Goodbye Jeff, we will miss you

Today Lee and I met with Dr. P to go over my recent PET/CT scan.  However before we get into that I want to express my sorrow at the sudden passing of a friend, Jeff Elliott.   Jeff and I were just casual friends, chatting at the gym or hanging out at get togethers.   Jeff always had a smile and witty observations, fun to be with.  But Jeff was more, Jeff was also very compassionate.  You may remember an earlier post I made about Jeff’s Magical Toyland.  After my colon surgery to remove the tumor, Lee and I had a trip planed to Santa Fe prior to starting chemo.  Unfortunately my leg brace decided to break.  Normally it would take three weeks to repair, destroying our much needed break.  Jeff’s hobby was anything to do with metal, he had a fantastic toy shop full of devices to matipulate metal. I took my brace to Jeff hoping he may be able to repair it.  Jeff did not hesitate, but since this was a  custom brace, Jeff had to fabricate the necessary parts.  Which he did, rescuing our getaway, while making my brace is even stronger than before. Jeff came to my rescue again by designing an ingenious  enclosure to protect my outdoor spa from pack rats while allowing me easy access to the drain hose. Neither time would Jeff accept anything from me other than a thank you.  Thank you Jeff, may you RIP. 

Jeff and I in his metal playgound with my repaired brace.
 
Now to our meeting with Dr. P   First the good the good news.  There are no signs of any cancer in my head, neck, brain, heart, lymph nodes, chest wall, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, adrenal glands, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, peritoneum, abdominal wall, bladder or ovaries!!  So no change there.  However, two months ago all of the lesions in my lungs were dormant.  That ain’t the case now.  I now have a solid active mass in my lower left lobe with significant growth and maglinant activity.  Not to be outdone, my right lobe also has a very active tumor which, while smaller, is growing more rapidly.  Two months ago, there was a suspicious lesion in my liver, wasn’t growing but showed some signs of activity.  That tumor still hasn’t grown, but the hypermetobolic activity has almost doubled, indicating that it is up to no good.  The other lesion in my liver is still dormant, lets hope it stays that way!

Although highly disappointed, this is no surprise. Lee and I knew that cancer usually adapts to the chemo drugs, mutates and comes charging back. It’s like a football game.  The defense or the offense will adjust at halftime to counter the success of the other team.  So now that the cancer as successfully adjusted to my current chemo cocktail, it’s time for us to adjust, we will change it.  I asked Dr. P what was the mean time of effectiveness of my current “first line”chemo treatment.  He replied about 12 months, I got 11 months.  My hopes for going on a maintenance program vanished this afternoon.  My hopes of lasting until immunotherapy (the “cure”) to become an option for colon cancer also took a hit. 

Always a question I ask, “What if I stop therapy now”, Dr. P estimated my life would end in about 6 months, give or take.  So on to the “second line” treatment we go.  My second line treatment is a chemo cocktail called FOLFIRI.  It is comprised of some drugs I took before (5-FU, Leucovorin) plus Irinotecan and Zaltrap.  Irinotecan fucks with the DNA of the mutant cells disrupting them from duplicating themselves.  Zaltrap is basically Avastin on steroids, it deprives the mutants cells of blood, their food source.   I asked Dr. P if Zaltrap was a more effective version of Avastin, why wasn’t I given that previously.  The answer is because the FDA hadn’t approved it for “first line” treatment.  It can only be used if the first line fails.  That’s absolutely nuts to me.  Maybe if I had a stronger first line, I wouldn’t need a second line! 

As is is usual practice, Dr. P wrote down on the examination table tissue paper the new regimen, with the drugs and their most common side effects.  Side effects are basically the same with the exception of Irinotecan.  It’s nick name among cancer patients is “I-run-to-the-can”.   Lee is  off to Costco for a few extra rolls!  Since it’s a new cocktail, with toxicity to the immune system, kidneys and LIVER…no wine for Jimmy until we see how my innards handle the new poison.  Oh I also got to sign a new acknowledgment that this treatment could kill me.  The good news is that I don’t start the new regimen until the 23rd.  So only the finest wines will cross my lips for the next week! 

Dr. P writes down the new regimen, drugs and s side effects
 
Although I am obviously disappointed with this news, fear not dear readers!  I’m a tough son of a bitch and I’m itching to kick cancer in the nuts!  My spirit is strong.  As long as I’m around I WILL live life to its fullest.  I am blessed with a loving spouse, great friends and neighbors, two fat cats and a closet full of DUCK gear. Thank you for your support!!!

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31 thoughts on “Goodbye Jeff, we will miss you

  1. Jim…Sorry to hear of the loss of your friend Jeff. He sounds like a great guy. And your news after the PET scan is tough too. I know you’ll keep fighting through this as the tough SOB/Ichiban I know and love. Sounds like another trip to Tucson may be in order if you’re agreeable.

    Prayers and blessings from the PDX P’s.

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  2. I remember you blogged it when jeff saved the day with the brace fix that let you go on your trip. a fine man who will be missed . so, it’s on to new a new chemo cocktail. hope the side effects are not worse than you have been tolerating. do they ever consider surgery for the lung lesions? I don’t know beans about treatments. scary stuff but you can do it better than anyone could expect. love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry to hear about your friend Jeff. We will say prayers for peace for his family. Also very sorry to hear that you’ve had a setback. Wishing you all the best and hoping you have some exceptional wine this week! Much love!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That sucks!!! But, we have only the greatest faith in your ability to beat the odds as you continue to do. So…….keep drinking that great wine for as long as you can and keep that great positive attitude! Immunotherapy for colon cancer could be ready any day so just keep that goal in mind. You have so many of us pulling for you and right here if you or Lee need anything!!

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  5. So sorry to hear you’ve taken a step backwards. However you’re right: you are one tough guy and you may be down a little – but far from out! Hang in there buddy! We’re wishing the best for you.

    Especially tough to get the news about your friend just now. Our condolences.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A real surprise to read about Jeff & the “Magical Toyland” as he was such an inventor. A Wizard of Quail that created what needed to be real. Artists come in many styles
    shapes & mediums that make a difference in the way we view life. I will miss your casual friend as he was such a great Light. Lonny Sisson & you have a now infamous
    way of showing your cancer where to go. Cancer showed up & had no idea that Jimmy A was going to be such a macho hombre that had the entire history of the Ducks in
    his closet. You & Lee rock our hearts so thank you for your Love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Otto, coming from you, that is very meaningful. I’ve decided to write a e-book on coping with chronic and terminal illness. Been lying awake at night thinking, I gotta get it out of my brain onto “paper”. Hmmm, what do you write on with an e-book?

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  7. Hey – first of all, I totally remember your post about Jim, because I love that kind of clever tinkering! (I have been accused of “MacGyver-ing” a few times in my own life. Okay, okay – more than a few times!) So I’m sorry for his passing, and the loss of his imaginative ways to tackle the world.

    And as for YOU, mister Second Line of Defense – enjoy the week of fine wine! Hope Lee bought only the finest-quality Charmin. Enjoy the sun and paint some more. How about moving into people portraits? Dr. P seems like a good first choice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’ll be 85 and sunny today, I love this place. I think I’ll stick to painting critters for now. I love their innocence and goofiness, painting them makes me happy and seeing the reactions of my patrons makes my day.

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  8. A great photo of two kindred spirits. And I’m glad and not surprised that you will continue your fighting spirit to kick ass, Jim. Go Ducks and Go Jim! Marj

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    1. There may be a point where the treatment does not warrant continuation. pain and suffering with minimal or no gain does not pencil. But we are not there, I will continue to fight as long as it make sense to me. Hopefully for a long time. Thanks to you and Pieps for your support. As the Donald would say, “it’s HUGE!”

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  9. Jim,

    I bet on you! You are a tough S.O.B. I remember you scolding me over one review where I scored you average. You promptly told me that you have never been “average” at anything. I get it. You are an inspiration and are in my daily prayers. Yea, I believe in a higher power.

    My Best,

    Matt Pugel

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hey Jim – first of all, my condolences on the loss of your friend, Jeff. It sounds like you two had a very special relationship. Second, I am very sorry to hear this latest news. So I will just keep praying and affirming that you are going to get through this next round of treatment kicking butt and with flying colors. I am really glad you and Lee have joined our QC Relay for Life Team. We will be honored to have you with us on April 9. Go Jim and Go Team!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Jim and Lee,
    I am so sorry to hear about your latest doctor visit and not so good news. You have the RIGHT attitude to continue FIGHTING. NEVER give up. Continue living life to the fullest. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Lee. Stay STRONG. Sandi B.

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  12. Sorry to hear the latest news Jim. Keep beating that drum & get rid of those invaders. We’re behind you & doing what we can to support you. Our thoughts & prayers are with you.

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  13. Ditto Terri Jim! “That News Sucks!” John and I have sat on this news for awhile asking: “Say it isn’t so Jimmy!

    And yet, you show the strength and courage we would ask for ourselves.
    …you’e found the “secret of life” that most of us are still trying to figure out!
    You’ve found out what’s most important to you!!!
    Do write that book…you will be a great inspiration to others!
    From everything you say about Dr. P, it’s apparent that you trust your Guide in the Journey.
    You have two cheerleaders sitting on a volcano in the middle of the Pacific Ocean sending our prayers out for you on the wind of Pele’s fire.

    Mucho Amore to you, Lee and your furry friends.
    Sandy and John

    Liked by 1 person

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