For anyone who has had or has cancer, or any other serious illness, you are familiar with the test-angst. After a while, at least for me, it become so mundane, that even though the test will tell you if you are going to live or die, you eventually loose the angst. You have to, or go nuts.
On Thursday June 16th, will be a landmark test with much at stake, enough to evoke that old angst, but not to the extreme. My new 4-drug intensive chemo program is half way through. It is time to check if it has had an impact on the cancer. It should. I was on a relatively weak chemo for 1 1/2 years and I slowly came out of remission. So this intensive program should be a knock out punch. However, we all know that life is not fair.
When I had my stem cell transplant, the transplant team said that they had rarely seen anyone work as hard as I did to get better. While they couldn’t get some of the patients out of bed, I finished a 26 mile marathon within the halls of a UW Medical center. Yet, some of those patients who did nothing to help themselves have had spectacular results from their bone marrow transplant, me, not so much. With that said, I must prepare for all possible outcomes. I will not know the results until Monday, June 20th. I will share what is at stake.
If my cancer numbers have not come down at all, or continued to worsen, it will be a personal disaster. I have one more chemo I have not tried, but then I’ve exhausted all the possibilities. There are a few chemos that I cannot take because they would destroy my kidneys. There are aggressive treatments, Car-Ts that would be a potential cure (verdict still out) but require a long waiting list as there are many more patients wanting this treatment than are slots available. There are new Car-Ts in the works that I could probably sign up for, but they too have a long waiting list.
If my cancer numbers are only slightly less, all is not lost. I would still have another month on this intensive program and then test again. If the numbers are only stable after two months or have had slight improvement, that would not be good because it would mean I would have to stay on this regiment long term. While I have not had severe side effects, the minor ones (severe insomnia, complete loss of taste, fatigue) has lowered my quality of life a great deal and it would hard to think about living in this state.
If my cancer numbers are much better, then I will celebrate. This would mean that the program is working and then I would only need one more month of this intense therapy, and then go on a maintenance of one drug (daratunumab) once a month, and that drug is not causing any side effects.
So, you know how to pray, how to hope and I will give you an update on June 20th. Thanks for your support for me and my family.
I’ve shared before that I am attempting to get my new novel, (Working Title) The Stones of Yemen, picked up by a major publishing house. While anyone with a couple of grand (or less) to spend, can get a book published, the real prize is being accepted by a real publisher. It is not easy. When I wrote my book, Butterflies in the Belfry, I approached one publisher directly and they accepted it. However, we could not come to terms on the price of the book. They wanted to market it as an academic book, priced at $35 per copy. I felt my own mother wouldn’t pay that much. They thought I was foolish to walk away from a publishing contract. I think they were right. For mere-mortals to get a book published by a major publisher is a very big deal. These days you must have an agent to represent you to a publishing house because the publishing houses don’t want to deal with 1,000 submissions every day and having to pick one per week to publish.
Most writers, even very good ones, describe to me how they have approached agents by the hundreds, only to get the same number of rejection letters, usually within days. I have now submitted The Stones of Yemen to ten agents and have had one rejection. The other nine are still pending. So, my fingers are still crossed. If the agent accepts my book, they may want me to make some changes to better suit a particular publishing house. Then they would represent me to that house. If accepted by the publishing house, we would go through another long process of editing before it would hit the market, so this all takes about a year. The reason I want to have my book published by a traditional publishing house is that they do all the work and they introduce my book to a world-wide audience. Most writers, including myself, write for others to enjoy. My last book, Ristretto Rain sold about 2,000 copies. I was elated. However, that brought in an income of about $2,000. That would not be bad except that it cost me that much just for a professional editor to review it, so in the end, I still lost money. I don’t write to make money, but if I can’t cover my expenses, I will have to stop writing and I love writing.
New Podcast: Religion Vs Science, Part I (of three) Foundations
A new podcast that starts to address the problem with the war between religion and science and its practical implications. If God exist, he/she exist in reality. The better we know reality, the better we can find God. Reality is best found via evidence. Religion, however, is often based more on subculture-dogmas (not the Bible as Christian groups claim) without evidence and often in spite of contradicting evidence. Listen here.