February 28, 2002
Some of you were beginning to wonder.
No, things have not gotten worse since my last posting. But
neither have they gotten particularly better.
I've just completed my first course of the oral chemotherapy
Xeloda, which, all in all, was not too bad in terms of negative
side effects (knock on wood). Tomorrow I go for another CT
scan to see whether the treatment has made any difference.
In addition, I've adopted a complementary course of Chinese
herbs and acupressure treatments that have helped my overall
well-being, even though they don't combat the cancer directly.
Healthwise I've been up and down the last few weeks, some days
feeling better than others, but I've still got plenty of fight
left in me.
Strategically, my thinking has changed. Whereas before I pursued
an aggressive course of treatment designed to position me for
surgery (surgery offering the best chance for a cure), the
plan now is to find some way to stop the cancer from growing,
shrink it, or at least live comfortably with it for as long
as possible in order to build a bridge toward some future point
where a new treatment might come along and offer another chance
at a cure.
few people have expressed trepidation over the state of my
health, not saying it aloud, but clearly
I might be on that unalterable trajectory of death that patients
with terminal illnesses can get on. I've tried to assure them
that, given the way I feel and think about the coming months,
I'm not. But that hasn't stopped a couple of friends from offering
what amount to their eulogies in advance. One college friend
even wrote me a letter saying, "I realize that these might
be the last words I ever communicate with you, so I wanted
you to know that . . . . "! I called him up immediately
and said, "Would you lighten up?!I'm not going anywhere!" He
says, "Well you're the one who says to make sure we speak
our feelings before it's too late, so I'm just following your
advice." We both laughed at the absurdity of it all.
was reminded of the first time I visited my wife's paternal
grandparents, who were both in their 90s
at the time, still
alert and living independently. Upon taking their picture,
the grandfather says, "When you get those developed, make
sure you write 'A.D.Y.' on the back."
snickered, "'Ain't dead yet.'"
To all y'all concerned out there: Thanks for thinking of me.
A.D.Y., baby, A.D.Y.