First chemo

The biopsy confirmed Stage IV pancreatic cancer which had metastasized to my liver and I just completed my first 5 hour chemo treatment at the hospital infusion center. So far, so good. Except for sweating, I had nothing to complain about. I also learned today that if you want to increase your social appeal by sweating, farting, going bald and looking pale, nothing does it like cancer.

Now, another 44 hours at home or and about (I’ll be home) while wearing a drug pump in a fanny pack day and night. Even the fanny pack isn’t too bad. It’s black. It’s rectangular and could pass for a small camera case. Then Thursday afternoon, I go back and have the pump removed.

Next chemo is on “day 15.” Also coming up is a 2/15 FU (Follow Up) with my oncologist while we wait to hear when I’ll be admitted to MD Anderson in Houston.


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A Billy Eddy Moment

Some of you have been lucky enough to have known Bill Eddy. Due to a youthful accident, Bill needed  to use a wheelchair to get around. He had to use two hands to drink from a soda can but boy, was he funny and a joy to be around.  I’d often talk to Mr. Bill on my  ham radio and whenever he knew my wife, Marybeth, was listening, he’d yell, “Let’s go Mets.” He was thoughtful enough to not only know what was important to me, he knew what was important to those I cared about.

When Mr. Bill and Marybeth finally had a chance to meet in person, she shyly introduced herself, “I’m Mark’s wife.” Mr. Bill looked up at her and said, “Mark who?” Classic Mr. Bill.

When his driving privileges were restored, he was ecstatic. He told me, “When I’m driving, I don’t feel handicapped.” Mr. Bill taught us that no matter what else may be going on in our lives, there would be good times among the bad and we’d be fools not to enjoy them when we can. Marybeth and I call these Bill Eddy moments.

Tonight, we had a nice comfortable dinner at home. Thank you, Mr. Bill for helping us enjoy it.



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One step closer

Years ago, a coworker had a sign in his cubicle. It read, “No one gets out of this world alive.” Of course, the sign told the truth. We all come to an end sooner or later. The only question remaining is, “When?”

This week I got one step closer to the answer. A CT scan indicated pancreatic cancer which has metastasized to my liver. It’s incurable and the life expectancy for patients with untreated Stage IV pancreatic cancer is measured in months.

When I was a kid, we’d pass time on occasion asking each other, “What would you do if…?” One topic was, “What would you do if you won a billion dollars?” I didn’t have an answer for that one.

Another topic was “What would you do if you had only (fill in the blank) months to live?” Well, at least I now know the answer to that one. I’m going to hold my family and friends close and I’m going to get the best damn medical care I can.

Right now, I’m waiting for the results of a liver biopsy while I also wait for one of the best cancer hospitals in the nation to complete gathering my records so they can assign me an admissions date.

Tom Petty was right. The waiting is the hardest part.

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