Monday evening I climbed, scantily clad, onto a large metal tray. I was affixed with headphones, a rubber bulb to squeeze if I panicked and a large gauge needle deep in my arm for a "contrast" injection during the procedure that awaited. This was, to me, the most important MRI of my life. That's saying a lot as I've had quite a few in the last two years.
Tuesday I got the results. That's actually very fast. The results were not horrible. But they were not good. The chemo I'm on is not really fighting the cancer. It's not even holding it back. The current chemo is allowing the cancer to grow at a very slow rate. What this means, in essence (not in Essence magazine, but in the extracted importance of this over-written paragraph), is that my prognosis of three to nine months to live just became... well, three months to live.
In the end there may be more or less days. There's another drug I'm going to try that is not a chemotherapy drug but just a really horrible pill, with really horrible side-effects that, in rare occasions, has done well against colon cancer. (Which is really in my liver, not my colon. But that's a different and unimportant story.) I'll probably try the pill. I've been on it's "cousin", if you will, during my first regimen of chemo. It was not pleasant. The side effects involved painful rashes and bleeding along with a myriad of uncomfortable and embarrassing side-show performers. But I'd do almost anything to be here just a little longer with my wife.
That's the frustrating part. No matter what we do, the biggest goal we hope for is a "little more time". To be cured, cleansed of this horrible disease that is trying to kill me from the inside (much like the political ads that have just begun airing on our TV and radio air-waves), would be a miracle. As I've said, "I absolutely believe that God has the ability to heal me. I just don't think that's in his plan this time."
All this, or most of this, being said (I'm never quite sure I've said it all), I became a slightly more desperate man. My story recently has been the selling of ad space on my urns (there are three now, and at my weight, plenty of ashes to go around) in order to cover the cost of my cremation. It worked. We (that's not a "royal" "we", but a reference to my wife and I who are going through all of this together) sold enough ads to purchase and paint a third urn, thus covering the cost of cremation and a little extra to pay down on some medical bills. But the sub-plot to this story we've been writing was to get on a national venue in order to tell the world how amazing my wife is. How she's stood beside me, held my hand, fought for me, cried with me, scared the crap out of the occasional doctor when we didn't feel they'd listened to us... how she is the most amazing wife, friend, puppy-mama and love God could have ever put in my path and how I couldn't, and probably wouldn't, do this without her. I want the world to know all she is and has done for me.
Recognizing that Ellen stopped filming shows for her season in May and that I, most likely, wouldn't make it to the fall season, I decided it would be better to at least take her to the show (which we both LOVE) than not see it at all. Unfortunately tickets for the show this season were booked out. So I found every email address I could for any and all executives on the Warner Brothers lot and began emailing. Not to get on now. Just to get tickets. One person came through. We received the call yesterday while being interviewed for a story on our local ABC affiliate, KEZI. They're giving us tickets to the show! I will be able to keep the promise, that she didn't even remember, I made to my wife last year that one day we would go see the show. I get to watch my wife dance and laugh aloud.
Nothing makes me happier than to hear Kristin laugh. Nothing.
So, as you may have just caught, we're done selling ad space on my urns. Since we've covered the cost of cremation and my time is now more limited than ever, stopping now was just logical. I'd like to thank those that contributed:
Thank you to all who got the word out, passed along links, wrote Ellen, donated, prayed and just loved us. I will go to my... er... ceramic container knowing that there is much love here on God's green earth. For the record, and with no offense to others who've covered the story, the KEZI story and KATU stories are really my favorites so far: