Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway. – John Wayne
From the start of this fight, Greg has always said, we are going to hunt down this cancer and kill it off, one tumor at a time. Fighting spirit like no other….. Greg brings “True Grit” to fighting Cancer.
In the past two and a half years, there are a few days that stand out in my mind. Today was one of those days. Greg has been having some vision issues similar to when new tumors were growing. These symptoms worried me a bit. O.K., they worried me a lot! Greg had a brain MRI and Chest scan scheduled for July 9th. The doctors decided to move Greg’s scans up a couple weeks to find out what was going on.
Greg finished his scans Friday at 2:00 and our amazing Dr. Gordon (Scottsdale) called us at 11:00 Saturday morning with the brain MRI results. No new tumors!!! YAY! Shrinkage of existing tumors, no growth—YAY! YAY! Some tumors almost dissolved!!!!! YAY! YAY! YAY! I did not want to keep him on the phone forever to get specifics but all in all—good news! No chest results yet but I am very confident those will also look good.
As we have explained previously we are still not out of the woods. We are still “Duke” ing it out with cancer. Kidney Cancer is one tough bandit to fight. We are, however, headed in a very positive direction!
O.K. Those of you not wanting medical info, skip a couple paragraphs now. I scare myself with how much I have learned about this nasty thing called cancer. I will try to make it as simple as I can. I have just had a lot of people ask details about Greg’s treatments.. So, here goes…
We are basically treating four things right now.
- Existing brain tumors
- avoiding future brain tumors
- existing lung tumors
- avoiding future lung tumors
Most of the positive results on the existing tumors in the brain and lungs seem to be from the Gamma Knife Radiation. For slowing of future growth we are on a Targeted Therapy called Axitinib. Basically, this medication works by blocking enzymes that are found in receptors on the surface of cancer cells. These receptors are involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells and in the development of blood vessels that supply the tumors. By blocking these receptors, Axitinib helps to reduce the growth and spread of the cancer and cut off the blood supply that keeps the cancer cells growing.
Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you’ll hit the bull’s-eye of success. —Annie Oakley
The past month has been a tough one for me. As always, Greg has been the picture of courage. I guess I crumbled a bit. I was not planning on sharing my weaknesses but being the Cari that I am—“Honest Annie” I decided to share my weaknesses along with my strengths so that people know they are not alone if they are struggling emotionally being the lover of a person with Stage 4 Cancer.
I have been going to counseling to try to cope with the stress of a very scary disease of my lover, my best friend, and the father of my three incredible children. I have been very determined to get through this without medications (ok, I told you before, wine doesn’t count).
Typically, we have scans every 3 months. In between the scans, I watch Greg closely to see if there are any personality changes, judgment changes, and changes in vision, changes in emotion, and changes in health. With brain tumors, changes happen overnight. It is also very hard not to become concerned about every bite and drink that Greg puts in his mouth. Greg is my cookie/sweets monster and would eat junk all day long if it were up to him. Or not eat at all.
Sensing some over-the-top anxiety on my part? Apparently, I wasn’t in tune to this but I’m pretty sure all my friends and family were.
In the kitchen on a busy lunch rush at Macky’s, I lost my vision, my arms and legs went numb, and I felt very short of breath. I was terrified! I tried to call my friend Mona and just schedule a visit to her office. My mom had a stroke at 47, so Mona was quite adamant that I go to the E.R. Our son, Jeff was working in the kitchen with me, and Allie was waiting tables out front. All I could think about was trying to act like nothing was wrong so that I didn’t scare Jeff and Allie. Thank goodness, sweet, Rose Palandri was in for lunch and she took me down the street to the Fire Dept. She helped me inside where all of my favorite fire fighters were having a meeting. They asked if I brought a Bacon Burger with me and then realized I was not my normal jovial self and was not coming for a social visit. Long story, not so short, I then went to the e.r. via an ambulance… How embarrassing……
Diagnosis.. a panic attack. Cari Day, Ms. “Has it all together” has a panic attack? Seriously?
My initial reaction—anger.. I just felt as if I had let everyone down, I am supposed to take care of it all. My poor kids, they have enough to deal with having a dad fighting Cancer…. Now they have to worry about their mom? UUUGG!
My second reaction-relief and excitement for a great tomorrow. My whole view of people who have had panic attacks has changed forever. To be honest, I have neverunderstood what they are, and what brings them on. It was a very true wake up call for me. I learned that pretending like you are holding it all together and actually holding it all together are two different things.
I’m still making my family and my hubby my number one priority, but I’m taking baby steps to learn take care of me at the same time.
This Annie Oakley is planning a shootout with Kidney Cancer. Ready to aim, fire and focus on the fight, not the fright.
Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday. — John Wayne