This is my second July 4th since my stage IV cancer diagnosis. Hooray, anyone want to join me for a third? These days each anniversary of a holiday is cause for celebration. Funny how your perspective can change. The significance of my next birthday in October is not that I’ll be 69. The cause for celebration is that it will be my second birthday since diagnosis, which is fitting since Lee claims that I often act like a two year old.
Although my war against cancer is still raging, there is no big news from the battlefront. We met with my oncologist a few days ago and I just started my second round of Lonsurf (TAS-102). We won’t know how effective Lonsurf is until the next PET scan late this month. However there’s good news, I am happy to announce that I feel better* than any time since I started Chemo. I survived the first round of Lonsurf with only very minor side effects. Lonsurf is known for assaulting the immune system, often resulting in dangerously low white blood cell and platelet counts, leaving the patient vulnerable to severe infections. Although I did experience drops in both white cell and platelet count, the drops were relatively minor. My platelet count is still within the normal range. Although my white cell count is slightly below normal, my neutrophils are still normal, so infections are not a big concern. My oncolgist said all of my blood work has been so consistently good over the last 16 months of treatment, regardless of what they throw at me, that I can forgo go the weekly blood draw and switch to a monthly draw if I wish. I decided that I’ll meet him halfway and get a blood draw every other week. I really like to know how my body is doing and (don’t tell Lee) but the vampire that draws my blood is kinda cute. *Cancer/chemo wise I feel great. But my right knee, hamstring and hip have been quite troublesome as of late. Hopefully things will settle down in time for the Sumer Olympics as I plan to compete in the 200 meter high hurdles.
I am happy to report that sales of my book, Live Well With Terminal Illness and Other Crappy Diseases, are off to a good start. If you haven’t yet grabbed yourself a virtual or paperback version from Amazon, “whatta matter wif you?” If you have purchased from Amazon, I’d appreciate a review on their site. My goal with this book is to help as many people as possible to learn to be able to enjoy life despite facing dire straits. By the way, “Money For Nothing,” is a favorite song of mine. Ah, but I regress…. Now that I have the book in circulation, I want to speak to groups. I gave a brief talk to our art club and I am now working with a local church and cancer support group on scheduling a talk. I am hopeful I can add speaking engagements to my resume along with artist and author. My goal is to be interviewed by Stephen Cobert.
Now that I finished the book, I can get back to painting. Below are my four latest custom pet portraits.
The following doggies, Bond and Lexi, live in the Pacific NW and love to herd sheep in the rain. But mostly they just like to be spoiled!