Health Update: June 27th, Is the Window Closing?


The last time I wrote, I spoke of being in a window of positive news about my cancer. My symptoms were low and the tests were favorable. I was at the point of being giddy, and guilty for feeling so good when I have friends suffering.

Anyone who has dealt with a chronic disease, like many cancers, understands the unpredictability of the prognosis. Soon after I did that “Window” posting, I became hammered by a cluster of symptoms. While a nuisance, the exact cause was not clear and my cancer labs were stable.

Now, however, my labs have suddenly worsened again this week. The kidney function, while improving for several consecutive months, suddenly worsened. There are about six lab parameters that measure how active my cancer is. Five of them suddenly worsened. This would be an ominous sign, however, there’s one caveat. The one lab value that did not worsen was the key one for directly monitoring the cancer activity, the “M Spike.” So, that leaves a very confusing picture as it did in December when the same thing happened.

So, I will be heading down to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance again on Tuesday. We will determine if I need further testing, PET scan, bone marrow biopsy, or a change in treatment. Anyone who has been in this situation knows how regular blood tests can be an emotional roller coaster ride. Yet, I have gotten quite used to it.

The dropping kidney function is more distressing than the possibility of the cancer becoming more active. The thoughts of going back on dialysis is so horrifying, after each session I felt worse than I thought it was humanly possible to feel, for days . . . just in time for the next session. So, if I reached that juncture again, it would be a decision point for me, if I just let renal failure take its course, lethal injection, or going back on the machine.

26 Dialysis project research ideas | dialysis, renal diet menu, speculative  design

Anyway, that’s the latest. It will take a month before we know much more and I will update you then.

I am not in emotional distress about this, as I said, I’ve been here a hundred times. However, it got me thinking about the unfairness of life again. Specifically, I have done everything possible to increase my chances of healing. Everything. Diet, supplements, best chemo, best specialists. I have prayed literally for hours and hours, almost non-stop. Laying away many nights, not for emotional reasons of insomnia, but in pain, praying, begging God for mercy. Yet, Multiple Myeloma, like many diseases, is poorly understood and seems to have a mind of its own. But that’s just the way life it, isn’t it? While I do think the belief in miracles is overstated, I still pray and invite others to do so. It is not an issue of my lack of faith (as some people are quick to accuse me of, for some heartless reason), but my honesty with the world.

This all brings me to another topic, looking at “Positive Determinism” (the belief that everything that happens is for a good reason) as a philosophical concept (Hindus, atheists, and Christians often hold these same beliefs so it far beyond a “Christian” idea).

I’m not writing here so much anymore because I am consumed with my novel again, writing for at least two hours per day. But I hope to return and write an article deconstructing this idea of positive determinism . . . if I can find the time. This hope is profoundly attractive on an emotional level, but has very little support from reality. Evil is real. And, as I’ve said before, if God is really there, as I think He/She is, then the more you are in touch with reality, the better the chance you have for seeing the real God. Most religions and some with political interests lead their followers to disengage with reality, into magical thinking, while temporarily soothing … leads them to a marred face of God … and reality.

Thanks for you interest and concern,



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9 responses to “Health Update: June 27th, Is the Window Closing?”

  1. You are in my prayers, Michael, and I appreciate your mind and your words illuminating the journey your body and spirit is taking.


  2. Thanks for letting us know and sorry to hear about your labs, hopefully just a blip and future ones will be better


  3. Sorry to hear about those labs but sending positive energy your way that it’s just a fluke and will return to “normal” in time. I’ve really enjoyed reading about your experience – because of our relationship, my own cancer dx/tx and my profession. Keep writing! Love you.


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