It’s been a while since I sent out an update (my last one was a little over a year ago), so I figured I’d pen one and get it out to everyone. A lot of things have happened, but I’ll keep this very succinct.
I’ve been on chemotherapy now, every two weeks, consistently since September 11th, 2020. The original cocktail stopped working around August of 2021, so my Oncologist (Professor McDermott) determined that I should move to another cocktail called “Liposomal Irinotecan”. I’ve been on that every two weeks since.
After my infusion on every other Wednesday, they hook me up to a pump of chemo that I then take home with me. It continuously pumps it into my heart (through a port, shown on the left) until Friday and then I go back to the hospital to get the pump (gripper) removed. I’m generally not very good on Friday/Saturday … I just have to sit on the couch and work on my laptop, but then by Sunday I’m getting better and then I work out from Monday through Friday and then again Monday-Tuesday. Then I go back and get chemo again on Wednesday and it starts all over … I’m slowly getting weaker and weaker, but I’m fighting it as hard as I can ;-)
I’m completely and utterly convinced that without my Angel (Denise, my loving wife and head coach) pushing me to workout every day that I possibly feel like I can (and some that I don’t), I would not still be here. It’s very easy to give up and just sit on a couch, I can’t let that happen.
The chemo has slowly been bringing my marker (CA-19.9) down - this is GOOD. It was very high (about 3136) at the beginning of getting chemo in September of 2020, currently it’s at about 560. This, plus the scans that I get regularly indicate that the cancer is at a slow growth rate. The pain that I’m in is very minimal considering how long I’ve been dealing with this. I don’t take any pain medications except for the occasional paracetamol (acetaminophen or otherwise known as Tylenol) or ibuprofen.
I just had my 50th birthday, another year around the sun baby! Denise planned an epic weekend (week maybe??) of celebrations, meals, drinks and camaraderie. It was really special; I even ‘sabered’ a champagne bottle!
Denise and I have done some ‘stay-cations’ around Ireland, it’s such a beautiful country. We also took the car and drove to France (with the aid of a ferry) and down the west coast to Bordeaux; that was a fabulous trip with lots of great food and wine, as you can imagine. Lately, we’ve been pretending to be food connoisseurs … and writing food and wine reviews of Dublin restaurants! Ha! That’s been fun. We try to keep active with hikes and visits to parks as much as possible.
Denise is kicking ass being a coach (for me AND her); she plans our morning workouts every evening, and doesn’t pull very many punches! She is also picking up the new skill of boxing at a local boxing gym; I mean we live in Dublin, boxing is part of the culture here! She has also been volunteering for quite a long time now as a cancer patient driver for the Irish Cancer Society, and all her patrons vie for her as their driver now!
Connor is in his THIRD year of medicine at RCSI. He’s starting to take his USMLE’s already. He’s working VERY VERY hard, his drive and dedication is very impressive. He’s had COVID a couple of times, but hasn’t had any bad symptoms (thank goodness). We don’t get to see him too often (even though he just lives ‘downstairs’) as he’s always at school or busy with school mates. We tease him about being his “airbnb”.
Still, extremely nice to have BOTH of them in University and still get to see their faces every so often :-)
Riley is doing extraordinarily well in her first year of University at UCD in the School of Nursing! Her grades have been exceptional and she’s already completed a four week placement in a Mater hospital here in Dublin. She’s back in school, doing lectures and all that fun stuff now, but she’ll be back in placement in another four weeks or so. Very hands on education.