It has been an exciting and interesting week. I visited Stanford Cancer Center on weds and then flew to Utah and visited the Huntsman Cancer Center and then had a college reunion at BYU with many amazing and wonderful friends!
Several things have happened since my last post...bottom line is I am waiting on additional blood tests to determine if there is a gene mutation to help us determine the proper treatment. If there is a mutation of which there are several that it could be, it would mean a certain path forward in terms of medication that is targeted on the mutation. If there is not a mutation, the path forward will be chemotherapy and then maybe radiation/surgery. I hope to know this by the 19th or 20th of October.
I was very impressed with Stanford and Huntsman and the doctors that I visited. Each institution has different clinical trials they are experimenting with that I could possibly be a candidate for depending on what my tests reveal. This week I will be researching other cancer centers and trying to understand the clinical trials they have in motion or are preparing for to help me determine the best place to do downstream work. Many of you have sent me names of people that have had lung cancer, know doctors, or other institutions that I should further explore…thanks!
My hope is that over the next week or so we will get some answers back and that we will be able to make some decisions so I can get started with a treatment plan. I feel great besides a little cough and some challenges breathing at times, so the doctors are confident that waiting to get the correct diagnosis is the proper path forward.
So those are the facts…the more interesting part of the experience is my own mind and my observations of others and the patience that is required in this period of “creative tension” as we wait.
I have been humbled by the outpouring of love that everyone has expressed to me and my family…it truly has been remarkable. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to have such an amazing support group of people that love and care about me and my family. Several people have fasted, prayed, chanted, lit candles, meditated, danced, and sent amazingly positive vibes, blog postings, emails and voicemails my direction. I don’t really have a choice but to go crush this thing…the faith of my team is SO Strong! I am even riding in a cross country motorcycle race in the Sahara Desert as an honorary co-pilot this week!
Life has slowed down as it does when you get focused on the basics and what is most important. To relate to the roadtrip experience, it is pretty easy to say NO to things when you are just trying to figure out the path to your next destination. Peer pressure becomes non existent because you don’t care what others think, and will power to resist foods that are not good for you becomes quite easy as you are fighting for your life. Prayers get a little more sincere, high fives are replaced with hugs and everyone is more gentle, loving and forgiving.
One of my friends said that when he got cancer, “I got much more focused on enjoying the journey of life rather than always preparing for the future.” Not that preparing for the future is not important but we must take stock in being present and appreciating what ever the experience is that we are having because in that experience there is learning, fun, and growth. If we get down and mad, we let the adversary win and we do not make progress. I believe that we all signed up for this journey called life, we had a choice and we said, YES….I will go down and experience the joys and trials of earth life because the payoff at the end is totally worth it!
With another friend we discussed that none of us know the journey forward, and we can’t control all things….so getting comfortable with that reality and living your life such that you are prepared for whatever comes your way is really part of the purpose in life.
My situation is unique in that there seems to be no rationale for why I would get lung cancer…no real cause and effect type of logic. My reflection whether it is true or not is that as humans we are much more loving and sympathetic when it appears something happened outside of one’s control.
For myself, it seems in the past when something has happened to someone or myself I have often times looked at why that happened and tried to understand it…I would judge myself or others guessing what my/their contribution must have been. I have learned over the years that people do the best with whatever knowledge they possess and it is really not our place to judge other people, but instead to love them even when we think that the decisions they made might have contributed to whatever the resulting consequence was. As hard as that might be, for me that is something I want to strive to do more often.
I am excited about where my mind is going, the thoughts I am having, and what I will learn on this journey. Several years ago my son Emmett said, “dad, we need to tell each other every day that we love each other, life is too short to not always be expressing your love and appreciation to others.” That kid is on target!
Until my next set of random thoughts, feel free to reply to the blog…it is really fun to read everyone’s reflections and thoughts…I find that very enjoyable and thought provoking! It is through the conversation with others that most of our learning occurs.
Love all y’all!