Friday, March 15, 2019

Cancer Warrior

March 8
It has been a busy week. We just got home from Therese's last few tests at UCLA. We start the T-Cell harvesting Thursday (March 14) morning, and then do another round of chemo Friday (March 15). The new super T-Cells should be done cooking in the lab April 5th and then we start a month of treatments and recovery. We will know quickly if the treatment went well or not. We have an 80% chance to put this cancer in remission and Therese has vowed to kick it's ass. She says,"I'm not a cancer patent, or a cancer survivor; I'm a cancer warrior!"

March 14
The first Hurdle has been cleared for the CAR-T cell treatment. Today was harvest day. We started at UCLA at 5:30 AM to have the catheter inserted into the groin vein. (We were still 7th in line, yep they are always busy.) Then whisked away to another building for the Hemapheresis and her binge of Project Runway. We made it home safe and we are celebrating with In-and-Out. Life is good!

April 1
Therese getting her Wonder Woman haircut. We are done with our last round of chemo and begin the 10 day count down until we start the ground breaking procedure to turn Therese into a GMO! She'll never be able to go into a Whole Foods again but that's okay. We like Sprouts better. (They have the best licorice & toffee peanuts  )

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Milestone Hit Us

January 6th
I had a great deal of fun writing my villain in my last book that I hated to say goodbye. Today I came up with a new story for him. About The Scarlet Sword, a crucible steel blade that has killed so many people that it is forever stained red. Wielded by Ashonn, a man born to be a warrior, lives to kill monsters, and is followed by a priest of death patiently waiting for the warrior to die so the priest can claim his soul for the god of death the warrior dared love and dared to strike down.

January 17th
A quick update for the new year. Therese has finished her last round of chemo, and then she will have an MRI on the 30th to see if the radiation was successful and what our next step will be.

January 30th
We had the MRI this morning. This afternoon, FACEY HMO called to tell us the MRI had been denied. When my wife told them she received the approval, and that UCLA received the approval their response was, "Oh, well I guess you can appeal to Blue Shield."

February 8th
We visited our Radiologist from City of Hope, and our Oncologist at UCLA. The most recent MRI have shown the current tumor has not grown but new spots have shown up in the front lobe, and unfortunately the pons of the brain stem. We will find out what our next treatment will be in two weeks. Until then, we do whatever my wife wants. This weekend we are going to see Alita, Battle Angel.
PS: Make that Aquaman, and it was great! Alita, we will save for Valentine's Day.

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Doctor Lied

November 17th

Unfortunately our doctor lied to us. Therese is not in remission. He was buying time while he got a second opinion. Out of the blue our Oncologist asked us to get an "appointment with radiology, STAT!" We asked several times why, but no one told us; until Thursday night before our appointment on Friday, the doctor calls us. He apologized to Therese and said that there was something on her brain and he had to confer with the other doctors. We did not sleep well Thursday night and I'm so angry that I can not be in the same room as the Oncology Doctor right now. I don't trust myself. We met with the Radiologist and we will start the new scans at the end of this month and the treatments in the beginning of December.

November 29th

Sorry for being so quiet recently, we have had a lot of appointments but nothing done so far. We met the Oncologist, I did not break his face, and he suggested we go to the scan center an see if we could get an earlier MRI. Thank God, we managed to get a MRI for tomorrow and then we'll see what's going on with the new brain tumor and if we can start radiation treatments sooner. More tomorrow....

November 30th

The MRI is done, now the wait. We contacted radiology, but they may not be able to see us any sooner than the 11th when they fit Therese for the radiation treatment mask. Also, we just received a letter in the mail from Henry Mayo Hospital records department saying that they can't complete our request and send us Therese's medical records due to missing address information...I'll let that one sit with you for a while....
Update! The radiologist just got back to us. The tumor is already 3cm. Treatment will start ASAP. She is moving around patients to get us in. It looks like we'll begin radiation treatments, Tuesday. I would like to ask for prayers at this time, thank you.

December 1st

My fantasy novel, Kingdom of Scars, is done. I’m not sure how to feel about it. My wife is still worried about me. That I won't be able to provide for myself due to my impairment when she is gone. So next year I'll finish my fantasy series and write four books instead of just one. Hopefully, things will work out and we'll be fine. Until then I'll just do the only thing I can, tell stories.  

December 6th

Round one of the radiation is done and Therese has a glow about her. It must be the Christmas Cheer!

December 7th
My wife is in bed with a headache; now it’s my time to worry.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

One Year

On Tuesday, September the 27th of last year Therese was admitted to the hospital. Wednesday the 28th we were told the words no one wants to hear from a doctor, "I'm sorry, there is a mass on your liver." Three weeks I watched the woman I love fade away before me. But she did not give up, through systemic shock, pneumonia, and a brain tumor she has fought her way back to me. I am grateful for every day I'm with her. It's been a long journey, but we are not done yet. One more step, followed by another, we will do it together. The wisdom that I learned long ago is, the destination is not important; It's the time you spend with the ones you love sharing that journey.

Friday, August 31, 2018

A Handful of Hope

My wife finished what we thought was her final round of chemo. It looked like we made it to the end of the tunnel, only to find out the light was from an oncoming train. The cancer is not in remission, so we can't take the next step—stem cell therapy at UCLA.

You never know how much you miss a normal life until it’s gone.

As my wife has wished I’m doing my best to pour everything I have into my work but it’s hard to do when your heart feels like a wrung-out dishrag. But I’m doing it anyway. One word at a time, one page at a time, one chapter at a time, it will be done.

An opportunity popped up. TOR publishing had opened submissions for novellas, so I sent in The Crystal Sword. It’s a short story I wrote based in the world I’m currently writing in. I’m putting my work out there and we’ll see what happens.

In the meantime we have a new round of treatments in two weeks and I will be done with my book by that time. I'll set the novel aside for a week and just hold my wife’s hand as we get through this next round. 

The dragons can wait.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Bargain I Made With My Dying Wife

My wife has cancer, and we have been battling it since Sept 27, 2017. We finished six rounds of aggressive chemo in February and was told by the doctors in March that the cancer was dead. July 12 my wife started mixing up words and that morning could not even remember her name. We found out she has a tumor in her brain. They did a biopsy and took what they could from the tumor as it was in a difficult position. We started our second round of chemotherapy. Using enough Methotrexate to kill an elephant, but not my wife, she is still going strong.

That is why the conversation we had on the first of August took me by surprise. We have joked, laughed and sung through all of this. But Wednesday she sat me down and said, "You need to be ready when I die. I would like to be with you for ten or twenty more years, but I will be lucky if I make it another five. You need to be ready when I die."

This was not what I wanted to hear and I couldn't process it. I shut down. But that night it came back to me. I had a nightmare that I lost her and I would never be able to give her an answer. I woke up and pondered the issue. How can I prepare and reassure her that I will be fine when I'm impaired from being run over by a semi-truck 16 years ago and have diabetes and recently diagnosed with MS? I still have to scrounge up the money for a spinal tap and MRI to confirm it. Another MS sufferer told me I have about 5 years until I'm in a wheelchair. Again with the 5 years.

So when I visited my wife again I made her a promise, I would write my current 5 book fantasy series with all my energy and ability, finishing one book per year, if she promised not to die before the fifth book was finished. She agreed and we shook on it.

It is still my hope and prayer that my wife will be cured and that we will laugh about this many years from now. Until then, I will do my best to create stories that will honor her memory, and that she will never be forgotten.