There are several tumors throughout my right leg, but two of them seem to be growing faster than the rest and are starting to become slightly painful – one in my ankle and one in my groin. A couple of days ago I also discovered a new small tumor on the back of my knee. At Dana-Farber they have agreed to move my CT scan up two weeks to this Wednesday, where I fully expect to be taken off the Crizotinib clinical trial as a result of the new tumor and over 20% increase in the existing tumors. At this point I have very little interest in starting a new clinical trial with minute chances of success costing more time and money. It appears that there will be no miracles for me and my fate is sealed. The question that weighs on my mind is what will occur first; the tumors in my leg restricting my motion and confining me to a bed, or progression to my organs causing death. I am still a fighter and fully intend to give everything I have to make it the latter, which I would view as a small miracle. Yesterday morning I met with my orthopedic surgeon, Dr. O’Keefe, about potentially removing the larger and more active tumors, which in a way would reset my clock and give me the upperhand in my fight. I was very excited to learn that Dr. O’Keefe agreed that at least one of the tumors could probably be removed with what would be either an outpatient surgery or overnight stay. If I can make it till the summer to continue our road trip up to Alaska there would be little more I could ask for.
Recently I have had a couple of discussions related to everything that I am experiencing that I have given quite a bit of thought. The first was an interest in my deepest darkest emotions. Am I angry? What do I want to yell out? What am I really feeling? I don’t have an exciting answer. The truth is I have been very sincere with my blog. I still think I am in a deep denial in which the weight of my situation has not hit me. When we’re on the road my thoughts are consumed with the excitement of our experiences and companionship of friends and family. The one emotion that I do occasionally feel is sadness. It usually comes when my mind drifts and I start to think of what the world looks like without me. I have images of Christmas morning with everyone in my family but me, my brothers drinking beer and eating wings without me, and most recently I pictured what our house looks like without me. The thought of not being a part of these times that mean so much to me is painful. I have great friends and family and struggle to think of anything that my life lacked. I’m not mad and don’t feel cheated. I always snap out of my diversion at the realization that I’ll never know what this looks like.
The second question was with my new perspective, what do I view as the meaning of life. I have to say I don’t feel like a completely changed person with a new outlook. I have shifted my priorities a bit, but the best I could offer is that I look back on my life as a collection of memories almost all associated with friends and family. If I could do things over again, I would seek to fill my head with more great memories…more family camping trips, more motorcycle rides with friends, more walks with Shannon, and more new experiences. The more memories, the more painful the loss, but worth every tear.