Sunday, November 6, 2016

A fortunate man, milestones, mentorship.....

Fortunate
ˈfôrCH(ə)nət/
adjective
  1. favored by or involving good luck or fortune; lucky.
    "she'd been fortunate to escape more serious injury"
    synonyms:luckyfavoredblessed, blessed with good luck, in luck, having a charmed life, charmed
    sitting pretty

    I am a fortunate man, by definition.
I have lived a prosperous life with regards to life experience, family, financial means, work, community, and all of the things that have come my way in 49 years.
Then there is cancer, of course this is not a metaphor like the cancer our election has become...
We are talking about Stage 4 Lung Cancer, the real deal.......
We are talking about a 5 year survival rate of 3%.  
We are talking about a cancer that kills more Americans per year than Breast, Colon, and Prostate cancers combined.  
This is serious shit.
Yet...I am still a fortunate man.  
Things could always be worse and I never lose sight of that.
I'm upright, I'm working, I'm going to soccer matches, I'm active, I'm Climbing Mountains, I'm Dirt Biking, I'm living life with Stage 4 Lung Cancer, and that is how it is....
Despite the best of dreams that I have at night, I still wake up to that reality every day.
Cancer is NOT/NEVER a gift, but the fortune that has come my way after being diagnosed is immeasurable in its volume and depth.


Milestones:
My 49th birthday this year(Nov 7th) falls on another milestone.
Exactly 18 months ago to the day I was told of my cancer by Dr Redman.
We all know what followed... but in short I am equally happy about both milestones.
I also got to see Isabella's junior homecoming last week. 

So what is going on Clinically?
Over the past month I have had several key diagnostic tests done.
I had my first brain MRI since diagnosis and it was clean.
This was a big relief because Lung Cancer FREQUENTLY metastasizes to the brain.
My current treatment seems to be staving this off.
Every 9 weeks I have a neck/chest-and/pelvic CT scan to closely monitor what the status of my disease is.  Although the trend has been positive on these scans I always suffer from some level of Scanxiety....  this time around I had been feeling more tired and run down, so my confidence was a little bit on the low side.
Well......I continue to be the EXCEPTION, the cancer is minimized and stabilized, in fact there continues to be even the slightest disease REGRESSION.
Days like these are joyful but there is also a shit-sandwich to the deal....
Because right after I get good news like this, I march upstairs to the infusion bay to have the life giving poison of chemotherapy pumped into my veins, knowing very well it is keeping me alive, but at the same time is gonna kick my ass for the next 5-6 days.
I have really come to dread these treatments.  I have had 25 rounds of chemotherapy, that seems crazy to me, and the nature of my disease dictates that there is no end in sight, I will just continue to do the chemotherapy.
I am talking to my Dr about switching to a 28 day cycle instead of 21 days after the first of the year.  The prospect of 7 more days between chemo sessions is very appealing and I feel like I have arrived at a point of change in order to sustain durability and quality of life.

Mentorship = Post Traumatic Growth
Recently I was having a pretty rough day, I was generally feeling overwhelmed and emotional. I was on the verge of tears for no apparent reason, all while trying to put in a day at the office. My friend Kelly Fox(IAFF-D7VP) came by the office for a visit and told me about a brother firefighter from Great Falls, Montana named Jason Baker, whom had a new diagnosis of lung cancer.  Kelly said he would give my contact info to him so that Jason could contact me.  
I thought back to my first week of diagnosis and I realized I wouldn't have had the humility and the self awareness to reach out.  After putting more thought into it I called Kelly and said I wanted Jason's number because I WAS going to reach to him.
So I called Jason...as we spoke I was taken back to the same place that he was in.
I tried to tell him all of the things that I wish I had known in the early days of diagnosis.
One of the biggest things I wanted him to hear is that WAS NOT a death sentence, I was given the same news 18 months ago S4 Lung Cancer, but here I am today, not just surviving but Thriving!!!!  Over the past couple of weeks Jason and I have been in touch pretty frequently, he is learning the lay of the land with the specifics of his diagnosis and laying out a game plan.
Jason told me that our conversations and reading my blog helped him to awaken the Warrior inside that he needed to fight this battle, that made me feel really good.
We all hear about Post Traumatic Stress and PTSD, but there is a thing called Post Traumatic Growth and that is what I have achieved in my journey with cancer and by doing things like by reaching out to Jason.  Post Traumatic Growth
Thank you Jason, lets do this together.

Other Cool Stuff:

At the end of September I took RRNW riders Scott Funston and Calder Wood to Connecticut to race in couple high profile Junior UCI CX races.  It felt really good to being doing something that has been such a large part of my life over the past 16 years.
East Coast 2am Nutrition Program
Bella continues to amaze me with her skills on the soccer pitch.
Her team posted a pretty great season for a "rebuilding" year.
Bella was the "heartbeat" of the the team according to her coach.
She closed out the year by being awarded First Team All League Evergreen Conference for the 3rd year in a row.  Additionally she earned All Academic Honors.
Asskickers Inc.....
Last Friday I hatched a plan to go climb Mt Ellinor so I reached out to a couple of buddies in an incredibly last minute nature and got them to give up a day of their lives to chase my passion.
Ellinor is NO JOKE, It is a pretty serious climb and I take pride in the fact that I continue to challenge myself with adventures like this that many "healthy" won't even do.
That said.....It really challenges me.  Sumiting Ellinor video.
And then when I got there, an amazing surprise awaited me.
There was 1 other person on the summit when we were there....
Heather Johns who is currently fighting Stage 4 Breast Cancer, was there.
Holy Shit!!!!  What an amazing and inspiring experience.
So awesome to run into to others who refuse to lay down.
She is training to climb Mt Rainier, so amazing.....
Asskicking Cancer Patients on top of a Mountain
Royce Smith and Kevin Bossard escorted me to the top.
Well tomorrow when I wake up I will be 49 years old.
I am celebrating the day by going dirt biking, having dinner with my family, and getting a new Tattoo....because that's how I do shit....there may be some Jagermeister consumed along the way as well.

My continued prayers requests:
Restful sleep.
Continued disease mangament.
Complete healing from Metastatic Adenocarcinoma
Peace for for me and my family.

Lots of cool stuff coming up for the Brown brood, stay tuned.

Thanks for checking in.
Hold Fast.
Jim











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