Saturday, August 29, 2009

Life's full of lemons

Today's update isn't what I hoped it was going to be. I was fully expecting to hear some wonderful news this week that the second round of treatments had "done the trick" and I would get a clean bill of health and then just go into a monitoring program over the long run. Well there are some new bumps in my road to recovery.

This week Annette and I made two trips up to Duke. On Monday we went for a series of screenings, a CT/PET scan and also an endoscopy. The results would be delivered to us yesterday by our doctors. We met with the medical oncologist first and, unfortunately, the news wasn't what we had hoped for. I have new tumors forming in several locations. I have one large tumor located very near where the original tumor was found in the lower esophagus, some additional spots in my upper stomach, and finally, 4 small spots on the liver. Some other smaller tumors were found but when biopsied were found to be benign. The disturbing aspect of all this is that these are all new and have grown just in the past 3 months since my last screenings.

When I asked my doctor how this happened as I previously understood these were slow gr0wing type tumors she said "that's cancer, it is unpredictable, ever changing and can go from slow growing to agressive without warning." She was surprised by it all. The two rounds of treatments I went through early were effective from a "reactive" standpoint and addressed what I had. However, the earlier chemos apparently weren't "pro-active" in preventing new growth.

As a result, and since I can no longer have any more radiation treatments in this area, or surgery, my only option now is more chemo. She immediately ordered two new, very powerful, chemo drugs to be done via infusion (IV) mode once a week for two weeks then a week off and this goes on for 3 cycles or over the next 9 weeks. I had my first treatment already yesterday afternoon. They take about 4 hours to administer. Side effects can be worse than before: nausea, severe diarehha, possible partial hearing loss, and hair loss (no big deal for me). They started me on a regimen of anti-nauseau, anti-anxiety, and pain pills. So far so good.

While this hit us rather hard yesterday, and we had our weeping moments, by the time we got called for our first round of treatment (about a 3 hour wait) we had digested the situation, considered the options, and got our "game faces back on" to re-enter the fight. I think the mental challege is going to be a little tougher on me this time as the unfortunate reality is that these may be the last bullets I have to fire. If this doesn't work there isn't much more to try except for prayer, prayer and more prayer. This is where you come in as my family and friends. I am pleading with you to keep me in your prayers and extend your postive energy and thoughts my way. I love you all for different reasons and I am asking for your love in return.

Annette is amazing in her support as my non-medical attendant (what the insurance company calls her) and my loving wife. My girls are taking the news hard but also trying hard to be positive in their support. I will keep you posted as things move along. I am doing my best to stay upbeat and positive, but, honestly, it is a little tougher this time around. All I can say is Cancer is a bitch!



Note from Annette: Each of you has heard the old adage about "life handing you a lemon" and the lemonade thing. We have chosen lemonade! It is more meaningful than I can express to have you share our lemonade.


  1. Dad this blogs title is even more important to us now more than ever. I have contacted everyone I can think of who will pray and I believe with all my heart that you are being prayed for daily by countless people who have never met you. I have to believe that these upsetting new complications are just a set back. I love you Dad

  2. Drew, This is not the news your friends wanted to hear either, but we are still here for you. As Bluto (John Belushi) said in Animal House: "Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!" I'll be drinking a big glass of lemonade with dinner tonight.

  3. Dear Drew, brother in Christ, your blog was sent to me by Bo Stearns. I will also join you, your family and friends in prayer. Praying for healing, relief from side ettects and hope for the future.
    I live in Anchorage,Alaska but God hears our prayers from every corner of the planet.
    God Bless you and family,

  4. A path to remission doesn't always follow a straight line. But the goal remains.

  5. Drew, Pour Bob and I a glass of lemonade! I am reminded of the scripture Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. We are continually praying for you daily and lifting your name to the "ONE WHO IS ABLE"! We love you both! Bob and Cindy

  6. Drew and Annette, you know how much Oscar and I love you two and are praying for you without ceasing. All we know to do at this point is "TRUST GOD." His strength will manifest itself when you are at your lowest point. THAT'S A PROMISE!. Keep doing what you're doing and trust him.

    Oscar & Sue

  7. You've definitely been handed a challenge for the lemonade recipe! Know that Scott and I are praying for you,and my friends in Bible Study as well. God is the source of all strength and courage. Trust in Him will help carry you through each day, one hour at a time. Your blog has been such a gift to us all Drew! We're praying for your return to good health!

  8. Drew & Annette! I think that you two have been handed a great challenge, but you have been brought together for this very reason. You need each other for this road ahead. Keep a positive attitude and it is alot of the battle. Please know that our thoughts are with you Drew and Annette all the time and wishing the best for you both. Lemonaide is on our table everyday!!!!

    Love to you both!

  9. Drew - It was nice to visit with you last month, if only for a few minutes - I am sorry to hear about your recent setback. I cannot imagine how difficult it is to get that news. Just remember that God has brought you this far, and has guided your path throughout all of this, so He must have a plan for you. We will keep praying and you will keep getting better. If there is anything I learned from you, it is to fight for what you believe in. So keep on believing that God will heal you, and you will healed.

  10. Drew and Annette, even if you weren't grandparents to JP and Jordan, you'd be on my prayer list. God has blessed you with love for each other and your family.
    Elisabeth (the Connecticut attorney)