Monday, April 29, 2013

"M" is for (my) Cancer(s)

Some of you may remember from WAY back in this blog that UCSF sprung for a very expensive gene survey to see if I had the anti-cancer gene.  Unfortunately, it is yet one more thing I'm lacking in.  Dr. Wolf's comment at that time was, "Well,  it looks like it will probably be cancer that will get you in the end. It'll be interesting to see which one finally gets you".  Apparently, as it comes to cancer, I'm not very creative. Let me explain.

'Back in the summer of '99 (spoken like a old grandfather) I had a melanoma tumor in my right shoulder blade area and they took out a chunk about the size of a woman's fist" (make the gesture of a fist). "Plus another one about the size of a large ball bearing 6 months later, then another smaller one the size of a marble 1 year after that.  Then, nothing but pre-cancers for years."

Then, in '09 it was MULTIPLE MYELOMA.  Not only that, but of the 3 types, IgA, IgG, I get... you guessed it, IgM! myeloma.  Apparently I'm so uncreative with my cancers that I can't get past the "M" ones.
So Dr. Wolf's been prepping me for the possibility of "other related cancers" since we started the daily chemo in May of '10.  Bladder, liver, kidney, pancreatic were all possibilities.

So last week I go to have my usual pre-cancers removed and guess what.  Biopsy.  Positive for ...yep, I'm so uncreative when it comes to cancer that I just can't seem to shake the "M" kinds.  A small melanoma the size of a quarter on the inside of my right forearm, about an inch away from my elbow crease.  Weird.  But you really expect anything less?  Scheduled to be excised surgically May 17th.  Big whup. Not that I don't have a healthy respect for the beast, but I know that it just recently appeared so it hasn't had enough time to do real damage.

So let me back up some though, as I missed reporting on my skeletal survey of a couple months ago.  All in all my bones have recovered relatively well after all of the Zometa they've pumped into me.  Zometa is a chemo drug that helps bones retain calcium.  The problem is, it can also cause the bones to become brittle, and kidney problems, and your teeth to fall apart for no particular reason...but your bones are better.  No signs of cancer eating through the bones, like before.  Now this part was interesting, if not down right funny.  The report talked about "Scattered mottled osteopenia of the inside of the skull."  In other words, the inside of my brain looked like the outside of an Idaho potato.  All lumpy and bumpy.  When Dr. Malone recited that to me I told him that it probably wasn't from the cancer.  I was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, so if the outside of my skull wasn't shaped like a potato, the inside had to be.  He just cautioned me about head impacts, as some parts/spots of my skull are quite a bit thinner than others.  See!  I told you I'm not ALL that dense.

This Weds. I make the trip up to SF for visits with my cadre of UCSF docs.  I'm expecting Dr. Wolf to support me in my scheme to delay chemo until I REALLY need it.  I'm talking infusion, possible hospitalization, need it.  After nearly a year of no daily chemo, with just regular Zometa infusions, I'm beginning to feel less nauseated, headachey, and generally lousy.  I can work a little longer without making my head feel like it wants to explode.  I only have to get up 3 or 4 times a night, and get longer bouts of sleep between cramps and nausea.  I mean really.  Who'd what to give all THAT up?  So I'm hoping for the best and putting my faith in Him who's gotten me this far.  Come what may, it's always an interesting ride.


  1. Wow...well that just stinks! My goodness. The tests you and your family are going through, but you sure keep a good attitude about it. I hope you won't have to do chemo. Blah!! Praying for ya Bishop. We love you!!

  2. Yikes! That is all a mouth full! I would wish you luck , but it looks like a power much greater is still with you! ;) Praying for you always! TLC