“The Fight Has Come to a Stop” – Not the Results Post

Sundanceh
Sundanceh Member Posts: 4,392 Member
Well, my “3rd Tour of Duty” has come to an end. After 10 long, weary, and trying months, we’ve wrapped up the entire protocol:

1. Full Open Thoracotomy (5 wedge resections of lung & 2 ribs removed)
2. 30 Transmissions of IMRT Radiation (+ 6 wks continuous 5fu pump)
3. 12 Doses of Folfiri Infusion (w/46-hour 5fu pump + 5fu bolus)

I’ve been fighting this fight very quietly for the most part and just going about my business of dealing with cancer. I’ve probably been so quiet, that most people were probably unaware of where I was in the fight or that a fight was in the making. I didn’t see the point in worrying folks unnecessarily, so I just kept going, unless I had something to really talk about it, or a change or something during treatment. The “radiation” post was an example, as I was on the ropes about to hit the canvas.

I got caught up in the “National Shortage” of Leucovorin, so 3 of my last 4 treatments, I went without it. I suppose no hospital is immune to this these days and unfortunately some of us will get caught up in that net. But we do what we can do with what we’ve got and move forward.

I’m battered and bruised – a little worse for the wear, but I was able to make it through my 3rd recurrence battle and was able to take anything and everything that they threw my way. I’m quite proud of the fact that my little body was able to swallow so much poison and toxicity and still be semi-functional. Adding of course, that it still feels good to be here.

I had to trade TOMORROW for TODAY with this fight and gave up quite a bit to see it through. I’ve left my blood and guts in the O/R, let them burn 10% of my right lung and kill that section of my lung, and swallowed 12 very mean rounds of Folfiri. Throughout the campaign we kept our foot on the gas and I got two 5-day workarounds for scheduling issues….other than that, we stayed very aggressive and attacked all the time.

I don’t mind telling you that when my 3rd recurrence popped up and I found that surgery did not get all of the tumor - and that it was in extremely close proximity to my spine, that I certainly had my concerns and apprehensions on how this was all going to turn out.

My body has taken a good lickin' with this portion of my journey. The further I go down the road, I’m becoming convinced that the body “only has so many” big fights in it before we really start losing quality of life. That number would be different for each one of us. When I say “big fight”, I refer to doing the full banana: surgery/radiation/chemo.

While the other protocols are tough on their own, when you combine all of these protocols, you are taxing the body to the limit and I just always wonder which lick will begin to turn me the other direction.

So far, I’ve had 3 big fights and am definitely feeling every one of them. But, I still have some quality of life remaining, so all in all, I suppose it’s been what I had to do to reach this point.

Total Journey Recount:
1. 51 rounds of chemotherapy
2. 55 rounds of radiation
3. 3 rounds of CyberKnife
4. 4 major surgeries

I can also tell you that it has been a long and dark road that I’ve been on this past year. …the loneliest time of my entire journey. Everyone checked out on me this time, so there was nobody and nothing to turn to on these days when an hours worth of company or a phone call would have meant so much.

It got so bad on a couple of occasions, that I drove myself up to the Walmart parking lot and parked the car and just listened to the radio. I wanted so bad to feel that I had some kind of connection, some kind of meaning to society.

And actually, it was a big treat, ‘cause I’ve been out on 60% pay for nine months now and there was no spare cash for gasoline, except to the hospital. When I had 2 extra miles of gas, I drove up there – one mile up and one mile back. I would watch the cars go by on the street and watch people walk into the store. I would sit there and reflect and just hope and dream of when this nightmare would be over for me.

This is probably so hard for any of you to understand, because you have so many people in your life: loving caregivers, kids, grandkids, family, and friends. But for those of us that don’t, the Walk with Cancer can indeed be very lonely and isolating. You really have to dig a little deeper to go to that next level, or you would just go insane. I know I was tested this time like no other.

I can also tell you that I’ve never been physically sicker than any time during my journey. My body has just about reached the end of how many more toxins in a short period of time that I could take. Radiation crushed me and the chemo treatments had me sick 22 of 30 days of the month, so during this time, Life was not really worth living – FOR ME.

I questioned everything and began re-evaluating my life and asking myself “Is this really worth it to me?” It was about that time, that “The Chemo Wars” post was released. My reflections on if I was getting out of the fight what I was putting into it.

I’m coming out of the Darkness now…in the next 30 days, I hope to feel 100% better than I do today, as we wean these nasty chemicals out of my body.

I’ve contacted all the “King’s Horses and All the King’s Men” and they are going to help try and put your “Humpty Dumpty” back together again. I’m going to try now and rebuild this worn out body and my worn out soul.

And along with all of that, I’m going to try and save my marriage, which has been stretched to the very limits of the vows we took “In Sickness and In Health.” After 7-years of caregiving, the scars are evident. I see it so clearly in our souls and the lines on our faces, which are now indelibly etched with who we are now – and what we have become, as a result of this disease.

Yes, Cancer: “It tries to take away all that you are – and all that you’re ever going to be.”

Perhaps, it is for this lone reason, why I keep fighting as hard as I do. I think I also fight on, because I also dream of better days when my life will be full with people and I will have the richness and texture of life and relationships, which I’ve yet to experience. That’s probably worth staying around for:)

Those that have met me, know I’m the same guy as is on this board. In analyzing myself, I’ve come to the conclusion, that I’m OK, but have just not found a circle of people that I can rely on, outside of this board. Cancer scares many people away and they have all walked away – so now it’s up to me to find some new people that can accept me for what I am.

I know I did not bother you guys too much (know how I hate to burden you too much with my problems) but many of you contacted me and wrote things that helped me at critical times during this fight. Some posts were opened and many, many PMs were sent. I want to thank all of you for that. I also want to thank those that have stayed with me and are also waiting to see how things all turned out.

And this portion of my journey could not be told, without again, recognizing “Angel”, who happened to be on-line the day I wrote the “Road to Ruin” post. Her kindness, generosity, and her “gentle nudging” got me back on track at a very critical juncture of this journey.

Financial reasons caused me to cancel scans and surgeries and I thought I was smart enough to evaluate my situation with bloodwork. This was one of the “biggest mistakes” I’ve made since I got Cancer. I was posting a 0.5 but with Cancer raging in my lungs….it was that point that I new CEA was no longer a good indicator for me. After we did the CT all the handwriting was on the wall and I knew right away, we were in trouble and the fight was back in a big way.

I think back to “Angel’s” words of wisdom to me, “We don’t want to get down the road and look back and wonder if this was a critical juncture in your fight.”

No truer words ever spoken to me. I was a fool and was blinded by running out of money to pay my medical expenses, so I let my better judgment get in my way. It took her to get me right and I’ve vowed to never make that mistake again. That one could have been a “fatal mistake.” I’ll never be able to thank her enough, I merely try and pay it forward wherever I find the opportunity to do so.

Through all of this, I am still standing and hopeful of a decent outcome. It’s been a long year – a year that has tested this ol’ war horse, but I can once again see the light, where things might be good for a little while.

Over the last 2 years, many of you have said “Good Times” are coming from me. I’m not greedy, I don’t ask for cure anymore, just give me 6-months to a year break, outside of scans, and I would be grateful for that.

Do I think Recurrence #4 is around the corner?

I think it will be for me….this disease is so hard to beat….I fight it with all that this Texan can muster, but it never seems to be enough.

But, maybe this time will be different….we won’t worry about #4 until it gets here….in the meantime, I’m going to go back to work and try and find the “rhythm of life” once again. And to also get back to helping people, I was so sick during this stretch, that I was unable to reach out – but I know everyone understand how it is when you are in the throes of battle.

My onc is still waiting to schedule scans, so I’m in a holding pattern right now. He wants my bloodwork to settle down and give enough time to see if any new masses appear. I’ve fought and waited a year, so I suppose I can wait a few more weeks.

I’ll be very interested to see how the “big fight” turned out this time. I honestly don’t know which way it will lean. I don’t get Scananxiety, because I don’t expect too much and in that way, I’m not let down too badly.

My hopes and wishes would be that the left lung is still clear – that the 1.1 cm mass in my right lung is stable with no growth (hopefully dead tissue) – and that there are no new growths – and that I’m still clear in the rectum and liver. This would be the ideal words to be reading or hearing. So, we’ll go for that.

I’ve learned many lessons from Cancer and this year was no different – enlightenment came in wave upon wave and my postings probably reflected a great deal of that. That’s the growth that I continually harp about:)

I’ll close this post with another lesson that I’ve learned this year. Based on 3 recurrences and 7-years of active fighting:

“Cancer is HARD – if it were easy, everybody would be doing it – it’s the HARD that makes it GREAT.”

I’ll let you ponder that statement a moment or two – I’ll think you’ll get my meaning…

Ok, here’s the translation…

When we stand up to Cancer and win a victory against It, we ourselves become EMPOWERED individuals – we took our licks – we took our swings – and we did what we thought was completely unimaginable – and we wake up and realize we have grown as people – and because it was “hard” and we overcame It , then that’s the “great” part.

Thanks for reading this post. I hope to have the RESULTS POST as soon as I know something. It’s always great talking with each one of you. It’s something that I look forward to and one of the things I treasure the most in my life.

Still time to get your bets down, LOL:)

-Craig
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Comments

  • jjaj133
    jjaj133 Member Posts: 867
    Craig, My money will always
    Craig, My money will always be on you. What an amazing post.
    My heart felt prayers are with you,
    Judy
  • amcp
    amcp Member Posts: 251
    So Proud
    Craig..even though my dear Frank lost his battle with this monster almost 6 months ago, I still hang around to keep a check on you and others. I have sons your age and I am always so impressed and proud of the way you express yourself and fight this monster. I so understand so much of what you say. My mom fought 14 years...so I partially understand the weariness, the ordeal, and the strength it takes to keep on keeping on. I am sorry for you not having anyone. Always know that I am here for you...an ear to listen..a shoulder to rest...you can email me or pm me and I will be glad to give you my phone number. I am proud of your courage to share your ordeal ...the ups and the downs...it will help so many others as you always do...getting to the heart of the matter. I stay in the background mostly...licking my own wounds and sorrows ...but I keep reading ...looking..hoping that there is something I can say or do that will help someone like so many and especially you have done for us. I will keep you as always in my thoughts and especially my prayers. From one Texan to another...
    Hope you can feel this big hug I am sending,
    Anna
    [email protected]
  • here4lfe
    here4lfe Member Posts: 306 Member
    Well said. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences in your most eloquent manner.

    Here's a big man-hug, with three back slaps !!

    Best
  • Buzzard
    Buzzard Member Posts: 3,043 Member
    You know where my money is and will always be........
    Looking to hearing great things in the coming days for you bud...You know Im always in your corner. Water, cut man, whatever you need......love to ya......buzz
  • lisa42
    lisa42 Member Posts: 3,625
    dearest Craig
    Hi Craig,

    Just read through your post. What hit me hardest is how you've been so lonely. I guess I often do/have taken for granted all the people around me, for whom I'm so grateful for.
    I'm going to send you a PM- I'll say more there.

    Hugs to you Craig,
    Lisa
  • Fight for my love
    Fight for my love Member Posts: 1,522
    My dear buddy,my heart is
    My dear buddy,my heart is broken when I am reading your post.I only want to cry right this moment.I fully and truly understand what you are saying and your post struck a responsive chord in my heart.My brother,I am happy that I can catch up with you on this post.I am glad to see that you still have hope and faith in your heart.Thank you for sharing what was going on with us.Thank you for being there every step in my life.You are my hero.As you know,I will always wish and hope for the best for you.You are in my prayers as always.Pray for a very best result for your scan.Take care.
  • karguy
    karguy Member Posts: 1,020
    You will
    You will win your victory yet.Some just take longer.You are fighting the good fight.I will pray you win soon.
  • Annabelle41415
    Annabelle41415 Member Posts: 6,715 Member
    Journey
    You have had a hard journey and you have been so very brave. I'm so sorry you are so lonely. Glad that you found this board just so that you know that you are loved and you have extended family here. We will always be here no matter what. Thank you for being so honest and forthcoming with your feelings and life.

    Hugs! Kim
  • Kathleen808
    Kathleen808 Member Posts: 2,342 Member
    Craig
    Craig,
    Your words always stop me. You are so gifted at stating what your fight has been. I will pray that you and your wife can heal and that your body can heal. You are an amazingly strong man. Thinking of you and sending you a warm hug.

    Aloha,
    Kathleen
  • pepebcn
    pepebcn Member Posts: 6,331

    Craig
    Craig,
    Your words always stop me. You are so gifted at stating what your fight has been. I will pray that you and your wife can heal and that your body can heal. You are an amazingly strong man. Thinking of you and sending you a warm hug.

    Aloha,
    Kathleen

    Im sure you will have expected results on your scans !
    I pray for you and your wife, i'm sure everything will be sorted out in a few weeks!.
    Have a big,big hug my friend!
  • AnneCan
    AnneCan Member Posts: 3,673
    You've got a fiend in me (from Toy Story)
    My dearest Craig,

    What a fantastic post! Your journey has been tough + long + you have met every challenge. I am so sorry you have had to deal with so much. You sure don't deserve that! I hope that you and Kim can find the amazingingness in each other that brought you together + even surpass anything you had before. You have the communication skills; I know you can do it! I want to thank "Angel" as she did us all a fantastic favour. Please take good care of yourself, and always remember you have a friend in Canada. Miles can't get in the way of friendshps.

    OOPS - Almost forgot to say - congratulations on completing this latest protocol.

    Your "Annie"
  • rogina2336
    rogina2336 Member Posts: 188
    Amazing
    Your story and words are amazing. Just amazing.Left me speechless and brought tears to my eyes. xoxo kim
  • idlehunters
    idlehunters Member Posts: 1,787
    AnneCan said:

    You've got a fiend in me (from Toy Story)
    My dearest Craig,

    What a fantastic post! Your journey has been tough + long + you have met every challenge. I am so sorry you have had to deal with so much. You sure don't deserve that! I hope that you and Kim can find the amazingingness in each other that brought you together + even surpass anything you had before. You have the communication skills; I know you can do it! I want to thank "Angel" as she did us all a fantastic favour. Please take good care of yourself, and always remember you have a friend in Canada. Miles can't get in the way of friendshps.

    OOPS - Almost forgot to say - congratulations on completing this latest protocol.

    Your "Annie"

    Hey Craiger!!!
    Hey Craig....... I am so thankful for your "Angel" She was and is a very special person in your life. I am glad you opened your heart in this post...... you need to reach out and grab onto this family...more than you ever have in the past... WE will always be here for you. I may not be your "angel" but I will ALWAYS be your friend...both here AND in the real world... LUV YOU!!

    Jen
  • lesvanb
    lesvanb Member Posts: 905
    Thank you for your post Craig
    Your heartfelt words and sentiment speak loudly and strongly as you describe “Cancer is HARD – if it were easy, everybody would be doing it – it’s the HARD that makes it GREAT” and what it means to you. I am humbled by your steadfastness. I am so heartbroken that you are so alone down there in Texas. I get the loneliness of the ongoing struggles to beat back the beast, and what we have to go through for that, the wear and tear on caregivers, how friends can move on, sometimes without realizing that that's what they have done. I am glad you feel comfortable and supported here. I hold you in my heart, my friend. It pleases me to see you holding yourself in your heart.

    Ride on,
    Leslie
  • AncientTiger
    AncientTiger Member Posts: 130
    Truly Inspirational
    Thank you Craig. And I know EXACTLY what you're talking about with the "GREAT" aspect of cancer.....

    It's like living in a village at the foot of an impossibly tall mountain, looking up at it every day and hearing stories about people that have actually CLIMBED that monster. Part of you doesn't quite believe it can be humanly possible to climb that beast and win and part of you WANTS to believe..... then one day you find out that YOU are the next person that has to attempt that climb. You're eaten alive with fear and anxiety, but you suck it up and start putting your hands and feet to work.

    Fighting cancer, I think, it like climbing that mountain. We hear about folks fighting cancer every day, and don't have a CLUE what it's REALLY about until a doctor looks you in the eye and says, "You have ----- cancer". BUT, once you've fought that fight, once you've climbed that mountain, either for the first time, or the 7th time and you're standing at the summit.... now THAT is a good feeling ladies and gents :D

    And THAT is the "great" part of cancer...

    Again, thank you Craig, for sharing a bit of your life with us and letting it lift us up!
  • tootsie1
    tootsie1 Member Posts: 5,044 Member
    I was with you in my heart
    Oh, dear.

    You made me cry with the part about everybody checking out on you. I don't have any way to contact you except to reply to you when you post here. I certainly have been praying for you and thinking about you so much. I'm so very sorry that you were feeling so lonely. I do have to say, though, that when I'm going through something very difficult, I usually feel lonely, even when people are there, just because they're not having the same issues, so they can't really understand. That's why this board is so vital for us.

    I'm praying you do not have anymore cancer ever! I believe that if anybody deserves a miracle, it is certainly you, my friend.

    *hugs*
    Gail
  • Lilmiss82
    Lilmiss82 Member Posts: 257

    Truly Inspirational
    Thank you Craig. And I know EXACTLY what you're talking about with the "GREAT" aspect of cancer.....

    It's like living in a village at the foot of an impossibly tall mountain, looking up at it every day and hearing stories about people that have actually CLIMBED that monster. Part of you doesn't quite believe it can be humanly possible to climb that beast and win and part of you WANTS to believe..... then one day you find out that YOU are the next person that has to attempt that climb. You're eaten alive with fear and anxiety, but you suck it up and start putting your hands and feet to work.

    Fighting cancer, I think, it like climbing that mountain. We hear about folks fighting cancer every day, and don't have a CLUE what it's REALLY about until a doctor looks you in the eye and says, "You have ----- cancer". BUT, once you've fought that fight, once you've climbed that mountain, either for the first time, or the 7th time and you're standing at the summit.... now THAT is a good feeling ladies and gents :D

    And THAT is the "great" part of cancer...

    Again, thank you Craig, for sharing a bit of your life with us and letting it lift us up!

    Craig,
    From one the the first post that I have read and felt connected to you, you once again have shown incrediable strength and wisdom and will alway remind me that no storm will every weather you, no amount of sweat and tears will ever distort your strength and determination and no matter how hard the blows you stay grounded. You are my ROCK:) Can't wait to hear of those great results!!
  • ron50
    ron50 Member Posts: 1,723 Member
    G'day Mate
    I have nothing profound to say. All I can say is that I feel for you my friend. Not for all the crap that you have had to handle from the physical side of cancer but for the emotional crap that goes with it. It is hard to handle with emotional support but very near impossible on your own. I am not an anti-social person but I am probably happiest with my own company even so there are times in the past 13 years that I very nearly crumbled under the pressure of being my own salvation ALL THE TIME. I guess it's worth remembering that when there is nothing left ca just can't take any more from you. You don't have to fear anything,it's all old hat,been there done that,so you begin to exist at a different level. It is sad that your relationship is threatened I can offer no advice ,I moved heaven and earth to save my marriage but my wife wanted to be married to a man not an ongoing illness,I miss her still but **** happens,I have built emotional barriers that would stop an armour piercing round. Easter was a good example ,I did not speak to another person for five days. I hope you are able to save some quality bits of your old life and let those memories get you thru the crap times. It is funny, tho I never seem to reach that middle line in life where nothing good happens but at least nothing bad does,I remain an erternal optomist. Everything will be all right. Love Ron.
  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028
    Oh, my dear southern gentleman cowboy....
    You know that all you had to do was to ask, I would be on the plane.....STILL IS TRUE!!!!

    Such wonderful words, but then you always can do that....

    I am only logged with 2 'big fights', as you know.....one for the rectal, one for the breast. My life has changed in all aspects.

    I am meeting with a counselor to deal with all of my 'body blows' that, as well as cancer, have been many in the time since I first heard 'you have cancer' in 2004. She said the same...the 'fancy' tag is 'survivor mentality'. The pride in fighting the good fight, whatever the outcome. The attitude of "you think you can bring ME down?....I've faced death, and am here to speak about it!!!!!!" that is our new existence with everyone and everything! (Although, I must admit, I faltered at the top of the doumo in Florence, walking on the catwalk, so far above the floor. It proved I still have some 'scare' left in me!!!).

    Please, I want to ease your troubles...a soft touch, a warm hug, a kind word...just let me know what I can do!

    BIG hugs, Kathi
  • lizzydavis
    lizzydavis Member Posts: 893
    KathiM said:

    Oh, my dear southern gentleman cowboy....
    You know that all you had to do was to ask, I would be on the plane.....STILL IS TRUE!!!!

    Such wonderful words, but then you always can do that....

    I am only logged with 2 'big fights', as you know.....one for the rectal, one for the breast. My life has changed in all aspects.

    I am meeting with a counselor to deal with all of my 'body blows' that, as well as cancer, have been many in the time since I first heard 'you have cancer' in 2004. She said the same...the 'fancy' tag is 'survivor mentality'. The pride in fighting the good fight, whatever the outcome. The attitude of "you think you can bring ME down?....I've faced death, and am here to speak about it!!!!!!" that is our new existence with everyone and everything! (Although, I must admit, I faltered at the top of the doumo in Florence, walking on the catwalk, so far above the floor. It proved I still have some 'scare' left in me!!!).

    Please, I want to ease your troubles...a soft touch, a warm hug, a kind word...just let me know what I can do!

    BIG hugs, Kathi

    Hi Craig,
    Hi Craig,

    You have many many friends here on the CSN board. You are our rock and I hope we are yours. All of these posts show how special you are to us and how we depend on you. You are a strong person with a big heart. WE LOVE YOU!

    Hugs,
    Lizzy