My blog. My cancer.

TeamGarnetHi.

When I started this blog, it had two purposes: one, sort out my feelings with my newly diagnosed cancer and two, keep all of my family and friends informed in one place.  During  the last 3 1/2 years, I have gained more “friends” than any man could deserve.  Sadly, I am using this blog post for the same original reasons that I started it back in December 2010.

I’m back to fight.  What seemed like “The Little C” for so long, is now definitely “The Gargantuan C that Crushed Zullinger in 3-D”

This is hard for me to write.  Not only is it emotional, but the symptoms have robbed me of proper spelling and coherent thought.  What used to take me about two nights, now takes me two weeks.  Inevitably, I get frustrated and stop writing.

There are about 24 posts in my draft folder.

Let’s rewind to October.  I was diagnosed with a  recurrence of cancer and my oncologist suggested chemo.  It worked before, so we had no problem believing it would be successful again.  Only this time it wouldn’t be 21 days on/7 days off, it would be 30 days straight.  After 167 days (Yup, I counted!), I asked for break when I was exhausted and I was suffering from “not finding words”.  For someone who loves to talk, that is one of the cruelest things about cancer.

In June, my MRI showed a new “spot” and 6 weeks later, the spot had not grown, but it was still on the scan.  I was comfortable with the results, since it showed up on the previous scan, but I’m having a rougher time with the symptoms now.  Swelling in my brain, temporary paralysis of my right side and speech problems have all been plaguing my body for the last few days.  Steroids and rest have given me some relief.

Apparently, my body has developed a resistance to the chemo that I’ve been on since 2011, so now I need to be more aggressive with my treatment.  On August 7, I will undergo surgery to place a port in my brain.   Twice a month, I will travel to Hershey to receive a cocktail of 6 chemotherapy drugs: 4 in the port, 1 in the arm and 1 by mouth.

My doctor assured me that there are no symptoms like traditional chemo.  I won’t lose my  hair.   Radiation already took care of that. People won’t see me as sick.

That’s why I’m writing.

I’m not begging for attention.  I’m not being overly dramatic.  I’m just updating you.

I’m having surgery on my brain for the 3rd time.  This time they are leaving something behind.  I’m scared and excited at the same time.  I want to be well and if this port does that, I’m steadily getting behind the idea.

Even though the port will be underneath my skin and you’ll never know it’s there, I’m still a bit freaked out by idea of it. But, if this is the next step in my journey, I will take it with the same attitude I have shown the last 3 1/2 years:

Funny.  Strong.  Honest.

Bye for now.

 

 

 

six

will suitOn Sunday, William Robert Stevens will be 6 years old.

We will be celebrating throughout the weekend and into next week.

As many of my friends can confirm, when I was younger (does 37 count as younger?) I used  to count down the days to my birthday.  Many times I would count down the months. One year, I proposed a national holiday.

He gets it honest.

Will has been counting down the days for more than 2 weeks.    That’s my boy.

He is so funny, but you can’t laugh at his jokes, because  he thinks you’re laughing at him and not with him.

I walked in to the living room where he was watching a show with “Special Agent Oso”.

Will:  Daddy, this is a fictional story.

Garnet:  Why do you think that?

Will: (pause and the most dismissive look a child has ever given to me)  It’s a talking bear, Daddy.

Of course  it is.

Friday we started the festival of Will with free birthday ice cream from Misty Meadows.  It will continue with parties galore, special effects and celebrity cameos.

I couldn’t ask for a smarter son, a better big brother and a worthy source of “compressions”*.

I love you Bub.

Daddy

*Impressions

Will is frozen

disneyinfinitycarsplaysetMy son and I loved to watch the movie “Cars”.

The movie features talking cars, which Will seems to enjoy.  I appreciate the legendary voices of Paul Newman and George Carlin.  It has a great message of friendship (like most Pixar movies have) and tons of merchandise opportunities (ditto).

We have “Mater’s Tall Tales” on dvd and most of the vehicles from the movie.

It was no contest.

Until recently.

My mom and aunt, routinely take him to the latest animated movie  that comes to our  downtown theater.  Will does not have a refined taste for movies.

He enjoyed Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.

Late last year  the ladies noticed an opportunity to take Will off our hands for about 2 hours.  I really didn’t pay attention to what was playing at the time, but afterwards he said “I liked it”.

After watching Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked “I liked it”.

Flash forward to this week, I can’t forget that movie even if I tried.

Snowman

The movie is called “Frozen” and Will has been singing the Academy Award song from that movie, “Let it Go.”

Constantly.

I blame the girl on the bus.  Apparently she sings it all the time.  Hopefully only near Will and not directly to him.

We have a clip of the song on the Disney channel and he does the motions of Elsa as if he’s auditioning for the Broadway musical based on the screenplay.  His  face reflects her doubts about people discovering her  hidden secret.  His hands and arms emphasize her sudden jubilation of her sudden freedom.

I can’t forget his  feet mimicking stepping when she makes the icy bridge.

It’s very cute and sweet.

I just wish he hadn’t put the song in my head.  I put my foot down at work today and sang “Here I stand and here I’ll stay”.

I have never said “frozen fractals” in my life.

But I did today.

I have one minor complaint with my son’s impromptu production.  The last line of her song is “the cold never bothered me anyway.”

Proof that “Frozen” is a fantasy.

Garnet

The Name

MATTHEW

ferris-buellers-day-off

ISAAC

isaac

STEVENS

exitsign400Born 10:27 a.m. on Friday, February 21

7 pounds, 11 ounces

20 1/2 inches long

Mommy and Matty are doing well

Hostage

hostStockholm Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which a hostage expresses positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of not wanting to be released.

Otherwise known as: this baby’s relationship with my wife.

Early on in her pregnancy, we basically had to “kid”nap this child to not have him escape too soon, like his big brother.  We drugged this one weekly (progesterone shots), but despite the regular medicinal security, we had a serious threat of him making a break for it around 29 weeks.

Now that she still has him safely barricaded in a padded womb…uh…room, it’s time for someone to pay the ransom.  I thought the end of the shots would do it.  Nothing.

We tried spicy food…the full moon.  Still have the little guy in custody.

I have appointed myself head hostage negotiator.  I don’t usually negotiate with terroristic womb raiders.  Give me your list of demands and nobody else will get hurt.  We have a car seat ready for you for safe travel to a loving home.

You have until Friday to respond or we’re coming in.

Come out with your little hands up.

Your Dad

Thursday Update

muppet news1. Tricia is still pregnant

2.  Will is still singing

3.  I had a solid scan

It wasn’t a perfect scan, but my doctor and I didn’t expect the tumor to just disappear after 6 weeks of chemo.  The tumor was  the same size when we started, so he was pleased.  At this point, the word is “stable”.

He wants to see me in another 6 weeks to review any progress.

Now, we just need to shovel out the truck in case #1 on my list changes.

Garnet

My son and Katy Perry (a love story)

will suitAs I lay me down to (a medically induced) sleep, questions come to mind.

When will my family be able to welcome the new baby?

What will the results of my MRI be tomorrow afternoon?

Why is my son singing Katy Perry songs at the top of his lungs?

The most important one I’ll tackle first.  Katy Perry.

Recently, Will has started singing around the house.  My son has a wonderful voice (takes after his Mom), but gets extremely embarrassed when we comment on his talent.  I noticed him singing a classic from Phineas and Ferb called “Gitchee Gitchee Goo”.  Better known as the “Bow, chicka, bow-wow” song.  

You know the one.

During the last few days, he’s changed his tune to more of Top 40 feel.  It started with a whisper and eventually went into a…well, you know.

“You’re gonna hear me ROAR

The main problem is where there was embarrassment, that’s been totally replaced by repetitive elation.  Each time, his singing slowly devolves into an imitation of a lion.

Maybe this is his last gasp for solo stardom as we continue waiting for his singing partner.  If you haven’t seen my wife lately, look here.  If you have seen me at an event recently, you likely have seen my phone tightly grasped in my left hand.

When people ask when is she due?  I quickly reply–“Right now” and run.  I’m tired of the jokes.  I want to meet this kid.  Just don’t arrive tomorrow.

I have a scan in Hershey tomorrow.  Seriously, this is the most important of all the questions.

This is my first MRI since the doctors determined that my cancer was back.  During the early stages of this most recent cycle, I was tolerating the pills so well,  I worried that they weren’t working.  As I started experiencing the usual symptoms, I was somehow “comforted” that the medicine was doing their thing.

Odd.

Add a State of Emergency for Maryland and it should be an interesting few days.

We will deal with this as our family always does, with the caring of family, the help of friends and the wisdom of Will’s new girlfriend Katy Perry.

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Oh oh oh oh oh oh

Oh oh oh oh oh oh.  Indeed.

Garnet

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