Friday, July 29, 2016

The End (and the Beginning)

The End: Treatment of my brain tumor is officially complete!  Radiation and the long grind of chemotherapy started over a year ago.  Early last week I had a MRI following my 6th cycle of chemo.  The MRI showed excellent results that the tumor is shrinking.  The past 3 MRIs have shown the same trend of decreasing tumor size.  It was amazing and reassuring to see the comparison of all 4 scans since December. We are really happy, to say the least.  The tumor is still there, it always will be.  The goal was to stabilize it and based on the scans, this is happening.  Personally, I am at peace with carrying this stabilized tumor with me.  The whole experience has brought me a different perspective on life that I want to keep in the front of my mind as life moves on.  This tumor in the back/side of my brain will help me keep that in mind.

Overall it is a relief to be done putting chemicals into my body.  It is wonderful that the uncomfortable-ness of treatment has paid off!  The last year plus has been insane, but I am truly grateful for all of the experiences.  We brought Rosie into the world.  We learned a lot about life and love.  I come out of treatment with a different perspective on life and feeling proud of Kim, Rosie and myself.  As we have said before, the love and support from all of you has been key.

The Beginning:  The treatment has worn my body down.  Right now, my blood counts (platelets, white blood cells) are very low and I am fatigued.  First, I need time for my bone marrow and immune system to recover.  As that occurs over the next few months it will start a new phase: recovery.  I look at this next phase as finding a way to thrive with a tumor.  I want to find a sustainable way to live with a chronic disease. This is the beginning.

I will get MRI scans every 10 weeks for a while, and the doctors will continue to monitor me more or less frequently based on the results.  Separately, I will be working hard to improve my left leg weakness with physical therapy and activities that I love.  I will ramp back up to full-time work, and will generally figure out what post-treatment life is for Kim, Rosie and me.  With all that we have learned over the last year, I know that this life will be a wonderful one.  We love you!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


My cancer treatment is winding down and I should get final confirmation later this week on if I will need any more treatment or if we go into monitoring mode.  I will provide an update on this blog later.

Right now I want to let you all know about Obliteride.  It is a bike ride to raise funds for cancer research at Fred Hutch in Seattle.  Fred Hutch is one of the leading cancer research centers in the world.  Obliteride is cool because they have good sponsors to support the race overhead and 100% of donations go to research.  I'm riding a 25-mile ride with friends.  Please think about supporting our team here:  OBLITERIDE

Additionally we set up an Obliteride Edition of the Be Positive t-shirt.  We have had some requests in the past year for these shirts.  This is a chance to get one, so forward on to any friends or family that say where did you get that cool shirt.  And generally spread this link around as all funds raised go directly to Fred Hutch for cancer research.  Link:
Many thanks to my friend/co-worker Stephanie Pride for organizing the Booster campaign and designing the shirts.

Friday, May 27, 2016

One Year

One year ago today Kim (with Rosie growing inside), my mom and I went into the doctor's office to hear the results of my biopsy and diagnosis.  Other family was there and waiting to hear the results.  A lot more family and friends were waiting anxiously for an email or phone call.  We already had a ton of support.  The doctors said what I already knew, that I had brain cancer.  They also said there was a clear plan to treat it: about a year of treatment.  That circle around the sun has passed and the light at the end of the treatment tunnel is in sight.  So far the results are looking good.

I will never forget meeting with the doctors who told me I have cancer, but what I will remember most vividly is our response to the diagnosis.  We made the conscious decision to live on our terms.  We had our first child on the way and the only way we wanted to welcome her to earth was to parents and family full of love.  Even more I realized this tumor and disease is part of me, likely forever.  I was not going to fight part of myself.  There are many aspects of the disease and treatment that have temporarily changed my lifestyle.  But it has been important for me to maintain the essence of who I am while dealing with cancer.  I believe I can love the cancer as it dies and passes on.  We intentionally set the message of love and positivity and asked our family and friends to support us with that energy, while leaving fear and hate at the door.  The response was and continues to be incredible beyond words.  Thank you.

I reflect on the past year and I am filled with gratitude.  For my most amazing and strong wife.  For the gift of our incredible daughter, Rosemary.  For family and friends.  For everyone, including people we have not met, who have sent good energy and thoughts our way.  Lastly, I am even grateful to my tumor and disease itself which has taught me about life and love in profound ways.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Half-Birthday and Cancer Update

Yesterday was 6 months since Rosie was born.  The mental and physical development is amazing to witness.  Day-to-day and week-to-week we are watching Rosie change.  Of course there are some moments when she is not happy and we wish she could just talk and tell us what she needs.  We don't know any different, but she seems to be a very happy baby.  We are so thankful for her to be in our family.
Trying to fly!
There is also an update on my health after a MRI that I had this past Monday.  The MRI shows continued stabilization and even shrinking of the tumor!  The previous MRI in February also showed an improvement in the tumor, but we were being more quiet about it to stay the course.  MRIs before February showed stability, but not improvement of the tumor.  So the news from the last two MRIs is fantastic.  We are still staying away from overconfidence.  But so far the treatment is going as planned.  From our perspective it is a huge psychological boost to see improvement after slogging through about a year of treatment so far.

Treatment has been a grind at times, but having a positive attitude and the incredible love and support from all of you has helped immensely.  I am proud that we have kept positive and continued to deal with this obstacle through love and living our lives in the fullest way.  Cancer has not changed me.  It has given me, Kim and hopefully Rosie a different perspective on life and makes us stronger as individuals and as a family.  

I see the light at the end of the treatment tunnel.  I have now completed 5 of the 6 planned chemo cycles.  The next step is to recover from Cycle 5.  Then I will complete Cycle 6, probably in June/July.  After that it should be monitoring and I will be working hard to fully recover and strengthen my body.  That is the plan moving forward.  It is the best outcome we could have asked for a year ago.  We also know to expect the unexpected and we will deal with whatever lies ahead.

Photo by: Renick Woods