A few weeks ago, Heather dropped Eloise off at a friend’s house and we surprised Milo with a Mommy/Daddy/Son date to go see Cars 3 on opening night. Lightning McQueen has always been Milo’s favorite character and we are most definitely keeping all the toys we’ve accumulated for him to pass down to his kids.
As we arrived at the the theater, Milo was skipping and running all over the place. He couldn’t contain his excitement. This was the first time he’d see his hero on the big screen, and also the first time I’d see him up there too.
We settled into our seats and the emotion was a little too much for me. When I heard they were making a Cars 3, it was October of 2015, 7 months after being told I would die. At this point, it was around my 8th round of chemo and I was believing I wouldn’t be here much longer. I remember telling him “Milo, they’re making a Cars 3!” And I remember seeing the first trailer with him where Lightning crashes, with tears and sadness welling up in his little eyes.
I never thought I’d see Cars 3 in October of 2015. I was full of so much negativity and anger and depression, and I had already made up my mind that these simple things in life would be enjoyed without me. I’ve heard a lot of people say they didn’t like Cars 3, and while it didn’t have the same energy as the first, this one meant the most to me. As the movie began, a rush of relief flooded my body… “I made it to another one!” (The others being Force Awakens and Rogue One. I’m a huge nerd.)
As we left the theater, Heather went to pick up Eloise in one car while I drove Milo home in the other. He was quiet for the first few minutes and then what he said to me took me by surprise.
“Dad, do you think they’ll make a Cars 4?”
“They might. They kind of set it up to keep it going.”
“Yeah. It’ll probably be 2022 by the time they release it. Can we go see that one together too?”
“Of course buddy!”
Now I was quiet. It’s just a movie, but movie release dates have become this weird placeholder for the future for me, especially when you’ve been told you won’t make it to 2020. When he said that, all I could think was “I sure hope so.”
Blood Work and Treatment
The questions I get the most about my approach to healing cancer are these:
What exactly are you doing?
And… is it working?
Previous blogs have detailed what I’m doing, but answering the second question is more difficult. A month ago I had a high CRP and high liver enzymes along with a CEA of 5.3. CRP measures inflammation (disease) in the body, while high liver enzymes show that your liver is damaged and filtering enzymes into your blood. I added more integrative treatments to my protocol and a few days before the bowling fundraiser I had the same blood work done. These were the changes:
CRP was normal
Liver enzymes were normal.
Iron was slightly low.
Every other level on my CMP and CBC was normal.
But… CEA went up to 9.5.
Despair. My cancer marker is increasing! The off levels in my body normalized, but why is that cancer marker going up? Luckily I had an appointment scheduled with my naturopath oncologist/therapist the next day. We decided to fix the low iron through diet and add more foods with high iron to see what changes that makes. If it doesn’t do any I might have to add another pill. As for the CEA, my worries led her to say something that changed my mindset (paraphrased).
“Let’s focus on correcting the levels that are wrong in your body and not worry yet about a low CEA number. Yes, it’s going in the wrong direction, but since we already know Chemo isn’t going to be something you’ll likely do again, so let’s change some things and see what happens. Cancer is a dance. You’re going to have good days and bad days, good scans and bad scans. But it’s a dance. Dance with it.”
She’s right. So many people feel that if you aren’t suffering through your cancer treatments, then you aren’t doing enough to rid yourself of cancer. Yet here I am, trying my best to dance with a disease that can kill me. I feel that attacking it right now with chemo, at Stage IV, would be a mistake. All those perfect levels would be ruined by chemotherapy. And if all your levels are ruined, how can the body heal stage IV cancer? It can’t. If I have tumors on my liver, yet my liver is healthy and functioning properly, what’s the big deal? Can it heal with what I’m doing? I hope so… but I don’t have that answer either. Cancer is more complicated than a simple yes or no answer.
But, I did have three dead cancer tumors on my liver a year ago.
I’ll dance with it… and hopefully I can lead the majority of the time.
We had a very successful bowling fundraiser. So many people helped make it a success and I wish I had taken the time to thank them all in person. You can’t have a successful event without the people who plan it; but they can’t have a successful event without all the people who donate their time and money and auction items; and then they need people to show up to bid and bowl. We had all three!
From the planners to the helpers to the attendees, thank you. I’ll be able to focus a lot more to my healing now without worrying about how we’ll pay for it.
Some of you may have seen the recent facebook posts about a Charity Hockey Game that’s been planned for me as well. Here is the updated info:
There’s also a T-Shirt campaign going on in conjunction with the game. If you wear the shirt to the game, you’ll get in free! The shirts are priced near cost and the main reason we decided to do it is because a lot of people were asking for them (or to buy the other shirt I made 2 years ago).
Buy the Limited Edition Red Out The Rink PKHL Versus Cancer T-Shirt https://www.bonfire.com/pkhl-versus-cancer/. ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT!
I just want to end this blog saying how grateful I am for everyone who has spent their time, money, prayers and made memories with us these past 2 years. Heather and I understand that helping others while you have families of your own is sometimes difficult. We couldn’t do a lot of what we’ve done without all your help and we’re grateful beyond anything you can imagine.