January 31, 2006

Celebration, clarification and confirmation.

Today I received the result of my latest blood test and my PSA number is down, way down: 0.46

No typo there, the decimal point is correctly placed!!!

The nurse made an odd comment when giving the news to me. She said that's down a lot from 1.85 in December.

I asked her where did she get 1.85, my number was 7.4?

She said, "No I'm looking at your last test results and it shows 1.85, that's why we decided not to proceed with Chemo"

I briefly got into a debate that she told both Mary and myself, independently, that the last number was 7.4 - I decided that I'd rather not have any rain on today's parade and let it go…..for now.

We are both a bit concerned, how could she have mistaken "7.4" for "1.85"? I have it in my written notes, that is exactly what she said back on the 6th.

So, take a deep breath, and hold tight for 30 more days!!

When I began this blog, and when we started FLHW, I did so for several reasons. Some of those were selfish, to give me time to reflect on things, to express myself in another manner, etc. One of the major reasons for both the blog and the foundation were to reach out and help others. Not only do I receive comments here but I receive direct email and personal notes from people. It's the circle of life at work. I help you, you inspire me, you help me, I inspire you and on and on.

One person in particular, a complete and total stranger until about 8 weeks go is JohnW from outside of Austin, TX. He paid me a great honor today, he stroked my ego a little, but most of all he confirmed once again that I fight for many reasons - most of them aren’t about me………

a link to his blog is above, pay it a visit

January 27, 2006

We’re going to need a bigger cake..…..

It’s here, the first milestone of many over the next few weeks. Along with being the first, it is the best and certainly going to be the ony one worth celebrating.

I made it to my 43rd birthday, yippee! Besides being another year older there is much to celebrate.

I love my wife, my son and I am forever grateful for the joy and happiness that they bring every day of my life. I tell them I love them before I leave for work, I tell them I love them before we go to bed. I pray for them at night, they are my life and they are a big part of why I am still here today.

I love my family and my friends. You are there when I need you, you are there in silence, you are there in words and cards and emails and phone calls. God bless each of you.

Strangers – through this last year I have “met” so many people that I again, cannot thank enough. John W. and recently Karen; both fellow bloggers, both fellow cancer survivors, both fighters and apparently both comedians! Perhaps one day we will meet, maybe at a survivor’s event? Maybe just because…..

I thank God for all the blessings in my life; good health (it’s no so bad, I look and feel better than I ever have), family, friends, strangers and most of all for blessing me with the sense to fight this battle with Faith, Love and Hope.

January 25, 2006

Disc Golf Insight

Many of you have asked about disc golf...Here are two stories from the KC newspaper
that provide some details and a few pictures.



January 23, 2006

I wish that......

Nothing substantial to report, we had a great weekend with family and friends. I shot three over par on Saturday morning, good enough to tie, for LAST!! The six of us were on fire, two of the guys shot their best rounds ever, 5 and 6 under par!!!
Unable to sleep yesterday morning (hot flashes) I watched two movies that I had recorded on the DVR (aka, Tivo).

The first, "Bad Santa", delivered exactly what I thought it would. The plot line was completely horrible, but the humor was quite funny at times, in a rather sick sense. Overall I give it a thumbs down, way down.

The second was "Rushmore" which I give just the opposite!!! From Amazon.com: The movie stars Jason Schwartzman as Max Fischer, a 15-year-old attending the prestigious Rushmore Academy on scholarship, where he's failing all of his classes but is the superstar of the school's extracurricular activities (head of the drama club, the beekeeper club, the fencing club...). Possessing boundless confidence and chutzpah, as well as an aura of authority he seems to have been born with, Max finds two unlikely soulmates in his permutations at Rushmore: industrial magnate and Rushmore alumnus Herman Blume (Bill Murray) and first-grade teacher Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams). His alliance with Blume and crush on Miss Cross, however, are thrown out of kilter by his expulsion from Rushmore, and a budding romance between the two adults that threatens Max's own designs on the lovely schoolteacher.

This is a quirky but excellent movie. The sound track is also absolutely wonderful, I particularly liked "Ooh La La" by The Faces (Rod Stewart's old band), the song played during the closing credits. It made me think, when you are asked; "If you could go back and change this or that, would you?" or "If you could go back to high school and make different choices, would you?" The chorus really sticks with you,
"I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger. I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was stronger."

January 20, 2006

The list grows.......

It's been a week, I know. But after the ups and downs of the holidays and the early part of this month, I simply don't feel that there is a lot to share.

Time is flying though! It's been three weeks since my scans and my next blood test is in a week. I still feel great and continue to work out 4 to 5 times a week. My back has been much better over the last few weeks as well.

There continues to be conflicting stories on PSA tests. The most current is in regards to whether PSA tests help prevent or predict the onset of PC. Yet earlier this week, I read a story that the number of advanced PC cases per 100K had dropped from over 20 to around 7 in 2002. Here is a great source for breaking news: PC NEWS (look for the articles on Joe Thiesman and the one on hot peppers - ironically, I can't satisfy my craving for spicy foods!)

Winter returned to KC today after a particularly balmy beginning of the year. We are expecting freezing rain and snow tonight but highs in the upper 40's tomorrow, and yes, we will be teeing off as usual at 7:30 tomorrow morning!
Next week will mark the point where I cross over a new age marker (not sure what else to call this?). I was 42 when I was diagnosed with PC and I will be 43 when I …… beat PC? Hey - it's my birthday, I can dream if I want to!!

Please add these folks to your prayers:
- John W. who begins Chemo next week
- Karen, a young neighbor of a friend who's blood cancer has been deteced but has to just "watch and wait" for what she and her family (and all of us!) hope is many, many years.
- Ken, the husband of a co-worker
- Nancy F.'s brother who also has PC
- The father of our neighbor, also has PC
…and to all the rest of those inflicted with cancer.
The patron saint of those suffering with cancer is St. Peregrine;

Born wealthy (1260), he spent a worldly youth, and became involved in politics. Peregrine was initially strongly anti-Catholic. During a popular revolt, he struck the papal peace negotiator, Saint Philip Benizi, across the face. Saint Philip calmly turned the other cheek, prayed for the youth, and Peregine converted.
He received a vision of Our Lady who told him to go to Siena, Italy, and there to join the Servites. After training and ordination, they assigned him to his home town. He lived and worked, as much as possible, in complete silence, in solitude, and without sitting down for 30 years in an attempt to do penance for his early life. When he did speak, he was known as a fervant preacher, excellent orator, and gentle confessor. Founded a Servite house at Forli.
A victim of a spreading cancer in his foot, Peregrine was scheduled for an amputation. The night before the operation, he spent in prayer; that night received a vision of Christ who healed him with a touch. The next morning, Peregrine found his cancer completely healed.

A Prayer to St. Peregrine for Sick Relatives and Friends
O great St. Peregrine, you have been called "The Mighty", the "The Wonder Worker" because of the numerous miracles which you obtained from God for those who have turned to you in their need.
For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fiber of our being. You turned to God when the power of human beings could do no more, and you were favored with the vision of Jesus coming down from His cross to heal your affliction. I now ask God to heal these sick persons whom I entrust to you: (Here mention their names)
Aided by your powerful intercession, I shall sing with Mary a hymn of gratitude to God for His great goodness and mercy. Amen.

January 13, 2006


The results of the bone scan are in and they are good! The bottom line is the Radiologist used words like "marked improvement" and "no noticeable activity" and regarding my spine and neck "no lesions can be found" - OK, it's not "you're cured" but compared to the slides from last February this is awesome!

Next steps are; blood test 1/27, blood test and Dr. meeting 3/3, updated bone/CT scan 5/12So it's just watch, wait and hold your breath!

My life had basically become a serious of ups and downs, that in and of itself does not make me different than any of you. What I have realized recently, however, is that I have become a master in managing the highs and lows of this battle. Give me bad news; I'm Teflon, it just rolls off me. Give me good news; same reaction, and therein lies the conundrum.

I should be jumping up and down, but I'm not. I'm numb. It's like living on death row, I just got a "stay" from a judge, not the Governor. Don't be mistaken, I'm not depressed, this is really good news, I just wish I could relax for a minute and enjoy it. After all. I could have the poison of Chemo running through my veins right now!

January 09, 2006

Family, Friends and Forests

After the news Thursday, the weekend was packed with activities. It goes without saying, it flew by!

Friday night was a rather quiet night at home. My Dad came over from St. Louis. This was planned before Chemo was postponed, so we figured we would be a good opportunity to celebrate a little since we haven't had much good news lately. We didn't do a whole lot, sometimes just being together is enough. He hasn't said so to me, but I think this is very hard for him. He puts on a good face when we're together but each time we say our good-byes, he gets emotional. One can only imagine if something happened to one's child, how difficult it would be.

Saturday was a "full" day. I worked out, we had breakfast before Dad left, then: grocery shopping, a hair cut, cleaning, a basketball game, Mass, and then guests for dinner. The meal was great, the company was better. The day started around 7:30 and we finally got into bed about 12:30am.

Sleep - a little; Sunday was disc golf at 7:30 followed by a little downtime at home then I was off to "the outdoors". My brother-in-law and I went to meet a good friend at the land he just purchased. It's about 30 minutes from here, half way to Lawrence, KS. The 30 acre piece of property is 100% trees/woods. The southern border is the Union Pacific railroad, with the Kansas River on the other side of the rail line. There are two spring fed creeks that dissect the property and many, many hills and ravines throughout. Deer, turkey, raccoons, squirrels are more than plentiful. Right now there is no direct access but the hike into the property is rather short.

The views of the river and the tens of thousands of farm land on the south side of the river are breathtaking. OK, I realize this is not the coast of California or a beach in Florida, this is Kansas folks. We are accustomed to acres and acres of corn and wheat. Our subdivisions are built on former farm land. There are very few hills and the trees we experience were planted when the house was constructed. So spending three hours planting tulips (500+ bulbs) and traversing all four corners of the property was somewhat therapeutic. We found a great sandy beach along the river bed and began planning the disc golf course the will begin to sprout sometime this spring. It will be a wooded killer!

Before getting cancer this was a dream I shared with Mary many times. I wanted some property, nothing fancy just a place to camp and goof off with my son, friends and family. A place to go, a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Now things are different. At the end of our excursion I realized there is no getting away. Cancer is with me everywhere, every minute, everyday. As much as I tried to suppress the thoughts throughout the afternoon, it's there, like always, right at the surface. Perhaps as we make further trips to build the course, to clean up to fish and hang out at the "beach" it will be come easier to "let it go" for periods of time. I can only hope.

January 06, 2006

More than words…...

When I came up with the name "Faith-Love-Hope-Win" it was both something that just popped into my head and something that I considered carefully. As I remember it, I was driving to work, in traffic, on the highway. A homily at Mass in the days preceeding had included references to "Faith, Hope and Love". The passage might have been this one: 1 Thessalonians 1:3 We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Whether this is the exact passage or not, my point is, a biblical passage was the inspiration, the order of the words however, were not random.

To me, faith is first and foremost. In addition to faith in God or faith solely from a religious perspective, it includes faith in your doctors, medicine, family, friends neighbors, etc. Faith that even in the midst of being diagnosed with this terrible disease, something good will come of it. As I pondered faith, I quickly realized that faith alone will not accomplish the goal ahead but it is the foundation which will enable us to beat this disease - to Win.

In my mind, Love had to come next - the love for one's spouse, children, God, family, friends etc. It is an emotion we think about a lot but say to each other far too infrequently. In my life for example, I love my brother in law. My wife aside, he is one of the people I am closest too. He is truly one of my dearest friends. I have never said to him "I love you". I realize that there are many other people in my life that I love, but I also don’t tell them nearly enough, or at all. The battle I wage cannot be successful without them and their love.

Finally, there is hope. Hope, without it, we as humans would struggle to survive. Placing the cancer fight aside, Hope is what gets us up in the morning and Hope is what allows us to sleep well at night. Hope for a cure, hope for surviving another day, another week, another year and beyond. There are times during this journey that Mary and I have struggled to keep hope alive. This struggle has been one of the most difficult moments of our lives. Fortunately, we have always managed to find the inspiriation, spirit, faith and love to keep the hope alive.

So if you ever wondered about the creation of FLHW, it was not just a random grouping of words, but the foundation of our mission and our journey.
From the Oncologist yesterday:
- My PSA on 12-15 was 7.8, my PSA from 12-28 was 7.4
- my lymph nodes are now clear. There was one small area near my heart on the February CT scan, Fridays CT scan was clear.
- the Oncologist looked at the February x-rays versus those last Friday and noticed many areas have cleared up, however the radiologists report was missing the comparison between the two, we expect that today or Monday.
> Again, Chemo is on hold. I will now have blood tests once a month and meet with the Oncologist every other month. Assuming we can keep the PSA steady (or declining?), the chemo will remain on hold.
As soon as we get the official radiologist report I'll post here.
Because I feel I don't say it enough - I love you and I really believe that all of your prayers have been a major force in my battle. With all my heart, I thank you.

January 05, 2006

No CHEMO for now....

I don't know the details -(I'm on a conference call at work) but Mary talked to the Oncologist office and NO CHEMO for now!!!

My PSA number went down slightly and apparently my Radiology report was improved from February!!!

More details later - this will definitely change the style of haircut I get on Saturday!!!! Perhaps a shag vs. the Marine Corp style I was considering!!!!

If you don't believe in FLHW - you might want to reconsider! I am not saying that later we won't find ourselves in the same place, facing chemo, but I myself am a true believer in the power of Faith-Love and Hope!!!

January 01, 2006


I don't have much to add - here's to hoping 2006 is a much happier and healthier year than 2005!