This past week we welcomed a new member to the family – Blink! Like many good things in life, he chanced into our life without much warning.  I went out to breakfast with friends visiting from my Buffalo days and when I got home, Veronica said “I think I found a place we can adopt a dog same day!” We had been searching for a dog for a couple months – a… 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

Not with a bang but with a whimper… that is how my cancerversary – my fifth cancerversary – snuck up on me this year. In previous years, I started thinking about it a few weeks in advance.  The feel of late spring in San Diego & the end of the school year may forever be seared into my psyche as the time of year when I heard those fateful words “Your husband… Read More

I wanted to write a quick post update, this one to report on how my “Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (Y90-SIRT)” procedure done on the right lobe of my liver went yesterday. We won’t know efficacy results for a while (so that is still very much in finger crossing, hoping & praying territory!) but in terms of the procedure and side effects it was a very successful day! The day started out with a few… 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

As readers of this blog know, physically I have been going through a rough patch the past 6 weeks or so.  Thankfully, something that is now changing! The sudden ramp up of pain right before Christmas that I have written about which impacted me and my entire family physically, mentally and emotionally, the recent loss of a close friend  and the endurance of a round of radiotherapy the past three weeks, which was… Read More

I had hoped to start 2017 out with a full personal update blog post but there are so many intertwined parts currently in motion (and things currently unclear being clarified!), that a full post will have to wait for just a bit longer!  It has been a very hectic & significant past few weeks and I think January will follow suit.  As always, follow my (public) Facebook feed if you want more… 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

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

My latest column for the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper published today.  I continue to be very thankful that they have given me an outlet for both sharing aspects of Stage IV cancer life to the general public as well as for me to publish creative writing (which I LOVE doing, I seriously look forward to writing these columns about every 2 weeks!).  BTW I now has an updated page on my blog with all my Philadelphia… 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

Friends. Family. Brothers. Sisters. Those words get used a lot in my current Stage IV life and they’re not necessarily referring to the people you would expect.  They’re referring to fellow cancer patients and survivors, often especially those also with Stage IV disease. There is a special bond between fellow cancer patients and survivors that is the deepest bond outside of nuclear family I have ever seen. In general, friends are brought… Read More

Some people have the mindset that once you hit age 40, you are pretty set in your ways.  They think: You know yourself, you know your likes and you know your dislikes.  You have after all, had a couple of decades to figure these things out! Up until recent years, I think I also had that view.  Sure there were new experiences I had never done before that would enter my life… 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

Last year I was lucky enough to be chosen as a Featured Survivor in the annual Colondar 2.0 magazine  that The Colon Club produces each year. As a part of being chosen, you are invited to attend a “Colon Camp” retreat in rural Tennessee.  Last year I wrote in the post “ELEVEN NEW SISTERS AND BROTHERS (AND MANY MORE COUSINS)”, that going to Colon Camp last June was an amazing life-changing experience for me. … 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

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

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

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

You know those moments in life when something so unexpected, so exhilarating & so meaningful (all wrapped up in one) happens – that each time you think of it you get the chills all over again? I had one of those moments a few days ago in the basement of the Congressional Rayburn House Office Building.  It was such a special meeting, even Katie Couric, a big CRC and cancer advocate, tweeted about… 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

  You have probably thought to yourself “Wow, I’m having a bad day”  Or maybe “Whew, that was close”  Or perhaps even “I’m not sure if I’m going to make it…” I ask you to imagine being the cosmonaut Boris Volynov.  His story as cosmonaut on the Soyuz 5 mission in 1969 isn’t well known in America but it is simply incredible. I’m not an astronautical engineer (or even play one on… 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

First of all, don’t worry – this blog is not turning in to a celebrity news site.  But the news of David Bowie’s passing is a story not so much about a celebrity.  Instead it is one of the more amazing stories I have ever heard of a cancer patient beating cancer that should be inspirational to many in the cancer world. David Bowie holds a special place in my heart, as… 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

I know I had promised that my previous post “WORLD IN MY EYES (FAVORITE POSTS OF 2015)” would be the last of 2015 but… it is hard to keep a writer away from his keyboard when he sees a need… I noticed one of those “temporary public service announcement posts” on Facebook this morning – the ones that float around and ask you to share on your wall for an hour.  This… 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

I thought this would be a great way to conclude a 3 post cycle centered around Thanks and Giving before we head into the home stretch of the end of 2015 and the end of my first year of blogging… And since I have written a few posts abnormally close together, I promise only a few hundred words this time, just slightly longer than an @CurrentIncurSci tweet 🙂 (although I admit I am a more… 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

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

Some posts are closer to my heart than others.  This one is very close – it shows what made me the patient-scientist-advocate I am today… and it comes down to Mom. My Mom and I were abnormally close – so much so, I could have been called a “Mamma’s Boy” in my younger years.  In fact I was called that (on more than one occasion) but it didn’t bother me because I… 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

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

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

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

Just a quick post to say that the “Spring Sprint” Team Triathlon (my participation was organized by UCSD Moores Cancer Center) was a great experience this morning!  Patient/Moores Cancer Center triathlon teams have been organized for years now and I think it is a wonderful experience for everyone involved! A big part of being a cancer patient is trying your hardest to not give up in the face of adversity.  In that way… Read More

After coasting yesterday and letting Tami Boehmer do all the writing, I figured it was time for me to write a real post since it has been a while.  I’ve already written about the science behind my anti-EGFR therapy here.  I think what I wrote is already a fascinating scientific story and hopefully it becomes even more so in the future after I see how successful my current experiment has been… 😉… Read More

It has been an interesting month to say the least… on top of the complicated medical appointment logistics of dealing with simultaneous melanoma + CRC and the melanoma surgery & CRC scans themselves, were the scientific talk 3-day (!)  trip to Barcelona, the subsequent (but unrelated) beginning of our major house remodel project (to borrow a phrase from economics – schöpferische Zerstörung i.e. the cringe-worthy “creative destruction” of our home of >10 years… Read More

Here’s some exciting positive news to share from the personal side of cancer! I have been selected to be one of the 12 “models” for the 2016 Colondar 2.0 annual magazine (to be published in March 2016) which annually features the stories of 12 young CRC patients from across the nation who were diagnosed under age 50 (the age when screening is recommended to start). I’m very excited to take part in a… Read More

It never ceases to amaze me how life is such a constant fluctuating mixture of highs & lows.  Maybe I am just hyper-observant now compared to the average person but as I began to write an update (I know many people are curious about the Melanoma) – I was astonished at the incredible range of “good” and “bad” events that have taken place in my life in just the past week! So… Read More

The main reason for our family vacation to Park City, Utah was to give Amelie & Eleni the experience of “fun in the snow” that Veronica and I had growing up back East before moving to California.  There was a side aspect to the trip though.  It was the final week of my 3-week Christmas /vacation/Eleni’s 4th birthday chemo break – upon return from Utah, I knew I would be facing tough… Read More


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