June 24,2019

Another milestone is scheduled for tomorrow.  It will be my last immunotherapy treatment using both drugs.  More treatments will most likely start in July but only 1 drug will be used.  Not looking forward to tomorrow.  After about 3 weeks from my last treatment, I have worked my way out of the after effects of the treatment such as fatigue, some discomfort, etc and have been feeling pretty good over the last week.  So I know that on about Wednesday, I’ll back to that condition without much motivation to do much of anything.  However, all the kids are coming here for July 4 so that will give me a good incentive to get up and about again. 

Other than the above, I am not expecting any revelation/news during or after this treatment.  The next big day will be July 8 and 9.  Now that the radiation and treatment routines will have been completed, I will be scanned again on the 8th to see what effect, if any, the procedures have had on my cancer.  I will be meeting with the oncologist on July 9 after he has had the opportunity to study the scan.  We will discuss the results of the scan and treatment going forward.

Your continued prayers are most welcome.

James

Psalm 23:4 Eventhough I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

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June 2, 2019 – Update

The next hurdle is Tuesday of this week.  Another round of immunotherapy.  This will be round 3 of 4.  A single treatment of immunotherapy includes infusing 2 different drugs via IV over an hour and a 1/2.  So, after a good snooze, I’m released to go home.  I don’t expect much after after effect since the first 2 treatments were somewhat a non-event.  The last treatment is set for the end of June.  Soon after that (probably first part of July), I will have another scan to determine what effect, if any, the immunotherapy and the radiation has had on the cancer and, as a result, determine what the strategy and treatment will be going forward.  That is the worrisome part.

Physically, I don’t move very quickly (although some would argue that was always the case).  I get winded and have to take breaks just doing simple honey-do’s around the house.  But I generally feel fine.  I have lost about 20 lbs. since April 11 but my weight seems to be coming back up a tad so hopefully my energy will come back with the weight.  I just hope this next treatment doesn’t drag me back down.

Spiritually, as strong as ever!  I have always said a sign of a Christian is that when bad things happen do you shake your fist at God or find comfort in Him.  I am firmly in the latter camp and will always remain there.

Lamentations 3:24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

PS – that is not me in the hurdle picture.

May 14, 2019

Today I begin round two of my bout with cancer. I am headed to upstate Medical Center in Syracuse for a round of immunotherapy infusion.  In reality this is my second treatment but the first was during my initial stay in the hospital and everything was such a blur at that point in time, I don’t recall if it was good, bad, or indifferent.  Since my last post, I have been trying to recover as best possible from my first stay in the hospital and the radiation treatment. My belly size has gone down from about eight months pregnant to about two months. Radiation treatment had burned my esophagus and made it very hard to swallow anything. It appears that has now gone away and I can eat somewhat normal again! I have lost about 15 pounds since this ordeal began on April 11 but my energy level is starting to pick up again and I am feeling better. This makes me somewhat leery of today’s treatment. I’m starting to feel “normal” again and eating better, so I’m nervous about what “joys” today’s treatment will bring.  I have 3 more of these treatments to go including todays.  They are spaced about 3 weeks apart.  Sometime within the next 2 to 3 weeks I will have another PET scan completed to see what all this work is doing to the cancer.

I truly appreciate everyone’s concerns, including the prayers from all the prayer warriors.

Matthew 26:39“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

May 6, 2019

When we began this blog, we decided to limit it to the facts of my condition and the strategies to treat cancer for the purposes of keeping loved ones informed of my condition. However, besides physical, mental and spiritual are big components of this journey. For those of you who know me well you know that I have placed my faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and proclaim Jesus, the Jewish king, as my Savior. Without that faith, I’m not sure how I could cope with my condition.  The following is how I’m able to reconcile my faith with this cancer:

Isaiah 6:8  and I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “whom shall I send and who will go for us?” Then I said, “here I am! Send me.”

Routinely my prayers always include a request to God to use me, place me where I can have the highest and best impact for His kingdom and then give me the courage to GO. In addition, I always ask that He draw my family and friends to Him and that one day they all accept Jesus as their Savior. Maybe my prayers are in the early stages of being answered.  Maybe my new platform will allow me to share my faith with each one of them and present the gospel direct, loving, and crystal clear. If I can’t or won’t, this journey will have been in vain. However, if because of my condition I’m able to point all or some to the cross, then every single cancer cell would have been worth it. I know that I cannot save anyone but if can get them to take a look, I am positive that the Holy Spirit and the truth will win the day. I imagine 100 years from now when we all are together in God’s kingdom.

Isaiah was a prophet that roamed the earth about 700 years before Jesus’ ministry on earth.  Isaiah’s commission was a message of repentance to the nation of Israel.  He was abused, ridiculed, and ultimately his message rejected. My platform is going to suck beyond all imagination. Isaiah and I have learned that maybe you should be careful what you ask for or have a good idea of what the assignment is before volunteering. But if both result in glory to God and salvation to some, it will have been worth every step.

One final thought – One does not get to a “better place” by simply passing away, as you hear so often at so many funerals.  Romans 10:9 is a good place to start and grow in your faith from there.  “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

5-2-19 Radiation Week

Things have gone as pretty much as expected this week.  Every day since Monday, Jodell and I travel to Up State Cancer Center for my 15 minute zap.  My last one, until further notice, is tomorrow.  The treatments are quick, they don’t hurt, I haven’t felt sick….nothing.  So far this is what is most perplexing.  They tell me what I have is really bad but the treatments seem to be, almost a non-event.  I have had 1 immunotherapy treatment and, again, no nasty side effects.  I’ll certainly accept these conditions but my rule of thumb is that good medicine has to taste bad!  Anyway, radiation ends tomorrow and my next immunotherapy treatment is in 2 weeks.

The roughest part this week is the continued recovery from the week before.  I am still run down and sleep a lot and move gingerly when I do.  I appear to be about 6 months pregnant from the blood in my torso from the liver bleed.  Of course, you mothers know what comes with that; back muscle stress, etc.  Doctor says this will take about 2 months to get back to normal.

Finally, I had an appointment with my oncologist on Tuesday.  Besides the normal progress / game plan discussion, I asked him a question about a comment he had made early on.  His comment was:  If this had gone untreated, I would have been gone in about 3 months.  I said now that we have a handle on this and treatment is underway, what do you think my projected life span is now?  His answer:  James, optimistically I think you have 2 maybe 3 years to live.  Whoa!  was my thought.  Up until then I had assumed the goal in the fight was to one day be cancer free.  Now I think it is to extend the quality of life.  However, I am not giving up the cancer free hope.  They continue to tell me how rare this pathology is and put their heads together with the nation’s best in figuring out how to treat it.  So how do they really know how it will respond to treatment? 

Keeping the Faith – James

4.28.19

Since we have a short break in the action, thought I would take a minute to give a shout out to the health professionals at both Crouse Hospital and Upstate Medical Center. My ordeal started at Crouse and is now being worked at Upstate. I can’t say enough about each and every medical professional from both organizations that I have had the pleasure of dealing with the past few weeks. Every single one has been first class. Kelsey and Amber (shown above) are just two of the shining stars of the entire group.

4.27.19

Image result for dog in a tangled mess

It’s great to be home. No more sleeping in a tangled ball of wires and tubes or to be woken when I am finally asleep to be told it is time to check vitals. Anyway, the plan going forward is for radiation treatment every day this coming week but as an outpatient. The radiation treatment will be totally focused on the tumor streamer that extends from my tumor in my liver to my heart, this is known as the tumor thrombus. I have already had one radiation treatment, yesterday, and physically it was a non-event. So not to bore anyone, I will refrain from putting up comments every day, unless something out of the ordinary occurs like a strange bowel movement. Stay tuned as I kick my liver cancer’s butt.