Thursday, May 5, 2016

1 year.....with a little help from my friends...

1 Year from Diagnosis:
May 6th, 2015 I got the phone call while heading to a medical conference in Idaho.
It was the call that changed my life forever,  Dr. Redmond seemed to stumble on his words as he told me, I think he was as blown away as I was.
"It's not what we thought it was...... you have Lung Cancer".
Nothing will ever be the same.
My head was spinning..... anger, sadness, confusion.
How the fuck can I have Stage 4 Lung Cancer?
But I do...and that is the new reality.... that is our story.
I am now at my 1 year anniversary of diagnosis (cancer-versary).
I prefer to refer to it as my first anniversary of "Survivorship"...
There are those who thought I might not even be here at this point, the fact that I am here defies the statistical odds for my disease.  I am officially a cancer "Survivor and Thrivor".
There is no known cure for Stage 4 Lung Cancer, I still hope and pray for the miracle that I will be completely healed, but in the meantime, I have wrapped my head around disease management.
I am a better person than I was a year ago.
I feel and accept emotions fully.
I love more deeply.
I cherish each day.
I have more empathy than I have ever had.
I do not take my loved ones or friends for granted.
I am humbled.
I ask for help when I need it.
I accept help when I need it.
My list of shit the "really" matters has gotten pretty short.

Clinical Information:
2 weeks ago I had my most recent CT Scan.
I had anticipated good results based on the fact that I had been feeling quite well.
I was not disappointed....the disease is stable and has shown no progression whatsoever.
My baseline at the beginning of treatment was 7 sq cm of disease, I am now down to 1.6 sq cm, and have had this stabilization for over 6 months.  There is no active disease in my lungs, only appears to be cancer left in 1 lymph node, and the disease that has spread to my bones shows itself to be stable and continues to show evidence of healing.
Dr Eaton used the words "exceptional" and "miracle" during my visit with him.
Bam!!!!  I am #winning!!!!!
On the day of the CT scan I also bagged Chemo Round #16.
The course of treatment will remain:
Current cycles of Alimta (chemotherapy) every 21 days indefinitely.
If/When the Alimta stops being effective the most likely next line of treatment will be a drug called Crizotinib which is a targeted therapy for my ROS1 genetic mutation.
Continue kicking Ass and taking names!!!!

Help From My Friends:
I truly believe that I would not be where I am (and we are) without the strong and solid support from our community.  I cannot say thank you enough, I cannot return all of the goodwill that has been put forth to my family.  I resolve to continue to be a better person and contribute in a positive manner to this world.  The photo below captures the spirit of the support we have received.
In this picture are 2 of my best friends Gus Bayle and Billy Cochran pushing me up the final climb back into Laguna Seca a couple of weeks ago at the Sea Otter Classic 50 mile Coastal Gran Fondo.
When we have faltered or struggled, our friends and family have pushed us up the hill.
a little help from my friends...
Fun Stuff:
-First week of April I closed out the snowboard/ski season with an amazing day at White Pass with Phoebe and Lilly, they made their first hike up Hogsback Ridge and got to see some amazing things.
Hogback with the grommets
-A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of traveling to Monterey, California with the Rad Racing NW kids to attend the Sea Otter Classic.  I got to connect with lots of friends, and received a lot of love.  While I was there I took my revenge on Cancer and bagged a 50 mile Gran Fondo.
Billy and "The Dude" at The Otter
Never a complete cycling trip without a "Worthy Sighting"
Rolling the coast with Jeremy Powers (J-Pow)
-While on the trip I got to visit the Bonnie J Addario Lung Cancer Foundation.  I got to thank the staff, and Bonnie herself for the solid work that they do on behalf of Lung Cancer patients.
Bonnie J Addario, Lung Cancer Survivor, Hero
-My good friends at Giro had a surprise for me, they have produced a limited edition "Hold Fast" cycling glove in my honor.  Read all about it and order a pair here: The Athletic.
Thank you Chris Distefano, Eric Richter, Jim Heeney, and Jeremy Dunn.
Love from Giro
-I have set about being designated as "Fit for full duty" again at the Fire Department, it will be a bit of an undertaking but I am dead set on taking that portion of my life back.  The goal is by July 1st.
-One of the major projects that I have the privilege of working on currently at OFD is implementation of a cancer prevention program for my brothers and sisters.  Clearly this is a project that hits very close to home and I am honored to be working towards making OFD a safer place to work.
A good day at SCCA
Thank you for taking the time to catch up with us.

My prayer requests remain simple:
Continued disease stabilization.
Complete healing from Metastatic Adenocarinoma
Peace for myself and my family.
Restful sleep.

I am a Warrior.
I am a Thrivor.
I am the Exception.
I choose the Miracle.

Warm Regards,
#holdfast

Jim




6 comments:

  1. I love it when Drs. use the word "miracle". God is so good!!! Congratulations on your one year survivor-versary. Praying for you everyday!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hold fast to dreams
    For if dreams die
    Life is a broken-winged bird
    That cannot fly.

    Hold fast to dreams
    For when dreams go
    Life is a barren field
    Frozen with snow.
    Langston Hughes

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very good stuff to hear my friend Mr.Brown. Every time our paths have crossed it is always a pleasure. Keep fast and strong Jim and we will cross paths again I am sure,-fergie

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