Breaking Down Barriers

imageBubo the cat, who lives with  vineyard owners and wine connoisseurs in the Oregon wine country, often enjoys viewing my portrait of her in her Halloween  costume.  Yes, she was actually wearing a glitter mask for the festivities!  Kitties need to party too!

Dr. Richard Pazdur, the oncology chief for the Food and Drug Administration for the past 16 years, had been denounced by many cancer patient advocates as a slow obstructionist bureaucrat.  His view changed after he watched his wife endure three years of ineffectual treatment for her ovarian cancer with conventional drugs.  Tumors continued to grow and side effects were awful.  Her last hope was an experimental compound that was not yet approved by the federal regulators. Since that unfortunate episode there has been a profound change at the FDA in speeding up the approval process. Recently Vice-Presdent Biden experienced the loss of his son to brain cancer.  Last night President Obama announced a new initiative led  by Vice-President Joe Biden to break down barriers to collaboration among cancer researchers and to increase public and private resources in the fight against cancer.

Technology in the war against cancer is moving, hopefully the change in attitude at the FDA, combined with Joe Biden’s new focus will unleash the power of our medical technology.  I am presently being treated with a drug “cocktail” (5-FU) that has been around for 40 years.  Although I have had a very positive initial reaction, the historical evidence is that the cancer cells  will adapt to 5-FU and render my treatment ineffective leading to the loss of my life.  The clock is ticking for me and thousands of other Stage IV patients.  These recent changes will hopefully speed up the process for immutherapy for colon cancer which has shown the potential to be very effective.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of my 15th treatment.  Unfortunately I had not informed my doctor that I changed insurance companies beginning this month and it took 90 minutes to get approval for my treatment from the new company.  I subsequently was told it normally takes a 7-10 days to get approval. Kudos to Lupita at AZ Oncolgy for their efforts in getting approval in 90 minutes.  The treatment itself  went fine.  The numbers from by blood work all looks good, within normal range, except for my CEA cancer marker.  The CEA went from 3.1 to 3.6, normal is 3.5 or less.  I’m not concerned as fluctuations occur .  On the 25th, after my PET scan, I’ll have a better view of the latest on the devious actions of my cancer cells.  I am assuming they are shriveling up and dying.

With all the year-end activities, I got behind a bit on my painting.  I was able to complete Miley, this little cutie below, and should soon be done with a painting of a Schnoodle, not the cookie, but a Schnauzer-Poodle mix.  My first designer dog!!  We are looking forward next week to a visit from Lee’s mom, Marian, and her partner “farmer”  John.  They hail from a small farm in snowy and cold upstate New York.  We’ll all enjoy some sunshine with their visit!image

Miley is the puppy dog of a friend’s grand daughter.  My assumption is that the grand daughter and puppy are equally spoiled, as it should be!







9 thoughts on “Breaking Down Barriers

  1. Hey Jim – love your updates as well as your paintings. I am glad to know you are continuing to do well. You are an inspiration to all with your positive attitude and sense of humor. You are in my prayers daily. Take good care. Blessings, Lynn Maier

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still need to apply a clear acrylic finish, to protect the painting from dust, water and sunlight. It also also some glossiness which I find makes the painting more vibrant. Right now I am enjoying her, as she is hanging on my office wall. I can have her ready for you at any time, it just takes a couple of days to dry the clear coat.


    1. It’s been unusually cold and raining here this winter, but was glorious yesterday and should be 70 and sunny for their visit. The weather gods are being good to us! I’m really glad you like the painting of dear Charlie and thank you for your support! Cheers!


  2. Hi Jim. As I am sure you know, there is no statistical evidence behind a CEA gain as slight as yours. Heck, it could easily be a change that is owing to two different lab analysts. So . . . I see you still sitting fine. I am not a big fan of 5-FU and have been with it for over two years. On our side, there are some new treatments hot on the market. My hope is that by the time I get to them, the tumors will be too week to handle the new stuff. And . . . there’s always the specific treatment protocols, like ablation have great effect. Hang in there, my man.

    Liked by 1 person

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