I decided to take a 4 day, 3 night retreat to Vashon Island. I wanted to take a break from work, holidays, life and have some time with myself and nature to take in everything that was 2016 and have time to morn the tough times and recharge energy to continue to fight in the days ahead.
Vashon Island Retreat
Hot flashes ... ugh!
My hot flashes have returned! This is my THIRD chemically enduced menopause. I started getting a drug injection that has shut down my ovaries. We need my body to stop producing estrogen, since my cancer is ER+. Here's top hoping this helps stunt the cancer growth going forward.
2016 has been one heck of a hard year. While I am thankful to have an amazing wife, family, and friends and still be healthy enough to enjoy an evening out for New Years ... just one year ago I believed I was cancer-free and planning a lifetime of future. Now with a Stage IV diagnosis, I continue to be challenged balencing being optomistic and positive about my future along with being realistic about the realities of my Stage IV diagnosis. Here's top hoping life continues to provide me good news in 2017.
#iwillnotgiveup #lifewithcancer #appreciateeveryday #2017
After a break, back to chemo
After a couple hours at home and a lovely nap, it's time for my next chemo infusion. Friday infusion tradition starts now and into 2017. Come on treatment, let's get this tumor growth under control! I've got this!
Happy to report that although my immune system was too weak for a treatmenrt on Dec 22nd, I was good to go and strong enough for my treatment today. Let's hope we have a new trend heading into 2017 ...
Nature walk in Vail
Enjoying some nature and a snack outside watching the skiers come in for the day. What a beautiful day!
Christmas Eve is Vail, CO
Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Enjoying family time with Heather and Catherine.
We are off to get Christmas Eve fondue! So Thankful!
New treatment ... Navelbine
Here we go! First treatment of my new chemo. A little nervous, but it's needed. Chill weekend planned, as I learn about the side effects. I've got this! Deep breath ...
Wow! This movie touched me more than I expected. I knew a lot about the legal side of this story, but was moved by the personal side in ways I did not anticipate. As someone who not only had to fight for equality of marriage, but also broke the laws of WI when I was legally married in MN ... this is so personal. Heather and I could have (according to WI state law at the time) each been imprisoned up to 9 months and fined $10,000 each for getting married - and this was in 2014! I continue to pray we won't move backwards and have these rights taken away from us. Many of you may not understand what it's like to fight for an inherent right to marry...sadly I do and fear everyday that those rights will be taken from us. My love is no less important or valuable than anyone else's. I am a good person who lives my life with stronger morals and values than many. As I fear my own mortality on a daily basis, I am constantly reminded of the 1,000+ legal benefits & protections marriage has provided me and my family ... benefits at a state, federal, employer level. I have paid into these systems (considerably more than the average American) for my entire adult life. I pay more taxes now that I am married. God created me this way, so no argument about religion is appropriate here. No one decides to face this level of hate by choice. I can not be 'converted'. Future generations will look at this time and shame us for how long it took us to find a place of love and equality. I just hope no more pain will be placed on me, my family, our friends before then and we will live free from hate and discrimination.
So much to be Thankful for
Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday. I am thankful for so many things in my life. I am most thankful for the amazing woman, Heather Dooley. She is my best friend, my rock, and the most loving and caring wife. 2016 has been a tough year, as my medical battle took on a whole new level. I am so thankful to have a spouse who not only embraces our new normal, but also supports me with compassion and courage every step of the way. I am thankful to have such an amazing partner on this journey. I love you and am thankful every day that you are by my side.
Stage IV ... the never ending fight
Friends and family. As we approach Thanksgiving I am sad to report that after months of positive news of my tumor markers dropping, my body has decided it's not digging this treatment and they have now spiked back to original levels (from back in May). This is incredibly discouraging, but we have a new plan. I started injections last week to shut down my ovaries (most importantly shutting down estrogen production). Next Friday I will start a new (second) chemo. While this is not the news we were hoping for, it's also not uncommon. Heather and I remain confident in my clinical team and hopeful the new treatment plan will improve my status. As always, I encourage you all to take a moment to be thankful of of the people in your lives. I know this Thanksgiving will be especially important to us, as we celebrate with the Dooley family. I am sad to not be with my immediate family, spread out from SC to VT to TX to us in WA. I also know our tight family bond will continue to bridge the challenges of distance. Head up, positive thoughts as I continue to enjoy and appreciate every day I have. Be Thankful and have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving 🦃