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Yes, it is time for another medical update! It is funny… the original intent of this blog (before I published the first post) was for it to be a vehicle to give medical updates to friends and family.  Starting with the first post “TAKING THE LATEST TREATMENT PLUNGE” I decided to make the scope of the blog much broader and deeper than that – which I believe happened – to an AMAZING degree!… Read More

This week is one of those weeks where a bunch of important things are happening, across a wide range of my life!  I was trying to think of how to organize into a blog post – easier said than done, so I decided to just go chronological — a week in the Life of Tom!  The picture above was technically from the previous week but I had to show it – a… Read More

I went and got a haircut this week.  No that was not meant to be the single most boring start to a blog post in the history of cancer blogging – it was meant to make a point. I was excited to go get a haircut!  Why?  It has been months since my last one.  I was largely bedridden and 100% housebound (aside from medical appointments) for a couple of months last… Read More

What a week I had last week!  Taken overall it was a GREAT week.  It was extremely hectic and not without some blemishes towards the end, but overall… it was a great week.  The type of week that doesn’t happen often enough in the lives of advanced stage, Stage IV cancer patients (and associates caregivers and families) once the disease enters into late stage. What made it so great?  While I had… Read More

“Ironic” – as shown in the above pictured definition of “Ironic” from the Urban Dictionary – is a word that is often misused in contemporary life but when it comes to my “Cancer Life”, I think it is perfect.  I do not think my Cancer Life is just “coincidental”…. And I certainly do NOT think my cancer life is “tragic”!  But has it been, from the very beginning, a series of events… Read More

Both psychologically and practically it is interesting how a cancer patient’s attitude and approach to chemotherapy changes over the course of a “Cancer Career”.  That is a phrase that just popped into my mind recently… “Cancer Career”.  I am fast approaching the 5-year anniversary of my metastatic cancer diagnosis (June 4, 2012).  5 years, starting when I was 40 years old.  Considering that my adult life started when I was 22 (I… Read More

Wow. What an incredible week it has been… I am tearing up now just thinking about it as I fly home from New York City (NYC) to my home and my family in San Diego. A lot of people have been wondering how I have been doing since the last medical update (In Case of Emergency Break Glass).  It is hard to believe that it has been almost a month since that… Read More

Well… a blog post I certainly don’t want to write and I did not plan on writing… I was told to never bury the lead of a story – so here it is: My oncolytic virus clinical trial plans have been canceled (hopefully just postponed). What? How?? Why??? I assure you the decision was not made lightly but it is also a decision I am 100% comfortable was the correct one to… Read More

I feel so extraordinary, Something’s got a hold on me I get this feeling I’m in motion, A sudden sense of liberty… I used to think that the day would never come, I’d see delight in the shade of the morning sun “In many ways 2015 was the most incredible year of my life.  Over 3 years into a currently incurable Stage IV colon cancer diagnosis, that phrase says a lot.” That… Read More

In the immortal words of our most recent Nobel Prize Laureate Bob Dylan , the times they are a changin’…  This morning I will be having my final Full Fury (FOLFIRI) chemo infusion for the foreseeable future.  A chemo cocktail that I first had the joy of encountering way back in 2012, and after restarting it, have been doing continuously (minus some #CannonballLife breaks) for the past 12 months.  Restarting FOLFIRI last… Read More

Cobimetinib  + Atezolizumab  might have grabbed all the Microsatellite Stable-Colorectal Cancer (MSS-CRC) immunotherapy headlines in 2016 but quietly in the background was a second published/presented  Phase 1 Immunotherapy Clinical Trial with preliminary signs of activity in MSS-CRC patients.  I suspect it slipped under the medical radar earlier this year because its Phase 1 Clinical Trial results and related preclinical data were published in a (albeit very good!) scientific journal (Cancer Cell) rather… Read More

Pain. I’ve been very fortunate over the past over 4 ½ years since my cancer diagnosis.  I had some pain immediately before my diagnosis from my primary tumor but ever since that surgery in June 2012, I have lived a pain-free life.  Except for an occasional cough in-between treatment regimens, zero symptoms of cancer. Sure I have chemo side effects to deal with, especially when I switched over to Full Fury (oops… Read More

When you are first diagnosed with cancer, many things stream through your mind at light speed.  Being there for your kids, impending major changes to lifestyle and life plans, and right up there in that top tier of thoughts are worries about your employment and workplace. Before I drill down to my specifics, these are HUGE concerns impacting Stage IV patients overall, adding yet additional layers of stress on top of their… Read More

This is a lengthy science post I have been debating whether to write for over a year.  Many fellow patients have been asking me to write it but I have hesitated.  Why debated? Why hesitated? At the root of ANY science post I write, I have to believe in my heart that the possibility of harm is vastly outweighed by the possibility of good that could come about by me sharing my… Read More

Hope – it is such a simple, yet complex word. A short word that is easy to explain on the base-level but it can be incredibly complex to comprehend all the facets in which it can impact the human psyche. Hope can be rational or irrational – the human brain has trouble distinguishing.  Are we paralyzed in fear that we will not be alive for the next major Holiday?  No – we… Read More

I had my post-summer-chemo-break CT-scan on Wednesday.  Regrets & worry started to try to enter my consciousness.  They were unwelcome invaders and to be honest, rarely seen or felt in my psyche now days.  But here they were – as I laid on the CT-scan table getting scanned…. Laying there completely alone, unlike the constant buzz of comradery that had surrounded me throughout my summer. A scan to quantify how much my… Read More

I just wanted to give a brief personal medical update and my related summer plans! With the exception of my diagnosis summer (2012) when potentially curative chemo was given ASAP, I have always had the “goal” (when medically possible) to take summers off from treatment.  Even though I am terminally optimistic, I am also realistic… part of Stage IV life is thinking through the memories you are generating for your kids –… Read More

When I first started this blog, I made a very conscious decision: I wanted to “be that Google Hit” found when someone first diagnosed with CRC is scrambling to search for information in the middle of the panic of recent diagnosis.  Patients panicking while looking at survival stats, in need of HOPE.  Following the extremely good role models of the two blogs that performed that role for me during my own diagnosis… Read More

My alarm went off at 3:30 this morning.  I was not expecting what ended up being my first thoughts.  They weren’t of me running the run leg of this morning’s Spring Sprint Team Triathlon per se.  Instead, intermingled with run thoughts were also thoughts of fellow colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors I know who currently aren’t doing too well. Survivors I know that aren’t physically able to run right now. Those were the… Read More

Surfing the AACR Waves of Science What a day.  I just woke up from a drug-induced nap that wasn’t particularly long but it was deep.  For the second FOLFIRI chemo infusion in a row, I fell into such a deep sleep when I got home, that when I woke up it felt like I had slept for many hours.  Looking over at the clock, it said 4:37.  That felt about right –… Read More

As a mirror to my post in February called “One Little Number”, I wanted to write a very short post tonight called “The (Positive) Power of One Little Number”  It shows the wild-emotional swings of Stage IV cancer – as you careen back and forth between positive and negative data. The number referred to in both posts is the blood tumor marker: Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA).  It is usually monitored during Stage IV colorectal… Read More

It’s hard to believe that it has already been almost 12 months since I last ran a UCSD-Moores Cancer Center Team Triathlon, which I wrote about last year in my post THE ULTIMATE TEAM SPORT: “A big part of being a cancer patient is trying your hardest to not give up in the face of adversity.  In that way it is very similar to endurance sports.  This is what makes the Moores… Read More

To begin with, my CT scan was good – my tumors are shrinking from the FOLFIRI + Avastin chemotherapy I am currently taking!  I have had a 4 week break – the side effects go away after 3 weeks, so I even recently snuck in a 10k run! 🙂 I will be continuing to take chemo biweekly for now.  But that is a battle win (which I am very happy for!!) –… Read More

Everyone who reads this blog knows how much running is tied into my cancer story.  From its very beginnings as initially a fast-paced walk during my Stage 3 NED (No Evidence of Disease) days, to my first ever half-marathon length run the same day a PET-CT scan showed probable recurrence/Stage IV, to my post-Stage IV diagnosis team triathlons with the UCSD-Moores Cancer Center.  Just looking through the post titles on the right/bottom… Read More

In many ways 2015 was the most incredible year of my life. Over 3 years into a currently incurable Stage IV colon cancer diagnosis, that phrase says a lot.  Of course, the most incredible moments in my life were my kids’ births and my marriage day.  But in terms of almost continuous meaningful things happening….. as a year, 2015 took the cake. I had ZERO guess that any of this was coming… Read More

As I announced in my most recent medical update post “It’s a Marathon Not a Sprint”, this week I started the chemotherapy cocktail FOLFIRI  + the angiogenesis inhibitor Avastin (bevacizumab). I wanted to update you on how the return to chemo went. I won’t sugarcoat this decision nor the experience. I believe my writing, fellow survivors & you all deserve brutal honesty – but it is, as always, Hope filled.  Hope is… Read More

I don’t normally write blog posts so close together but I know everyone has been curious what my new treatment plan would be after I announced 3 weeks ago that I had become resistant to Erbitux.  Since then, there has been radio silence in terms of my next step treatment plan but I assure you things have been very active in the background… I just couldn’t post an update until plans became clear…. Read More

As most of you know, I became a distance runner (for the first time in my life) after my cancer diagnosis.  I loved it!  It was mentally cathartic to have that time alone in thought, I achieved a “runners high” and there are a number of studies showing the beneficial effects of significant physical exercise after a CRC diagnosis including in Stage 3 patients (my original diagnosis) for example here and here.  I… Read More

A DVR reminder of a film I have mentioned before: The incredible new Ken Burns “Cancer – the Emperor of All Maladies” PBS mini-series will air next week on Mon-Wed (4/30-5/1), I highly recommend to set your DVR’s and tell Family & friends, especially those impacted by cancer! I had the privilege of attending an advance screening a few weeks ago.  They only showed a 45 minute excerpt of the 3 episode… Read More

I plan to cover a range of topics in this blog including treatment/medical updates, exciting scientific progress/breakthroughs (explained for the lay reader 🙂 ) and also answering some common “curiosity questions” that I suspect many people have — based upon the number of times I have been asked already.  Cancer is very much a six “four-letter” word – so I know many people are uncomfortable asking certain questions, even if they are… Read More

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