1st Term Report Card

About two months ago I began my chemo treatments. Last Friday I had a CT scan to check on the status of all those nasty tumors residing in my lungs, liver and lymph nodes.  Today Lee and I met with Dr. P to review the results of the CT scan…my 1st term report card.  For this special occasion Lee donned her lucky Oregon Football t-shirt and I wore my lucky electric yellow Oregon watch. 

Go Ducks!
 When Dr. P entered the examination room, he immediately remarked to Lee: “I see you’re an Oregon Duck fan.  I am an Arizona alumni.”  I thought to myself,   “Oh no, my fate rests in the hands of a Wildcat!”  I hopped up onto the examination table, as Dr. P placed his hands on my throat to check my lymph nodes and thyroid gland he noticed my watch ( how could he not?). 

 At that point I sensed a slight squeezing …could this be my end?!?  Luckily Lee shouted: “But he paints cats! He loves cats, even wildcats!”  The pressure was gone, Lee saved the day.

Enough silliness, let’s get to the results.  First the lungs. I have many tumors in my lungs, most are small.  Before I began chemo they measured the two largest tumors for a baseline reference point.  One tumor was 4.7×3.3 cm, it is now 3.8×2.9 cm.  The other was 3.3×2.2 cm and is now 2.1×1.9 cm.  A solid reduction.  The report noted that the numerous scattered tumors in my lungs had a “decrease in size and…development suggesting necrosis”.  Necrosis is death by lack of blood supply, which is what one of my Chemo drugs does. Thank you Avastin!!  The lungs show no new nodules or mass and the tissue looks great.  The lungs earn a solid B from me. 

Next is the liver.  As you know know, the liver processes chemicals including chemo drugs AND red wine.  Thus it is one of my favorite organs.  Of the two reference tumors, one decreased from 4.7×3.3cm to 3.8×2.9cm and the other went from 3.3×2.2cm to 2.1×1.9cm.   In addition my liver is functioning superbly, flawlessly processing the potent, nasty chemo drugs along with a dollop of superb red wine.  I love my liver, what a job!  The liver earns an A-!

The reference abnormal abdominal lymph node is almost back to normal size!  My colon at the point where they glued it back together looks great.  My guts earn an A this term. 

Lee and I are extremely pleased with my first term results. We sincerely appreciate your prayers, good thoughts and baked goods. All of these provide us with fuel for our journey and  empower us with positive thoughts. Thank you!

But we are well aware that this is just a start, a very good start, but still just a start.   Cancer adapts to treatment and usually comes back strong.  Currently there is no cure and survival at five years for my condition is less than10%.  But we will ride this wave as long as we can, it’s a good ride.  Medical science is constantly coming up with new things, the goal is to enjoy life and hopefully hang around long enough for the cure.

Speaking of enjoying life, here are two of this weeks joys: 

While dinning alfresco on our patio, two young hawks join us
  
On the way to the mailbox a rainbow appeared, a harbinger of good fortune, there were no bills in my mail!
 

Monsoon Season Renews Life

Greetings from the Sonoran desert!  Spectacular clouds, phenomenal storms with amazing displays of lightning and “waterfalls” of rain invigorate the desert with life.  Jimmy enjoys the summer show and rejoices in the annual renewal of life.

The late afternoon sky from our backyard
 
Before proceeding with news of my ongoing cancer treatment, I’d like to make a Public Service Announcement.  Puddles, the Oregon Duck mascot, is homeless!  For over six months, since he was deserted by his distraught owner at the Oregon vs. Ohio State national championship football game, Puddles has been roaming the desert all alone.  He appeared at our front door recently and we took him in.  He enjoyed July 4th with us, but on the July 5th he was assaulted by Oregon State Beaver fans. We rescued him and he is fine, but we fear for Puddles safety now that the “Beaver Nation” knows of his location.  Please help us locate Puddles’ owner before it’s too late!!’
Puddles enjoys July 4th
  
Attacked by Beaver Believers!!
 
Today I began my fourth round of treatment.  I’ve been extremely blessed with minimal side effects so far. A bit of fatigue, a touch of indigestion and now spontaneous laryngitis.  
The laryngitis comes and goes at random, with no other symptoms.  The laryngitis is very disappointing, as I was seriously considering opening for the Rolling Stones on their next tour…oh well.  The  consumption of wine in moderation will continue as my recent blood work shows that everything is functioning normally.  Yippie!!!  On the 17th I will have a CT scan to determine the effectiveness of the chemo treatments on shrinking the tumors. I will get the results of the scan in two weeks at my next scheduled chemo session. 

My ability to enjoy wine came in handy on July 4 when I was called into duty to determine the soundness of an Bordeaux wine that was over forty years old. It was a perfect July 4th celebration: French wine and Italian food with patcipants of Irish, Italian, English, German and Polish decent.  

Jimmy inspects the old Bordeaux
 
July 4th feast at Giannasi Bistro with old Bordeaux courtesy of David & Patti Dennis
 
With my minimal side effects, I have been able to get back to painting. I have completed three paintings ( including a commission) with another painting nearing completion. Life is good!