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Gilroy Relay for Life

We were very fortunate to be part of an amazing and powerful Relay for Life the weekend before last here in Gilroy. It’s funny how things come full circle in life. Years ago Kathy got involved as a volunteer coordinator for the annual event when it was still fairly new in town. She pulled me and the rest of the family in to help out, and we loved it. Fast forward to this year when I was honored to speak at opening ceremonies as a survivor, and Kathy did an incredible job speaking at the luminary ceremony as a caregiver.

We had a wonderful team, “BUCK Carcinoid”, that was spearheaded by Stephanie with lots of help from Stacy. I was completely overwhelmed by the support from friends and family, several dozen people all wearing our black team shirts emblazoned with zebras. My parents were here. I was totally surprised by my best friend Derek, wife Leanne and daughter Faith when they showed up (seen holding our hands in photo). They actually slept in our house the night before and I didn’t know it. Well played. There were too many other people there to mention, but every single person truly touched me and Kathy.

Our emotions were fried through tears of sorrow and joy. We walked, played, reminisced and just had a great day. By Sunday morning when closing ceremonies rolled around I was spent. Several of us survivors stood up at the stage and watched lots of young people cheer for us, then come forward with signs saying things like, “It’s okay to be sad”, “Keep fighting”, “Stay strong”, and the one that made me really start bawling, a 5-year-old holding a sign that read “We’ve got this”. Ugh!

Well over $100,000 was raised for the American Cancer Society. Thank you to everyone who helped make this event so special.

As for my health, I’m doing well, feeling good, and really working hard. I’m in a holding pattern just waiting to see what the next round of scans and labs reveal. Kathy and I will be off to LA in late August to visit my doc at Cedars-Sinai and I’ll be sure to post the results after that.

Take care.

Resting at Home

Not much to report, but I’m so glad to be back home and finished with PRRT. Unfortunately I feel worse this time than the previous trips. I think that after four rounds my body is just screaming, “enough already!” I’m tired and queasy and just a pleasure to be around. Thank God for Kathy and her TLC.

I head to LA in four weeks for a 2-day follow-up at Cedars-Sinai with my oncologist. Then the first week of May I’ll be returning to Houston for a couple days of follow-up scans and evaluation. As long as everything remains stable, or hopefully even shrinks a little, we’re in good shape.

I know I’ll feel much better in a week or two. I had my monthly injection of Sandostatin LAR yesterday, the first since October, which will help with my symptoms. I’m so looking forward to regaining some strength and stamina. I will keep posting with more news from the doctors as it becomes available.

Home Again

I’ve told Kathy that we’re not leaving home again for a two week stretch unless it’s for a vacation in the Mediterranean or the Virgin Islands. It’s just too long to be away for this medical nonsense. Fortunately my fourth and final treatment next month is only a four day trip.

Kathy and I were thrilled and surprised when we got back home late Saturday. The kids had decorated the outside of our house with Christmas lights and baked lots of delicious Christmas goodies that were arranged on the counter. Kathy cried. I ate fudge.

I’m feeling much better than I did after the first two rounds of therapy, although I still have almost no energy and generally feel beaten up. My appetite and queasiness both come and go. I’ll be heading back into the office for a few hours Wednesday through Friday this week. Then I have the luxury of being off until January 3rd, which will afford me lots of downtime to recuperate. Our families are being great to us by celebrating the holidays on New Year’s weekend instead of this weekend so that I can enjoy them more.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy & Happy New Year!!

Good Report

Kathy and I met with the doctor today at Excel Diagnostics and the news was good. The various scans show that my tumors are responding to the therapy, with some of them shrinking and some stable. There are no signs of new tumors. My bone scan was negative. My kidney and liver function are fine. My blood markers that indicate various levels of cancer related junk are trending in the right direction.

All of this will help to slightly soften the blow of tomorrow’s therapy, which I unfortunately know is going to make me miserable. Right now I’m just looking forward to getting this done and getting back home. Kathy, as always, has been a trooper and continues to support me and tolerate all of my nonsense. With a little radiation these next few days I’m certain to light up her life.

More to follow post-therapy…

Visit with My Oncologist

I just met with my oncologist today. This was a regularly scheduled follow-up to my first two PRRT treatments. I’ll come back and see him again when all four treatments are complete, probably in late February. He is pleased with how things are progressing, and confident that I’ll see substantial benefit from this therapy, particularly after all four doses are administered.

It’s been two weeks since my trip to Houston, and I’m still feeling wrung out, sick to my stomach, and having to make way too many trips to the bathroom. If this is anything like the first round I should start feeling quite a bit better in another week or so. I was hoping that this time would be easier on me, but no such luck. My doctor today said that I can take more “rescue injections” of octreotide at home to help ease some of the symptoms.

I’m back at the office on a regular basis, working as many hours as I can tolerate. At home Kathy is a saint – putting up with my issues while dealing with her own (including a sprained ankle right now). I’m looking forward to feeling significantly better by Thanksgiving so I can enjoy our big family celebration.

I’ll post again soon. Thanks for stopping by.

More Scans – Day 2

I think it was actually a little hotter today in Houston than yesterday. Incredible. I suppose you could fry an egg on the sidewalk, except I heard a report that it’s so hot all of the chickens are laying hard boiled eggs.

Today consisted of more scans on the same machine that was in yesterday’s photo. First was a renogram to check for kidney function, then a bone scan. Different blends of the same radioactive isotope were injected for the imaging. The kidney scan is done to make sure that my kidneys are functioning okay since that’s where next week’s radiation therapy will settle aside from my tumors. They need to be confident that my kidneys will be able to handle the influx of radiation and then effectively clear it from my system.

The bone scan was done to look for the possibility of bone metastases. That scan went from head to toe. Afterward it was evaluated, and then they did a follow-up scan on my abdomen to get a better picture of some areas that they wanted to look at a little more closely. Ideally the first scan would have been enough, meaning they didn’t see anything. We’ll find out the results of this scan, and all of the scans from this week when we meet with the doctor on Monday afternoon.

I also had to stop taking my injections yesterday morning since that drug can interfere with some of the imaging. It’s the first time I’ve been off of Sandostatin for years, which helps control my symptoms, and today I’m not feeling so great. Lots of flushing and discomfort, especially after eating. I get to start my injections again tomorrow evening and can stay on them until Monday, when I’ll be off of them again. Hopefully this therapy will be very successful and will help knock down my carcinoid syndrome symptoms.

Through it all, the people at Excel have been great. I’m also very fortunate to have Kathy by my side every step of the way.

Tomorrow afternoon will bring a couple rounds of octreoscans and an MRI. I’ll post more then. Take care.