Today watching the 5 p.m. news I saw my first campaign advertisement. It was for Rudy Giuliani. I tend to agree with Dr. Steven Taylor at Poliblog who proclaims Giuliani's presidential campaign as toast. His Florida strategy isn't likely to work.
Note- Dr. Taylor, along with James Joyner at Outside the Beltway are arguably my two favorite bloggers. I link to them more than anyone else. Other favorites include Greta at Hooah Wife and Friends, Don Surber, Ann Althouse, and GI at ROK Drop. James, Steven, Don, and Greta have also been very kind to me.
The advertisement I saw today may not have been the first here in the West Palm Beach market. I'm sure of it, it's just the first one I noticed. When home I'm rarely not online, I don't need to see the local news. There will be thousands more of these advertisements in the months ahead.
Will I still be alive next November?
Right now I'm not at home, but in the hospital. Viewing habits change when you're in these places. I watch Price is Right and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Now you know why I'm nuts. Could be worse, what if I start watching 'The View'.
When you have only 15 channels, and need assistance to set up your laptop, you get entertainment where you can.
I been a malignant melanoma survivor for 14 years. My first melanoma(or MM for short) was diagnosed Dec 30th 1993. In 1994, three more MM were cut out of me and biopsied in 1994. If you don't know MM is the deadliest skin cancer. Approximately one in four to one in five people diagnosed with it die of this cancer.
From 1995 to 2006 I was clean. No more cancer. I did experimental vaccine therapy for a few years. This took me to the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica California. My scans and tests were all good. From 1996 to today I been on a mailing list for MM patients, family and their caregivers. I got to meet a few MM survivors when I used to travel to CA for treatment, went to a Clearwater Beach gathering of MM survivors, Spoke to the late Diana Ashby founder of the Melanoma Research Foundation before she passed away, met Diana's husband Jeff a year later in Clearwater Beach. He's an astronaut, and have known more people by email who have fought this monster just like I have. Too many of whom lost the battle. Michael Thode, Laura Knutson, Diana, a father and daughter whose names I can't recall, the list is long.
Then in 2007 I had a general checkup with my primary care physician. When doing this, my dr felt the areas in my neck where lymph nodes are located. He felt some swelling. So I was sent to my oncologist and scheduled for biopsy. A sentinel node biopsy, where cancer was found in one node. A operation a month later had two more nodes test positive.
In the interval between those two procedures, melanoma number five was found and biopsied. A cancer recurrence after 13 years was so unlikely, the new melanoma made sense. While all this was going on, I had scans and tests done. All were clear. So that was good news.
In mid-october I began interferon treatments. This form of immuneotherapy is very draining, but I handled it well. Even covering a professional golf tournament for an entire week while getting my treatments. I just crashed and burned when the tournament was over. See I'm really the Florida Masochist.
Late last week Dear Wife(or DW) began saying I was acting oddly. My being odd is not strange, I think more than a few Wizbang readers will agree. On Sunday I had a blackout spell in the afternoon. I don't remember about half the Dolphin football game in spite of me watching the whole thing. DW got concerned and took me to the hospital. While waiting to be seen, I had a seizure.
I was admitted to the hospital. On Monday I had a cat scan, MRI and chest x-ray done plus bloodwork done Yesterday I spent most of the day watching football, or viewing a few DVDs my wife brought from home. The hospital I'm in is less than two miles from the house, and a little over 3 miles from DW's work. DW can come here anytime she wants.
Contrary to popular opinion, I didn't come here for the Salisbury steak or to have an IV line in my arm 24 hours a day. My hospitalization early in 2007 for an infection in one leg, and in 2005 for a pulmonary embolism have me wishing to be any where else but a hospital.
I should be going home in a day or two. Thought that might happen today, but its 6 p.m. and my oncologist hasn't come in yet.
Finally time to get to the point, my primary physician saw me this morning. The cat scan shows at least two tumors in my brain. So in six months I have graduated from Stage II MM and 12.5 years of being cancer free, to being stage IV with brain mets where the median survival rate is less than a year.
Depressing? Not too bad at the moment. That is certain to change Scary? Certainly, and not for what I face in the days and months ahead but what lie ahead for my wife. She faces months of caring for me and running me to doctors and hospitals. Her reward could be the loss of our home after I kick the bucket. Her salary hasn't changed in over 5 years. Between her pay and a little bit of investment income we have, it just won't cut it once I'm gone. If I can't work, I face spending my savings and investments to pay the monthly bills. Making Leonita's financial situation even worse if I kick the bucket. She won't be homeless or anything, but rather have to move in with her sister. DW's sister lives almost 60 miles from here and would take DW in. Except DW will have to leave her friends, home, and job behind. We've lived in this part of Palm Beach County for 18 years. We did move in 1998, but our old house to our new one is maybe a mile in distance as the crow flies. This has been DW's home since her immigration to America in 1989.
All of the above depresses me. What am I to do? Honestly I need a miracle. As I said earlier, I know the reality of stage IV melanoma. People with brain mets if they live 2 years, its a long time. There's been exceptions. Kim Wheeler was told she had six months to live in 1976. She lived till 2003. God bless her soul.
I'd like to think I can do like Kim. The odds however are stacked against me. Rudy Giuliani has a better chance of being elected President.
DW didn't take my news well. She getting more upset than any time I've known her, including when our son died. We haven't even talked finances yet, because this will only break her heart more.
Note- I'm not making a plea for assistance from wizbang readers or anyone. Just spelling out the way I feel at present.
I may have been preparing for the news that came today Over the last few months, I been less interested in things I usually take delight in. Blogging for one, my main blog is dormant at the moment and blogging was slow ever since my original diagnosis last summer. This year I skipped doing a Knucklehead of the Year award, which I did in both 05 and 06.
Correspondence Chess is another hobby of mine that I've lost interest in.. Every year dating back to 2002, I've signed up for 60 new games at the beginning of the year. This year I didn't and I've been slow to move in the games I have at present. The interest just isn't there.
The interest isn't there for alot of things right now. When you think- Will I be here January of next year, you want to concentrate on what matters.
Right now, what does matter? Months of fighting a disease I'm almost certain to be defeated by at the same time destroying much of my wife's life and what for. Or giving up and still leaving my wife in a mostly hopeless situation.
I certainly sound depressed. Don't think I'll stop doing things I do enjoy if my health allows. So you may have the chance to read more of my posts in the future. Someone has to needle Jay and Jim occassionally, right?
Update- I wrote this post Wednesday. My oncologist came in around 7:30. I'm going to be discharged this morning.(And I was so looking forward to the salisbury steak tonight. Maybe DW can get a takeout. NOT!) I'm going to have radiation, which will be done outpatient. Good news, the tumors are small and limited to my brain right now. Tomorrow I'm to have an appointment with the radiation oncologist. Probably going to start treatment next week.
Sorry if this post sounds jumbled. I haven't the mind set to fix it. Dear wife just popped in and I could be out of here in an hour or less. I got a dermatologist appointment this morning.(It was scheduled last september) The doctor said I should go. DW is going to take me.