Any fan of the NFL knows that Payton Manning made the word or city Omaha famous. He had a unique ability to come to the line of scrimmage, observe the defense, and change the play to exploit any weakness. Often this process would take a little time and the play clock would be winding down. After his audible he would start yelling Omaha as a message to the team we need to hurry up.
Well today my medical team is calling an audible. As you know my last Chemo cycle was not a walk in the park. From the day of treatment with the taxol spill, to the super low blood pressure, to the spouts of dizziness the last cycle was tough.
Today we went through the latest scan. As I mentioned the cancer has not spread which is great news however, what the doctor fail to mention although there is no spread the two biggest tumors on the lining of my lung have grown in size. The plump lymph nodes have actually doubled in size. So although there was no spreading of cancer there was cancer growth. Not the news I was hoping for today. In fact the news kind hit me pretty hard. Anybody that has been through the Chemo process knows it sucks, it sucks bad. It really pisses me off that I’ve spent the last six weeks feeling like shit to only have the tumors grow. In fact it is almost unbelievable.
Based upon all of the above we called the audible. Gone is Chemotherapy, hello Pembrolizumab. Marketed as Keytruda, this is Merck’s new miracle drug. At $12,500 per month I can only thank God I am on the Merck sponsored clinical trial. Today’s first treatment went very well, absolutely no issues with the infusion. Best part is the infusion in only 30 minutes a far cry from the marathon infusion that was Chemo. I’ve been having a big issue with my hemoglobin, this morning it was 7.3. Normal for men ranges between 13-15. The low hemoglobin was the reason for my fatigue, shortness of breath and constantly feeling tired. Today I got a pint of blood to help with that and the medical team is telling me all the previously mentioned side effects should be gone by morning.
Here is my new reality. Those other two monkey’s on the ramp are tough sons of bitches. The fight is going to be tougher than I thought. There are going to be a lot of highs and lows – unfortunately the lows are going to suck real bad. They are going to force me to think of my own mortality, they are going to force me to think about my kids growing up without a daddy, it makes me think of leaving my wife with a mortgage and two kids to raise as a single mom. This set back is a tough one, I can’t lie. I do however believe that for every valley there is a peak. My peak will come, hopefully sooner rather than later.
I am going to take a little time to pout and probably shed a few tears. The good news is tomorrow is All Saints Day, it’s a good day to ask for the intervention of all the saints in heaven. As a priest friend of mine reminds me often I have 3 priorities, first make sure I am square with my maker, second fight this thing like a nasty SOB, and third make sure to leave Veronica and the Kids a way to survive if two doesn’t work. Days like today make those priorities crystal clear. In the mean time I will reflect and be thankful for all that are supporting and praying for me, it is amazing. Just today I got two phone calls one from Mexico and one from Michigan that I would have never in a million years thought either one of the people on the other end of the line would have called. It is amazing. Fight On Jeffy!