Thursday, January 30, 2014

Beginning a Journey - "Nothing concentrates a man's mind more than the the prospect of being hanged in the morning." ~Samuel Johnson


On New Years Eve I saw my doctor for a check-up. I have diabetes and other issues and so checking in from time to time is medically indicated. Hands were shaken, blood was drawn, labs were sent.

A few days later he called me back and shared with me that the level of a protein indicating some kinds of cancer was elevated in my bloodstream and that he wanted me to have an ultrasound. Thinking this was fairly serious stuff, I promptly said "yes" and went along with the plan and had the ultrasound performed on January 6th. I let my employer know that there were some issues in progress.

It came back clean. I was very pleased and went so far as to buy myself a trinket I'd been lusting after for a number of years, a replica of a Civil War era sword, figuring that dodging a bullet of that magnitude was worth a tiny bit of celebration. I also let the boss know that I'd come back clean and we were both deeply relieved.

My doctor, however, remained concerned at the unexplained elevated protein level and ordered an MRI. The last time I did not take my doctors advice, it cost me, so I again went off to see folks with big machines and high tech and had an MRI performed - but with fairly high spirits.

On Friday, January 10th, I got back the first results from my doctor - a suspicious lesion was present on my liver. He referred me to a hepatology clinic and off I went, deeply concerned. I began to talk with a small group of friends about the situation and to reach out for support, as I was a bit frazzled.

Monday the 13th I visited the hepatology crew...and was diagnosed with liver cancer and given a prognosis of 6-12 months to live, with treatment - becoming symptomatic (i.e., symptoms so you'd notice) in 4 months at the earliest. I was told that like any prognosis of this kind that the numbers were almost certainly wrong that it could be longer or faster depending on just what kind of cancer was present. I was then referred to the University of Washington liver tumor group for treatment, second opinion, and further diagnosis. I was advised to "get all the logistical stuff in order so you can focus on medical."

That's where things are at as I write this. I'm going to keep posting (on this and other matters) as things progress, and it is my intention to do my darnedest to beat the odds. But I intend to keep posting on this topic as long as I can in the hopes that I can offer folks some insights on "how to do this" and, more than likely, "how not to do this."  I leave it to each of you to determine which is which.

What I've done so far? Beyond the whole "run in circles, scream and shout" bit I've notified my younger brother and his wife and their daughters, I've begun the process of making sure that the userid/pw combinations for websites and social media that I created/maintain have been passed on to the relevant folks to ensure a smooth transition, and I've put in place similar plans for this blog and my other "social web presence."

This Saturday I will be making burial arrangements (in case those should those become necessary), and I will be seeking spiritual counsel on a number of matters - as well as arranging a proper funeral, Methodist post-funeral potluck, and a wake for those inclined. Should I be required to make an early departure, it is my hope that my friends and family mark my departure with laughter, gossip and love - not tears and sack cloth.

I begin a journey with two possible endings - either some form of recovery or passage to what I am told is a kinder and gentler realm. I hope and will fight for the first - but am comforted by the notion of the second.

The support of my friends, family, and chosen family has been astonishing and wonderful in these early days. I am deeply grateful for each of them - and lest I be too distracted to do so later want to throw out particular recognition at this point to FarmFam, Scribbler, and MattG. I don't mean to neglect anyone by not mentioning them at this point, but they have really gone (and continue to go) way above the call of duty and I am immensely grateful for their efforts and support and that of others who have also stepped forward with offers of help, support and shared knowledge.

More later.


Unknown said...

Damn Dude, really sorry to hear this.

Not sure what else to say.

Shane W said...

I know quite a few people that were given x-xx months, years ago. Modern medicine has come a long way in fighting cancer. Keep up the fight and don't give in. Prayers your way.

Farm.Dad said...

Every step my friend , every damned step .

Farmmom said...

Whatever you need. You know we will be there for you. We love you dearly.
Keep your head and spirits up!

Anonymous said...

Please read "The Germ That Causes Cancer" by Doug Kaufmann
available at:

Also visit:

I can send you a lot more info if you give me your email address.

There is hope.

ScribblersDad said...

Aw, crap. So sorry. I'm a doctor in my day job; if I can be of assistance in any way please do not hesitate to ask.

Jennifer said...

Much love to you, always. You're in my prayers.

Drang said...

Crap. :-(

DixieLaurel said...

Well damn.

Erin Palette said...

Aw shit. :(

I fucking HATE cancer. I'm so sorry to hear this, because I know things are going to suck for you in the short term, but I also know you're a fighter and that if anyone can get through this, it's you.

Tell me how I can help you through this.

Eseell said...

Damn. :( I know you'll fight it, so I wish you the best.

LibertyNews said...

I'm am truly sorry to hear about this. The best of luck to you.

Peter said...

Dot and I have already told you all the important stuff. We're carrying you in our hearts (or would our holsters be more appropriate?)

Remember, anything you need, you've got - including one of us jumping on a plane, if necessary, to come and hold your hand and change your ... whatever ... for a week or two, if necessary.

As for a Methodist funeral, forget it! If worst comes to worst, with the Blogorado crowd involved, think ashes and Tannerite!


Old NFO said...

Thoughts and Prayers Ray.

DaddyBear said...

Thoughts and prayers, my friend. You were there for me when I needed your advice, and I'll do everything I can for you if you need it.