I think my head has finally stopped spinning. I've told everyone I need to tell about the latest development in my cancer journey. And the knowledge that I am loved has been reinforced a thousandfold. Literally.
Your response to my last post has been nothing short of amazing. The sheer number of comments, reactions, and pageviews is unprecedented for me, and for this blog. Welcome To Stage 4 was my first post to exceed 1,000 views. Loved ones have called, texted, messaged, and cried. I asserted that I am loved, and then you proved it. I'll never be able to thank you enough.
The hardest part of the past few days has not been confronting my own mortality. It's been the number of hearts I've had to break. Some of you have taken the news very hard. It breaks my heart to break yours. Nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news, especially when the bad news is about you. So this weekend hasn't been a fun one. But it's been good, because of love.
My next Lupron shot is scheduled for Tuesday morning. I was planning to wait until after the shot to post again, but I feel like there's more I should say before then. I told you I'd post soon, after my head had cleared, so I felt like I owed you this post. I feel like God has shown me something, and I need to share it.
For those I told in person, after their initial shock and disappointment, the most common reaction has been surprise that I'm not in pain. It seems odd to everyone I talk with about it that I feel completely normal. I'm probably not unique in this respect, but it seems unusual at the very least.
I asked this question in a support group that I belong to. There were some who reported no pain with bone metastasis, so maybe it's just a matter of where the spots have occurred, or how small they are. When it spreads further, (and it will) I expect to have pain at some point. But when?
I could say that I'm lucky, but if you've been reading this blog, or if you know me, you know I believe it's more than just luck. I've been talking about things that I need to accomplish over the next year or so, and as long as I'm not in pain or on pain meds, I'm able to do those things. I can't help but believe that my lack of pain is God giving me some time to get things done. That's what I feel God showed me in church this morning. He's giving me this time. So I'm going to take advantage of that time to the best of my ability.
According to current Western medicine, Stage 4 cancer is incurable. I've looked up the statistics for prostate cancer with bone metastasis, and they're not encouraging. My loved ones are upset about this for good reason.
I don't have a prognosis yet, but I will ask my oncologist about that for the first time when I see him on Thursday. If past is prologue, I don't expect him to give me a lot of time. Witness the fact that they expected Lupron to keep my cancer under control for two years, and it didn't even work for one full year.
You may wonder why I'm getting another shot on Tuesday, if Lupron is not keeping my cancer under control. Good question. The answer is that Lupron is still keeping a certain percentage of my cancer in check, just not all of it. If I stop getting the shots, the cancer it's been successful with will go crazy, and I'll have even less time. So I get another shot. Soon, my oncologist wants to add another drug to Lupron called Xtandi. It comes in capsule form, and sounds like a Star Trek character. My doctor hopes it will make Lupron more effective for me.
I'll know more on Thursday about treatment options. I also expect to talk to a naturopathic doctor soon. And because I live in Colorado, U.S.A., I will look into medical marijuana treatment as well. Gotta try something. If the doctors can't cure me, I have to see if there's something else that will.
But again, no chemo. I have many reasons for this, but let me just give you one of them. I want to be careful here. I have dear friends who are and have been on chemo. For one, it was very successful. Another is on it right now. I support them in their choices and love them with my whole heart. But it's a personal decision. They made theirs, and I'm making mine.
This blog is published in three different locations. In addition to this platform, it's published on CaringBridge and on WarOnCancer.com. That's why I end each post with #waroncancer. The founder of that site, the courageous Fabian Bolin, wrote a very eye opening blog post regarding his chemo treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. You can read that post here.
They're pumping poison into his body that, if it spills on the floor, has to be cleaned up by men in hazmat suits. Thanks, but no thanks.
Chemo breaks your body down and reduces your resistance to germs. I want to be with people. I can't take time off to convalesce. I have stuff to do. I have people to love. I have affairs to put in order. And I have no time to waste.
I asked a good friend last night what I should say to my brokenhearted friends. What do they want to hear from me right now? The answer was simple; that I won't give up. So let me say it loud and clear. I won't give up. I won't do every conventional treatment, but I won't give up. I just want to use treatments that I believe have a chance to cure me, and ones that will allow me to function, so I can get my ducks in a row.
That's why I believe God is giving me this time with no pain. So I can finish well. So I can provide for my wife. So I can be a witness to how he used cancer to transform my life, and change me forever. That's what he showed me today. That's what I wanted to tell you. #waroncancer