Sunday, May 25, 2008

So Josh, my son, got some amazing news this week. In April, Dave told him he ought to enter this little essay contest about “Things My Father Taught Me on the Golf Course” for a Father’s Day Dream Vacation sponsored by the Golf Channel. There were over 27,000 entries. On Thursday they called him and told him he was one of the five national finalists! That means he and Dave are going to the US Open in Torrey Pines, San Diego in June (I think it’s from the 12 – 16 or something). They will be feted and seated with all the VIP’s (like Tiger Woods’ family, etc) during the five days of the Open, all transportation, meals, accommodations. Josh also wins a $1,000 set of Taylormade Aidas golf clubs, $1000 shopping spree at Dick’s Sporting Goods, and a year’s supply of golf balls. (Dave said that could be a 18-wheeler full, given the way Josh golfs.) The prize package is worth over $7000. The Golf Channel is coming to our house to film us for the TV.

Then on June 9th, the finalists will be announced on the Golf Channel and voting will begin nationwide. The final section is judged partly on popular vote and partly by judges. You can go online and read his essay and vote for it starting June 9th. Tell everyone you know at your office, etc.! If they win, they will get to go on a golf vacation to Scotland, to St. Andrew’s Golf Course, the birthplace of the sport. There will be a $5000 set of Taylormade golf clubs (bet Josh gives Dave the $1000 one and keep the $5000 one…what do you think?) a $5000 shopping spree at Dick’s Sporting Goods, $15,000 cash. I think that prize package is worth $40,000. Amazing eh??? Dave and Josh are pretty excited, as you can imagine.

Read Josh's essay and vote on June 9th!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

CA-125 news - not good

Doctor Werner called me just now to let me know my CA-125 count had risen to 177. It was 95 in March, 102 in April, and now 177 in May. This, coupled with the slight growth on my scans is telling her the Doxcil treatment isn't working. We have to discuss a new chemo regime. It tells me we are one step further along the Death March road.

She is talking about a couple of experimental things. The first is a regime of Taxotere (which I had back in 2005) and Yondelis. Yondelis is a new concoction made from marine creatures. It's a clinical trial for recurrent ovarian cancer, so Dr. Werner will have to make sure I meet all criteria before we know if I can do it. It will cause hair loss and it takes 5 hours to get the chemo, once every three weeks.

The next option is to add Avastin to Gemcitibine. Avastin prevents new blood vessels from forming, thus starving cancer cells which need lots of blood to grow. Gemcitibine does not cause hair loss, but radically affects white blood cell counts making you really prone to infections. We will have to clear Avastin with my insurance company since it's not FDA approved for use in ovarian cancer. I despise the FDA regulations.

If I can't have Avastin, we'll just go with Gemcitibine. If it doesn't work we'll switch to Topotecan. Given that I got four months with Doxcil, if I can average four to six month on each of the other drugs, then maybe I'll make it to when they come out with the new nano-technology for drug delivery.

So the update isn't good news, but hey, we knew last October these days were coming. I've been in my yard planting ipomea seeds (real Morning Glory, not that stuff people call morning glory but is really bind weed.) I think there is no greater show of faith that I'll continue to be here than to work in my garden, plant things and wait for them to grow. I'm going back out to plant some more. Stop by and sit on my porch sometime with me. It's a lovely place of peace.
A Cancer Update

This week was a chemo week and a CT scan week to look inside and see what the little rogue cells are up to. I haven't had a scan since December. The tumor they saw in the spleen in December is gone. That's the good news. The tumor in the kidney is about two millimeters bigger which isn't such good news, but it's sort of a wash as it is so slow growing. Really not a big deal. I have more lesions on my peritoneal lining, which is the bad news. On the whole, my doctor thinks I am holding steady. I am ecstatic about this, as last October they told me six months to live. I'm now in the 7th month since that prognosis, and am holding steady with a not too impugned quality of life. Score Cancer: 11 (a combined number of surgeries and chemo regimes), Kim: at least 12, because I'm Fighting It off so far. I can just hear the crowd roar: "Defense!" Stomp-stomp! "Defense!!" Clap-clap!

What score would you give me for that feat? Do you think I deserve more than a 12?

My doctor wants to see my CA-125 results to see if they are going up or down. If they go up, I'll have to concede Cancer another point. I should know them sometime tomorrow. I'll update you then.

In the meantime, I have to tell you my spleen miracle. When they told me in December it had metastasized to my spleen, I went home and did Internet research on what cancer in the spleen does to you (of course). I was upset to learn it would probably make me grow a beard and maybe get a deep voice, due to raging out-of-whack hormones that are usually regulated by the spleen. "Great," I thought, "I could go bald because of chemo and then grow a beard. I'll really look like a freak." So that night I prayed mightily in an anguished, probably irreverent and complaining way. "C'mon, isn't this adding insult to injury? Do I have to grow a beard on top of everything else?" Then I forgot about it, because I have learned "thy will be done" in an up close and personal way. And here we are at the next CT scan, spleen tumor gone. I think God was willing to make a trade off for a few more peritoneal lining tumors, and a slight growth in the kidney tumor, but the spleen one went away. My personal answer to prayers and the miracle of this quarter. Tonight I am praying in mighty thanks. And I thank all of you who continue to pray for me. I believe in the power of prayer.