointment is Monday; blood test, Zometa treatment, discussion with Dr. H. etc.

Work is crazy! We are launching a new product on Monday. I have spent the last 12 months or so working on this service and there are a million little things to wrap up! I thrive in this environment, it's stressful but very exciting!

Here's a new band you should check out: The Kooks
They are UK based, good stuff!!!

Dendreon lauds new tests of prostate-cancer drug
By Luke TimmermanSeattle Times business reporter
Dendreon said Wednesday that its prostate-cancer drug performed significantly better than a placebo, based on preliminary results from a clinical trial of men with early stage disease.

The study examined whether Dendreon's Provenge could extend the time it takes for PSA scores to double in 176 men. For doctors, the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) is a key measurement of disease activity. Some studies have suggested that if patients have a slower PSA doubling time, they are likely to live longer.

The Seattle biotech company has not presented detailed results at a medical meeting but plans to do so. On a conference call with analysts after its earnings announcement, Dendreon said patients on Provenge had a 35 percent increase in PSA doubling time, compared with patients on placebo.

Side effects of Provenge included fever, chills and headache that lasted one to two days, similar to results from earlier studies.

Dendreon said it will follow the patients for years, to see if Provenge can provide a survival edge, as it did in a study of patients with late-stage disease.

"We are extremely pleased with the outcome," Dendreon Chief Executive Mitchell Gold said.
Dendreon stock rose 5 percent after the news, to close at $5.47 a share.

Charles Duncan, an analyst with JMP Securities, called the results "medically interesting." He said it will strengthen the company's case that Provenge is safe, stimulating the immune system as intended and slowing the disease.

Duncan, whose firm has done investment banking for Dendreon, said the results could help Provenge reach a larger group of patients, with early and late-stage forms of the disease.

"It's good data," Duncan said. "If they hadn't gotten this, the FDA [Food and Drug
Administration] would have been scratching its head about what's going on with this drug."
Gold said the company remains on track to submit its complete Provenge application to the FDA by year-end.

The FDA has considered, but not allowed, companies to make marketing claims about a prostate-cancer drug's efficacy based on PSA doubling time. It prefers the gold-standard measurement of patient survival.

October 27, 2006

The monkey takes a break.....

For the past few days things have been a wee bit anxious. I had blood drawn on Wednesday and we have been waiting on pins and needles since.

Mary and I are apparently becoming old pro's at this, we talked about it briefly at lunch the other day, but we know where we are on the roller coaster, why go over it again and again. Maybe we should talk about it more, however after all these years of marriage, like most couples, there is a lot of non-verbal communication.

Have I strung you along long enough? Here is the news; my latest PSA is 51.48. Four weeks ago it was 83.97. While 51.48 is not very good in the grand scheme of things, it does represent a decrease of almost 40%!!! In addition, all my other blood, liver measurements are normal!

Next step, keep taking the combination of Ketoconazole and Hydrocortisone. Then I'll have a new blood test and Zometa treatment #3 on November 13th. If the numbers down, we keep on keeping on. If they go up, then we discuss with the doctor's if we give it another month or jump right into chemo. I was left with the impression after our last meeting that either way we're off the hook until December.

So goodbye little monkey, get off my back and go stand in the corner for awhile. As a matter of fact, why don’t you just let yourself out and don’t come back!
Today's musical interlude comes from Big Head Todd and the Monsters and their 1993 album "Sister Sweetly". The song is "Circle" and it goes something like this:
As I pick you up,
You drag me down,
As I come to you,
You turn around,
Rise and fall,
Turn the wheels,
'cause all life is a really just a circle…..

October 24, 2006

Looking ahead....

A bad sports analogy but appropriate for these two stories. One is specific to PC and is likely to gain FDA approval and reach the market in the next 12-18 months. The second is longer term in nature and currently being tested only on laboratory mice.
Dendreon Announces New Data Analyses Presented at Prostate Cancer Foundation Scientific Retreat
PROVENGE Significantly Extends Prostate Cancer Specific Survival in Advanced Prostate Cancer
SEATTLE, WA, October 20, 2006 – Dendreon Corporation (Nasdaq: DNDN) today announced that Eric J. Small, M.D., professor of medicine and urology at the University of California, San Francisco presented new exploratory analyses of the Phase 3 Study (D9901) that further support the results observed with the Company's investigational active cellular immunotherapy PROVENGE® (sipuleucel-T) in men with advanced androgen-independent (hormone refractory) prostate cancer.

These data were presented at the Prostate Cancer Foundation's 13th Annual Scientific Retreat held Oct. 19-21, 2006 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Company plans to complete the submission of a Biologics License Application (BLA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prior to the end of this year to seek approval to market PROVENGE.

The analyses presented by Dr. Small showed:
The overall survival benefit does not appear to be due to any imbalances in the treatment arms or the subsequent use and timing of chemotherapy. As published in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the Phase 3 Study (D9901) demonstrated a median overall survival of 25.9 months in the PROVENGE arm compared with 21.4 months in the placebo arm, or a 4.5 month survival difference. For these men, there was a 41 percent overall reduction in the risk of death (p-value = 0.010; HR = 1.71); and

An analysis of prostate-cancer-specific survival showed a median survival of 35.2 months for patients randomized to PROVENGE compared to 23.5 months for patients randomized to placebo, a difference of 11.7 months and a 50 percent reduction in prostate cancer-specific mortality (p-value = 0.002; HR = 2.04).
A link to Dr. Small's slide show presentation is available via Dendreon's web site at

"These and other analyses we have performed further support our BLA filing, which we intend to complete this year," said Mark Frohlich, M.D., vice president of clinical affairs at Dendreon. "We remain focused on the goal of making this active cellular immunotherapy available for the treatment of the many men with advanced prostate cancer who currently have few appealing treatment options available to them."

About PROVENGE (sipuleucel-T)
PROVENGE (sipuleucel-T) is an investigational product that may represent the first in a new class of active cellular immunotherapies (ACIs) that are uniquely designed to stimulate a patient's own immune system. ACIs hold promise because they may provide patients with a meaningful survival benefit with low toxicities. PROVENGE targets the prostate cancer antigen, prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP), which is found in approximately 95 percent of prostate cancers. PROVENGE is in late-stage development for the treatment of patients with advanced prostate cancer. In clinical studies, patients typically received three infusions over a one-month period as a complete course of therapy.

Scientists Say Cancer-Killing Virus Developed
Agence France-Presse | 10.19.2006

SEOUL —South Korean scientists have said they have developed a new genetically altered strain of virus which is highly efficient in targeting and killing cancer cells.

The new therapy developed by the team from Yonsei University uses a genetically-engineered form of the adenovirus, which normally causes colds.

The adenovirus was implanted with a human gene that is related to the production of relaxin, a hormone associated with pregnancy.

When injected into cancerous tumors, the virus quickly multiplies in the cancer cells and kills them, the team said.

The new adenovirus can target only cancer cells and does not harm normal cells, the team said.

Existing viral treatments fail to kill off all the cancerous cells.

“I believe we have found a way to overcome one of the great obstacles to finding a genetically altered viral cure for cancer,” Yun Chae-Ok, one of the researchers, told AFP on Thursday.

Following three rounds of injections, more than 90 percent of cancer cells in the brains, liver, lungs and womb of mice disappeared within 60 days, the team said.

Clinical tests will be carried out early next year and last 18 months, Yun said.

The research results were published in the October 18 edition of the prestigious bimonthly Journal of the National Cancer Institute in the United States.
Copyright 2006 Agence France-Presse

October 20, 2006

20 Months and counting

For those of you in KC, have you been outside today? I should be on the course (ball or disc!!) We have a good chance of rain tomorrow so it may be two weeks in a row without playing.
Any Cardinal fans out there? How 'bout them Birds!! I was jumping around our bedroom like a fool last night!! Mary and Brad thought I was nuts! I don’t know what was more exciting, Molina's homer in the ninth or watching as the $14 Million dollar 'Cardinal Killer' Carlos Beltran's knees buckle on a called strike three!!! Nothing like a guy making one fortieth of your salary striking you out looking in the bottom of the ninth, with the bases loaded! It was classic!!! Now we face the Tigers, I'm not sure we have the pitching to hang with these guys, but then again, I wasn't confident that we could beat the Padre's or the Mets. That's why they play the game.
Day 4 post Zometa treatment #2, nothing to report. Lower back pain, gone. No Advil since Tuesday.
Golf Tournament Update:
Many people have been asking, I was hoping to get all our checks and bills in first to make it 100% official, but what the heck, the cat's out of the bag: WE DID IT!!! We reached our goal of raising $20,000!!! The next step is for the board to meet next week and approve the financials. Even better news is we still have a chance to double the donation. A generous donor to the Prostate Cancer Foundation is matching all donations, dollar for dollar!
Do you like Texas Hold 'em?
Then join us on Monday November 13th at Johnny's Tavern on 135th Street! Click here for all the details.

October 17, 2006

While you're back there....

Yesterday's transfusion went off without a hitch.  Before hand, we briefly met with Dr. H.  He asked if I was experiencing any side effects from the Ketoconazole (I'm not) and how I was feeling in general.  We also discussed the clinical trial at KU Medical Center as those doctor's had sent him a letter after our visit a few weeks back.  He was in favor of us pursuing the trial.  He also told us not to expect too much from next weeks PSA test.  As much as the number fluctuates, it could go up at first.  If it does, the PSA test I have on 11-13 will likely be the final indicator.  If my number is up next week and in November we will proceed to chemo (my thought is as quickly as possible!).  

Being that I was due for my Lupron (Hormone Therapy) shot we made a quick call to Dr. Davis' office and caught Nurse Mel at the St. Luke's office, it happens to be right across the parking lot from Dr. H.

So we killed two birds etc…  This shot is always fun, leaves the gluteus maximus a little sore for two or three days!

"How was your day?" Just a typical Monday, and you?

October 16, 2006

The smell of freshly mowed grass...

One thing that has changed throughout this crazy journey is my diet.  I've touched on it briefly from time to time, but never provided very much insight.  If you have any interest in what changes I have made, to maintain a more healthy weight, here is a list of the foods that are now staples in my diet:

- gala apples
- baby carrots
- sushi (just the fish on rice, with wasabi!!)
- Pad Thai with chicken and shrimp, medium spicy
- grilled Salmon and most any grilled fish
- asparagus, anyway but raw
- broccoli (steamed)
- raisins
- pasta. (I always loved pasta, now I avoid the white sauce and use no cheese)
- chicken…..did I mentioned chicken, and then there is chicken.

This diet limits our options with the exclusion of beef, pork and dairy, but when you are married to "the woman with 10,000 recipes", it never gets boring.

I mowed the grass this weekend for the first time in almost two years.  In the spring of 2005 we decided to have our fifteen year nephew mow for us.  He liked earning some cash, and I needed one less thing to strain my back.  Well he was out of town this week-end and I have been feeling great for the last ten days, so I thought I'd give it a whirl!  I'm glad to report I had no issues with pain later on Saturday or Sunday!!  This may appear to be no big deal but it is a rather significant step.  No, I'm not for hire…..

In approximately 3 1/2 hours I'll be in the process of being injected with my second treatment of Zometa.  The treatment itself is nothing; a small bag of fluid (maybe 12oz?) provided intravenously.  The whole process takes less than thirty minutes.  What followed last time was not so easy.  Three to four days after the infusion I had pain in my ribs for a few days and then pains in my legs for about a week. Though the pain was relatively mild, and easily controlled by Advil, it was accompanied by an increased level of mental stress.  She doesn't mention it, but I can tell it weighs heavily on Mary's mind.  For me, it just causes second guessing about what's really going on inside my body.  Is it the Zometa working? Is it a sudden turn for the worse? Etc..

Having gone through this four weeks ago, a least we will know what to possibly expect.

If it is a side effect of the Zometa, that is fine. The Zometa is strengthening the areas of bone that have been compromised by the cancer cells.

October 09, 2006

Still looking for my Kryptonite...

…and I pray I never find it!!!

First, let me be clear, I am not saying I am Superman.  What I am saying is this, I am experiencing no side effects after one week of the new drug regime.  Zero nausea, no additional fatigue, I'm not any more tired than usual.  I'm just praying that the drugs are actually working, I'd like to keep chemo at bay for as long as possible.

It's Fall.  The trees are changing here in Kansas City.  It happened real fast this year, at least it seemed like it to me.  One week it was 95 degrees, the next week the trees are yellow, orange, red, etc..  As I posted before, I love Fall, but prefer Spring.  It's just that Fall, with it's beauty fades too fast and leads into the doldrums of Winter. Spring is about new life, the return of the beauty of nature and so on.  I hope to find the time this coming weekend to get outside in the woods to enjoy the colors, I hope we have a good weather weekend ahead.

I spent this past weekend working on projects around the house and playing disc golf, twice.  It was a small crowd this weekend, but I played remarkably well after taking two weeks off.  There were only four of us on Saturday and three yesterday, I won both times, throwing a three over par on Saturday and two over yesterday.  Not bad considering I only had one birdie, just a whole lot of pars!  I'm already looking forward to next weekend and it's only Monday!

We should have a final update on the final count of the golf tournament, there are one or two checks still outstanding and the details of the golf course invoice are in the mail.  In the end, I'm pretty certain we will make our goal of $20,000 donation to PCF (to be matched dollar for dollar via the Prostate Cancer Foundation).

October 04, 2006

Yet another shameless plug!!

I finally got a video tape of my second television appearance from back in August.
It was August 10 and this is from 'Kansas City Live'. It will be permanently linked to the right, or you can view it right from this post. Just click on the arrow.

October 02, 2006

I want a new drug, one that won't hurt my head....

Never did like that Huey Lewis song, but in the name of spontaneity, it was the first thing I though of….

First and foremost, medical update.
Mary and I just returned from KU Medical Center where we met with Dr's Van and Helz, two very, very nice chaps. We were both very impressed, and both of us liked their personalities, bedside manner and progressive approach to treating my case. We are seriously contemplating transferring to them as our primary oncology team.

1) They agreed that starting the Ketoconazole was a reasonable next step - they also minimized in our concern with the risk to the liver as a side effect. It occurs in few cases. My monthly blood test for PSA will now include other analysis that will indicate any potential impacts to my liver. If indications result in concern that my liver is adversely effected, I will stop the Ketoconazole. The potential damage to the liver is not permanent. They were clear however, that because the hormone blockers were only effective for 18 months, the possibility of long term success with Ketoconazole is pretty low. However, every case is different, so we all agreed to proceed. I’ll start taking the Ketoconazole and Hydrocortisone tonight followed by a PSA and liver screening in 4 weeks. If my numbers come down, we'll reassess and run the same tests several weeks later. If my number does not come down, we'll likely go directly to #2 below.

2) We discussed a number of clinical trials, standard treatments, etc. These two doctors were more in step with current trials and leading edge treatment protocols, than any doctors we have met with yet (no offense to anyone, they work in a research hospital, they should be!) The good news is the one trial that Mary and I have had the most interest in (Taxotere and DN-101, a concentrated vitamin D compound) is within weeks of being brought to KU Medical Center. The nearest other location is St. Joseph, Mo or Columbia, MO. 90 minutes and 120 minute drives, respectively. The timing could work out to be perfect. It is NOT a placebo controlled study , but there is a control group. What that means is , if I am selected, I'll know it right away because the control group has the standard treatments every three weeks and the trial group gets the Taxotere/DN-101 treatments weekly. Only time will tell.

So we have started a new regimen and a new chapter in our battle against this horrible disease. We ask for your prayers that it will be effective in managing the growth of the cancer cells and have hope that we are on a path to remission.

The Golf Tournament was a tremendous success. We were blessed with beautiful weather and a crowd of 140 golfers, four short of a full field, due to a few last minute cancellations. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves while supporting a very worthy cause. We still have a few bills to pay and checks to deposit so I should have the final tally before the weeks is over. If we don't reach our goal of a $20K donation to PCF, we will be REAL close!

I owe so many people thanks and recognition but I think I'll save that for another post. I cannot adequately articulate my gratitude to all the players, volunteers, sponsors, friends and family that made this day possible.

The days leading up to the tournament were very hectic with last minute details, coupled with family and friends in town all weekend, Mary and I were wiped out by last night , but it was a 'good tired'. It may take us a day or two to fully recover!

September 27, 2006

Like I needed this, now

83 - that's my PSA number from Monday. The doctor wanted me to start 1,200mg of Ketoconazole and Hydrocortisone immediately. We are going to wait until after Monday when we have a meeting with a group of doctors at the University of Kansas Medical Center for a second opinion. If the above drugs aren't successful in getting my PSA back down, the next step is chemo. Kytocerasol can be very hard on your liver we want to be double sure that this other group of doctor's agrees.
I'm numb. Work is unbelievably busy the past few weeks and with all the efforts going into the golf tournament I'm exhausted. I also started getting some pain in my legs. This time it is both sides, mostly my thigh bone, not the joint like a few weeks ago. It is likely a side effect from the Zometa, Advil is working for now. It had better not impede my golf swing!
Peace be with all of you!! Through all of this I find time to realize; life is wonderful and I'm currently having the time of my life. I love being busy, just ask Mary! Like my dad I can't sit still for a minute, always the busy bee!

September 25, 2006

Golf Tournament Live Auction List

As I mentioned a few posts ago, here is a list of items that will be included in the 'Live' auction after our golf tournament.  Let me know if you have any interest.

Here is what we have:
- Autographed Albert Pujouls Baseball
- Autographed George Brett Baseball
- Seat back from Busch Stadium, seat #6, autographed by #6 Stan Musial (On a wooden frame, ready to mount)
- A replica putter autographed by Arnold Palmer
- 8x10 color photo of Lance Armstrong, autographed, framed and matted
- A weekend for two in San Francisco (2 Nights at the Downtown Hilton, up to $500 in airfare)

September 22, 2006

Tonight, tomorrow and beyond

Tonight Mary, Brad and I are headed to the post ride event for "Sunflowers to Roses" ( This is a local KC cycling group that raises money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and other cancer related causes. Each year they have a post ride event and present their 'Carpe Diem Award', which honors those who, 'Seize the Day'. Though I was nominated, which I appreciated, I did not win the award. We were asked to attend as VIP's. Brad thinks it's pretty cool. Details later.

Tomorrow, and pretty much the rest of the weekend will be spent in preparation for next Friday's golf tournament. We have to finish printing player handouts and stuffing 144 player bags. The actually stuffing is real quick, the prep takes some time. I just pray next Friday is as beautiful as today. It was one of those fall days kissed by God's lips….I should be playing golf today!!

Last night I attended my second PC support group meeting. As I wrote back in June, the room consisted of 50 men my dad's age and older. I went primarily to give one of our hats to the AstraZeneca representative for his help getting us a sponsorship for the tournament. The scheduled guest speaker sounded interesting as well; a local Urologist who has Prostate Cancer. Well, he didn’t show up. He was apparently still at the hospital. The meeting turned into a Q&A with the nurse practitioner and was somewhat interesting. However, at the end of the meeting she stopped the group and said "You know it's been about six or seven months since we talked about this, we see the Susan B. Komen information everywhere, what are we doing about Prostate Cancer? What are any of you doing about it?"

It was like I was invited to be there...hello? Do I have a story for you people! I briefly told them about myself, the foundation, golf tournament, the amount of money raised last year, this year's goal and that we had bigger ideas in mind. Our next step is something bigger, like a race/walk. "Would any of them be interested?" I'll cut this short, but I left feeling like there were at least 40 men in that room that were just waiting for something like this, waiting for someone to take the lead and push them into the pool.

Remember what I said way back in the Spring of 2005 - "I didn't get cancer, it was given to me" I thought I knew why and this just reinforced my suspicion. I may have just stumbled upon another reason, a crowd, a group of men suffering from the same dreaded cancer, looking for a reason to get involved, to do more. If they are willing to sit around a lecture hall one night a month and discuss the disease, the tests, the treatments, the side effects, the whole sorted mess, perhaps they will do more? Now I just need to find the appropriate way to motivate them to take that passion to the streets, to do more, to tell these same stories to others.

I might as well dream big people, at times there isn’t much else to dream about.

September 19, 2006

Get by with a little help from my friends.....

A very good friend, that I met becasue of this blog, needs your help.
John W. (a link to his blog is at the right) is participating in the Light The Night Walk. It is one of the major fundraisers that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) has each year (at many locations around the country). John will be participating in the local walk in Austin at the Dell Diamond on October 28, 2006.

John has set a personal goal to raise $1,500, please do what you can to help him reach his goal!!!

He didn't ask for my help, so let's not tell him!!!!

Click here to supoprt John W.

September 18, 2006

You say Zometa, I say Zamoto

We went to the Oncologist's office this morning. I received my first Zometa infusion. Nothing eventful to report.
I may experience some aches, much like to flu. 4 hours later, I'm fine so far!

Played disc golf Saturday. I really wanted to test my leg. I played pretty bad...I'll just use my leg as an excuse.
I was careful not to throw too hard or put too much strain on it, so I had to alter my technique. It was fun, hadn’t seem some of the guys in over three weeks. Later Saturday and even Sunday morning I required no Advil. In fact, my leg felt better AFTER I played. No changes since.

The preparation for the FLHW golf tournament continues. We are sold out! 144 golfers, a number of sponsors and a huge raffle. In addition we have 8-10 items for a live auction including a weekend for two in San Francisco! I'll provide complete details in the next few days. If you're not playing and want me to be your proxy, let me know after you see the list! The list of companies and individuals we need to thank continues to grow. At this point I just hope we make our goal of $20K for the Prostate Cancer Foundation!!! They currently have a wonderful matching program from a very generous supporter, who is a PC survivor. He will match the donation dollar for dollar, so we actually could be looking forward to a $40,000. donation! Making this type of donation reinforces my hope for better treatments and a cure for this horrible disease.

September 11, 2006


I was at work when I received a call. A friend told me, "A plane just hit the World Trade Center! No, I think it's a commercial airliner!". I don’t remember much else about work that day, standing around, looking at the television monitor, wondering if they were going to do the same in KC, St. Louis, Chicago, etc.

Five years, I can’t believe how fast it went by and how much things have changed. The world is so different, my life is so different. Brad is twice as old as he was at that point. We shielded him from it, at five it was very difficult to explain why someone would hijack a plane and fly it into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and White House (where flight 93 was rumored to be headed). It’s hard to explain to a five year's hard to explain to a forty year old!

God Bless America
I'm all but certain I fell into the mental trap of relating every ache and pain back to cancer. While the pain in my hip and into my leg was exaggerated by the cancerous cells in my hip, I believe it was caused by my overzealous attempt to exercise in St. Louis, by taking a quick run on my Dad's tread mill. Since the pain flair Wednesday afternoon, I have taken it very easy. Not a disc was thrown over the entire week-end! I have only taken Advil twice since Friday and gave up the heating pad then as well. I worked out this morning from the waste up and played golf this afternoon. Although I was cautious, I was able to play and enjoyed the afternoon on the course. Lesson learned - I have to take it a bit easier. (Not an easy lesson for me!) We hope that when I begin the Zometa, the areas of bone that are compromised by the cancer will be filled in and strengthened. My first infusion will be on Monday, September 18th.

September 08, 2006

Me, wearing less than my birthday suit!

It's kind of weird to post this, but aren't some of my other posts weird as well?

At the left is a copy of my most recent bone scan. The black spots on my left rib cage and hip (right side on the scan) are the ones of most concern. Not all the dark areas are bad; look at my skull, knees and shoulders for example, those are shadows. It's strange there is a noticeable area on my left hip but the pain I've been experiencing is on my right side? I've read and experienced it many times, there is a tendency for those who have cancer to attribute every ache and pain to the cancer! Perhaps it is a muscle pull?

Leg update: the past two days have been much better. Thanks to the advice from the nurse, I started taking Advil as soon as it starts acting up. Apparently Advil can take up to forty five minutes to kick in and I was obviously waiting far to long before taking it. Sleep the last two nights has been worse, more tossing and turning, the only position I can find comfort is flat on my back. I've completely skipped working out the past two days as well to make sure I do nothing to aggravate the area.

My first Zometa treatment is now scheduled for the 18th and my next blood test the 25th. Followed up by a doctor appointment on October 16th and my second Zometa treatment the same day.

Brad turns 10 tomorrow!!! It's amazing how time flies...I love him so much...

September 06, 2006

Doctor, Doctor give me the news....

We met with my new Oncologist this morning and there is some good news, no chemo for now.  He apparently has more direct experience with Prostate Cancer than our previous Oncologist and would like to try a few more things before we proceed to chemo.

Step 1 - stop taking Casodex again, test my blood in two weeks and then again four weeks later.
Step 2a - if this works, ride it out again and see how long we can keep my PSA in check.
Step 2b - if not, before chemo try one more drug that has shown some limited success:
Ketoconazole (Nizoral) Produce response similar to that of antiandrogens. Inhibit a variety of cytochrome P-450 enzymes, including 11beta-hydroxylase and 17alpha-hydroxylase, which in turn inhibit steroid synthesis.

We need to do some additional research on the drug, one of the main things it prescribed for is "anti-fungal"? However, if we proceed and we see positive results from Ketoconazole, again, ride it out for as long as we can.  If we don't see the results we are looking for, well then we cross the chemo bridge. 

According to the doctor, there is no risk in six to eight weeks versus now. If  the bone metastasis was extremely aggressive, we'd begin right away.  But since my recent scans show only a slight  increase in activity we agreed with his recommendation to at least try this regimen first.

The bottom line is chemo is off, once again, for at least 6 weeks, 8 weeks, maybe longer?  On one hand it's a tremendous relief to us both.  On the other hand we have left the station for another ride on the emotional rollercoaster!  The stress of this cannot be conveyed via this blog.  It's constant, it's a burden, it's something we deal with constantly….in between holding down a job, raising a son, running a foundation……breathing…..

We are going to proceed with the Zometa treatments.  This is a drug used with Osteoporosis to help strengthen bones.  In prostate cancer patients (advanced) it helps fill in the areas the tumors may have weakened.  It a fifteen minute procedure give via IV.  This will commence on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

We discussed the leg pains.  After work yesterday they were pretty bad.  The sofa, the heating pad and 800mg of Advil and an hour later I was fine.  Last night I slept very well again as well.  This morning I was able to work out without an issues (upper body only).  He moved and bent my leg and asked me if it hurt?  Of course it didn’t at that time, he thought perhaps I pulled a muscle?  As you'll see, I'm not sure I agree with that diagnosis?

I decided to work from home today.  Everything was fine until about 12:15 when it began to hurt, the heating pad didn’t help, neither did the dose of Advil at 1:30.  By 2:00 I was laying on our bed in agony, it was so bad I couldn't call the doctor.  It did subside enough that twenty minutes later I called and left a message with the nurse.  By 3:00 I was able to do some work. I moved to the couch because it seems to be more comfortable overall and things have been good since (three hours).

I'm not sure what we'll do about the leg?  It's weird that it comes and goes?  Perhaps one on the tumors is pressing on a nerve?  I wonder if radiation is in order?  I hope to doctor calls back soon, I don’t want another flair up tonight….or ever!  That was perhaps the worse pain I have experienced in a long time, in my lifetime.

September 05, 2006

Slight Pain Redefined

What began as a slight discomfort in St. Louis had turned into out right pain.  It had completely gone away by Sunday morning so I played disc golf with my brother-in-law.  We both shot 1 over par and I did so with not even a twinge. However, by mid-afternoon Sunday I was hurting.  I tried Aleve but it provided no relief.  By Sunday after dinner I was on the couch with a heating pad on my leg. Four Advil later it was bearable. 

Sleeping on the other hand was a task.  Mary and I were both up from about 2:30 to 4:00am.  Monday morning was somewhat better and I was able to last until noon before I had to reach for the Advil.  Last night I must have found the one position on my side that relieved the pain and was able to get a good nights sleep.

I was able to work out (no leg exercises at all) and am doing ok this morning as I work from home.  Tomorrow at 8:30 we meet with the new Oncologist.  We also did receive a call from the previous Oncologist regarding clinical trials, etc. at MD Anderson or Sloan Kettering.  Her message indicated that both doctors she talked to were also of the opinion that the Taxotere regimen is the best next step.  My guess is, upon leaving tomorrows meeting, we will receive confirmation again that the chemo treatment will begin the following week.  We will also inquire about the pain and the need for any radiation treatments.  Im not sure why but Im less concerned about chemo than radiation?  It just sounds nasty?!

September 01, 2006

A brief update

Yes, I'm wearing them! (for those of you who might not get it right my wife...refer up to the title!)
OK, I admit it, it's not that funny!

The nurse called yesterday with the results of Wednesday's test. The CT scan is still clear, no activity in organs, lymph nodes etc. The bone scan showed no new areas but a slight uptake in activity in several areas, mostly around both hips. WIth my PSA rising as it has, this is not unexpected. Also, this probably accounts for the slight pain I have been having in my left thigh. That and the fact I ran 1.3 miles on my Dad's tread mill yesterday. (Mary is NOT happy!!!) No more tread mill or running for me. No more exercise bike, per my Urologist (it can really screw up PSA readings). This leads to two things: anyone want to buy a practically brand new Schwinn stationary bike? It comes with an extended warranty, less than 6 months old, programmable, it's very nice!!? Second, any ideas on a good low/no impact cardio workout?

The family in St. Louis is fine. We even got to spend a few hours with my sister and brother in law from Ohio on Wednesday night and Thursday morning before they drove home. We attended a very nice service for Grandma. The flowers were beautiful. She would have definitely approved. She loved flowers. As time passes and our focus adjusts from loss to comfort in many wonderful memories of her, we will be content that she had a wonderful, full life and we are very fortunate to have been a big part of it.

Eleven of us went out for dinner last night. As typical of most familes, our diversity showed in the food we ordered: steak, chicken spedini, grouper, canneloni and pasta con pollo for me. It was a beautiful night, we sat outside at a small restaurant in the Soulard area. On the way home we drove by the new Busch Stadium (where the Cardinals were beating the Marlins!!), it's a beautiful stadium at night, even from the limited views we had. I wish we had enough time to take in a game. I need to take Brad to a night game there Of the previous games that we have attended at Busch, they were always day games.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!!!

August 29, 2006

A slight delay

This afternoon Mary and I met with my Urologist, a.k.a., the worlds greatest doctor (WGD). We discussed my rising PSA numbers, tomorrow's scans and the plan for chemo next week. He agreed with everything, including our concern about starting chemo on Tuesday. While we acknowledge that chemo is inevitable, we want to make sure we select the most effective protocol possible. The doctor affirmed that pursuing chemotherapy now, while I am still in good shape - strong, both physically and mentally, will lend itself to a more successful result from the regimen.

Additional updates we are considering...though my PSA number went up to 54.66 on August 18th, when we met with our oncologist last week and had another blood test on 8.23, it was down to 41.77. Still high, but a 24% fluctuation. Additionally, she is moving to another office located in north Kansas City. She is staying with the same group, but the location is not practical for us. With her departure, she will be transferring us to a peer in her practice, a doctor we have yet to meet. (I'm not real comfortable walking in there Tuesday and meeting him for the first time as he injecting me with Taxotere). WGD called the new oncologist while we were there and posed the question of potential clinical trials that might offer potential benefit to my situation. He agreed that we should meet to review the latest scans, PSA results and potential trials.

Another issue is there are a few clinical trials we would like to investigate before we move forward. Both include using Taxotere, but they combine the chemotherapy (Taxotere) with other 'ingredients'. Our thought is, as long as the study includes the standard, bench mark treatment, we'd consider it. Both of these do. The only issue so far is one is in Columbia, MO (two hours away) the other in St. Louis, MO (four hours away). In both cases it appears the treatment regimen is weekly for three weeks, then one week off. This would require a lot of travel and time away from work. Perhaps they could be administered here in KC? We're not sure if that is even an option.

So our next step is to receive a call from the current oncologist Friday. She will have the results of tomorrow's scans and also update us on potential trials at MD Anderson and Sloan Kettering. If cancer activity is captured on the scans, chemo is definitely the next step. What still remains to be determined is what, where and when?

August 28, 2006

Billy Joel was just plain wrong!!

"Only the good die young"? Oh how wrong you were Mr. Joel!

We got a call this morning that we knew was coming. As much as you prepare yourself mentally, it just really hurts when it comes to fruition. My Grandmother passed away this morning.

As I've mentioned here before, she was truly a saint. Born in 1905 she visited King Tut's tomb via steam ship in the 1920's, she lived through the depression, two world wars, and lived for almost forty years after my Grandfather passed away. She will be missed by all. I love her so much. I know she is in heaven, she was sent from there after all.

So, after spending all day being poked, prodded, jabbed and examined, Wednesday night we are off to St. Louis for the services. Then it's back to KC on Saturday for several Labor Day weekend gatherings before T-Day (treatment day).

August 23, 2006

But will it 'Hurt'?

It looks like we've reached the next step. I had blood drawn again today. The doctor just wants to make sure there was no mistaking the 54.66 reading from last Friday. I also have scheduled new bone/CT scans next Wednesday the 30th. The blood test and the scans will determine a baseline.

Dr. Sheehan is going to place calls to both MD Anderson and Sloan Kettering to verify the availability of any clinical trials. If nothing fits my particular case, I will begin Chemo on the 5th of September.

I worry, not for me, but for her. The stress, the concern, the "what if's". I have to do my best to help her focus on what good may come of this. Many side effects COULD happen, none of them might.

And so I go on, a new chapter, a new story unfolds.
The woods of Sweden all ready seem like a lifetime ago…...
Though the song in it's entirety doesn’t necessarily fit the topic, the beginning seems to say it just right:
Johnny Cash
I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

August 22, 2006

Additional thoughts on 54.66

So I get in my car after work, Im driving home, thinking. Thinking I should let out a good cry, I mean after all isn’t that what I should be doing? If you thought yes to that question you need to go back and read more of the thoughts I have shared in the past! However, this really and truly sucks and Im pretty darn ticked off at this point.

Of course Im not going to cry! As a matter of fact the nausea I was experiencing right after lunch passed and I consumed my usual afternoon regiment of carrots, raisins, yogurt, an apple, a Power Bar and, well that was about it. I was able to get through quite a bit of work considering. Mary and I talked a few times. She found one potential clinical trial that combines Taxotere with some type of vitamin-D concentrate. The best part is at a minimum I would receive the same treatment that I would receive if not in the trial. Well see, there is a lot to discuss with Dr. Sheehan tomorrow.

I fight on, again. This is not over. It’s not even close to over. Cancer took the latest round but there are many, many more to come right now I have a feeling Im ahead on the scorecard!

At this point I again can’t help but think of others. There is a little boy in our Parish, Ben. He has eye cancer. They thought they had gotten it all but it has come back. Now they have to remove his eye AND he has to go through 52 weeks of chemo (not so bad for me after all is it!!) Ive never met him but it’s my guess hes one heck of a kid!!

There is a prayer service for him tomorrow night, Im going to try to go. I ask that you add him to your prayers.

The dreaded call....54.66

If you ever find yourself in this position (battling cancer) and the following event happens, be worried, very, very worried:

I had blood drawn for a PSA test on Friday. So today, as I'm having lunch with Mary and Brad (before he starts school tomorrow), the phone rings.

"This is ____ from the doctor's office, she would like to see you at 8:00am tomorrow morning to go over your test results". (She couldn't actually give me the number), "One of the nurses will have to call you back with that information".

Second call: "This is ______ from the doctor's office I have your PSA results, your number has risen dramatically, it is now 54.66. Dr. Sheehan would like to see you tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM".

So now I sit here at my desk trying to fight back the urge to purge my lunch. Sorry, but as you know I don’t hold much back here. I also am fighting the urge to cry and curse and hit something and just curl up for awhile in a dark, quiet place…….

Looks like chemo comes sooner than later.

Like last winter I'm not concerned about the actual treatment regimen, I'll approach it with my usual "bring it on" attitude. It's the fact that we have to face this step…….now - so soon.

Do you think we'll sleep much tonight?~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Novena to Saint Peregrine
Oh great Saint Peregrine, you who have been called "The Mighty" and "The Wonder-Worker" because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you. For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fiber of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favored with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of these sick persons whom we entrust to you.
Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy. Amen.

August 20, 2006

Euro Trip - 'The Open' and the close.

It's Saturday morning, the day of the Open. I'm tired, I need a long hot shower, a large hot meal and a bed, sleep…..

The amateurs started on the Ancient Course (easier of the two, if only slightly). I find my way out the 8th hole where I am paired with two chaps in the "Advanced Am's", Dan (a Brit) and Rutger (from Holland) and Kev (another Brit) who is also competing in the am’s with me. Dan and Rutger were pretty good, Kev had only played a dozen or so times before the Open. I threw an awesome first drive, followed by 71 other shots that were not so good. My putting was horrific. I blame it on exhaustion. While I had shot a 51 in KC the day before we departed, hitting putts from all over the place, I probably left 6+ strokes out on the course today due to poor putting. By no means would I have done as well as Pete's 57 (par), but if I could have hit a few putts, a round in the mid sixties was easily possible.

Like the Modern Course that we played on Friday, this course offered a challenging layout; uphill, downhill, long, short, hyzers, anhyzers, woods, fields, nettles etc. The best part of the round was when Dan offered me the use of his one-man tent on Saturday night. Additionally, he was able to also scrounge up an air mattress as well! Ah, sleep!!!!

After they regrouped the players based on our first round scores, I was paired with the three Brits; 'Richard the 5th' (one of the chaps camping next to us), Tom and Sharon. Richard played better than the rest of us proving his first round score was an anomaly. I shot one stroke better than this morning but continued to struggle with my putter. A perfect example was the long par four 7th hole; I threw a long drive that rolled just into the infamous briar trees. I was able to get off a good second shot and then left my approach about 15ft left of the pin. Doink, and my putt hits the rim of the basket and falls short for a bogey 5. I bogeyed the Hypotenuse, the 8th (800ft, 150ft drop), birdied the 9th, and 12th but continued the Jeckle and Hyde golf that had plagued me since Sweden.

Like ball golf, a large part of this game is mental. Remain positive, think positive, forget bad shots etc. I’m just going to keep repeating the exhaustion excuse. It's my own fault and in the end it didn’t take anything away from the trip, after all how lucky am I to even be here in the first place!!!

At the end of the second round I found myself in 18th out of 25 players. Pete was still holding on to second! I was able to get partially cleaned up using the cold water spigot and the soap and shampoo Mary insisted I take (I'll have to thank her for this as well!!) Dinner was a BBQ (I broke down and had about 6oz of pork before Thomas alerted me to the veggie burgers!!). Thomas was a friend of Joe's from Germany. Born and raised in Long Beach he graduated from UCLA and moved to Germany in 1999 to do support work for the Airforce. He was a pretty cool dude; he raised bee's and harvested honey, was a vegan etc. A free spirit or modern day hippy would be the best description I can come up with at this point [included here with the utmost respect]. We chatted quite a while, he asked about the bracelets and I tried to give him the details. It was the same result as when I tried to talk to Joe in Sweden, I couldn’t get the words out. I told him enough that he understood what was going on but it was again way to emotional for me to talk about it.

By 10pm I've had enough, I can barely stay awake. I find my way into the one-man tent, take off my shoes and slide onto the air mattress. I think I fell asleep in less than a minute (just like home, right Mary?). 6 1/2 hours later I'm awoken by the sound of rain. It was light, more importantly peaceful like you could not imagine. I rolled over and slept three more hours finally getting up around 7:30.

As we rose Sunday it continued to rain. Fortunately I brought a nylon wind jacket that repelled most of the moisture. I made my way to the 14th tee. Actually we stood under the trees by thirteen with the sheep and the chaps that were playing in the group behind us. This group included Joe’s friend Matt. We teed off at 9:00am and as we played the first hole the rain stopped. By the time we finished our 5th hole we were playing is shorts and t-shirts again. It turned into a beautiful partly cloudy day. For me, the sleep paid off, I carded an eight over 65. This was good enough to move me into 10th place. Pete, played good enough to retain fourth place.

We had planned on leaving about 2:00pm in order to get Joe and Matt back to Heathrow for their flight to Paris. The top five players in each division go on to play a 9 hole final, this was to begin at 1:30. Pete was about to inform the tournament Director that he was unable to play when Joe garnered a ride with an English bloke he’d played with earlier in the day. A quick good-bye to Matt and Joe and Pete and I made our way out to the 10th tee for the final 9 holes.

Except for a few long delays for ‘rules’ determinations, nothing eventful happened in the finals. Pete was able to hold his own and finished quite impressively in 4th place!

Pete and I returned to Heathrow taking a route that took us through South Hampton and about 15-20 miles north of the southern coast of England. It was a relaxing drive as we listened to the BBC broadcast of Tiger Woods winning his 11th major, the other British Open. There was a lot of weekend traffic headed back to London and we were parked on the M3 on several occasions for 20-30 minutes. By the time we returned the car and got back to the terminal at Heathrow it was after 9:00pm. Pete found us a place to stay but by the time we dropped our bags and walked to the Pub/Tavern they had stopped serving food. A few pints of Guinness, a quick shower and it was lights out by a little after 11:00pm. The bed could have been made of nails, it didn’t matter. 8 hours of sleep later and I felt a little more like my old self.

We arrived at Heathrow by 10am even though our flight didn’t leave until 2pm. We found an internet terminal and used the time to catch up on email and I believe I even posted an entry here? Our flight was 2 hours late departing because they had to return to the terminal and allow a sick woman off the plane. New rules require that is a passenger departs, so must their luggage. Being that we were on a 747, this took quite a long time to complete. So even before we took off Pete and I are freaking out. Were we had built three hours and forty minutes time in order to get from JFK to LaGuardia, we would now have about ninety minutes. We would also now be required to go to luggage area after the rude female drill sergeant from Virgin made us check our luggage. I did my best to find things to occupy my mind; ‘King Kong’ and ‘16 Blocks’ took up almost 5 hours. The former was terrible on a 7” seatback screen, the latter was your typical Bruce Willis flick, though slightly more entertaining.

Our flight departed LaGuardia at 7:40, we got off the 747 at 6:00. Immigration was a breeze and we were at the luggage carousel by 6:10. At 7:00 our bags final came off the conveyor belt! Forty minutes left….no possible way we would make it. However, thanks to a great cabby, Pete’s impersonation of OJ through the terminal and the wonderful folks at Midwest Airlines we made it.!!! I walked in the house at 10:59pm, did some laundry, took a shower and was off to the Lake 7 hours later. The Lake…..well that’s a whole other story!

And so, this journey like all journeys, must come to an end. Was it worth it? That’s a hard thing to try to evaluate at this point. From a disc golf sense, hell yes it was! We played almost 200 holes of golf in 6 days, on three spectacular courses, we met some really, really good people that we all hope to see again here in the states one day soon. We saw so many things that many people are never fortunate enough to see at all; I thank God once again.

From a personal sense it was good to get away from Cancer. I thought about it a lot less than I normally do and for long periods of time not at all. There were several times when it came up and as I mentioned previously, it was too emotional to discuss. Looking back, it was the thoughts of Mary and Brad that weighed so heavily on me at those moments. I missed them; I wished that they were with me. I really think we were so busy all the time and so taken in by our surroundings and the golf that I was able to forget, if even just for a little while. That alone made it worth it.

Finally, Pete – I could thank you a million times for allowing me to tag along, to intrude and that wouldn’t be enough. Fate brought us together 7 years ago, it’s hard to believe a lifetime of memories can be stuffed into seven short years. While at Rockhurst, each Saturday morning on the course, through all the other BS that has happened in your life and mine and finally while on this trip. Mary is my soul mate, you are and will always be my friend, compadre, my mate (in the British sense) and I love you like a brother. I thank God this evening for your friendship. Let’s do it again next year, but perhaps this time we can stay stateside….I read that Wisconsin has 88 courses, the same number as Sweden!!!