Yesterday afternoon Little Lee and I had our last meeting of the year with Dr. P. There are lots of things assaulting Jimmy’s body right now. My body is still processing the effects of the liver nuke from last month, my on going Lonsurf chemo regimen and now the irradiating of a large tumor in my right lung that was causing a never ending cough. Just like in the old Timex watch commercials, my body “takes a licking and keeps on ticking!” Other than slightly low hemoglobin in my blood workup everything looks hunky dory. As an added bonus my cough has been reduced significantly and my CEA cancer marker has been reduced by a third from last month! Although my CEA number is still above normal, me likey the direction.
I will continue the right lung radiation for two more weeks and next week I will have a biopsy of a tumor in my left lung to provide Dr. M a plethora of information about the genetic makeup of the tumor. You may recall that Dr. M is a research oncologist at the University of Arizona Cancer Center. In January we will meet with Dr. M to go over the results of the biopsy and explore some new and exciting treatment options.
As I look back over this “topsy turvy” 2016 so many things have happened, many of which were good. I wrote and published my first book and it actually got rave reviews! I recently hired an actor to record the book and it will soon be available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes as an audio book. This will address the needs of the blind and ill patients that have difficulty reading as well as those that prefer to listen to books while exercising or driving.
I launched my inspirational speaking tour based on my book. I have given talks to several survivor groups and even given a sermon at a local church. I will continue on with this into the new year with speaking engagements slated with Arizona Oncology in January and the University of Arizona Cancer Center in February.
Both the Jimmy Asbell Art Studio and the Asbell Art Studio are getting busier. Nearly 40 assorted cats and dogs (with a few giraffes thrown in) have been anointed by my paint brush and I couldn’t come close to counting all the thousands of dots on Little Lee’s canvases. Thank you to those of you are are supporting us
starving thirsty artists, this is our wine fund you know.
This past January started off wonderfully as the chemotherapy of the prior six months had eliminated all evidence of cancer in my lungs and reduced the size and activity of the liver tumors. I was confident that I would be one of the lucky few Stage IV patients who would skate along for years with minimal treatment.
But my cancer roared back in both the lungs and liver by March. So we had to change drugs and move to the “second line” treatment. The “second line” treatment was a total failure. Not only did the cancer grow unabated, but I had several trips to the ER because of side effects. One of the side effects was a perforated septum.
In June I began my “third line” of chemo, Lonsurf. There will be no “fourth line” of chemo treatment, the available options are ineffective with horrific side effects. So Lee and I pondered the after chemo options of clinical trials or hospice, a trying and worrisome period.
After being initially ineffective, Lonsurf began to show signs of slowing down the growth of my disease. This allowed us to use “Whack a Mole” tactics with various radiation treatments to deal with the larger tumors. Although the disease was growing slower, it is still growing. Althoughing buying me some time, the long term prospects with Lonsurf are not good.
Throughout all of these ups and mostly downs there was one constant that sustained us….YOU. Your readership, friendship, thoughts, prayers, well wishes, blog comments, love, caring and companionship all mean so much to Lee and I. The anniversary of my first year of survivor-ship (my Green Toe Party) and my birthday party that many of you attended meant a lot to me, these are victory celebrations to me. Thank you to the many friends and family from across the country who paid us a visit and got to see I am as handsome as ever. 😄 Thanks for the escape trips to Mexico, San Diego and the slot canyons that broke up the regimen of treatment and provided Lee and I “life” refreshment.
As we approach 2017 I am excited. I have many more critters to paint, I have many more wines to drink, many more friends to hug and, my friend Tom May assures me, I have many more Oregon Duck victories to cheer. I know there are no promises or not even probabilities. But there are soooo many new possibilities and I am energized by them. Science is on the move.
Since Christmas Eve and Hanukkah fall on the same day, Lee and I wish you a Joyful Christmukkah, a double dip holiday!! I will talk to you in a couple of weeks, Happy New Year everyone.