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A Sundance Update - News, News, and More News - Gearin' Up for the Next Battle

Sundanceh
Sundanceh Member Posts: 4,392
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
Well, the Battle is intensifying as we speak, we’re gathering up the forces now and preparing to launch a full scale attack right away – this next month is going to slap the reality right back in my face.

I met with my surgical oncologist this past Friday and we talked about a good many things. It’s not news to me what all he told me, and I saw it coming and knew almost verbatim what he was going to say and what the treatment was going to be – funny though, how even though you know the answers, when you hear them from the onc, it weighs heavily on your mind and soul. Such has been the case again with me.

I suppose it’s the weight of the Reality vs Speculation. And by hearing him talk about it, it further cements in the truth of the matter. The $hit is on – and in a big way. There is no denying it and nowhere to run, except the graveyard should I falter in my attempts.

Dadgumit, folks, I’m tired and worn out after all of these years and it’s a never ending treadmill – just looks like it will never stop for me and it will just go on and on. Break-Recurrence-Surgery-Treatments, until the day I can longer do them.

I think I wrote the other day that I no longer had any ANGRY feelings about any of this. Upon personal reflection this weekend, it appears I was in error. Yeah, I’m mad again and upset. When you hear your wife talking to her sister acknowledging that I might not make it, well that just tears your heart out.

It lets me know that she is understanding the reality of our situation and preparing for life without me at some point. I tried to talk to her and to have her sit there and cry, just rips my guts out. I’ve always tried to portray such strength to her, and also to all of you, that nothing will happen to me and that I will suck down poisons and do surgeries and let them amputate everything but my soul – and that all will be alright.

I’m going to do everything that I can to restore her faith in me, and yours too, and we’re still fighting this in the “curative” mode at this point. I’ve got to fight like I’m still going to walk away from this and leave it behind me. But when will that be? Will it ever be? I don't expect an answer, we'll just see what happens.

After meeting with the onc, it came to my mind for only the 2nd time in my 6+ year journey, that I might not make it, in the long run. That I might eventually succumb, but I try not to weigh too heavily on those thoughts for long. It was a very sobering consult and we talked frankly about life and death, in dealing with this illness...nothing morbid, just being real and factual about it all.

Still, I’ve got a new battle to fight and I’ve got to gear up fast and hard and hit this thing will all of my might. This Cancer is an SOB, who wants my life very badly and it’s going to come down to a battle of wills as to who will overcome.

I’ve never quit on anything in my life, so I don’t plan to here either – gonna go through all of it and see where the dice lands. Somewhow, I feel like this is “Custer’s Last Stand” for me and the biggest battle I’ll wage. If we fail here, then curative begins to slip away and I’ll move to palliative and then, of course, well….

Since this board is a place of refuge, I’m posting my thoughts on what I feel as I gear up for another long battle in the War Against Cancer. I’ m not pitying myself or feeling sorry for myself. These are just my raw thoughts as I’m trying to get my mind right to fight. If I can't talk about it here...then where? I went 5 years without you guys, and do not like to burden you very much, but needed to get this post off my chest and a little bit out of mind.

I’m just trying to show all of you that even a 6+ year veteran of the battle, still has self-doubts about his situation, but yet also the resolve and conviction to soldier on down the trail a little further. I’ m not ready to give in just yet. With all of the years fighting, with all of the surgeries, and with all of the treatments, I finally do understand why some folks have enough of it. I want to think that I can still win and this next chapter in my book, should provide some insight on what I have left to give.

Here’s what going on in the next 3-4 weeks:
1. New power port install (this Wednesday)
2. PET/CT scan
3. Colonoscopy
4. Stereotactic Radiation (probably 3-5 treatments)

Immediately after that, I jump right back into 6 more months of concurrent chemo – this time we’ll be using Folfiri. I’ll be going back on the 48-hour pump in conjunction with this as well.

We’ll also be doing a KRAS mutation test on me – if I’m negative, then we may be doing Erbitux as well. I’m sure he’ll introduce it if this is an option.

So, 2010 is over for me and a 1/3 of 2011 has already rolled out from under me. Such is the nature of this f'in disease. I’ll be back to work after recovering more from the lung surgery, so chemo treatments will be ongoing as I try to work and hold onto my job.

It’s a full plate for sure and very challenging to say the least. I always like to speak to those who are early on in their battles (1-3) years. I read how tired you all are and how you wish it would just go away. You can imagine then how after 6.3 years, that Kim and I are just fed up and what you all want too. These next 6-months are going to get us close to 7-years of actively fighting this thing. It seems very hard to believe - sometimes the numbers just don't soak into the head. On the bright side, I'm still here and battling after this length of time, so I know there are some folks that would like to stand here with me as well.

“When will it end?” “How do you all do it?” I’ve read these posts from many of you and hear your cries for help. How I answer those questions is that this is why I use my life and my cancer as an example for you to see – perhaps you can derive some strength and resolve from some of it. I could have been gone a long time ago, but still just too stubborn to lay down. I hope I never do - I'll fight as long as there is some quality to it all.

Perhaps, Strength and Courage is nothing more than doing what you have to do on any given day.

Well, it’s all moving quickly now as they are jumping all over this, due to the severity and progression of the disease. I’m still recovering from the surgery and now have to put my other armor back on and start taking this nasty radiation and unpleasant tasting cocktails. Why can’t they taste like frozen Margaritas?

I meet with the radiation oncologist next week, but found a write up in a magazine at my other onc’s office. He is one of the leading pioneers in the United States of America on “stereotactic radiation.” Looks like that will be way that I’m going and it looks promising. Probably between 3-5 sessions, but he’ll tell me.

Craig's Reader Digest Version:

Length of Service in Battle: 6.3 years (actively fighting)
Number of Recurrences: 3
Major surgeries: 5 and counting
Number of Times to do Chemo: 3 separate encounters
Number of Times to do Radiation: 3 seperate encounters
Number of Ports I've Had: 3 seperate encounters


Note: If I can do this, then I know that you can as well. Time and Patience will be your allies on your journey towards wellness.

No word on the magazine yet – I’m going to be anxious to see if it’s me or Frankie Vallie on the front cover…I’d go and bet with Frankie on this one…he’s a 60’s legend and I’m just an old used up, cancer ridden man. I’ll be looking forward to seeing who actually won and at least the article will be there. I’ll be trying to get those shipped in and around all of the mess that will be going on.

Peace, Courage, and Strength (to all of you out there)

I’ll get myself together and start getting after it, Pronto!

Just a month out of a major thoracotomy with 2 ribs removed and 5 wedge resections done, along with having my chest wall scraped. You'd think I could get a break and rest? But since the Cancer does not sleep, guess I cannot either.

Tally HO!
-Craig
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Comments

  • khl8
    khl8 Member Posts: 807
    Craig,
    If anyone in the

    Craig,
    If anyone in the world can beat this, it is you! I am thinking of you all the time and if I have any pull with the guy upstairs, you can bet that I am going to use it!

    Hugs,
    Kathy
  • Jaylo969
    Jaylo969 Member Posts: 824
    Craig
    Hugs to you and to Kim. I so wish you didn't have to go through all this pain and crap but I have confidence that you will pull through. If anyone can, it is you.

    Anytime you need to talk, vent, or whatever I/we are here. We all love you.

    -Pat
  • lesvanb
    lesvanb Member Posts: 905
    Courage
    A framed saying, gift from a fellow cancer survivor here at work, sits on my desk right in front of me:

    Courage

    not the absence of fear or despair
    but the strength to conquer them.

    much love to you Craig and to Kim and Harley
    Leslie
  • mom_2_3
    mom_2_3 Member Posts: 952
    Craig
    I can hear the fatigue in your "voice." You have certainly been through the wringer and I am in awe of your strength and courage. But just as one can see that you are tired of this cr-p, one can also see that you are resolved to beat this. I know you will. Just keep going, one step in front of the other and soon you will be all done with your chemo. We are here for you.

    Amy
  • idlehunters
    idlehunters Member Posts: 1,787
    lesvanb said:

    Courage
    A framed saying, gift from a fellow cancer survivor here at work, sits on my desk right in front of me:

    Courage

    not the absence of fear or despair
    but the strength to conquer them.

    much love to you Craig and to Kim and Harley
    Leslie

    Craig
    Not much to say because you have said it all. You know where you have been and definately got a handle on where you are going. You are in control of the options you are confortable with and have faith in. You are indeed a strong soldier in this battle and with Kim fighting by your side you WILL prevail. I love everything about you dude and looking forward to spending some quality time with you and Kim. Take care my friend.

    Jennie

    P.S. I just got back from oral surgery and all went well. Numbness starting to wear off so I am going to take a nap and hopefully feel better when I wake up. Talk to you soon.
  • soccermom13
    soccermom13 Member Posts: 224
    WOW!
    You have been thru so much and yet you remain positive. You and your wife are in my prayers.
    Shanna
  • kristasplace
    kristasplace Member Posts: 955
    Enough
    Craig, after knowing what you've been going through all these years, i fear that i'm on the same road as you, just a little further back. Fighting five years, the beginning two before diagnosis the most miserable ever. Two recurrences, three surgeries with another one inevitably to occur...i, too, am very tired. i'm sick of feeling like crap, then feeling well briefly just to get another bout with this disease that threatens to take away everything i've worked so hard to recover from. i can only imagine how completely sick of it you and Kim must be.

    Your post made me very emotional, first because of all the hell you've been through, and secondly because i understand the doubt you're feeling. Is this disease really beatable? Is it just a fluke when someone does survive it? I have those feelings a lot recently. Up until my latest metastasis, i was sure i could beat this. Now i'm feeling doubt, and fear. So many of us are not surviving. What makes me any different? I know these feelings have to be overcome if we are to survive, and each set back just makes that harder to do. I honestly don't know how you've kept it together as long as you have, but it truly does inspire me. WE CAN AND WILL BEAT THIS. WE WILL, WE WILL.
  • Annabelle41415
    Annabelle41415 Member Posts: 6,704
    Journey
    You sure have been on a long journey with this battle but you always seem to pull through. Sounds like you have a busy stretch ahead for you. Hope that you do fine with upcoming treatment.

    Kim
  • pepebcn
    pepebcn Member Posts: 6,331

    Journey
    You sure have been on a long journey with this battle but you always seem to pull through. Sounds like you have a busy stretch ahead for you. Hope that you do fine with upcoming treatment.

    Kim

    l can understand your position l am in my first recurrence
    after 8 months NED only and l am f..., mad, and irascible , some times thinking is not worthy , but suddenly l remember
    this 8 months enjoying again life, feeling me again alive ,this Sumer trip to the north coast of Spain with the whole family, and l
    realize that it is, it is worth! even to have these only few months of happiness for my and my family
    It's worth and will win because it is worth.
  • Buzzard
    Buzzard Member Posts: 3,043
    pepebcn said:

    l can understand your position l am in my first recurrence
    after 8 months NED only and l am f..., mad, and irascible , some times thinking is not worthy , but suddenly l remember
    this 8 months enjoying again life, feeling me again alive ,this Sumer trip to the north coast of Spain with the whole family, and l
    realize that it is, it is worth! even to have these only few months of happiness for my and my family
    It's worth and will win because it is worth.

    You better gear up young man.....
    cause you know we don't take no for an answer around here......

    BTW...Harley called yesterday and informed me that you have been a little tardy with tha food lately....He told me to drop ya a hint and let ya know that a few more kibbles and bits just might keep him from having to call PETA in....LOL....kiddin' buddy. You know we love ya down here in tha Bluegrass state !!!.......Buzz
  • HollyID
    HollyID Member Posts: 946
    I so admire you....
    You have no idea how much I admire you. Really, you don't.

    Your tenacity for this battle is overwhelming. I know that you and Kim just have to be so tired of this crap. I know I would be after 6+ years. I haven't been in this battle for even a year, and there are times I get tired of feeling sick and tired, but your awesome way of handling things is so extraordinary. Your wisdom, the love of your family and your life is a testament of your character. You've been through so much as has Kim, yet both of you are fighters. I like that in a person.

    Love ya, bud!

    Holly
  • Lovekitties
    Lovekitties Member Posts: 3,364
    You are Amazing
    As I read your post, I keep thinking, I could not have done all that and still be standing ready to face more. You truely are amazing.

    I know that you aim to always project a very positive attitude to all here and to Kim about your fight with this monster, but you know that we are each here to help prop you up when it gets a little to rough for you. We each need that bit of extra strenght some times. So call on us any time to give some back that you have shared so willingly with us.

    You have mentioned a couple of times about trying to hold on to your job. I know that financially being employed is better than not, but I hope you are exploring other options as well should all this treatment be too much for you to do both.

    You are not just a survivor, but a warrior of the first order...hats off to you and hope that all you now face is the last you must face to be cancer free.

    Hugs to you and Kim,

    Marie who loves kitties
  • abmb
    abmb Member Posts: 311
    Again, thoughts & Prayers
    Craig, sorry to hear you have to go through so much again. I will keep you in my Prayers and everyone else on this board. Keep up the fight and try with all your will to stay positive. Take care and God Bless. Margaret
  • 462lt
    462lt Member Posts: 117

    You are Amazing
    As I read your post, I keep thinking, I could not have done all that and still be standing ready to face more. You truely are amazing.

    I know that you aim to always project a very positive attitude to all here and to Kim about your fight with this monster, but you know that we are each here to help prop you up when it gets a little to rough for you. We each need that bit of extra strenght some times. So call on us any time to give some back that you have shared so willingly with us.

    You have mentioned a couple of times about trying to hold on to your job. I know that financially being employed is better than not, but I hope you are exploring other options as well should all this treatment be too much for you to do both.

    You are not just a survivor, but a warrior of the first order...hats off to you and hope that all you now face is the last you must face to be cancer free.

    Hugs to you and Kim,

    Marie who loves kitties

    Strenght
    Stenght, Courage and Peace to you. You are an inspiration. Laura
  • AnneCan
    AnneCan Member Posts: 3,673
    Hi Craig!
    Thanks for this honest, thoughtful post. You have been fighting this for a long time; you are a veteran + you are aware of so many of the weapons to fight this war with - surgery, chemo, radiation, ablation, positive thinking, etc. You are able to mobilize all the rest of us when we need a call to action. I truly believe this cancer will not have a chance against you in this next stage of the battle. My only suggestion is, while it is important to have an overall picture of the upcoming battle + the strategies that will be used, it is good to take each day as it comes + not be overwhelmed by how long the battle will be. I think that even though this battle may go into 2011, you will have many good days/weeks/ months/ during the treatment. We have to cherish those as well as the gold pot at the end of the rainbow when treatment is finished.

    By the way I would take you on the cover of a magazine any day over Frankie Vallie (+I like his music!) You are not "an old used up cancer ridden man". You have a lot of mileage left in you, a book to write + memories to share with Kim. I am so sorry you are going through this. We are so lucky to have you here. Thanks for your honesty in sharing this with us. Take good care!
  • sheri22
    sheri22 Member Posts: 273
    WISH I COULD MAKE IT BETTER FOR YOU
    Craig
    sorry I havent posted sooner computor problems. anyways I KNOW YOU WILL STAY STRONG THRU THIS. I know it is hard haveing to face the reality and staying positive at the same time but remember reality is we have seen people beat this beast. I hate that you have to go thru all this though, but I am betting on you to win this fight take care and get your boxing gloves on also I am rooting on you for the magazine too Frankie or Sundance come on you are popular and a new face soo Im betting on you there too. excuse my spelling and hope things start looking better soon

    Sheri22
  • coolvdub
    coolvdub Member Posts: 408
    sheri22 said:

    WISH I COULD MAKE IT BETTER FOR YOU
    Craig
    sorry I havent posted sooner computor problems. anyways I KNOW YOU WILL STAY STRONG THRU THIS. I know it is hard haveing to face the reality and staying positive at the same time but remember reality is we have seen people beat this beast. I hate that you have to go thru all this though, but I am betting on you to win this fight take care and get your boxing gloves on also I am rooting on you for the magazine too Frankie or Sundance come on you are popular and a new face soo Im betting on you there too. excuse my spelling and hope things start looking better soon

    Sheri22

    Wishing you much strength
    Craig,

    You are an inspiration to so many on this board. I wish there was some way to bear your burden for you. That being said give Kim some extra hugs, she needs them for sure. Your battle has indeed been a long one for sure and I don't know how you do it. You have been through the ringer this last little bit,and it's easy to have doubt as to the eventual outcome of all of this. I can only offer an old saying I heard once from a good friend when I was feeling overwhelmed. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. You can do this, just take things one small bite at a time. You have a plan and the will to fight on, those are good. Lean on us when you need, Lord knows you have been here for so many, hopefully we can be your rock.I will be praying for you and Kim.

    Don
  • chicoturner
    chicoturner Member Posts: 282
    You are such an
    You are such an incouragement to all of us. Thank you for sharing your real story. Please tell your wife that she is one in a million. Taking with my spouse is not so easy. You are in my prayers. Best to you everyday, Jean
  • Fight for my love
    Fight for my love Member Posts: 1,522
    My big brother,your post
    My big brother,your post brought tears to my eyes again.I have been worrying about you and Kim for a period of time.It's just so sad to know what Kim tells her sister and feel how she feels,it just made my heart crack.

    It's good to know you are gearing up and having treatments plans.Let's hope for the best.I will be always here for you,my brother.I am so sorry that you are having pain and sleeping problem.Hope you will feel better soon.Love you,take care.
  • Aud
    Aud Member Posts: 479
    Dear Craig
    I'm so sorry you have to go through all this crap. You and Kim are strong people and I'm glad you have Harley there with you too. You're spirit is so appreciated on this board for so many of us. Holding you in the Light for healing, strength, and perseverance.
    love and hope to you,
    ~Audrey
  • PhillieG
    PhillieG Member Posts: 4,866
    Craig
    "Perhaps, Strength and Courage is nothing more than doing what you have to do on any given day."
    Not everyone is able to do that though. You know it, I know it, some others know it. Wise words from a wise man. You've certainly had your share of 'doing what you have to do'. I wish you would be cut some slack by the powers that be. Keep doing the best that you can do Craig.
    You really are an inspiration to us all.
    -phil
  • tootsie1
    tootsie1 Member Posts: 5,036
    Love you, Craig!
    Dear, dear Craig.

    You don't have to do a thing to "restore our faith in you." I have a feeling Kim feels exactly the same. We already know what you're made of. You wouldn't still be here if you weren't made of the toughest steel.

    I hope you know that our love and admiration for you is not dependent on you being a strong, silent fighter. We love you and hurt for you and fully understand if you want to rail against the beast now and again. Every day, if you need to!

    I'm praying for you all the way, my dear friend.

    *hugs*
    Gail
  • lisa42
    lisa42 Member Posts: 3,625
    gearin up for battle yet again
    Hi Craig,

    I can so understand how you must be so, so weary of having to fight this. As you said, cancer wants to take us down and we have to keep fighting it. I'm sorry. You are a warrior and I know you'll keep fighting. I just found out today that my CEA count went up (38 to 81 in 3 weeks)- damn- it's August again. August has brought me bad news the past 3 summers in a row since my diagnosis. I have a PET/CT scan coming up on Aug. 30th & was expecting good things since my CEA had been coming down- until I got this latest reading today. I postponed my chemo an extra week while on vacation, but it's hard to believe just one week of postponed chemo would make the CEA shoot up again. We shall see what the scan shows in another week. I've been doing this a bit less than half the amount of time you've been fighting & I'm weary. I can only imagine how weary you must be getting. Yet, on we fight because we so want to beat this!
    You can do it, Craig- hang in there- so many of us are pulling for you and praying for you.

    Hugs,
    Lisa
  • amcp
    amcp Member Posts: 251
    Superman
    I do not call you that to be sarcastic but instead to comment on your strength, courage, faith, determination, amazing ability to put things in words that we all can relate to and understand, and your thoughtfulness, support, encouragement to all of us on the board. You are always mentioned in my prayers but I will be saying some extras for you. You have been through so much but continue to fight and inspire. Cancer is so much like a wild roller coaster ride that has the really lows and fantastic highs. I know that is how I feel watching my husband fight the monster for now four years. We all only have today..we need to make the most of each hour of each day ...make wonderful memories with those we love and care about...Life is difficult enough without having to fight cancer day after day momth after month and year after year. My mother's fight started in 1973 and she endured the fight for 14 years. She died in 1987 a miracle to her doctors that she made it so long and make the most of those fourteen years. I only mentioned this because I believe her determination, faith, will power, and love of her family is what helped her to fight the battle for that many years. I would have loved for you to meet her. She as I am would be so proud of you and the inspiration that you give to each of us. Stay positive..stay strong...and know that we are pulling for you ...praying for you and your wife...keep us updated. Thanks superman...

    Love ya,
    Anna
  • herdizziness
    herdizziness Member Posts: 3,624
    Thoughts
    Craig,
    I have so many thoughts right now. Unfortunately , none that I can express well.
    You know, of course, we all love you.
    You know, of course, we wish you the best.
    You know, of course, we think of you everyday.
    Craig, you are in my thoughts and my mind, prayers and many, many thoughts and well wishes your way.
    Winter Marie
  • vhtqm1
    vhtqm1 Member Posts: 107
    keep it simple
    well Craig; that's my prescription for you. 'keep it simple.' you've helped so many and now it's time to expect help from us. we'll all give it our best shot. hang in there brother!!

    ed
  • msccolon
    msccolon Member Posts: 1,917
    how your post speaks to me
    I also am in my 7th year of battling this disease, the 12th marked 6 years from initial diagnosis. 3 recurrences, as many surgeries and a lot of crap in between has me contemplating the same things you have stated. Sometimes I am just so tired and wonder how much longer my body will allow me to fight. I am in the process of moving in with my twin, which will make my burden much lighter, so I am blessed to have the opportunity. My daughter and granddaughter spent the past week with me helping me to pack everything up and it was an amazing blessing, one I am so happy to have experienced; despite the pain and difficulty I face these days! There are good days, there are bad days, but for now I am glad there are days. Fight hard and keep us posted.
    mary
  • iluvmms
    iluvmms Member Posts: 134
    msccolon said:

    how your post speaks to me
    I also am in my 7th year of battling this disease, the 12th marked 6 years from initial diagnosis. 3 recurrences, as many surgeries and a lot of crap in between has me contemplating the same things you have stated. Sometimes I am just so tired and wonder how much longer my body will allow me to fight. I am in the process of moving in with my twin, which will make my burden much lighter, so I am blessed to have the opportunity. My daughter and granddaughter spent the past week with me helping me to pack everything up and it was an amazing blessing, one I am so happy to have experienced; despite the pain and difficulty I face these days! There are good days, there are bad days, but for now I am glad there are days. Fight hard and keep us posted.
    mary

    hero
    You are such an inspiration to this group!! and a great person. Please take care and keep us posted. I think of you often!!

    Christy
  • dorookie
    dorookie Member Posts: 1,731
    Craig
    I really wish I had some great words or wisdom to share. I do however feel your pain, sadness and fear, I am not in the same situation as you are right now, but I have shared some of the same thoughts that you are sharing with us. Thank you for sharing, you have such a powerful way of getting your point across. I dont have any answers, all I can offer is prayers. I still get mad, then sad, and what always seems to be around is fear. I hate it, but after reading your post, I realize that even though we are all at different points in our journey, we are all dealing with very similar things. And thank you for being so strong and so vocal about your journey, it has helped so many people here. You are a SURVIVOR, one I am very proud to say I know. Love ya buddy...

    HUGS
    Beth
  • Kathryn_in_MN
    Kathryn_in_MN Member Posts: 1,252
    Mr Warrior (minus 2 ribs)
    You are a fighter! You inspire us all. We're all here for you, and understand you are tired. How could you not be? Long battles are hard on everyone, and you & Kim have certainly been at it a long time. Give yourself some down time - some "me" time - to rest and recharge. Spend a day doing something that brings you joy and takes you away from cancer thoughts for a day. You need a break and a chance to re-charge. Even Superman didn't work full-time, but just when he was really needed for the big jobs. Have a Clark Kent day now and then.

    As always, you are in my thoughts and prayers.