To complete the trilogy of posts on the major new preliminary MSS Colorectal Cancer (CRC) immunotherapy results released today on the combination therapy of the MEK inhibitor cobimetinib + the PDL1 inhibitor atezolizumab, I’m excited to share the data released at ASCO-2016 this morning!  Both drugs are already FDA approved for other types of cancer – this was the first examination of their combined use against MSS-CRC. When dosed alone, neither MEK… Read More

Today is my fourth cancerversary – my first diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC) was June 4, 2012.  I have already talked about my upbeat feelings on cancerversaries in previous years’ blog posts and letters to friends & families, as I gratefully celebrated another year of living after a lot of unknowns (!) at the time of diagnosis… so I won’t repeat those again today. I invite you to read a complete summary… Read More

I usually only do this kind of “real-time trial news” post on my Facebook or Twitter accounts but this is such BIG news, I wanted to publish here as well to spread the word to the colorectal cancer (CRC) patient & caregiver portion of my Blog readership. A PHASE 3 Immunotherapy Clinical Trial was registered today – including for MSS-CRC, the major type of CRC (95% of Stage IV) and the type… Read More

As I promised in my last post “Czech Please!” it is now ASCO season, so be prepared for a science post…  This one is a little hardcore – but bear with me, I tried to keep unessential scientific details to a minimum and as the title indicates (major spoiler alert!), I think it has a very important message! One, with my eyes misting up a bit, I have been yearning to write… 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

A great aspect of my current life is that I get to meet some incredible people doing incredible things.  Doing things that they never would have done without cancer entering their life – done both in spite of cancer and because of it. Many of these people are incredible in quiet and unassuming ways.  Others make big impacts in more public sorts of way.  Lee Silverstein is in the latter group. I… Read More

A very brief medical update! Being hit by a FOLFIRI chemo infusion today only 48 hours after running the team triathlon truly feels bizarre… But that is one of the crazy aspects of Stage IV life! You swing from doing the absolutely “normal” (commuting to work, dinner out with the family) to being knocked out in an infusion chair and crawling into bed “bowl handy” as soon as you get home afterwards…… 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

Part of my current life is focusing on the here and now.  Living in the moment.  This is not a bad way to live life.  Yesterdays are just that… yesterdays – fixed in time, unchangeable – never to return.  Tomorrows are also just that… tomorrows – unknown – filled with possibilities but never guaranteed.  None of us knows if we will be here tomorrow. In many ways I have appreciated living in… 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

In conjunction with the start of Colorectal Cancer (CRC) awareness month, I’m excited to announce that the 2016 Colondar 2.0 annual resource magazine was released today! I LOVE the page from my section pictured above (all Colondar 2.0 photos taken by the incredible Mark McCarty & courtesy of The Colon Club!).  Note the caption they chose to use, I think they captured my mindset and philosophy perfectly. “Incurable… For now… The lung spots… 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

My friend Lindsey Motley died of colorectal cancer (CRC) today.  She was 29 years old. She was very special in many ways to an incredibly large number of people – including to me. Lindsey was many things…  Too many things to list to do justice.  I think most of all she was a loving wife and mother to a young daughter. At the end of the day what matters more than that?… Read More

La version en Español es accesible pasando el texto original en Inglés The title of this post is “The Faces of Successful Colorectal Cancer Immunotherpies: Vol. 1” in Spanish.  To explain why… Uniting the Western Hemisphere A major goal of mine is to bring this blog’s message of scientific information, positive Stage IV life outlook and in both cases HOPE to the different corners of the world.  Continuing this goal, following successful… Read More

“Each patient’s cancer is unique and personalized – why shouldn’t their treatment be too?” My latest The Currently Incurable Scientist column for Fight Colorectal Cancer has published and it ended with the above quote.  The column discusses an area of cutting edge oncology research that I find absolutely fascinating: a type of experimental immunotherapy called a “personalized cancer vaccine”.  I already mentioned personalized immunotherapies briefly in my post “My New Year’s Vision of… Read More

A year ago this week, I wrote my first-ever blog post “Taking the Latest Treatment Plunge” while on a first-ever family ski vacation celebrating Eleni’s 4th birthday in Park City, UT.  It was a time period with a lot of unknowns. My maintenance chemo (5-FU + Avastin) was failing and I was entering 2015 with a lot of medical and treatment uncertainties while fighting against the fear of the unknown. Would I… Read More

To start off year #2 of my blog and to kick off the New Year, instead of looking back (I did that with my recent post “World in My Eyes (Favorite Posts of 2015”) – I decided to look forward. And look forward in a positive but also provocative and perhaps controversial way. Making bold predictions in science is often considered a fool’s errand.  Science is all about exploring the unknown, attempting… 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 my most recent Currently Incurable Scientist column began: On December 2, 2015 a remarkable meeting took place. Jointly organized by Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) and the leading immuno-oncology organization the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), an unprecedented meeting gathered many of the world’s leading experts on both CRC and immuno-oncology. Top scientists devoted to CRC research sat around the same table together for the first time to discuss what is needed… Read More

1 in 20 Americans will hear the words “you have colorectal cancer (CRC)” this year. In America alone, it will cause 50,000 deaths in 2015. Currently there is no cure for inoperable Stage IV CRC although CRC is preventable/highly curable with proper medical surveillance (early colonoscopies if you have a Family History of CRC or if you are in an age based risk group). CRC can also at times be highly curable… Read More

As I planned my next blog post to be tied into Thanksgiving, I started to think through the various things I am very Thankful for this year.  I started to make up a list of things to mention.  The list started to get very long, at which point I took a pause…  The list was great and heartfelt – but I didn’t like how the post was turning into a list.  This… 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

My most recent The Currently Incurable Scientist column published this week on the Fight Colorectal Cancer  website.  It explains in layman’s terms the mechanism of action & the very unique and promising preliminary clinical profile of an experimental drug called “RRx-001” in early clinical trials including a randomized Phase 2 trial (NCT02096354) for metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). As usual, I wanted to use my personal blog not to simply repeat the information in… 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

An Unexpected Conversation Over Breakfast August 26, 2015.  It was early in the morning California time – late afternoon in Russia.  I was going through my overnight messages in the large colorectal cancer (CRC) online message board “Colon Talk“.  This message board is the largest of its kind for CRC and its participants truly are international.  As is often the case, I had a private message waiting for me from a fellow… Read More

I wanted to expand the normal scope of my personal blog in today’s post. Not just for the sake of expansion but importantly because I believe strongly in today’s topic!  After a bit of introductory science, I will be profiling two fellow CRC patients currently in immunotherapy clinical trials – to illustrate the preliminary signs of immunotherapy success of checkpoint PD-1 pathway inhibition in a significant percentage of patients with MSI-high CRC…. Read More

Medically it has been an eventful 7 days – I had not one but two different very important CT-scans: one in the ER, the other scheduled to check the success of my August lung surgery and current Erbitux treatments.  If you remember my previous post about the end of the runathon, I mentioned that my lungs had been giving me some trouble. I wrote: “Purely from a health perspective, even though I… Read More

THANK YOU to all the donors to my runathon first announced back in July!  114 Miles later it raised a whopping $4766 for the national colorectal cancer patient advocacy group The Colon Club.  In particular, I’d like to thank a Novartis colleague who dollar matched all pledges which had a huge impact on the amount of money raised! I will be in touch directly with donors this week. I hope my runathon successfully… Read More

The title to this post is “Adventures in Living Terminally Optimistic” in Chinese. It should also have a subtitle “First, an Introduction… Part 2”. Aka “Oops”. Seeing my blog title in Chinese still gives me the chills!  I had mentioned previously  that I had written a preface for a new Chinese mass market cancer book written by my colleague Zhizhong Li called “Cancer Insights”.  His book contains a mixture of scientific information… Read More

The September edition of my monthly The Currently Incurable Scientist column has published on the Fight Colorectal Cancer website.  It briefly discusses in layman’s terms the profound roles chronic inflammation is believed to play in cancer patients, including: Direct impacts on facilitating tumor growth & spread Impacts on helping tumors evade and hide from the immune system making the tumor immunologically “cold” Systemic effects on the patient’s body including e.g. loss of… Read More

Just a quick update that my radiofrequency ablation (RFA) lung surgery #2 this morning was a success!  It looks like another two lung tumors were successfully fried to a crisp – one more step forward on the overall therapeutics + surgery treatment path I wrote so excitedly about last week!.  I’m determined to enthusiastically attack this disease from multiple directions – as the nurses in pre-op saw bright and early this morning 🙂… Read More

I’m thrilled to let you know that my surgeon has agreed to give me another Lung Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) surgery on August 27th! The second half of this post focusing on the Postive Power of Hope is quite meaningful to me & the meat of the post, so I hope you decide to read that far in!  He hopes to remove another 2-3 more tumors.  I already wrote extensively a few months ago on what the… Read More

I’ve been surrounded by Cancer my entire life, one of my earliest memories is hearing that my Grandpa Herb had a colostomy bag from his rectal cancer surgery.  As a probably 4-year old with no frame of reference, it didn’t phase me a bit – I didn’t think twice about it.  These childhood & adolescent memories include long term survivors (like Grandpa Herb – who had his colostomy bag for decades) as… Read More

For readers interested in “the science” of current & potential future CRC treatments – my latest monthly column of The Currently Incurable Scientist has been published on the Fight Colorectal Cancer website.  This month’s installment is called “The Future of anti-EGFR Therapy?” Similar to last month’s column, it is a 2-parter.  The first part describes how current anti-EGFR therapies work in the treatment of CRC.  The second part discusses two example clinical trials testing next… Read More

68 miles, $2,788: That is the amount of miles I have run since July and the amount of money my runathon has raised so far for my colorectal cancer non-profit charity of choice, The Colon Club!  I have reached the halfway point of the fundraiser & I wanted to thank everyone who has contributed! In addition to raising money for a great cause I hope it has illustrated that being a “currently… Read More

Time for a medical update – I had a CT-scan on Monday to see how things looked and I got the results back tonight.  Overall pretty good news- Just the facts man (to paraphrase Joe): – No new spots (GREAT!!) – Most my current spots were stable, a few “might” have grown 1 mm.  But that is basically error bar range of the measurement, so I’m officially “stable”. For this entire journey I’ve… Read More

As a reminder: colorectal screening saves lives.  A lot of them – and more screening needs to be done. CRC is 100% preventable when it is caught at the polyp stage.  CRC has a very high cure rate when caught at an early stage! I’ll pound my fist one more time: colorectal screening saves lives! These shirts promote that medical fact. After a very successful launch in the Northwest by my good… Read More

The first “science” column of my new patient advocacy writing project “The Currently Incurable Scientist” on the Fight Colorectal Cancer website has been published! As I discussed in the last post – I am really looking forward to using this new monthly column to fulfill one of the original goals for my personal blog: to discuss the science behind new treatment strategies approaching or in clinical trials – to help shed light on the world… Read More

There is no new medical news to report – which in the case of someone with Stage IV cancer is a good thing!  I’m continuing my weekly Erbitux infusions (with appropriate Mad scientist amendments 😉 ), the side effects are manageable,  my new runathon for the Colon Club is off to a great start and I continue to feel great!  The next CT scan to confirm things are continuing to go well is… Read More

Just a quick update on run sponsorships for the non-profit CRC charity for The Colon Club : This morning I received a VERY generous pledge match offer: ALL RUNNING PLEDGES WILL BE DOLLAR-MATCHED up to a $2500 cap! WOW! So a quick & easy way to double-your pledge impact & the impact of your blog link shares to others! Please see the link below for details on my running fundraiser for my CRC… 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

My lung radiofrequency ablation surgery went very smoothly today – easy peasy! The excellent interventional radiology surgeon blasted the largest tumor & also retrieved tumor tissue for genetics. He “thinks” he got enough biopsy tissue for both tumor Whole Genome Sequencing and RNA-Sequencing but crossing fingers – we’ll see… I’m a little sore but really not too bad at all… It just feels like I have been bench-pressing (too much 🙂 )  BY… Read More

Just a brief update that my lung radiofrequency ablation (RFA) procedure is happening tomorrow (Thursday) at noon!  I posted the details describing the procedure previously here.  Assuming there are no complications like (a pretty rare) collapsed lung (blah blah blah), it will be a single-night hospital stay and I expect to be recovering at home on Friday & back to work on Monday! I’m VERY EXCITED to be doing this – going on… Read More

Earlier this month I felt like the luckiest guy in the world.  The Colondar 2.0 colorectal cancer (CRC) patient retreat, interview and photoshoot was quite simply one of the absolutely most amazing experiences I have ever had.  It was truly a life-changing event. Inspiring, invigorating, emotional, empowering… I was so blessed to be able to participate in this…  You are going to read about and see 11 other AMAZING SURVIVORS when the… Read More

A person’s “Cancerversary” stirs up a lot of emotions and every patient approaches it differently – but it is never forgotten.  For patients who had their cancer caught early & cured – it is a date that may remind them of hitting the state of absolute terror, only to be redeemed and saved.  For Stage IV patients it is even more complicated, since it is the date when most of them were… Read More

At the end of my previous “A VERY GOOD DAY ON THE BATTLE FRONT! (CT SCAN RESULTS ET AL)” post I mentioned that with my good CT scan results:  “I’m fighting on one battle line & I won a battle today”.  As a direct consequence of that scan, I and my medical team have decided it is now time to open up a new battle line of direct attack. But first, I… Read More

Scanxiety noun : the tension which builds, particularly among those who have or have had cancer, as they move towards their regular checkup scan. All cancer patients approach scan days differently.  I have friends that get so nervous approaching a scan they literally have to take anti-nausea medicine. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I have friends that manage to stay quite sanguine as their scans approach.  Still others are simply… Read More


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