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“Eight is Great” – A Reflective Commentary + Scan Results Are In

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

As Month Python used to tell us…”And now for something completely different…”

Well, I’ve made the “Eight Mile Marker Club” now…I’m now one of a handful of folks here who can claim to have done so. As always, the road was fraught with many a steep hill to climb and far too many nights walking in the shadows of the dark valleys.

“What does it mean to make it 8-years in a cancer battle?”

I’m not sure that I know anymore. The answers are becoming more vague with each successive pass around the sun. I find myself knowing less and less – about more and more.

Of course, underneath that blanket, there lies much more as I continue my growth and evolution towards a greater understanding of what cancer is – and what it isn’t.

I guess, the first thing we could say is that Eight Years speaks to ‘survivorship’ by the very core of its definition. I’ve had a few naysayers in the medical community who have given me the standing 8-count during my journey…and I’m sure there have been others that I have known, including some of you, who thought at different times since you’ve come to know me that I was through – finished – put a fork in him – he’s done.

A couple of times, I harbored the same thoughts and feelings…

Let’s turn the clock back a year…I was coming off my 3rd recurrence fight (then 7-years). Another major lung surgery – 30 more tx’s of radiation with 24/7 5-fu – followed by six-more months of Folfiri.

I was at the end of my proverbial rope as it were. I had written a post titled “The Chemo Wars” – What’s the Real Story? The basic premise of the post was how much more chemo could I stand to do – and was what we invested in our fights with chemo, really worth what we were getting out of it.

I stated that I had ‘invested’ a very hard year of my life with this latest fight – and for my time, I expected to get back the same amount of time that I had given. Since, I gave a year of my life; the goal was that my life would be extended by that said year.

If it were anything less than that – then I was beginning to slip.

Still to me, it was at best a DRAW. Only I ‘anted’ up 5 more wedge resections and ‘raised’ a couple of ribs that the surgeon sawed off for good measure. We ‘called’ after radiation destroyed another 10% more of that lung, which left me a “noticeable loss of volume” in that lung, according to last year’s CT results along with many other associated health failures from the culmination of all that fighting.

We’ll advance the calendar eight months up…the first flags were raised here during another follow-up scan after last year’s treatment wrapped. There were disturbing new images of two new spots that had now appeared…..one in the other good lung….and one back in the liver.

There was nothing definitive at that point, but it was disheartening just the same. It had made me doubt things again…because, I thought if cancer can survive a battle like the one I just gave it and still thrive – then I was eventually going to be on the losing end of things. That was a brutal campaign and nothing should have survived – I know I barely did.

So, at eight months with ‘spots’, my conclusion was that I might be slipping and that I did not get ‘my year’ that I gave to the fight. It was somewhat deflating to say the least.

And then along came Dad…and his healthcare crisis…and the subsequent Peyton Place melodramas that would unfold over the course of the next six-months through the twists and turns of his journey. This left me with no time to think about my situation at all. My fight and all of my energies had to be directed towards that arena. I would just have to wait.

So, the day for the scan came and I did it….and you know how you have to ‘empty’ that barium contrast, so I was understandably ill there for a few hours afterwards……it turned out that my dad passed away that night after my scans, before I could get back to check in on him. So, after the diarrhea stopped, I went back to his room one more time…he had already passed and so I sat with him and told him a few things.

Of course, with all of the funeral arrangements and all that the preparations required, I got my scan results back where I could go online and review them, as I always do. I’m fairly adept at interpreting the data written on the reports.

I debated on whether or not I wanted to open the report and lay additional burden onto an already overwhelmed mind and spirit…and yet, the lure was too much for me…I just had to know.

I had prepared myself for the worst – just knew that cancer was back and that the spots were firmly entrenched and feasting nicely upon its Host’s accommodations. I was dreading leaving work – having to do surgery/treatments – and still having to settle my dad’s estate on top of it all. I just didn’t see how any of this would be right.

And so, I kept reading…and scrolling through the chest, abdomen and pelvis sections….looking for trouble….looking for the buzzwords….looking for the signpost that said, “Cancer – Straight Ahead.”

And after I read it all the way through….I read it again….and then read it a third time…just to make sure I was not seeing things.

What I read surprised even me…

The verdict is in…”I’m all clear…”

The lease was up on my two new spots and my body and immune system apparently evicted them and sent them packing:) They are gone without a trace and that’s a huge comfort….even bigger than getting clear from last year’s battle.

I went ahead and waited for my onc visit, so that he could confirm what I had already interpreted and understood for myself. And he confirmed it – Clear.

And he’s graduated me up the food chain now – my scans have increased from every four-months to every six-months now. That has not happened since the start of my fight. It’s a nice fringe benefit and a cost saver – and saves me from some extra toxicity as well.

My blood work has all returned to healthy levels….I’m registering nicely, sitting firmly between the range of numbers up and down the board on every test. The exceptions are my WBC which was 3.2 this round and my platelets this time were at 85K. My CEA level sits at a comfortable 2.5.

“Sundance, what does this mean to you – does it mean anything for us?”

Well, it represents many things to me – and I’m hopeful that it will shed some light on the things that we try or don’t try in relation to our cancer fight.

“One year clear is nice – but does it really mean anything?”

In the ultimate scheme of things still yet to come, it might not have the lasting impact that I would like it too. But, for the present, let’s just talk about what it means for me TODAY – and let’s just take a look at what it could mean to me TOMORROW.

First, going ‘One Year Clear’ ties the longest active streak for me going clear since the very first year of my current eight-year battle. So, these two milestones happened in the First Year – and the Eighth Year. That’s some pretty good stuff right there.

Now, let’s sweeten the pot a little bit more….and look up the road 6-months from now…

In six more months, I will be at the 18-month mark post 3rd recurrence fight. If my scans come back clear at that time – it will be the longest stretch EVER in my entire cancer journey where I stayed clear in a ‘watch and wait’ state.

EVER.

That would mean that instead of slipping in the battle in my eighth year – it would represent the biggest victory of my entire battle campaign.

At a time, when this ol’timer has exhausted many of his resources, medical, physical, mental and psychological, and had figured it was about time to head to the locker room and hang up his cleats and call it a nice career – he strikes back with a nice victory with the most promising news he’s had to deliver in eight years.

And for his next magic trick, “Sundini” will pull a rabbit out of his….well, a good magician can’t give away all of his secrets:)

“To what if anything, can you attribute your success to?”

Well, if I knew that one, a lot of our questions would be answered and we would not be losing folks at an alarming rate. After many years of this, I still don’t know where the line is that separates a good story from a bad one. As far as I can tell, there is not a definitive truth out there for any of us.

But, I can tell you this…

My immune system has repaired itself adequately and the numbers looked good. I did not have to “Boost” or “Supercharge” my immune system to make it fight cancer ‘better.’

I’m on zero ‘mop-up or maintenance’ chemo or any of the other agents at all, like Vectibix , Erbitux, or Avastin. And I’ve tied my record for the longest ‘clear’ streak in 8-years of the battle.

I’m currently not taking any supplements of any kind – not even a baby aspirin - blood work and immune system have recovered and are kicking *** without them. Recently colonoscopy can’t even find a polyp.

I’m currently not juicing.

I have not exercised very much after the first couple of months since I got out of this last lung surgery…the last 6-months, there has been lots of walking around hospitals and running errands for dad, but nothing of any cardio benefit. So, nothing that would make a difference in the cancer fight per say.

And we’ve not been eating too well these past 6-months either. By the time, you put in your 11-12 hour day at work and commuting – the rest of the evenings were spent at the various medical facilities that we were at.

Then, by 10:30 or 11:00, you are finally making your way home across the far side of town….you are so tired at 11:30 or midnight when you get in, that you find that most nights you are just too tired to eat…..maybe you gobble a bowl of Cheerios if you’re lucky…other times the choices were not nearly as good, but as another dawn was merely a few hours away before another repeat performance of this travelling show…well, difficult at best.

I’ve also had record amounts of stress in my life the past six-months being a caregiver to my dying father along with all the drama that has entailed – an all time high. I’ve had Cortisone “White Water Rafting” through my bloodstream 24-hours a day the past six-months, which is not exactly a healthy cocktail.

This is not exactly the way we would draw it up on the map…

And yet, I find myself tied for the longest clear record since my first year with a clear test result and perched at the precipice of my biggest victory, which is just six more months away over the horizon if my luck holds up.

“What does it mean?”

Well, you read it and I’ll have to leave it up to each individual that reads this post to extrapolate the facts – measure their own cases - and then draw their own conclusions.

What I get out of it, is what I’ve been formulating for some time. I attribute a lot of my success to the conventional modalities of western medicine. I’ve been fortunate to have skilled surgical teams around me and have responded favorably enough (so far) to the harsh treatments that are associated with this approach.

I’ve been able to withstand all of the beatings and punishments for all of these 8-years (so far), physically and mentally, as well as emotionally and psychologically. That’s not to be underestimated by any means.

And for whatever reason – instead of losing, I once again appear to be winning. Though, I know the reach for the next six-months will be tremendous. I don’t expect this good fortune to last indefinitely. Unfortunately, that’s the gift that three-recurrences leave with you. It’s a permanent scarring that seemingly will never heal.

And the reason it can’t heal, is because I’ve not experienced the longer periods of clear scans that many folks have. I know that a year is not a lot to get excited about – but for me, this represents a worthy achievement….and one that I really did not expect to see.

I’m humbled by this turn of events and while I have fought hard and admirably to “Adapt and Overcome”, I’ll always live with the fear that the next one is coming…perhaps, I would become more at ease if I could put some more mileage between me and cancer with clean scans for the indefinite future.

I know how crafty cancer is – how it can lure us into a false sense of security – and then strike again without warning. It has happened to me three times – and that was despite me trying several different strategies along the way – and still I recurred each and every time.

The further along I get down this ol’ road, I’m just becoming more convinced that despite all the products out there to ‘neutralize’ cancer and the efficacies that are touted therein, that we see many cases where just the opposite can realize and achieve the same goal.

Living, breathing proof is standing in the same room as you staring back at you right now - breathing the same tainted air and drinking the less than purified waters of life as you are.

As Ripley likes to say – “Believe It Or Not.”

Should I recur in six-months time or further on down the road, I know that it comes from a different source than the food and drink that we demonize every day.

For even if only one person can show there is another side to a successful result, it helps to debunk all of the other myths that permeate this website.

I do intend to exercise more by walking – not for cancer but to try and facilitate my movements to function better in an ambulatory society. We’ve made the switch for some time to as many organic products as we can do…and the list continues to grow.

But, I’m no longer scared about the things I eat or drink and how it relates to cancer anymore. I’m in moderation on just about everything now. I sample on things I like throughout the year and try not to do anything anymore with too much abundance.

And that’s something that I finally feel good about – and I just reached that perch about two months ago, after a long discussion with my oncologist. And just to clarify that conversation, he never said that the immune system is not important in its role with cancer.

He just stated that if your immune system is good and functioning – that you can’t boost it or supercharge it to be anymore than what it is today…and by tweaking it up a small percentage is not what decides the cancer fight.

We talked about this again…he maintains that it is the cell replication process, which has to transfer your entire life’s imprint into each cell of the body, is where the breakdown occurs, when that much volume of information is transferred and replicated time and time again – over time itself.

When it breaks down – the machine breaks down – and when the machine breaks down – we break down – and bad copies are produced and cancer is what we end up with. It made perfect sense to me then and it makes perfect sense to me now.

So, this isn’t about what to do or not to do. Everyone of you will decide your own course. This post may hold some value for those fighters, who are unsure if they want to go an alternative route – or have the stamina and discipline for such an approach.

That’s where I found myself roughly six-months ago…

We operate under a simple principle – there’s a problem – now change something – anything. By making a change towards anything, we feel like we are ‘driving the bus.’ We are ‘taking control.’

But, I’ve always thought of it as the “Illusion of Control.”

In reading the posts on this board, the winds of change are everywhere – it’s evident in a lot of places you read from the membership – and for many people that can be downright frightening – almost threatening even.

That’s where I found myself just a few short months ago. I became scared that in reading other approaches with regards to supplements and whatnot, that I would not have what it took to be able to engage and operate under those guidelines and conditions.

I was not going to have the willpower and discipline to see that through the way that you would need to…it made me temporarily doubt any of the approaches I have ever used to date.

It scared me, because I thought if this is what my life was going to depend on – I was not going to be able to do it…and that sent a shockwave through my system and had me questioning why I was not jumping all over this, like so many others have.

So, I used my common sense and opened my eyes and began looking around the room. What did I see?

And then I took a good look at myself and asked myself the same question – what do I see?

While at different times in my cancer battle, I’ve certainly had more time to eat better and exercise more – I found that I recurred.

And now, with diet and exercise thrown out the window because of 100-hour weeks with work and care giving for dad, I expected the worst result – and ended up with the best news I’ve had in eight-years – go figure.

I’m not really sure what it all means…sometimes a win can come from the places where you least expect to find them.

The link between cancer, diet, exercise and supplementation is the area that holds the greatest amount of interest for me right now…I just want to continue observing and seeing if there really is a correlation to any of it.

If it is, then that would make me an anomaly…

From what I’ve seen through myself and those pursuing more rigid measures – I currently don’t see a direct cause and effect with any approach. Cancer seems to have its roots buried in deeper places.

Not that any of the good things like diet, exercise and supplements are not important for health – they just may not be the sole reason we get clear – or stay clear.

I know that at times I’ve had done better with diet, exercise and some supplementation…but I can’t say that any of those by themselves or in combination, would be the lone key to my survival. Another words, if these were my only weapons - I'd be dead.

I haven’t had proper nutrition and exercise for over a year – and far more stress than I’ve been able to handle at times - and my body still has compensated nicely and delivered me from cancer. That tells me something.

A great deal of last year’s success comes from last year’s surgery and treatments…surgery, radiation and chemo. Those are what got me clear.

Since I’ve just made a year clear, it is quite possible that all of that really put a dent in my cancer for awhile – I would like to think I’m done with it, but again, only time…and a lot of time and far too many scan cycles will ultimately tell me that and write that chapter.

And what if I continue to do well?

I don’t know…is it possible that I was caught up in that period of time when the seismic shifts in our metabolism were underway. (I had read somewhere one time that there are 4-6 events in our lifetimes when the body undergoes major metabolic changes and that this opens the door and sets the stage for cancer to occur).

This seemed to me to coincide with the start of each decade that we age where things could go wrong and the cell replicator to go haywire….30-40-50-60-70-80.

And it’s possible that was what was happening to me and that the chemo “leveled the playing field” and reset the clock so to speak. It killed enough of the remaining cancer that my regular immune system went back to work and is currently handling the situation.

I don’t know – maybe that’s just whimsical thinking…it’s certainly a plausible theory though and could hold some merit. Hell, it might even be true.

The only ‘absolute’ I have for myself or anyone reading…is that I’m still alive 8-years into the fight – I still work – I wrote a book nobody will ever read – I learned to be a caregiver – I’m learning how to manage an estate – and cancer has not beaten me yet.

Doris Day once sang, “The future is not ours to see…”

As I stare down the road at my future…I’m beginning to see that it may hold more promise than I originally gave it credit for.

I’ve tied the biggest accomplishment of my cancer battle – in the latest hours of my fight.

I stand to shatter my own record in six-months and stand on the ground that I had given up hope that I would ever see….still clear after 18-months….

And from there?

I don’t know. Cancer will either come back (regardless) or I’ll set another record with my healthcare. If I can string enough of those together, there may be hope for me – and hope for you too.

I’ll remain cautiously optimistic and temper my enthusiasm until I reach the 18-month hurdle…at that time, I might even crack a smile and may even grin…it would be the hugest thing for me if I can hang that one on the wall.

But, I’ve been let down so many times during my cancer walk, so I remain guarded against false hope until I can see it through it these two eyes. Until then, I can’t get too ahead of myself….still, this is good news for me to hear – and to share with you.

For those fighters who see part of themselves through my fight – take comfort in knowing that you don’t have to go “Alt” to have success. As we’re seeing, successes come in all shapes and sizes.

Know and understand that if you can’t go that way, it’s not the end of the world and that you can achieve your own success doing the things that you can do or choose not to do – either way, even if you make no changes, there are many stories like that where people have reached the same Nirvana.

Proving once more, that there are many paths to cancer – any of them can or cannot lead us to the hallowed ground that we all seek. All regimens are hard, but none of them do us any good if we can’t adhere to them. There is no shame in admitting that. I’ve actually found it to be quite liberating and freeing – a big weight lifted off my shoulders and my heart.

I continue to support everyone’s individual initiatives and wish nothing but success for each of you. I continue to use myself as an example that can be used in comparison to others.

We all learn things through another’s example and by each of us comparing each other and seeing what works and what does not – it gives us insight into the disease that many other folks may not have the opportunity to gander at.

And through those glasses, we can draw our own comparisons from one another and formulate our own conclusions, based on what we have witnessed firsthand.

“Cancer is hard – but the more complicated we try and make it – the less vision we have with which to see.” ~Sundance

********* And in other breaking news…..**********

Kim’s biopsy results for her thyroid were ‘clear.’ Watch and wait is the modality here.

And my legal team has slapped that smug smirk off the evil church sister’s face with a cease and desist order. She never showed at the visitation or the funeral. I hope that his message was clear and that she finally got it – or she’s gonna get it. She finally met the Lion and heard his roar.

And more good news….dad’s friend whom he named co-executor with me, has declined to serve in that capacity – leaving me with the sole role of executor. I have a court date later this month to go and be officially appointed.

Unshackled from all of those ghosts and heavy burdens, I may be clear now to handle the rest of the estate business and then finally try and find a new life for me and Kim. It is certainly long overdue.

Four to five months ago, I was dead on the inside. I was ready to quit on cancer and life itself. Thought I had cancer and had convinced myself to lay down this time and not engage.

This came after inheriting all of my dad’s troubles and responsibilities walking in and assuming his life and handling all of his financial, legal and medical affairs. Plus, combined with all of his weirdo associates and entourage, that had me flustered for awhile – enough to stop caring about all of it. It just had all gotten to be too much…

And then a funny thing happened…

The evil church sister (“adopted daughter”) woke the sleeping Lion – and by doing so, she filled him with a terrible resolve.

It’s been downhill for anyone who stands in my way since then…”Adapt and Overcome” – that’s life’s lesson for all of us.

“Adopted Daughter” held all the cards…she had both of dad’s wallets, socked with money…she has all of his credit cards, driver license, social security numbers etc…she had his car…and even the keys to his house….complete freedom and unprecedented access to all of his affairs.

But, as always, Sundance found a way to turn the tables on her by overcoming and adapting – and ultimately winning!

Seemingly, it appears that Sundance cannot be beaten – beaten on – but never defeated.

I’ll take your punches and then throw mine. By the time that you see my “Haymaker” coming - it will be all over -but the cryin’.

That’s how I fight – and that’s how I continue to win…I’ll take my undefeated record in cancer and in life with me as I now embark on the road towards my 9th year…

The best may still be yet to come….

This message is for all the long-term fighters: Your biggest victories can come late in the battle – far past the time that you expected to see. So, this is the nail that you can hang your hat on with your fight.

It can be done – I know – I’m doing it right here in front of you. It’s a big day – a day that says victories can be won anywhere along the road of cancer – utilizing a variety of tactics and strategies.

Don’t take your eyes off the prize – it may be right around the corner – or right under your feet – or perhaps right in front of your nose.

Always remember..."There's many a slip betwixt the cup and the lip."

Anything can happen - take care and the best of luck with all of your fights!

-Craig “The Lion”

Stay tuned to the Sundance Channel
“Story Matters Here”

Kenny H.'s picture
Kenny H.
Posts: 503
Joined: Aug 2010

Congrats bud.
8 yrs is a long time in the fight. if you can do it we all can!

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

Thanks, Kenny

It's been another whole lifetime alright...you keep up the good work and you won't have to fight as long as me:)

That's my wish for you....there's no ribbons or medals for fighting this long...just the self confidence that you can kick *** - even late in the game:)

"Get Well Soon."

-Craig

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

Thank you, D!

Big hug coming back - if your arms can reach all the way around me:)

LOL!

-Craig

lesvanb's picture
lesvanb
Posts: 911
Joined: May 2008

SO relieved to read the "all clear!" Whew! Maybe now you can get some rest. It is tiring, isn't it?

"This message is for all the long-term fighters: Your biggest victories can come late in the battle – far past the time that you expected to see. So, this is the nail that you can hang your hat on with your fight.

It can be done – I know – I’m doing it right here in front of you. It’s a big day – a day that says victories can be won anywhere along the road of cancer – utilizing a variety of tactics and strategies.

Don’t take your eyes off the prize – it may be right around the corner – or right under your feet – or perhaps right in front of your nose."

Thank you for the good reminder!

all the best, Leslie

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

I already know the answer - out in the high country riding - free from the constraints of the concrete jungle I habitat.

Rest?

I hope so....we're so tired...now the heat is on in Texas...and now we get to spend the rest of the hot summer months cleaning up my dad's place and readying it for the market. We've only got 12 weeks to do that according to the terms of his divorce decree. It's an absolute nightmare...ever see the tv show "Hoarders?"

OMGoodness.

I'm learning how to probate an estate as well...one thing I know early on...it ain't cheap...yikes!

I've greased so many palms the last six-months that it's ridiculous...everyone is making out but me - all I get is the bill:)

So, work and more work...one day we may be able to rest, but it won't happen anytime soon...but hopefully one day. I keep saying that.

Nice to see you again:)

"Ride On!"

-Craig

wolfen's picture
wolfen
Posts: 1330
Joined: Apr 2009

Are you sure you don't live at Southfork? Cause J.R. "ain't got nothin' on you" in your fight against cancer, and now with the "church lady".

Really, I'm just so happy for both you and Kim right now. As soon as you get the estate taken care of, maybe you and Kim can just get on with this business of living and get some enjoyment out of life for a change.

Take Care Now,
Luv,

Wolfen

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

I could not agree more, Mama!!

Is it time for my own reality show?

LOL!

If it goes over as well as the book did.....LOL!

Take care!

-Craig

sasjourney
Posts: 395
Joined: Jul 2010

Dear Craig,

Your post really, really made my day. I could never put into words how happy I am for you. I truly hope that you can put this cancer nightmare behind you forever.

Wow! You really set that church lady straight. Good for you! I hope you and Kim can begin to heal and start enjoying your lives again. You are an inspiration and a wonderful example about persevering and never giving up.

Texas sized hugs to you,
Sara

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

When you're happy - I'm happy:)

It is good news...and I'm fortunate to receive it. I hope it will be in my rear-view mirror and we'll just see what the next six-months bring.

That gal messed with the wrong guy alright...she held all the cards for awhile...hopefully, she's folded her hand...and if not...I'll chew her up and spit her out:)

Thanks so much for posting - so nice to see you again!

((((((((((((((SARA))))))))))))))

A TX sized bear hug right back atcha!

-Craig

Joy1216's picture
Joy1216
Posts: 293
Joined: Mar 2006

Sounds like you've got great news all the way around. It's about time things started going your way! I'm so happy for you and Kim.
Joy

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

Thank you, Joy...you're right...it's about time...I wholeheartedly concur...all in favor...say aye!

-Craig

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

Congratulations to you and Kim!!!
I just got out of my onc's office today and for the first time, he said, "see you in 3 months", beautiful words to hear. I'll go get a flush once a month and CEA count (great marker for me, currently at 3.2)and that's it. Scary but wonderful at the same time.
Like you, I didn't do the juicing, the diets or the even stranger stuff that others do, I think the stress of trying to do regimes would hurt my cancer status more then help it.
Although for my heart, I'm going to try (emphasis on try) to eat some more proper foods for that and start walking a lot more.
I have to put my faith in the western medicine as well for keeping me around. I was given that 4 to 6 months left to live, and here I am 2 years and 4 months later going to school full time since spring of 2010, doing things I never took the time to do before cancer.
Amazing your journey, look at you fighting for 8 years hard now, I hope you get years and years worth of a break, years of a full life break from it, that you never have to fight it again. Many here have been my inspiration, and you know you are definitely among them.
Your clear scan and words brought tears of joy to my eyes. Wonderful Craig, absolutely wonderful.
Love at you buddy,
Winter Marie

Vickilg's picture
Vickilg
Posts: 281
Joined: Jan 2011

Good morning, Craig! I am so happy for you! This is beautiful news to hear! You have brought a smile to my face! Big hug!

Vicki

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

I'm so glad to see you smilin' this morning:)

Thank you so much for posting this morning! This time was actually more meaningful than a year ago when I finished up the fight and got my post treatment scan. I did not feel good about that one - but this time I actually did smile.

:) - like that.

I'm known for Texas sized bear hugs, but since you are recuping from surgery, I won't squeeze you as tightly, LOL!

(Vicki)

Take care and speedy recovery to you.

-Craig

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

There you are:)

Hey congrats on your Graduation Day as well...3 months is a nice comfort zone.

When he told me six-months between scans, I thought wow - I haven't been here in 8-years right back to the very beginning of all of it with my very first scan cycle and the one that followed....then there was trouble...

And it's been all downill since. So, this was nice...six-months does not concern me...it will help my wallet...it will cut down an extra radiation or two every calendar year...and if something comes up, I like to watch to see if they grow before pulling the trigger.

Now, if I ever get to the point where they say every 12-months...yikes, I can't even count that high:)

Thanks for visiting and this was a nice reprieve, so that I can concentrate on handling all of my dad's affairs over the summer and the foreseeable future. It could not have come at a better time.

Best wishes for continued 'clear' sailing for you as well.

Love/Craig

mukamom's picture
mukamom
Posts: 402
Joined: Oct 2010

that you're beating the odds and have found your inner lion again.

Enjoy your NED-ness with Kim.

You deserve it.

Angela & Robert

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

And it really has....been too long since I've seen you.

I know you and Robert were enjoying a nice break there...and then I saw where he had recurred...I'm awful sorry about that....getting clear - and staying clear are just two different worlds. It's always difficult.

Tell the big fella' howdy from me - and as always, will be rooting for the home team!

Thanks for stopping by....I miss all of my old friends:)

-Craig

Sonia32's picture
Sonia32
Posts: 1078
Joined: Mar 2009

Ye ha and all that jazz! Really happy for you bro!

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

That's "Yee-Haw" in Texan:)

LOL!

Thank you!

-Craig

toyfox's picture
toyfox
Posts: 158
Joined: Apr 2011

So happy for you...it's time for you to have a break.
I agree with Son of Hal, exercise and eat healthy.
Take care....Linda

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

Will do:)

-Craig

Fight for my love
Posts: 1530
Joined: Jun 2009

Wow,best news ever.You are the man,you are the lion.Dance:)What a relief!I am going to shake my pony tail for you.I don't drink,but right this moment,I want to salute you with a beer!By the way,we are doing good,although a few times blockage happened to my husband,but he just got his third year CT scan which was clear,doctors were happy and me even happier.Finally finally I can push my jittery away.Thank you for sharing all these great news.After I read your post,I feel so excited that I might have a hard time falling sleep.:)

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

What an unexpected surprise to see you! It's always nice to see you stop by.

"Shake that ponytail" for me:)

You guys have done so well...so proud of you both. It's hard to believe it's been that long...it sounds like for the most part, all has been well, with a few challenges...but continued clear scans make all of that seem worthwhile.

I'm not sure if I will ever catch your husband with repeated clear scans - but I will try to. Having not gone this long since my first year is pretty big news. It's not as easy as it looks.

I'm hopeful that the next scan in six months will be clear and I can get another taste of what things might be like if I didn't have to always keep looking over my shoulder. I've never gone 18-months clear, so that would be a nice accomplishment.

I'd like to do it - even I need a little gas in my tank in the form of hope, don't I?

You've always been so kind and supportive to me...I've watched you fly away as you got on your feet and resumed your life - it's nice to see. They say that if you love something - that you have to let it fly away....

...with the hopes that someday they would return. I'm always glad to see you come back here and stop in...I like hearing from you...like to know how things are going. Always a chance I might get up to that part of the country...you will be on the list.

Take care for now!

-Craig

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

I just wanted to thank everyone for participating and sharing in this news with me. I appreciate all of your comments - and another special thanks for all of the folks who signed the guest book for my dad's funeral.

It was really a sight to look through there and see the names and places where we all live...all reaching out from the vast corners of the globe to touch me and Kim and provide a degree of comfort in our struggles.

New and old - you rallied to our aid - we thank you for your presence in our lives:)

With respect,

-Craig

Phil64's picture
Phil64
Posts: 838
Joined: Apr 2012

Craig, I find your writing captivating and invigorating! Congratulations on your milestone in this fight and thank you for sharing your stories with us. I wish there was a way for Cancer survivors to help post data, so we could do some true statistical analysis on things like diet, supplements, exercise, baby aspirin, chemo treatments, etc… I always thought that the medical industry was doing these things, but based on the data gathered about me, I don’t see how they could possibly study any of the possible conditions under which cancer is beaten vs. thrives.

So, here we are, cast into a maze, not knowing which way to turn, hoping to find the cheese?

And within this confusion and darkness, I wish the force be with you all! I do have faith that the force is with me. “I can accomplish anything through Jesus Christ who strengthens me!”

I pray that the LORD bless you Craig, shower you with Love and bring healing to your body and spirit. And that one day I will read about your most remarkable victory over cancer.

Phil

Kathryn_in_MN's picture
Kathryn_in_MN
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

It hasn't been an easy 8 years, but you've come through them kickin' and fightin' - learning along the way. You're still here to fight on for a long while!

I disagree with you on one matter though. One year treatment free IS something to be excited about! I am thrilled with my 6 month break - I just hit 6 months of no treatment, after having a 4 month break summer of 2010, and then constant treatments till December 2011. I am excited about each day, each week, each month stable enough to avoid treatments, and able to live life fully.

I'm looking forward to reading the 18 month all clear report!

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

Kat - if you happen to check back here....

I'm so happy you're in a remissive period:) It's been a long hard road for you full of challenges that you've had to overcome - and you've done that!

You're right...a year clear is significant...only happened in year 1 and 8 for me...that was the whole point of this post:)

I think that was me just musing to myself....I put a year in that round - and I fully expected to get a year out of it, or I would know that it was trouble.

I guess the one-year thing is still my own insecurity for not being able to attain the successes that I've seen so many others achieve. I would like longer periods of remission, but up till now, those have been very elusive.

One year gives me a taste from the fountain that I aspire to drink from one day...I guess it boils down to what I've said a time or two...we can never truly understand a situation until we have walked a mile in those shoes.

In six months, I will be in uncharted territory if things hold up...hopefully the 18-month clear period will still be - I already know that is already what it is, even right now.

We'll be talking:)

Thanks for stopping by to say hi...you keep up the good work too...may you have a continued break from the action...I hope all continues to go well for you.

-Craig

k1
Posts: 220
Joined: Dec 2009

I've been offline a lot lately due to going to the med center two or three times per week for physical therapy for an injured rotator cuff ... leftovers from a fall I had during chemo when numb feet from oxaliplatin made me lose my balance (happened twice, but apparently the second time it had serious consequences and I didn't know until weeks after chemo ended and the pain didn't go away in my arm and shoulder).

Sure is a great thing to log on after a while and read somebody has good news! Congratulations and carpe diem!

K1

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

Yep, I'm still holding air:)

Sorry about your fall - I fell several times too last year while on chemo but luckily only knocked things off the wall.

You get better soon and keep up the good rehab - time to enjoy your status as well.

It's hot now...I'm thinking back to where you were so excited about Spring....but that's in the rear view.....hot days like this make me think of a tall frosty margarita.

Ummmm!

See you - Craig

eibod
Posts: 160
Joined: Mar 2011

Hi Craig, I still check on the board sometimes to see how everyone is. Was so glad to
see your news. My grandmother use to say "the sun doesn't shine on the same dogs behind every day". I am so very very glad it has chosen to shine on you a little. You deserve
some good news, some peaceful and stressless days. Glad you are still writing and wordy.
Enjoyed reading your thoughts. You sure helped me those last critical months. Brenda

YoVita's picture
YoVita
Posts: 590
Joined: Mar 2010

So happy for you. You deserve a break. Hope it lasts a long time. I've decided that most of this cancer stuff is luck but it helps to eat well and exercise to deal with surgeries and treatments to come - let alone other illnesses as mentioned above. Thanks for the good news. Best of health to you Craig.

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

Thank you so much!

In six more months, we'll know if the winning streak continues:)

-Craig

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

I hope you check back in to read this:)

This is another true story. The six-month procession between hospitals, nursing homes, ICU's, ER's and finally hospice was difficult at best...there was alot of outside drama that presented itself - and just too many other things to go back into....but it was more than caregiving for my dying father.....

But, during some of those long, many nights, I often found myself thinking of you and what you were describing with your husband...it all came into focus for me thinking about you and what you endured.

I saw flashes of "Sundowner's Syndrome" - it was frightening at times...throwing stuff at nurses and having to be physically restrained. That really made me think of you....he didn't see spiders on the ceiling....but he saw people 'in the shadows', or at the end of his bed and all sorts of imaginary stuff.

The last days in hospice were hard - it was hard watching someone's body and mind physically dying...one night it was really creepy....he had a look on his face that I can't explain....but I knew he was seeing something or someone on the "Other Side."

The other side of what I don't know...but he was reaching for it and had this weird look on his face - I mean it was disturbing, it was scary, it was unnerving.

And all I could think of was "Poor Brenda" and what you had gone through.

Six-months seemed like a lifetime - and it was really....we thought it would never end....he just kept being passed around all of the medical facilities like a used hat. They used his insurance and got what they needed - and then discharged him, so they could go round again and start a new tab.

Anyway, it just made me think of the strength that you have...your cries for help just hit me where I live and I was so desperate to try and find something that could soothe you.

But how do you soothe one when they are going through something like this?

What does make me feel good, was that there was something I said that helped to 'ease' some of your suffering...and I'm glad to know that I was able to lighten your load a little bit.

Wordy? Yep, that's me - you know I can't sign my own name in one page, LOL!

Thank you so much for stopping by on this post - and thank you for checking in on us....I can speak for the entire group when I say "We Miss You."

Look forward to hearing from you again.

All my best!

-Craig

eibod
Posts: 160
Joined: Mar 2011

Craig, thanks so much for your response. I was so sorry to read about your dad's passing and all the things that were going on with you at the time.
You always have said the right things and been a comfort to me as well as everyone else
on this board. When I joined the site, John had already been ill for a year. I was
swimming in confusion, fright and self pity. You guys helped me so much, walked me through
so many things that John experienced. He would be so depressed, and I would tell him
that someone on the site had been through this or that, and the symptons would pass etc.
He never would read the board, but he listened to me tell him of the experiences of
the members on it. i think it comforted him some.
I admire you for being wordy. I have tried to write about the last 2 1/2 years and the
sheer hell and glory of it, but can't express it in the right way to relieve the
intensity of it. (did that make sense?)
Take care, you have so much value. Brenda

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

I'm so thrilled to read this post! I love that you're doing well, and I just pray it continues. And I think your comments about the lack of dieting and exercise show once again that cancer does what it wants, when it wants. It's good to take care of our bodies the best we can manage, but we also shouldn't beat ourselves up for anything we imagine we might done to cause our cancer.

As always, you are very special to me, and I love your news and Kim's!!!

*hugs*
Gail

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