Thursday, March 16, 2017

Stability, Depression, Great Things..

Wow, it has been a long time since I updated my blog.
I would say the good thing is that I have been living life so hard, that I havent had time to stop and write about it.

Clinical Picture:
My status remains the same..... last CT scan was in January and my cancer remains minimized and stable.  After the first of the year we switched to a 28 day cycle instead of 21 days, the fact that my Dr was open to this is evidence in his confidence with regards to my stability.  This change will give me an extra 7 days in between treatments to recover and try to regain some "normalization" to my day to day life.
We are also extending the time between CT scans to 4 months, I guess the less frequent I have to have that radiation exposure the better in the long run.
I continue to be a living miracle and I am literally still on first line chemo, 29 rounds by the way.....that is how many I have had at this point.  Big #30 goes down on March 29th.  I have come to detest getting chemo, I love the people at SCCA and I love the fact that I am beating the cancer down, but the weeklong after effects really suck ass.
I continue to be able to function at a pretty high level with regards to quality of life, I do find that my general endurance is lower and it seems to take more energy to do many things than it should.  This causes me to run many things through my "Time, Energy, Resources" model when I choose to take something on.  In the end I still choose to do some things that can be quite taxing but I always try to consider the cost/benefit of the action and shoot for the beneficial things.

The Dark Passenger:
You may, or may not, know that I have struggled with depression along the way in my life, this predates my cancer diagnosis.  In the past I sought out counseling and took medication to help keep things in check, this is a personal thing that I never really shared much about, but I am coming clean with you here.  
I suffer from depression.
Guess what happens when you already suffer from depression and you are diagnosed with a "terminal" illness......engage tailspin.  
Some of the struggles and the crisis early in my diagnosis was connected to my battle with the dark passenger, some of my daily struggles right now with regards to my disease management include fending off the depression.  Most days I can keep my chin up and keep throat punching, but sometimes the "Bad Dog" creeps in and makes things difficult.  Several weeks ago I woke up in the am to go to work, family was already off to school and work, I lay in bed paralyzed with anxiety, the "Bad Dog" wanted me to stay in bed and feel sorry for myself, it took everything in me to get out of bed and move on with my day.  On my way to work I called my therapist, by chance... and divine intervention he told me if I drove straight to his office he could see me.  What ensued was a tearful hour of unloading and in some cases unintelligible blathering.  But.....I unloaded and was able to regain some perspective and hit the reset button.
I am not ashamed to admit that I suffer from depression, I see a therapist and I take medication to help mitigate it, that is who I am, take it or leave it.
Feed the "good dog" in your head, let the "bad dog" starve.
On to better things....

Living life hard!!!
With regards to living life as hard and full as I can, the 2 biggest highlights over the last few months have been a family trip to Mexico and a Backcountry Snowboard trip for myself in British Columbia. 

In late November Regina and I loaded up the brood and headed off to Cozumel, Mexico.  It was a big deal for us to pack up and take this on but I have been feeling pretty well and it seemed like the right thing to do.  We had to pull the kids out of school for a week to pull it off but it was well worth the sacrifice.
Our days were filled with relaxing, sleeping in, lots of snorkeling and swimming, great food, and amazing family time.  I came home from Mexico feeling the best that I have felt since before my diagnosis in May 2015.


Swimming with the dolphins in Mexico

The holidays were pretty mellow but included a family ski trip up to White Pass, once again great family time and activity.

Stellar days at White Pass

Right after the new year I had the really fortunate opportunity to go on a back country snowboarding trip out of Nelson BC at Baldface Lodge.
This is big, serious backcountry riding that is accessed  by flying into the lodge on a helicopter and then all of the days are done out of a snowcat.
This trip really fed my soul and recharged me, it was taxing out of the mountain, but in that really satisfying way.  Great evenings were spent in the lodge visiting with friends old and new.  There is never a lack of very high quality people at Baldface and I always walk away enriched by the experience and the people.  A big shout out to my friends Jeff Pensiero and Nate Mendel for bringing this together for me.  Baldface Footage
Big Mountains feeding my soul....

Mid January brought a trip down to LA and a gathering of some of my best friends in the world to attend Anaheim Supercross.  My buddy Gus got us connected with Team Honda and we got to do the races in a very VIP type of manner.  The trip also included a visit to the recording studio to see my buddies in the Foo Fighters which is always fun.  I am so fortunate to have such high quality friends and supporters in my life.
VIP with Team Honda
Some random dude holding fast...
Our family is settled into the hum of life that is living with cancer.
We look at it as chronic disease management, and we shape ways to live around it and try to maintain a good quality of life.  Weeks are filled with soccer practices and matches, Gymnastics, Dance Team, Volleyball, occasional ski trips, and oh yeah...Regina and I are both working full time.  It is a full and rich life and we try to squeeze and cherish each moment.  We intend to be in this for the long haul, I have friends with my same disease that are 10+ years past diagnosis.
I have graduations to attend, weddings to preside over, and grand babies that are gonna need to be taught how to ski, I have a lot left to do in this life.

In the "In over my Head" department:
For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to sign up for the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb.  This is an event that I had done many times over the years.
It seemed like a good fit, raise some money for LLS, challenge myself, inspire other cancer patients, these all are great ideas and reasons to do the climb.
The problem is that in my head I am still the same old guy, but the fact of the matter is that I have toxic chemicals coursing through my body to keep a killer at bay, the side effects of these toxins are profound and I have no control over them.  As I mentioned before my endurance is low and getting any type of consistent exercise is difficult.
By the time we got within 8 weeks of the event I knew that I had written a check that my body was gonna have a hard time covering, but I felt as though I couldn't back out.
5 guys from the department made the commitment to climb with me on the day of the event and make sure I got to the top, additionally I was able to climb with a special battalion of cancer survivors.  
I can do this, how bad can it be?
Umm....pretty bad.
In the end we got there but was not pretty.
Actually......to be honest it was beautiful in a twisted suffering kind of way.
Rather than rewrite it all I invite you to take 10 minutes and listen to my description of the climb during my visit to "The Ron and Don" show.
The Stairclimb Story
I think it does the most justice for the experience.
The crew that got me to the top
Here is one other project we have been working on.
Isabella's College Recruitment Video

Thanks for taking the time to check in.
I am a Warrior.
I am a Thrivor.
I am the Exception.
I choose the miracle.

Prayer requests:
Continued disease stability.
Increased endurance and stamina.
Total healing from Metastatic Adenocarcinoma.
Restful sleep.
Peace for my family.

Warm Regards,
Jim
#holdfast






3 comments:

  1. Apparently your destiny was not to be a normal dude with a normal family. You and your tribe do abnormal very very well. Prayers locked and loaded. xoxo

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  2. You are so brace & inspiring friend! I pray for you, Regina and your beautiful girls all the time! I am so sorry that you have to face this battle every day, but I'm so grateful for who God has made you to be that you would inspire others in the midst of their battles as well! You are definitely living the miracle every single day! I pray His grace over each of you daily because He promises that his grace is sufficient! I know it always is in every battle that I face! Blessings my sweet friend! πŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ

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