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

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

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

khl8
Posts: 810
Joined: Nov 2009

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
Posts: 827
Joined: Jan 2010

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's picture
lesvanb
Posts: 911
Joined: May 2008

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

idlehunters's picture
idlehunters
Posts: 1792
Joined: Apr 2009

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.

mom_2_3
Posts: 965
Joined: Nov 2008

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

soccermom13's picture
soccermom13
Posts: 226
Joined: Feb 2010

You have been thru so much and yet you remain positive. You and your wife are in my prayers.
Shanna

kristasplace's picture
kristasplace
Posts: 956
Joined: Oct 2007

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's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6722
Joined: Feb 2009

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's picture
pepebcn
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

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's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

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's picture
HollyID
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

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's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3372
Joined: Jan 2010

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

462lt's picture
462lt
Posts: 118
Joined: Jun 2010

Stenght, Courage and Peace to you. You are an inspiration. Laura

abmb's picture
abmb
Posts: 311
Joined: Sep 2009

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

AnneCan
Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

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
Posts: 278
Joined: Jan 2009

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's picture
coolvdub
Posts: 410
Joined: Aug 2009

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's picture
chicoturner
Posts: 285
Joined: Apr 2009

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
Posts: 1530
Joined: Jun 2009

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's picture
Aud
Posts: 480
Joined: Oct 2009

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's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

"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's picture
tootsie1
Posts: 5065
Joined: Feb 2008

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's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

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
Posts: 251
Joined: Jan 2009

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's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

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's picture
vhtqm1
Posts: 107
Joined: Feb 2010

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's picture
msccolon
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

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's picture
iluvmms
Posts: 134
Joined: Aug 2009

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
Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

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's picture
Kathryn_in_MN
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

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.

LivinginNH's picture
LivinginNH
Posts: 1458
Joined: Apr 2010

Dearest Craig, I can't even imagine the pain that you have been going through, but you are a fighter - and you will win this fierce battle! You have been our inspiration during this fight, and we wish you best of luck in your next round fighting the beast. You're always in our thoughts, God bless you, Cynthia

pf78248's picture
pf78248
Posts: 209
Joined: Jul 2008

Craig,

I don't know where you get the strength and courage to battle this nasty disease the way you do. I am so proud of you! You truly are an inspiration to everyone. Reading your story, I can't begin to know the pain and exhaustion all those treatments and surgeries have caused. Just know you are truly admired and loved, and we will be right by your side.

I believe it is God's grace that has held you throughout these last 6.3 years, and he will continue as long as you battle.

Hugs and Healing,
Priscilla

pluckey's picture
pluckey
Posts: 484
Joined: Jul 2009

Dear Lord Craig, I'm pissed FOR you. Damn right you and Kim's****** are dragging after an unending fight for 6 plus years.

but once again, you show us what you're made of dear Craig. I'm going to ask my Maker if he can please, please cut you a break. I'm going to ask Him if he's satisfied with how unrelentlessly you've fought and how beautiful your heart is. And then I will ask Him one more time, to give you a break, and let you enjoy the fruits of your labors, which you so deserve

((hugs))

Peggy

Lilmiss82's picture
Lilmiss82
Posts: 257
Joined: Dec 2009

Have I told you that you are like my rock in this battle?? You have been through so much and you're so composed, positive and gosh darn determined to do whatever it takes. I don't know if I could ever be so resilient. We need you on this board so don't worry everything is going to be ok !- Alright?? Keep staying positive and never forget that you are always in my thoughts and prayers

daydreamer110761's picture
daydreamer110761
Posts: 497
Joined: Dec 2008

I have been in and out of this place for two years now, and although mostly lurking the past few months, have been keeping up with you and reading your posts. You are a wonderful man, and your wife is truly a beautiful lady. I have watched your ups and downs, surgeries, as I have read about a few others who keep on truckin'. I am so proud of everyone in the way that no one gives up. You, Buzzard, Phil, Donna, and too many to mention have lifted me. I can remember when I was finished with chemo last year, and thinking I was "doing the dance" and I was so happy, I thought I was NED. Then one colonoscopy, 3 positive polyps, another and 6 positive, all spread out and in no certain place. I am so sick of gatorade it is not funny! I think about how tired I am of doctors, blood tests (I was also dx'd with diabetes at the same time and have complications from that). But then I read posts from you, and others, and think about how much you all have gone through and no one gives up hope. I know I'm not done, and I know it will be back, and I also know that I will fight even harder thanx to you guys...Oh, what a day....

imagineit2010's picture
imagineit2010
Posts: 153
Joined: Jan 2010

Craig, everyone wonders how you do it. How you keep on fighting with such gusto. You're tough no doubt about it but don't put too much pressure on yourself. Take this one day at a time. Do you know if you'll win this war? No. but niether do any of us. I know you have your eye on the prize but you've already won. You've proven you can take anything they throw at you. You're the Jake Lamotta of the colorectal boards. You remind me of the "Raging Bull" movie with Jake being beaten and bloodied saying to Sugar Ray Robinson, "you never knocked me down". You have alot on your table now, try to relax and re-charge. Enjoy a sunset or two. Enjoy your time off work and with your wife. Time goes by fast enough without focusing on the future. I know you have to get mentally geared up but you also have to mentally step back and out of the cancer world for periods of time. Embrace today. You are alive today and THAT is what matters. Watch a sunrise and a sunset without cancer in between and you have beaten it because it didn't take Today.
Best of luck to you.
Kick some cancer A$$.
Chris

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

What ever it takes!! Keep going Craig never give up! Donna is counting on you to beat this!!

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