Week #110: Thanksgiving 2019

This is a really special time of year for me. I often find myself thinking about what happened each day of this month back in 2017. How in the span of a just few of days, life dramatically turned upside down for me and my family. I was moving along with my usual busy schedule of family, work and social activities. And then, one day … BANG! I needed to drop everything and become a full-time cancer fighter. It was just 20 days from positive diagnosis to my first chemo treatment. Since then it’s been 2+ years of successfully battling Stage IV colorectal cancer with 4 surgeries, 11 months with an ileostomy, 10 rounds of radiation, and 29 rounds of chemo. Amazingly, I keep rollin’ through it all … on my bikes, working in the tech industry, connecting regularly with family, friends, and co-workers, and meeting countless others throughout the cancer community worldwide.

Today, my doctors call me ‘a miracle and the future of medicine.’ I am on a ‘maintenance’ chemo program and my cancer is ‘well controlled’. Mine is a truly incredible story. And, that’s why I think I’m the most fortunate, most grateful and most thankful person you may ever meet.

Also, I really believe the small army we like to call ‘Team Crafty’ plays a huge role in all this. The combined force of the groups you see here is just as powerful as anything running through an infusion line …

Our family and friends:
Not a day goes by without a message, card or call from someone wishing us well and offering help. This is so important to cancer patients of all kinds. It really helps us stay engaged and connected with others which is a proven trait of most cancer-survivors. And as far as all the prayers, positive vibes, white lights and meditations go, I say please keep bringing them all. We feel it from near and far and it is working.

My healthcare team at the Edwin Eubanks Cancer Center in Petaluma, CA:
More than any other treatment location I’ve been in, I consider Eubanks Center to be my home court. Dr. Marsland, Sue, Kelly and the rest of the team have guided me through 1000+ hours of chemo infusions. I am certain Dr. Eubanks would be proud of the way they carry on his spirit of ‘commitment and caring, brilliance and bravery, warmth and wit that lights the way for others.’

My healthcare teams at UCSF Health, in San Francisco. I have more than one!
These doctors and their teams are among the absolute very best in the nation at what they do. It is no stretch to say they saved me and I am fortunate to be in their continued care.

  • Colorectal Oncology – Dr. Chloe Atreya’s team
  • Radiation Oncology – Dr. Moshiur Anwar’s team
  • Colorectal Surgery – Dr. Mika Varma’s team
  • Liver Surgery – Dr. Carlos Corvera’s team
  • Surgery Recovery at UCSF Parnassus
  • Surgery Recovery at UCSF Mission Bay
  • Radiology at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital
  • Radiology at UCSF Health 4th Street

Our friends in the Salesforce ‘Ohana’ all around the world:
My teammates, colleagues, partners and customers have all gone out of their way to support and help us. Salesforce has built its company culture on the Hawaiian principles of family, or “Ohana”, and the Crafts family can attest that is really true.

Our friends at Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation:
Conquer Cancer has championed me and they support cancer researchers worldwide in more than 100 countries who are working on breakthrough cures for ALL types of cancer. I am proud and thankful to be included in the group of patient advocates they call cancer conquerors.

Our friends at the Colon Cancer Coalition:
I am proud to help this group, and Olympus Corp, spread the word about colon cancer awareness and prevention. (Thank you for the introduction Tim Crafts!) CCC’s message #GetYourRearInGear says it all. Please do it!

Our friends at Petaluma Sunrise Rotary and Sonoma County Backroad Challenge:
PTown Rotary and the Backroad Challenge could not be more welcoming and supportive of our participation in their annual bike ride and BBQ fest. Together, we have raised close to $50,000 for worldwide cancer research. 2020 will be our 3rd annual ride and we could not be more excited. (Be sure to visit our RIDE page on this site for more information.)

Medical professionals who work tirelessly and selflessly to help cancer patients at every stage of their journey: You don’t need to spend a lot of time in the cancer community to recognize there are angels on earth all around us. They are there when you check-in in for a big (and scary) appointment. They are there when you come-to after a big surgery. They are there in the dead of night when you need some help at your bedside. They make life easier for cancer patients when they need it most. These special people are there for you all along your cancer journey and we should all be grateful for them.

The millions and millions of cancer fighters who came before me:
Whether they be a survivor or someone that is no longer with us, I know my path has been made easier by all of them. Their cases have contributed to the many solutions that are helping me and 15.5 million cancers survivors across the U.S. live better lives.

Be grateful.
Be thankful.
Have a happy Thanksgiving,

Here’s what’s ahead on my treatment trail and events calendar:
Dec 2 – Chemo Infusion Round #30
Dec 9 – CT Scan
Dec 11 – Follow-up and next step decisions on treatment
Feb 6 – Patient Advocate talk in San Francisco, CA
March 5 – Patient Advocate talk in Arlington, VA
May 16 – Our annual bike ride for Conquer Cancer in Petaluma, CA
June 1 – Patient Advocate talk in Chicago, IL

Get educated.
Get screened.
Support cancer research.
Keep rollin’ …
Don’t let your schedule look anything like mine!

Published by Mark Crafts

I am a Stage IV cancer survivor with a very hopeful and amazing story. Surgery, chemo, radiation … I’ve have been through it all during 44+ months of treatment. Now, I am a UCSF clinical trial patient loaded with “Terminator” T-cells which may provide a major breakthrough for colorectal, colon, liver, lung, and head & neck cancers. Amazing things are always possible!

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